Blog Smarter, Not Harder

Make Yourself a Content Curator

Too many bloggers use content the wrong way. I see so many blogs where the blogger is regurgitating content over and over in one way or another. It’s not working. They may make some money by pulling in readers but most people won’t be that interested in reading something rehashed when they could go to the original source. At the original source they will find fresh information, more resources and opinions from someone who really knows the subject. Rehashing content just makes a middleman, not a blogger.

Instead, become a content curator. Not unlike a museum curator, the content curator finds the rare, the original and the truly great content from other blogs and sites then displays and promotes the content. Copycat bloggers are already doing those steps. They just have not been using the content they find in the right way.

Don’t claim ownership of the content. Don’t rewrite the content and pretend it’s yours. Don’t post tired, washed out content and hope people will want to read the same stuff they can read on a thousand other blogs.

A content curator does not need to pose as the originator of the content. The content curator links back to the original source. First, make sure you go back to the source. Follow links back to the original blog when they are available.

There are three things a content curator needs from the original site.

First, you need an excerpt of the content. Pick the most interesting, stimulating or resourceful paragraph. If there is a short list of bullet points you might use that. You will have to build your own theory of what to use and your own discretion about how much content to use. Think of it as a lead in an article, you just want enough to give readers information which will make them click the link to the original source.

Second thing the content curator needs is the link, of course. Simple right? Make sure you get the right link. You want the link to the post. Not the link to the whole site. If you leave a comment (which you should!) make sure you are not copying the link to the comments instead of the direct link to the post itself.

Third, you need an image file to go with your post. You may choose the image which the original site uses. In some cases that may be the lead/ excerpt you use instead of text. You don’t want a massive image if you are also using text. Scale it down to thumbnail size or something close to that. Make the image clickable, another link back to the original site. At times there will be no image to use with the post. Or, the image will not be usable. If the blogger has stuck in a random image from a third person there isn’t much point in dragging it along. In this case you can use the blogger’s own link image (if they have a link back image in their sidebar) or take a screenshot of the blog or a section of the blog’s header. There will usually be something you can do to bring an image along to your post.

That’s about it for the original blog. Don’t close the window too soon, however. The odd time you may decide to change something, make a mistake in cut and pasting the content you wanted, or realize the link isn’t right, and then you will want to refer back to the source.

Also, it is a very great plan to leave a comment with the original post. Not only are you letting the blogger know you have given them a lead in your blog but any readers will also see your link and follow it to see what other content you have found on the subject. You can’t go wrong in leaving a comment. Take the time to do it right. Make a real comment, offer an opinion on the subject, input some personal experience, something that isn’t just dropping a link like a comment spammer. Your link is the comment with your name. Don’t repost it inside the comment itself.

When you have the post set up on your blog you still need to add something of your own. You could post whatever you left on the original blog as a comment. Make a comment on the content, explain why you liked it, why you found it useful, original, why you wanted to repost it.

Make sure the link to the original blog is highlighted either by having it stand out alone in the post or add HTML to bold it if it is inside the text of the post. You are promoting the original source, not hiding it.

Use blockquote around the excerpted content from the original blog. You want to clearly mark the content you have excerpted/ quoted from the original site. You could even post a lead in to your own comment on the post so readers plainly see where your comment ends and the original content begins.

Your comment, your lead in, should come first. Keep it short and to the point mainly because people won’t read a lengthy lead in anyway.

Write a simple, decent, plain, honest title for your post. Don’t sound like a spammer. Yes, you will want to use a keyword. No, you don’t want to flood your title with them. One title is not going to make or break you. But, a simple title is more likely to be read and found. Think about your own blogging habits. How do you feel about a post with a direct, short title compared to one which tries to use every keyword possible? Which are you more likely to click?

Don’t EVER forget to link back to the source. Don’t be a content thief, be a content curator. Find great content and display it. Let it shine. Don’t just copy and paste content. Any idiot can do that. Discriminate, use your common sense about how much content to display (take less, not more) and bring your own perspective into the post, add something original of your own experience, opinions, ideas. Your blog is a gallery, a museum for great content in your niche. you don’t need to own the content but you do need to give the original artist, the original source full credit for their work. That’s your job as a curator.

Be picky about the content you display. Make sure it fits your niche, make sure it really does have something to say and brings a new point, a fresh fact or creative idea to your niche topic. Don’t post often rehashed content as if you are just filling in space.

Plan your niche well. Know the limits and the focus you want to keep. Make sure you draft a well written About page and a subheading for the title of your blog. This is going to be how people know your site and what they can expect to find there. This is going to be what makes or breaks you. Treat it with the seriousness of a business plan, a contract. Use keywords in your description not to engage for SEO but for your possible readers. Rewrite your description, your About page and your blog subheader when you get a clearer, refined view on what your niche is. Don’t be afraid of a change in order to make your point clearer. Use your subheader as a short, quick and simple description of your blog when you create a social profile.

Be careful how you promote your blog. You are a content curator. Be proud. Be distinguished, at least a little. Be wise about how you promote yourself, create your authority on the subject, the niche you are creating with your blog. You have taken on an important job as a content curator, if you are a good one. You’re responsible for creating and swaying public opinion based on the content you choose to display. If you promote yourself as a sincere person, a responsible content curator you will find yourself taken seriously and being displayed as part of your content gallery/ museum will be an honour, something very worth while. Something worth attaining.

Make Yourself a Content Curator on WordPress

Get to know the Press This bookmarklet which comes with WordPress.

Press This Reloaded will add features to the WordPress bookmarklet. But, I found this was more than I wanted. I prefer the simpler bookmarklet.

Apps for posting to WordPress and WordPress.com without being on the site, includes mobile apps. I like Shareaholic but mainly I use it to post to Tumblr, StumbleUpon and Twitter.

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