Are you a Content Curator?

A content curator is more than someone who re-posts links, quotes sources and aggregates content from feeds. A content curator uses their own passion for the topic to filter and give meaning to the content they select. They also add their own information and ideas to the updates.

I have worked as someone who collects content in several ways and methods: web directory editor, topic writer and group moderator. Each requires some aspects of content curating. Online content curators will not only present content but give it their own perspective and priorities. A content curator can shape public opinion with the choices they make, the content they choose to include or pass by.

The Economist: Meet the Curators
You might say that you don’t need to be a journalist to cobble together a list of links. But actually, given the huge proliferation of sources these days, you do. Being able to scan a vast range of material, determine what’s reliable, relevant and sufficiently objective, decide what will actually interest your particular readers and arrange it in a way that they can use are not trivial skills.

Social Media Today: Marketer, Media or Museum: The Content Curator

For Bloggers – A Cure for Writers Block
If you’ve thought about creating a blog but suffer from writer’s block, this concept is great news for you. You don’t necessarily have to become a star journalist overnight. Instead, start as a curator. Read all the blogs you can in your niche market, then sort and prioritize, hand-pick the best, and share them with your readers. A “Top 10 posts” on a particular topic makes a great blog post. Or, find a post that stands out for you and add your voice by sharing your reactions on your own blog (like I’m doing here!). Always link back to the original writer, of course, and invite feedback if you want to make it a dialog.

For Social Media Types – Sharing With Purpose
As a content curator, you don’t just share what seems interesting; you prune through the overload, find what’s most valuable to your audience, and share it – branded with your perspective. Make sure the content you’re sharing is consistent with the brand or image you want to convey — and that it feeds social media followers to related content on your blog or website. The idea is to share the right information at the right time, to the right people.

For Webmasters — Digital Assets That Drive Traffic and Conversions
A comprehensive content marketing strategy should have your company website at its center. A content curator will aggregate your company’s best digital assets for display, much like a museum curator creates a thoughtful exhibit to display historical or artistic artifacts.

Grow: Are Content Curators the power behind social media influence?
The Curators are the greatest consumers of content AND the greatest contributors—including sharing. That makes Curators a hub and the easiest users for marketers to reach. Curators, like me, are actively looking for information to share with others, and actively spreading the word. Content Curators are the best online friend a marketer could have!
In this new world, Curators become a commodity and they have value that will be sought after. Marketers will seek curators in specific topic areas and with specific traits. Marketers will want to know:

  • The topics this person curates. Curators specialize.
  • The networks and communities he/she curates to. Curators who are plugged into niche communities and forums may be even more valuable.
  • The number of connections on those networks. The volume or following always counts.
  • The types of connections the curator has. What’s the quantity of different types of social users following this curator: gamers, social butterflies, shoppers, deal seekers?
  • Reshare value. How many of this curator’s followers reshare the content, and how wide a net do they cast?
  • The click-through-rate for this curator’s content. How often do people open the items this curator shares?
  • The conversion rate resulting from this curator’s content. How often does a recommendation from this person generate sales? How often does a click through on a piece of content from this curator result in a sale?

Trainingwreck: Content Curators

The first skill or change to adapt to is to begin thinking this way from the beginning. As we all go about our day, and we inevitably come into contact with content, knowledge and wisdom that may benefit others, we need to begin thinking in a way that is selfless not selfish. We need to say to ourselves, “who may benefit from this as well?” Let’s think of this as the curate stage.

The second skill or change to adapt to concerns our ability to categorize and thus effectively store the knowledge somewhere. I liken this to an intricately interconnected network of universal personal content management systems. I’m not exactly clear how this can be accomplished, but think ‘dewey decimal system’ only individualized, personalized and capable of much more than surfacing links. It’s certainly supplementary and much more useful than Delicious or other bookmarking sites as well.

The final skill or change to adapt to is our ability to appropriately communicate the knowledge that has been curated and categorized itself. No, I’m not referring to email distribution lists. Whether through some digitally sewn quilt of RSS and other push-communication capabilities, the communication of this now categorized content is incredibly important.

Influential Marketing Blog: The Five Models of Content Curation
Aggregation – Aggregation is the act of curating the most relevant information about a particular topic into a single location. Often taking the form of catalog style blog posts which list “27 Great Resources For Small Business” (or similar aggregations), this is the most common form of content curation.

Distillation – Distillation is the act of curating information into a more simplistic format where only the most important or relevant ideas are shared. As a result, there may be quite a bit of additional content that is lost for the sake of simplicity – however the value comes from the fact that anyone digesting this content no longer has to contend with a high volume of content and can instead consume a more focused view of information.

Elevation – Elevation refers to curation with a mission of identifying a larger trend or insight from smaller daily musings posted online. Encompassing much of what many trend-focused websites do, this can be one of the hardest forms of content curation because it requires more expertise and analytical ability on the part of the person or organization during the curating. The benefit is that it can also be the most powerful in terms of sharing new ideas as well.

Mashup – Mashups are unique curated justapositions where merging existing content is used to create a new point of view. Taking multiple points of view on a particular issue and sharing it in a single location would be one example of this type of behaviour – and could be used to describe the sort of activity that takes place every day on Wikipedia. More broadly, mashups can offer a way of creating something new while still using content curation as a basis for it because you are building on existing content.

Chronology – Creating a Chronology is a form of curation that brings together historical information organized based on time to show an evolving understanding of a particular topic. Most useful when it comes to topics where understanding has shifted over time, this can be a powerful way of retelling history through informational artifacts that exist over time to prove how experiences and understandings have changed.

From a job posting for an Online Content Curator:

The ideal candidate:

  • is passionate about being part of the future web
  • has some tech background, including basic web development (but no serious dev chops required)
  • has the proven ability to write a snappy headline and coherent commentary – copy-writing experience a plus
  • is an online media consumer and is familiar with sites like Huffington Post and Daily Beast
  • adapts quickly to data and content management tools and interfaces
  • has some image editing experience
  • is moderately well-informed, from pop culture to global politics, from Kim Kardashian to Kim Jong Il
  • enjoys reading (and possibly writing) high-quality blogs
  • approaches repetitive tasks with “productive zen”
  • thinks about usability in a mobile context… and has an app for that

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