Curation for Inspiration: Tips for Marketers

by 16 07/04/2013

Content curation was one of the big buzzwords of 2012. Halfway through 2013, people are still talking about it. But what exactly is content curation and how can it help you as a marketer?

Curation for Inspiration: Tips for Marketers

Defining Content Curation

Before we get into that, let’s look at the two main aspects of the term.

There are as many definitions of content as there are people with an opinion, but essentially it is the stuff the web is made of — all those blog posts, articles, presentations, audio clips, videos, infographics — the list is almost endless. And curation is what museums have been doing for years — collecting interesting items and sharing them with a wider audience.

Put them together and you have the collection and sharing of interesting and informative items online.

Content curation isn’t new — one of the reasons that Delicious was so popular, and Reddit still is — is because the more information there was on the web, the more people needed a way to categorize and sort it. But the latest content curation tools allow you to do even more, and present your collections in a visually appealing way too.

Why Use Content Curation Tools?

As marketers, you can use these tools in two main ways:

  • To keep track of what’s happening on blogs and social media in all the industry segments that interest you, so you can respond quickly to changes (including monitoring the competition).
  • To share what you find with key networks, using this as a way to establish brand and thought leadership and build engagement.

The slide below from Stefano Maggi shows the ways in which content curation can build value for marketers.

Content Curation: how does it build value?

Content Curation – What to Expect

There are dozens of tools that offer content curation functionality. The best ones allow you to:

  • automatically pull in articles, images, audio and video from a variety of customizable online sources, including social media sites and RSS feeds
  • manually add items of interest via a bookmarklet
  • customize the design and layout of the resulting online publication or social media start page
  • manually or automatically share the publication or individual items with your networks via social media, widgets or embed code
  • create multiple publications for different niches or topics

Pro levels of functionality may include:

  • custom domains and branding
  • in-depth analytics
  • custom CSS and design
  • ads
  • newsletter creation or integration
  • additional exporting and scheduling features

Three Curation Tools to Try

Three content curation tools that include these features are Paper.li, Scoop.it and RebelMouse. Here’s a brief introduction:

Paper.li

Paper.li

Paper.li (which has a free and a pro level) describes itself as a niche publishing, content marketing and web monitoring tool that automatically scans and processes more than 250 million social media posts each day.

Users can select sources, including the ability to choose individual contributors from multi-author sites to create an online newspaper that’s automatically tweeted to followers to help build engagement. Here’s an earlier mini-review of the service on Traffic Generation Café.

Scoop. it

Scoop.it

I have to admit to a bit of bias here, because I absolutely love Scoop.it, which offers three levels of functionality.

Even with the free level, you can use the site’s suggestion engine, which recommends digest content based on your chosen keywords. You can also edit the content you share and get suggestions for your topics from other users.

The killer feature for me is the ease of sharing to the most popular social media sites, including Facebook pages and LinkedIn groups. Learn more about Scoop.it in this review on Social Web Tools.

Rebel Mouse

RebelMouse

Rebel Mouse is a newer contender in the field, and makes curating and sharing easy.

It’s currently free and showcases a number of ways it can be used by individuals, bloggers, marketers, brands and for promoting events. One of its best features is the ability to use more than one account and to delete items you have shared that you don’t want to appear on your start page.

This tool is still being developed, but this recent review on Basic Blog Tips shows what’s possible.

Five Tips on Content Curation

Whichever content curation tool you choose, it’s how you use it that is important. Here are a few lessons I’ve learned the hard way.

1. Deciding on input sources is the difference between having a useful collation and something that becomes a chore in itself. Even if you have the option to import all your social media posts, the contents of your RSS reader and a huge selection of keyword based content, don’t. All that does is contribute to the overwhelm you are trying to avoid. In this case, less is more, so find a few trusted sources as the mainstays of your compilation.

2. If you are importing content based on keywords, use keyword phrases rather than single keywords. When I was using Scoop.it, I soon found that trying to trawl through everything posted about writing was too much — specifying the niche was better both for me and my readers.

3. Use the “following” features built into content curation sites to give you additional content sources — monitoring other people’s content digests will help you find more good stuff to share. You can also consider setting up different publications to share different kinds of content.

4. Install the bookmarklet to allow for manual sharing — there’s always something suitable for a content digest that the automatic filters miss.

5. Add some commentary — this is perhaps the most important tip of all, because giving the content you share context is where your market leadership shows — it’s a remix, internet-style. Insightful commentary and storytelling make the difference between brilliant and blah.

Got any favorite content curation sites? We’d love to hear about your favorite tools and tips in the comments.

Image credits: Tilemahos Efthimiadis/

About 

Sharon Hurley Hall is a professional writer and blogger. Her career has spanned more than 20 years, including stints as a journalist, academic writer and ghost writer. Connect with Sharon on her website.

