Five Types of Content Curation

In a nutshell, content curation is about gathering information, formatting it and adding your own editorial, comments, or something to it. The point is, you add something to the collection of information. This is what makes it curation instead of just a collection. It is a planned collection, with a purpose and information to (at least) explain why the information was collected, a point to it all.

Five types of content curation:

Aggregation – Aggregation can be a top ten list. Often information collected this way uses software of one kind of another. Too many people pull together information this way and dump it in a pile, without adding anything to it. Don’t do it this way. Add something of value to the collection of information. You could just explain why or how you collected the information.

Distillation – Planning a collection involves deciding what is and is not important or relevant enough. Taking a collection of information and filtering through it for the best resources helps build a better resource. Likely your readers could search Google themselves, so planning and condensing information, with your own added thoughts, saves readers time and gives them better insights.

Elevation – Adding something to a collection of information to make sense of it all. This could be in how you present the information, the formatting, or information you add to make the collection of information a resource for readers.

Mashups – A combination of anything and everything with a less organized format/ presentation. The real point to a mashup is the information you bring to it yourself. The resources are quoted but the real point of the curated collection are your own thoughts, opinions, discoveries, reviews and etc.

Chronology – Information presented in order of timelines, presented by date from start to finish or from the end result going back to how it all began. This requires research and filtering and planning the format. Keep it tidy, easy to read and navigate.

Can you think of other styles or types of content curation?

What Kind of Software is WordPress These Days?

WordPress removed the Link Manager which had a simple built in bookmarklet to add links to your site, in existing categories, with tags. It was a nice, simple feature to keep a list of resources (links). But, it was removed from WordPress a few years ago.

I use the Restore Lost Functionality plugin for links now. He added the bookmarklet too. Might do the same for PressThis now that WordPress has decided to remove that function too.

Seems a silly decision when so many sites are using content curation. The bookmarklet made it easy to turn content from other sites into a full post without having to leave your web browser. I use it a lot.

However, I have found PressForward, which does have a working bookmarklet (and extra features) for WordPress content curation. I’ve been using PressForward for about two years now and suggest others take a look.

WP is really becoming software for developers only. I keep looking at other CMS which are more publisher friendly. WordPress is losing that.

On the other hand, the new function for adding links in posts really irritates me. It gets in the damn way! Why can’t they decide to get rid of that instead?

Is WordPress still the best choice for web publishers? I don’t think so but I have not found another CMS to trade up for, yet. b2evolution is my top pick and I would have kept using it if it handled images differently.  However, the way things are going it could yet be a trade off between WordPress not handling links well and b2 not handling images well. I probably use links more than I do images.

Exploring Outside the Blog

I’m going back to working with text files again and start working with pdf. A webzine, rather than a blog. Well, a webzine as a working name.

Running a blog has become ruined with marketing and pressure to conform. I’ve always liked doing things my own way. Following all the “rules” for bloggers means putting marketing first. I don’t want to do that. Yet, each time I try to get working on my sites again there is all that stuff telling everyone how to do everything better, almost always involving SEO and marketing. I don’t want to live like everything is for sale. I don’t want to blog that way either. So, blogging is out.

Of course, that means deciding what blogging actually is and what I want to do next. Once upon a time it was a web log, keeping dated entries about changes made to your projects on the web. Some personal posts became sprinkled in and next thing you had the personal online journal. Blogs came from that, later. Dated entries were the key to what was a blog and what was not. That is so lost these days, there are blogs which don’t want to post dates at all. They call it evergreen. I call it, not a blog.

I have a lot of old content to merge with something new. Once I take it out of CMS software I won’t have to keep trying to find ways to make it display for software, just the txt or pdf file type. That will be a LOT easier.

I’m keeping something blog-like to post things I find along the way, in niche and topical blogish displays. Likely on Blogger because I can use Open Live Writer to create the post and then filter it to whichever site I want it to show up on. They will be content curation sites, not blogs. I can post links to niche sources in the sidebars, as I find good links. But, dates, marketing, and professional templates won’t be important.

