How do you handle existing content so that you add value to what’s obviously already out there? In this post I’d like to distinguish several aspects – levels if you will, or approaches – of content curation. I’ve handily summarized these aspects as the 3 P’s of content curation: pick, prepare, and present.
Some content curators stick to one or two aspects, but for best results, add a measure of all three ingredients.
Pick: content selection (social media)
Pick, prepare, present – image on Flickr
Many tools, from Twitter search to Scoop.it’s suggested content or Squirro will help you make a selection of content for republishing on social media.
- Some accounts on Twitter will retweet just about anything about topic X.
- Experts make sure they build their reputation and keep it intact by (re)sharing only quality content.
The actual content stays where it is: on someone’s website.
Pick: content selection (websites)
On the other hand, a number of websites are basically one big RSS-feed by the looks of them – and some of them republish complete articles. If you’re looking for quality content and want to republish articles from certain websites on a regular basis:
- you’ll need to arrange something with the content creators and expect them to want something in return;
- your content creators may appreciate their logo, a link, and perhaps a banner on your website. One good turn deserves another?
Prepare: edit, edit, edit
Sometimes you just can’t help yourself – you’ve got to edit if:
- the original content is so crappy you don’t want it on your own website without a bit of editing. You try to keep the good ideas while editing out the bad spelling, abysmal grammar, and bone-headed typos.
- quality content has gone stale and it’s easy to update it. Sometimes all it takes to freshen up an article is two lines and a link to refer to recent developments.
- a few headings and subheadings would facilitate easy reading. Some articles just aren’t written for online reading, certainly not on – say – a mobile phone.
Edit existing content on these points and it’s hard to see how you can’t improve on the original.
Present: recreate your content for your audience
Content curation is also about writing and tagging articles for your own audience:
- Would your audience use certain phrases – or is it better to literally rephrase parts of existing content to suit your readers?
- Does that mean you need to rewrite the whole article to fit new keywords?
- What does that do to the tags you add? After all these are based on the actual content – which you’ve changed.
Present: where content curation meets content creation
We’ve come a long way beyond ‘simple’ content curation. Writing for a different audience may involve editing existing content beyond recognition. At some point you’ll need to consider whether you need to keep the original thought only, and write your own point of view in a brand new piece of content.
This is especially true if your audience is interested in, say, video’s or infographics rather than written content. You could argue that summarizing existing information in front of a camera or designing an infographic around it is (high-level) content curation. Or could you?
Pick, prepare, present – how to balance your content curation efforts?
Alternate between levels or aspects of content curation. Finding a balance is important in order to:
- share your own view on a range of topics;
- avoid exhausting yourself trying to do everything every single time (unless you’re a pro blogger I guess)
After all, you are your readers’ go-to expert 🙂