I was reading a blog post the other day that declared that content curation does nothing for the curator, their SEO or their traffic. As the author of the post doesn’t appear to curate very much at all, I wondered how they came to that conclusion?
What is curated content?
Content curation means pulling together content from various sources and presenting it to the reader in your own unique way. It’s a step beyond the normal list post or an effective link post.
It may be easier to understand content curation by defining what it is not: Content curation doesn’t mean presenting a list of stories or a weekly roundup of links. It’s not a simple cut and paste job where you rip off content from someone else and imagine you are presenting it in some fresh and exciting way.
Curating content is collecting it and sharing it in a structured manner that benefits the reader or viewer. If you were sharing music you would call this a playlist, if you were sharing art you would call it a collection. It’s nothing new that hasn’t been done in the offline world for centuries. Online it appears in lists like 50 films you must see before you die or 10 business books you just have to read or you’ll explode. It’s done to make sense of a group of related things, and that’s something we should all be doing for our readers. Part of blogging is demonstrating our expertise and benefiting our reader’s businesses, that they take an action and benefit from it so that we increase our standing with them.
Why I curate content
When I curate content I am showing my readers two things
- My expertise
- My analysis on the subject
I curate in a manner that does me a lot of good in positioning myself as an authority on a certain topic. It’s also showing my reader useful information on a specific subject. And when you’re using content marketing to build a business, you want to be useful in order to be memorable.
A curated post for someone looking to sell baby buggies would share how to open the buggy with one hand, how to adjust the height settings and accessories that go with the buggy. It might be a post about 10 things you shouldn’t do with a buggy – like push it through a puddle that you can’t see the bottom of – and the sources that you pull the information from all require the correct attribution. Now that may sound a lot like a list post, and to make the curated post totally your own you need to build around each item your thoughts and experiences.
So if I was curating those 10 things you shouldn’t do with a buggy, I’d share how I was marching (it’s so easy to march with a buggy, you can get fitter with them very easily too) down Chiswick High Road when it was raining cats and dogs. The rain didn’t bother me, I love the rain, but the puddles did. My daughter started to cry at the unexpected rain, and I decided rather than getting her out and standing in the rain and keeping us both wet for longer, I decided I would take a short cut and march us home. The road was new to me, I didn’t know it was full of potholes, and I marched the buggy straight into one filled with rainwater… and I would tell a story or share an experience with every single thing that I curated, how things could be avoided and how not to get into that position in the first place… like never take a baby for a walk when there are heavy grey clouds in the sky…
By using other people’s content I am creating a new article, of use to my readers, and I’m making it valuable with my insights. This is what makes a curated piece exceptional; the transformation into a new article.
Now I want you to think back to the last time you went to a museum. You looked at the artifacts, and they were arranged in a way that makes sense to you. Sometimes it’s a chronological order, other times it’s around a specific topic. And that’s where better Google rankings or the SEO aspect comes into play. An article that’s curated well is very in-depth on a certain topic, it’s extremely valuable to the reader and it provides solutions to problems.
Where does the extra traffic come from with curated content?
Initially with a curated post the traffic will come from the people you’ve curated. That might be the manufacturer of buggy boards that I mentioned in the post and how they can be used to keep toddlers dry when you are marching down the road with said buggy. It might be from the people who sell the plastic buggy covers, after all you are in your curation endorsing them. This is a slow trickle to start with, and then your target market (your ideal reader) starts to find the curated article and it resonates with her, so she shares it with her friends and she bookmarks it for later.
And there we have it, your curated article is curated some more in the form of a bookmark. And when your ideal reader pins the images from the article to her Pinterest board it becomes curated again all the while generating you links and traffic from your target market thus building your authority and brand. What’s not to love?
Sloppily curated content…
There are some extremely bad curators out there. They don’t add to the content they’ve curated so there is no transformation for their blog or for the reader. They don’t share their experience and you don’t feel an emotional connection; you’re left feeling bewildered, and when the Google spider eventually appears he says “wtf?” and wanders off to index someone else’s page.
Thinly curated content is of no use to anyone. You cannot pad it out with superfluous words and inane witterings.
Sites that curate content well:
If you take a look at sites like AOL and Yahoo you will see that they are also excellent curators of content, and they all do it in such a way the reader benefits and then shares the content. Sites like Upworthy and Buzzfeed probably don’t even consider themselves as collectors of niche content.
Now you don’t have to curate every piece of content by hand, but you do need to read and analyse the articles to know where they fit in the post, so no, this isn’t a quick space-filler blog post.
There are some excellent curation tools out there that make content curation easier:
- Curationsoft (aff link) although there is a free version that contains adverts
- And a PDF containing many others is here
Instead of knocking content curation as useless, why don’t you give it a try?