The New Newsletters are sent in Boxes

I’ve been saying newsletters are not worth anyone’s time for awhile. When did you last really read a newsletter from your email inbox? I’ve nearly given up on email itself, so newsletters tend to go right to the outbox.

Speaking of boxes… have you noticed the trend to getting themed boxes of stuff sent through the mail? Snail mail, not email.

I’ve found a few so far, without really looking hard:

Today I found something bigger, smarter and very interesting, Quarterly.

quarterlycurators
Source: Online Quarterly Subscription and Gifting Services from Quarterly Co.

Quarterly is the new newsletter, vastly improved. The idea of getting people to pay for a box of things (themed but not predetermined) sent out every three months is going to catch on. How could it fail? Who hasn’t become at least slightly addicted to shopping online, getting a present delivered to your door? Now it can be a real surprise, created for you, every month (every 3 months on Quarterly). Are you curious enough to look at the site? You can see what has been sent in past boxes from the curators (as they are called) on the site.

I think it’s brilliant. People will subscribe and look forward to getting your newsletter and other goodies. They won’t just read your newsletter, they will pay to get it. Just considering it from a marketing point of view… it is pretty amazing.

But, I’m not so cynical. I love the idea of being a curator of mailed out boxes. I’ve already thought about what I could send and how I could get things to send. It’s like Christmas and birthday shopping to plan a surprise for others.

Of course it’s not so simple. There are plans to make, angles to consider and I need a theme that works. I’m not sure about working through Quarterly. I’m not a household name in any household but my own. Also, I’m not sure Quarterly (as a service) would help me in any way I couldn’t figure out to help myself. But, I loved seeing it today. It’s not the first to mail out gifts and presents, but it seems to be the first to collect them in a group – like an online catalog of people who want to give you unique gifts, and a newsletter.

Why I’m Starting My Own Article Directory on My Own Site

The old blog was formatted with posts by date, that was when the freshness of the post mattered. The most recent data was most important. It still works for some sites, like a news feed.

Now, more sites are about content, content curation specifically. The date is still part of that, but not the focus. (Note: I’m not for removing dates from posts because I want to know the post I’m reading isn’t years old or no longer relevant).

It’s time sites were content focused, not date focused.

Put your content first and show your posts in the format of an article directory. Sort them by topic and subtopic. Show them that way on your main site. Save people from searching your site for relevant content, bring it to the top for them instead.

Not every site still adds search and this is a mistake if your posts are organized by date first and category in the sidebar, maybe. You are leaving people to find information from your site in a hit and miss way. Why? Isn’t the point of your site to provide information and resources? Every site should have a claim to fame, tell people who you are and why you are a resource in your niche or topic. Then comes the actual information, or the product you are selling. Make it easy for people to get there. Article directories were on the right track but it’s not about syndicating your content to other sites or bringing in other people to speak for you. Speak up for yourself.

Source: Article Marketing: Why I’m Starting My Own Article Directory . . . and You Should Too | Inkwell Editorial : Inkwell Editorial

There are good points in here, things I have been thinking myself. But, not for an article directory of content from other people but my own.

The best two points from this post (link above) are controlling your own content and how it is shown (if it is shown at all) and showcasing your content to build your own authority in the topic.

Of the two I think building your own authority in your niche is the most important. Share links but stop giving your content away for free.

Make your site content focused by curating your own content.

Content Curation Makes a Better Web Directory

The first two points are the best, I think.

A niche has a better chance these days. Think content curation. Actually, think content curation for the second point too. You should build more than a bundle of links. Content curation is about showcasing great links and adding more to them. Create a whole package presentation around the niche. Don’t stop at listing sites.

Write about the niche. This could be interviews with the very people who run the sites you want to list in the directory. How smart is that? Not only are you building your authority, learning more about the niche but you are far more likely to sell links (or make money from ads) if you have something people actually want and can’t find elsewhere.

