Click edit button to changNearly everyone who has decided to get involved in running a site or otherwise participating on the web, if they wanted to develop a serious presence, has run into the concept of ‘content’. It turns out that content is quite literally the meat of the web and the reason why people come online in the first place.

However, developing and distributing that content is the biggest challenge for companies, solo entrepreneurs, organizations and those trying to make a name for themselves. What we want to take a look at today is a concept known as content curation. We want to find out what it is all about, how it is performed, who is doing it, why it is important, and how you can do it for your company, organization or venture. Once we’re through, you will see exactly why this is such a powerful way of building a far better presence online and much better prepared to make a decision about whether or not content curation is something you should be doing.
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The Definition of Content Curation

Anyone who has ever been into a museum will have seen curation at work. The job of museums, as well as art galleries and other types of venues, is to bring together the best or most interesting pieces of art, history and so forth so that they can be displayed for the audience, in this case typically the general public. The museum or gallery did not produce what you see within their walls, but they have organized it into attractive exhibits and this is what they are earning their money for: the finding and displaying of interesting things.

Often, institutions of this kind will put information around what they are showing you in order to give it context and explain what it is that you are looking at, how they came to possess it, why it is important and so on. By doing this, the institution is adding value to the things they are showing, an extra layer of experience and, hopefully, promoting appreciation of these things as well as educating you.

Content curation works much the same way. The goal is to find relevant, interesting content and share it with the audience of a site even though the site itself did not produce that content. There are a lot of key advantages to doing this and, when done properly, it can enhance the experience of the audience as well as appreciation for the content being curated.

There are many, many different types of content. Written content, videos, audio recordings and images are all examples of types of content. Each of these types can be curated on blogs, social media accounts and elsewhere as a way of delivering more to those who are patronizing those sites.

Methods of Content Curation Used Today

There are a variety of different ways that people approach content curation. Individuals who are doing this often follow only an idiosyncratic format, but businesses practicing content curation will want to be a bit more consistent in how they approach this process. They will want to make sure that they are citing content they have decided to curate, linking back to the site that they are referencing so that full credit is given.

Some sites will curate a whole video, written article or other type of content. They may or may not place any of their own content around what they have curated, giving full credit to the creators of the content and merely ‘syndicating’ it. This can work in some instances, but doesn’t offer that much value to the audience of the site doing the curating.

A better idea might be what a growing number of sites do and this is create new content based on the original content they are curating. Think of it as a news story, for example – the event being reported only happened once, but a number of media outlets will report on it, each giving it a bit of a different ‘handling’ as they do. In other words, use the original content you are curating, give credit to the original broadcaster or creator who made it and then put try to make the way you present that curated content useful and unique. Doing this can lead to many good things and actually gives your visitors something of value in the process – your site’s unique take on the content.

Niche audiences often find that sites which do content curation with an eye towards the way the niche audience tends to think or feel about the topic at hand fulfill a key role. If the niche audience is, for example, fans of fans of healthy eating, they may appreciate curated recipes with an eye towards organic ingredients. Perhaps a recipe could be curated by the site and then the site could suggest healthy alternatives to the original ingredients that might not have been appropriate for a health conscious crowd.

Most sites do not have their own team of reporters scouring the globe for news, but what they do have is at least one person who can scour news sites for good stories. They could look to major media outlets for quotes to include in articles and this form of content curation is quite powerful. It backs up whatever the article is saying, in the eyes of the consumer, giving it more credibility which is certainly good, especially to those wanting to develop an authority site.

Finally, keep in mind that when it comes to content curation, you are not limited just to blogs or to stories published by major media outlets. A little time on social media sites performing searches can reveal a wealth of great quotes from those who are freely broadcasting to the world. You can use these to enrich articles and give a more social feel to the content you are creating.

Who Practices Content Curation?

When we think of content curation, we might first tend to think about blogs. This is definitely true because blogs are all about fresh content. Often, coming up with wholly new content can be tough to do and content curation can help to fill in the gaps between major posts or enhance the power of those posts. It offers lots of advantages and is a very popular practice in the world of blogs.

Businesses using social media accounts or blogs will also turn to content curation as a way to make sure they are consistently delivering quality content to their readership. This is not always easy to do, and they may need some professional help in order to get it done correctly, but when done well it can certainly build and sustain an audience. Many companies simply produce or sell products and there is only so much they can say about that. However, by practicing content curation they can provide more context for what they sell, showing how it is used and why it is needed by consumers. This is incredibly beneficial because not only is it fresh content, it shows those already buying more reason to feel confident in what they purchase from the business.

Why is Content Curation Important for Websites Today?

Sites all across the web, in a variety of different industries, markets and niches practice content creation because it makes sense. It gives organizations a low-cost way to bring in more content for their site and keep readers coming back for more. It gives the solo entrepreneur a way to get more done with fewer resources. It gives businesses a way to become authorities within their markets and earn the trust of their readers.

One of the big benefits of content curation is that it can bring in more traffic. Well crafted curatorial content, especially if it is time sensitive and dealing with current events, can end up distributed or highlighted on news gathering sites which are themselves practicing content curation. This brings in more visitors who find the site that way. Search engines, too, do count properly curated content as another reason to send visitors to a site. Sites that do a great deal of this can often experience boosts in their audience size and frequency of visits as they become an authority in their given niches.

Since the world has become more social and sharing is now the norm, it makes sense to practice content curation as a way to improve the experience for visitors. Great stories deserve to be shared and this is what smart curators understand. If the context is strong and the content created around the content that’s been curated is strong, too, then a site has a winning formula that can serve it well for years. Audiences appreciate getting the highest quality content and are far more inclined to engage when proper content curation has been practiced. This alone makes content curation worth considering.

For those sites looking to gain the respect and trusts of their readers, content curation is practically essential. By showing off content from sources they respect, be it print publications or other websites, the show their audience that they are involved in something bigger and that they understand quality when they see it. Audiences tend to respond positively to this and a site can become an authority by doing things this way. The best authorities understand when it is more intelligent to curate than to create. They realize that by tipping their hat to others within and outside of their niche who may have unique angles or expert insight, they are showing respect and, in time, that could be reciprocated.

The big reason that so many sites are deciding content curation is the way to go is because the age of churning out low quality content on the cheap in order to have a huge quantity of content is over. Visitors do not appreciate that approach and neither do search engines so it really does not serve sites well to practice this style of content development any more. Finding quality stories, information and news is a far better choice which is what content curation is all about. You do not need to produce the best content, nor a great deal of it, in order to give your audience something of value and encourage them to remain loyal and do business with you.

Content Curation for Social Media Accounts

It’s definitely true that content curation works very well on social media sites. Consider a site like Twitter where the message must be kept to 140 characters or less. In this instance, it is difficult to generate quality content for that format. What works well, however, is for those with a social media account to highlight interesting content relevant to the needs of their audience. This is also true on Facebook where sharing quality content can lead to it going viral. Pinterest, Google + as well, are all about curating.