LiveJournal Wants to Get Noticed Again

livejournal1Do you know LiveJournal? Do you remember the early years, before weblogs (blogs), when they were called online journals or diaries? LiveJournal started out then. It wasn’t the only one. Not much is left from the online journal days. Not many of the sites are still around, few of the networks lasted this long. Blogs became the new thing and online journals just didn’t endure as it became popular to splog rather than write something personal.

Ironic that the splogging has devolved and the personal touch is now considered marketable.

There are still WordPress plugins for LiveJournal crossposting and importing within WordPress. But, there are only three, not a lot of selection but they have all been updated in 2014. Not a lot of dust collecting on them so far.

I like LiveJournal. Not just because we have a history together, though I’ve been forgetting to check in very much. LiveJournal has staying power. LiveJournal has new features and wants to pick up and grow again. Instead of falling into the easy path of marketing to users of their site they want to get inventive, try something new, a different approach to making money while providing a web service people will actually come back to use.

Not many people online now will remember the days of sending virtual gifts. You can do that on LiveJournal, inside the community there. Sure you can easily send anyone an image file through email, but there is something nice about a gift you picked out, paid a bit for and then sent along. A gift with intentions rather than just a gift out of impulse. I think we are lacking that now that things are all so fast and easy online.

But, that is a small thing at LiveJournal. What I especially like this the LiveJournal bookmarketlet. It’s the LiveJournal version of WordPress PressThis. Just as you can use PressThis to post to your blog from your web browser and now add links, images and commentary – you can do the same with LiveJournal. Better than Blogger which has not been updated in too long. LiveJournal has all the features I look for in a bookmarklet for content curating. It is a really good option for posting content from other sites, as a content curator.

ljbookmarklet ljbookmarklet1

Sample Image Only for Content Curation?

sample image only

How Much is too Much?

There are a few issues with content ownership (copyrights) and content curating. The focus is – how much is too much? When you curate content the main point is to show what you found worth linking to. Explaining your reason for the link in a quick, simple way which will send readers to the source to read or view more. Content curators should not be copying so much information that their reader will not need to visit the source.

I know I have not done a 100% job of staying on the right side of that line. A content curator is an aggregator – the person who casts the net and chooses which hooks have the best bait in their lake (niche/ topic). The readers are the little and big fish who choose which hook to bite based on their own needs. A curator finds a lot of good stuff in the net and we want the readers to find our resource useful, topical, resourceful and an authority on the topic. It is tempting to give just a bit more, to post the information in a quick, simplified or condensed form. However, I also like being the provider of that little nibble to send readers to the mother fish. I like knowing I am generating traffic for the source of the information.

Getting it from the Source

Another issue is backtracking the link to find the actual, original source rather than those who have shared and re-shared the link. For the content curator, the original source is important to catch. To be just one more person re-linking and re-sharing is not the way to make ourselves seem a reliable authority.

Sample Image Only?

Another issue is images versus text. To content curate an image you take the whole image and paste it up. Meanwhile, for text content we take only some of the content. Should images be curated differently, as a small preview size or a partial image? I don’t see many people talking about this aspect.

When an image is the post, should we use screen capture software to just give a preview of the image, a sample of the original image, photograph or web graphic? Why is text content given more protection and consideration than illustration and image content?

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.

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