  1. Start with a Niche – Find a topic you’re seriously passionate about, from birds to routers to online clothing merchants.
  2. Don’t Just Make a Directory – Put great content about your subject on the site: blog posts, articles, tools, resource lists, charts, diagrams, investigative journalism, etc.
  3. Offer to Review Sites in Your Niche – But, for goodness sake, only include them if you’d really, honestly endorse them.
  4. Provide a Reason Why They’re Listed – Imagine a fellow hobbyist or researcher in your topic of interest in real life – if you couldn’t sit down with that person at a table and show them on your laptop why you included a particular site, DON’T include it.
  5. Don’t Offer Gimmicks or Link Juice – Offer listings on a site that real people who are really interested in your topic read and use and enjoy. If you start down the path of selling links for search engine value, you’ve lost your way. It can always be a secret side benefit, and plenty of folks who’ll come to you for links will be thinking about it, but if you want to be truly immune to any future penalties or devaluations, you can’t make it a focus.

Source: What Makes a Good Web Directory, and Why Google Penalized Dozens of Bad Ones – Moz

A New Feature for PressThis?

pressthisideaSource: WordPress › Support » PressThis Feature: Choose Which Post

This is my suggestion. Probably posted to the wrong place. I never seem to find the same place twice in the WordPress forums.

I think it’s a brilliant idea, of course. I really would be a nice way to build up a post – without having to return to the admin screen on your site every time you just need to add a link, or an extra editorial. Or an image from your computer too.

Will see if it gets any notice.

Content Curation Works with WordPress (Free Even)

I’m using a few plugins I especially like for content curating in my WordPress sites. I had been working (and still am) with web based content curation but I would rather put all that time and content into my own sites than another. (You never know when one of those sites will make big changes, like closing down entirely). One of the projects I’m working on is to focus and sort my RSS feeds. I had over 1,000 but it is down to almost 300 now. That helps with finding content I want to post more about.

Other than testing RSS feed readers, I’ve been trying every content curation WordPress plugin I can find. Some have been trouble, some just didn’t have enough. But, one has been exceptional!

  • PressForward – A lot of features. Don’t judge by looks – this is a stand alone content curation system for WordPress. It’s also free and I have not found any problems running it several months now. In addition to the bookmarklet for nominating links you can create a post around later – you can collect feeds and read them from your own site and create posts around whatever turns up in the list. I continue to find more ways to use this plugin as I spend time working with it.
  • Link Roundups – A simple form of content curation. Created to collect links for roundup posts but you can use the bookmarklet to save links, add them to a post and do what you like from there.
  • PressThis – You can find this in WordPress. No plugin is needed. But, PressForward has additional features.

I’ve begun trying Curated Search. The features look great but I haven’t given it the test of time yet.

What have you tested and found to be great for content curation in WordPress?

Find more WordPress news and plugins: WordPress Adventures and Exploring | Scoop.it

I’m Changing the Way I Blog

I’m changing the way this site works. I think we are past the days when one person could run a whole site, alone while doing all the site maintenance, promotion, writing, publishing and so on. I think having a schedule for posting is more important than it has been in the past. Keeping a daily post does make a lot of difference for traffic to a site. I have seen that with my own sites, clearly.

However, I am still working alone here. I like it that way but it does leave me with more than I can take care of (with several sites now to take care of). So, I am changing the way I blog.

I’ve been a content curator in one way or another since 1998. As an editor at the Open Directory Project I decided which sites suited the topic and I edited the submissions before posting them. No one had thought up content curation then but that’s essentially what running a directory is. Later I worked on other sites, writing, listing links, publishing newsletters, managing forums and all that stuff. Currently I have several topics via the Scoop.it site. I’ve changed them around, deleted some and started up others again when I missed them. It has been a good way to find my focus or niche area. You need that understanding to find a topic or niche you can sustain.