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16 COMMENTS

Vinish Garg

Love this post for the introduction to content curation, the need, and for its purpose. I am already using paper-li and scoopit, and these are excellent tools to share consolidated content from multiple sources. However, I am not too sure if we can use these tools to integrate in our online profile to win independent contractor assignments. Working on a few models though! Thanks for sharing it.

July 7, 2013 Reply

    Sharon Hurley Hall

    Of the tools listed above, I believe both Paper.Li and RebelMouse offer embedding. I’ve seen some examples of an embedded RebelMouse site and I think it could wok well for showcasing your work., Vinish.

    July 8, 2013 Reply

      Guillaume Decugis

      Hi Sharon – Thanks a lot for the kind words on Scoop.it!

      @Vinish – Guillaume here, one of the founders of Scoop.it. There are actually several ways to embed Scoop.it content or pages on your site / online profiles:

      - we have a widget available here with our Apps & Extras: http://www.scoop.it/extras It’ll display a small dynamic version of any of your Scoop.it pages. Example on our blog in the right column: http://blog.scoop.it

      - you can embed any Scoop.it post by clicking the share button on that post.

      - as part of Scoop.it Business, you can customize the look & feel, navigation bar and use a custom domain for a Scoop.it page. Example here: http://blog.healthcaremobile.com/

      Enjoy! (and don’t hesitate to send feedback/ideas).

      July 8, 2013 Reply

Jessie Zubatkin

Great article – nice overview about curation. I wanted to reinterate the importance of annotation when you’re curating. The biggest benefit to readers from a curator (and what keeps your audience coming back) is your reasons behind your curation efforts – why did you curate this? Why did you feel this was important enough to share? Successful curators are successful because of their annotation. I wanted to share an ebook I published called 5 Simple Steps to Becoming a Content Curation Rockstar – this takes your curation efforts to the next level http://www.curata.com/resources/ebooks/5-simple-steps-to-becoming-a-content-curation-rockstar/?LDT=Ebook&LD=Rockstar%20eBook&LST=Blog/PR&LS=Other

July 8, 2013 Reply

    Sharon Hurley Hall

    Thanks for reinforcing that point, Jessie, and for the link to the ebook registration page. Curata looks like it offers something different – I find the idea of it learning how to classify what you save very interesting.

    July 8, 2013 Reply

Carmen Rane Hudson

What is the benefit of using these services vs. curating the content on your website? For example I’ve started doing “weekly round-up” posts or “monthly round-up posts” on my blogs (depending on how often each is updated). I’ve funneled all of my content curation efforts there. Other than the auto-tweet does Paper.li or ScoopIt offer a better advantage?

July 8, 2013 Reply

    Guillaume Decugis

    Hi Carmen – Talking specifically of Scoop.it (I’m one of the founders), essentially 3 things:

    1. Finding relevant content. As Sharon explained, Scoop.it makes content suggestions to you that our suggestion technology finds all over the Web (blogs, social networks, …) to save you time.

    2. Ease of publishing / impacting visual format. Again a time saver but also a very engagement rate per visitor.

    3. Additional discovery options. Your Scoop.it page is indexed not only in Google, Bing, etc… but also on Scoop.it itself which recently passed 7 million monthly uniques. And as discovery is organized around topics in Scoop.it, that’s helping you develop a targeted and engaged audience of fellow curators and readers quicker.

    Now I saved the best thing for the end: you probably don’t need to choose as Scoop.it integrates with WordPress (which your blog seems to run on). So you can scoop content directly to your blog and make it your content hub while still benefit from the above benefits.

    July 8, 2013 Reply

      Carmen Rane Hudson

      Thanks for responding! That’s actually pretty cool stuff. I’ll have to take a second look at it.

      July 9, 2013 Reply

    Sharon Hurley Hall

    I think one of the key advantages of these tools, Carmen, is that they partly automate the content collection process. Even if you choose to publish a roundup on your own blog, you can use something like Scoop.it to suggest suitable content based on your chosen topics. There’s so much stuff published that it can help you make sure you don’t miss anything.

    July 9, 2013 Reply

Taylor Dean

thanks for sharing this kind of stuff. i learned a lot from your blog. hope to see more of your article soon.

July 22, 2013 Reply

Treathyl FOX

A fellow freelance writer turned me on to Rebel Mouse. But if she hadn’t told me, it’s kind of hard to resist pushing that cute little mouse button to see where it takes you! :)

I also use Scoop.It. Both platforms are very very good!!!

P.S. When I first heard the word “curate”, I thought of a museum. But not any more!!

September 5, 2013 Reply

    Sharon Hurley Hall

    It IS kind of cute, isn’t it, Treathyl? Nice to connect with a fellow writer and I love what you’ve done with your RebelMouse profile.

    September 6, 2013 Reply

Alex Bisset

These are some great tips. I like using tools like Opentopic (opentopic.com ). Opentopic makes discovering, creating, publishing, and tracking my content so much easier.

July 27, 2014 Reply


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