How To

Discovering “Outside the Box” Content for Curation to your Blog

With the rise of content curation, you are seeing the same articles appearing over and over.  It just doesn’t help your readers to bring them the same articles they see at many other sites or in their twitter stream.  So how do you find those interesting, unknown articles, sites and writers?

Certainly spending some time just ‘browsing’ the web the old fashioned way will work.  Following links without any goal can bring you to many sites you haven’t seen and can turn up some great articles or viewpoints.  Of course that can take some time and is not always productive.

With MyCurator, you can make discovery of outside the box content a regular process.  In this article we’ll discuss how to set up a broad content discovery topic that routinely brings in new sites and articles.

Set Up Broad Sources

The first, key step is to set up sources that are based on search, not specific sites.  You should create 3 new sources; a Google Alert, a Talkwalker Alert and a Twitter Search.  Place them all in the same Source Category, such as “Search Sources”.  Each of these should use the same broad keyword, and just one or maybe two at most.  For example:

  • content curation
  • mobile payment
  • wordpress theme

The twitter search you would set up using the “News, Twitter, YouTube” menu item in MyCurator.  The other two you would set up using their own site.  See our previous How To articles linked below for more details.

Once you have the new Sources set up, create a new Topic for your discovery.  Leave the Topic Search 1 and Topic Search 2 keywords blank, this will return every article found by your search sources, providing the broadest range of articles.  Set a minimum article size to weed out short articles, and then choose your new Source Category as the Source for this Topic.

With a broad but popular search term, you are going to see a lot of articles coming through from MyCurator.  Our content curation topic yields over 200 articles a week.

Training the Results

To manage this flow of articles, start training them using the green and red thumbs to tell MyCurator which types of articles you like.  The focus here is to highlight to MyCurator articles that you would like to see more of (good), as well as those that are completely off topic (bad).  You don’t have to train every article, but using 10 or 20 a day for a week or so will give MyCurator a lot to learn.

When trained, MyCurator will classify the flow of articles into good, bad and not sure.  The relevance engine doesn’t filter any of the articles out, they are all still in your training posts, but at least now they are prioritized.  In our content curation search, 40 to 70 of the 200+ articles a week are usually classified as good.

That is a lot of work to review all of those articles, even just the good ones you may say.  And you are right, it is a lot of work.  Remember, you are looking for the ‘Out of the Box’ content and its not something that a computer program can find – its up to you.  Prioritizing the articles into good, bad and not sure helps make it a regular routine and a manageable task.  With practice and discipline, it becomes a task that can be done in an hour or less per week.

Review Process

A good process is to focus on the good articles throughout the week, but each week you should also quickly review the bad and not sure articles too.  In the Training Posts menu item, you can filter by Topic and Relevance (good, bad…) to make this easy.  You can also use the bulk tools to get rid of a page of articles after you’ve reviewed them by clicking the ‘check all’ box at the top and then ‘Move to Trash” bulk action.  You can also set the “# of Articles shown on Training Page” (Options Format tab) to a number like 40 or 50 to review a lot more articles at once.  Finally, training misclassified articles as you go keeps the Relevance engine up to date with continual feedback.

Another issue to be aware of is that with these broad searches, you will begin to see the same articles pop up across many sites as an article is curated through the web.  Both Twitter and Talkwalker tend to find multiple versions of the same article as they proliferate across sites.  You will also see articles re-appear after a month or so as they are re-tweeted or re-posted.  Even though MyCurator keeps track of duplicates, the list of already seen articles is purged frequently (so it doesn’t grow too big).

With a focus on reading broadly within your category, you are going to regularly turn up out of the box articles and interesting sites.  You can add some of the new sites to your sources for some of  your other Topics or just add them to your regular blog reading list.

Here are some of our earlier How To articles on using these 3 sources.

Using Twitter for broad searches

Google Alerts are Back

Using Talkwalker Alerts

Documentation on Sources and Source It tool