Onto the present with several sites not so active for awhile. I’ve decided to continue posting them with a mix of my own original posts and posts created with my comments on curated posts from other sites. The hold up on getting it all flowing right now is just the technical side of making it work in the way I can work with it.

Anyway, this site is one which will be converted soon. It’s a topic I have a lot of passion about but anything about blogging is drowned out by the SEO “experts”. There is a lack of creativity and originality in blogging. I’d like to keep that element from disappearing. I’d like to see blogs go back to being free spirits rather than marketing hags.

Wish me luck, I’m going to need that and a lot of coffee. 🙂

Content Creation: The act of writing original words, taking an original picture, shooting an original video, etc.

Content Sharing: Taking a piece of content created by yourself or others and distributing it to a following or audience. This can be done in many ways and through many channels; blogs and social media outlets being just a few of the more popular examples.

Content Aggregation: This is like content sharing on steroids. An aggregator typically uses software that automatically pulls in content from multiple sources (such as RSS feeds) and reposts it all at one central location, usually a blog.

Content Curation: Similar to content aggregation, content curation also pulls from many sources. However, instead of automatically posting every piece of content pulled in there is a manual filtering and sorting process that takes place in order to select only the most valuable pieces of content for a given audience. Curation also involves adding helpful annotation that frames the information already provided from the original source in such a way as to add additional value and/or understanding.

Source: Curating Content for a WordPress Blog (How I Do It) – ManageWP

Using the Chrome Web Browser to Post to WordPress

I want to post to my sites with a content curation sort of bookmarklet. I already have an account with Scoop.it where I have several topics and post to them regularly, there. I’d rather put all that work, time and energy into content curation for my own sites instead. So, I’ve been looking for options.

I found a few options and then began trying them all out one by one.

Word This

wordthis

Will only let you do one blog. But, I didn’t even get that far. Right click the icon and and set your blog link in the options. Then it got stuck, never saved, didn’t do anything. The bookmarklet itself opened a window which went no where. So, as much as I liked the name of this one, it is also the first one I’m deleting from the web browser.

WPWrite

wpwrite

Another which will work for one blog only. I have a few and need to post to all of them. It would not work to have a bookmarklet for each one.  Way too complicated.

MultiPress

multipress

Although this one is available to download from the Chrome Extensions, the website is 404. You can add up to five blogs but, I was not able to post to my blog when I tried to run this one.

Postek

postek

This was not what I wanted at all. Only one blog and it doesn’t work to add content from another site you want to link to. This is just a quick way to write a new post without clicking through to your blog. Maybe useful for some, not worth keeping around for me. Plus, I did not like being asked to type in my password on a website other than my own. Overall, I did not mind deleting this one.

Editoy Writer

editoy

This one was more work to set up. I finally got through finding and adding an API key and authorizing the whole thing with WordPpress.com and then… it didn’t work. I don’t know why.  I found a page written in Chinese (I think) which even once translated was no help with setting Editoy up or getting it to work.

Express Curate

expresscurate

This is the one I most want to work. It does work well as the WordPress plugin.  I have found it gives a memory error on my two biggest blogs, but I contacted the developers and they are working on it.

So far I am not getting the Chrome Extension to work. The developers say it should and it should work for multiple sites. So, I’m keeping it around and working getting it to work. It looks great and has all the features I want.

Addendum to Express Curate: One complication I am having with this plugin is the added code for tags which is does on auto pilot. I turned the feature on to give it a try, not entirely sure what it would do but expecting I’d have some control over it. I did not. Express Curate automatically gave all of my WordPress tags an HTML link and a hashtag. This is not a terrible thing – if you want that. I didn’t really, my tags are not that tidy and I didn’t really want the extra links. However, the real problem for me is that this also removed my capital letters, turning titles into all small letters and abbreviations too. Even once I deactivated the plugin, the HTML code remained (and the small letters too). Because of this I am now trying to go through my blogs and fix titles, remove hashtags and the extra code on tags. It is a chore.

So far nothing is working better than the old PressThis which comes with WordPress. But, I’m hoping for more.