Why should I be sending my visitors away to another site by curating their content? That seems like a quick way to shrink my readership!
That is the question I most often hear from bloggers looking into content curation. Frankly, it is a risk, because if you don’t do your curation well, that may well be what happens. The key though is to treat your curation with the same creativity and focus that you would your original writings.
Why Content Curation?
Its clear that your writing is what has built your blog. And original content will always be better for attracting new readers and sharing through your social networks. But the cost in time and effort for original content writing is high – hours per piece.
By contrast, curation can yield some quality content for your blog in under an hour. Curation also adds a freshness to your blog as you can quickly post timely articles and editorialize about them in almost real time.
Another benefit of curation is that you can demonstrate the breadth of your knowledge and your engagement with the focus of your blog by highlighting the best of the web in your niche. Not only is your original content engaging, but you are creating a one-stop blog for your readers. They don’t have to go searching the web to keep up with the topics you cover, they can just stop by your site.
That is how you overcome the ‘sending them away’ problem. Your readers may follow the attribution link to another site, but they will remember that it was your site that found it for them. You’ve weeded through the junk on the web to find something useful, and then shared it. Content curators call this “building authority”. Not only are you writing interesting pieces, but you are trusted by your subscribers to keep them enlightened with other viewpoints, opinions and writings that they will find interesting.
Curating Content on your Blog
To add value to your blog, you can’t just post a little extract and an attribution link for your curated articles. You need to make them a part of your blog by telling your readers why this particular curated article is here. There are a lot of techniques for using curated content. Some examples are:
- Distill the article into a clear summary of what it says and why it is important to your readers. They can click through to read it if they want to get deeper.
- Highlight a trend you are seeing in one or a few posts you’ve found. This can take some analysis work, but is a great way to build your authority.
- Craft a story for your readers over a few curated posts.
- Build a point-counterpoint analysis with a few articles and your own viewpoint.
- Lists are always great – Top 10, weekly roundup, best of the web and others.
- Build a chronology of an event or idea using curated posts and tweets.
Curating content, with your own writing as a key part, adds a new dimension to building your blog readership. Because this is unique content and not a duplicate your curated posts will also rank well with search engines. In fact a few studies find that curated content can do better than the original, especially when it is expertly framed within the normal focus of your blog. At the end of this article you can find a few curated sources to dive more deeply into curation.
MyCurator makes Content Curation Easier
MyCurator is a WordPress plugin that helps you make content curation a regular practice. MyCurator works in the background, finding articles that meet your interests or niche topics. By having new material readily available, it inspires you to review and curate the best articles to your site when you have time.
Curation itself is easy to do. An article with an excerpt, image if found, title and attribution to the original source is automatically created. You can update the quote or excerpt by just clicking on relevant paragraphs of the full article text available in the WordPress editor. Similarly images that are included in the article can be added to your curated post with a click.
To help you with longer curated discussions and even writing your own content, MyCurator has a Notebook feature. Like Evernote, only embedded in WordPress, Notebooks let you save important articles found by MyCurator for later use. You may then easily add the full text of all the articles in your Notebook into a metabox in your editor as you create a post. From their you can easily click to copy quotes, images and attribution into your new piece.
With MyCurator Notebooks, and regular curation, you will find that your ‘cost of content’ goes down, even though you are publishing ever more interesting and useful content to your site.
Curated Resources for Further Learning
I’ve highlighted 3 articles below that provide some further insight into the type of posts you might create with curated content.
The first is an article from Heidi Cohen who has written broadly about curation:
Here are seven ways to curate other people’s content presenting the information in a way that highlights your brand and point of view to attract your audience. Many of these suggestions are ripe for crafting magnetic headlines!)
The next gives a nice template of content types as well as a discussion of how curation can help your SEO:
In many ways, annotations go back to the heart of curation in the offline world, predating content curation in the online world. In museums, one of the primary functions of the art curator is not only to select which works of art should be put on display, and how they should be placed within the museum, but also to annotate the art with narratives on “didactic labels” that describes the source and significance of the work of art.
Finally, a look at some general models for content curation posts:
It is such a powerful idea because curation does NOT focus on adding more content/noise to the chaotic information overload of social media, and instead focuses on helping any one of us to make sense of this information by bringing together what is most important.