Fresh, original, useful content is catnip to search engines and visitors alike. It’s also time- and labor-intensive to produce. Long-form feature articles can take weeks to research and write, and while the potential payoff in authority and relevance is tremendous, you need a regular stream of content for your social media channels and blog. One way to get that additional content is through curation.
Just as a gallery’s curator chooses artwork to display, a content curator finds interesting tidbits elsewhere on the Internet and houses it in one place. Buzzfeed, Gawker Media and TMZ are some of the most well-known content curation sites. Twitter and Pinterest are made for content curation and invite users to tweet, pin and share everything that strikes their collective fancy.
Like content, curation varies in quality. Some sites are known for finding valuable content elsewhere and showcasing it to an appreciative audience. Others are information dumps that don’t reach a specific audience, while still others are little better than plagiarists, siphoning page views from content-rich sites without offering proper attribution to the original source. That’s the category in which you never want to find your site, by the way, because eventually, Google and other search engines will catch up with these content-free sites.
How Content Creation Supports Curation
Curation is a great way to make a site lush and appealing, but aside from some social media sharing, it can’t stand alone; it needs original content to give it structure and tell people why they should come to you. They can find that information anywhere, so why should your Twitter feed or blog post be a draw? The answer is content. You aren’t just presenting information you find as-is; you’re becoming a part of the conversation by expressing an opinion or grouping things together in a novel way.
Gawker Media is a great example of a company that blends curation and creation. Authors get their inspiration from headline news, fashion articles, odd occurrences, current memes, personal anecdotes and op-ed viewpoints to create a tapestry of information that reaches a larger audience than either pure curation or pure original content could manage alone. The site’s properties are also heavily segmented by interest, offering different curated and created content to gamers, sports fans, car enthusiasts, foodies and more.
Curation for the Business World
Gawker properties, TMZ and other sites that rely at least partially on content curation are aimed at consumer markets, but many of the same principles apply to B2B content streams. If your company supplies local restaurants with fresh produce, you can mix original-content blog posts about seasonal offerings with curated photo albums from your suppliers. When farmers showcase their crop directly to restaurateurs, they create a connection between them and the chefs who turn their artichokes into art. As a supplier, you’ve entered that conversation in a meaningful way by plugging the two sides together.
You’re an expert in your field, and as an expert, your clientele will look to you for advice. Reviews can be an appealing blend of curation and creation. Is there a product or service that dovetails with what you offer and what your readers want? Use it as a starting point for a top-ten list and link those related items to add extra value to the copy your content creator writes for your list items.
Content Curation Dos – and a Few Big Don’ts
Do cite your sources and link back to them. This is non-negotiable. Failing to attribute content correctly is a good way to get served with a DMCA takedown notice – or worse. Skip the no-follow links and give credit where it’s due.
- Do put something of your brand in curated content. Even if it’s just a line or two at the top of an image collection, you need to give readers a reason to seek out your take on the content.
- Do get creative with how you collect and organize your content. Picking a theme is a good start; making it something offbeat is a great one. People are charmed by unusual connections.
- Do share curated content. Social media’s made for easy sharing, so go ahead and blast your curated creations on all the usual social channels.
- Don’t assume images are free. Intellectual property rights protect images as well as text, and unless an image is in the public domain, copyright laws could leave you vulnerable to costly penalties. Reviews and critiques allow a more liberal application of fair-use laws, but always err on the side of caution.
- Don’t quote large blocks of text. Search engines may see them as duplicate content even if they’re properly attributed with a backlink and an in-line citation.
© Business Content, Inc. 2014 All Rights Reserved.