Are you on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter? Do you post articles or links with your comments or insights to share with your friends, business network or colleagues? If so, did you know you are a “Content Curator?”
It’s true. The term “Content Curation” has recently gained popularity in blogging and content marketing communities, and there are several mainstream websites that are receiving millions of visits per month by visitors looking for a single place to get information that’s organized in an easy-to-use format on specific topics.
Two of the most well-known content curation websites are The Huffington Post and The Bleacher Report. Both of these sites develop most, if not all, of their content from other news sources and include additional insights and links to the original article.
What is Content Curation?
by Beth Kanter
Content curation is the process of sorting through the vast amounts of content on the web and presenting it in a meaningful and organized way around a specific theme. The work involves sifting, sorting, arranging, and publishing information. A content curator cherry picks the best content that is important and relevant to share with their community.
It isn’t unlike what a museum curator does to produce an exhibit: They identify the theme, they provide the context, they decide which paintings to hang on the wall, how they should be annotated, and how they should be displayed for the public. Here's more from Beth Kanter
Why Should You Care About Content Curation?
If you are like many businesses or individuals you regularly post links to your Facebook page, Twitter account or LinkedIn that includes information you find relevant. Even if you haven’t thought of it this way, you are developing thought leadership and providing a glimpse of topics you are interested in, and your insights and thoughts on those topics and articles. This is a great first step in establishing yourself as a thought leader, and letting clients and prospects know what your professional interests are.
If your only goal is to establish yourself as an expert or developing thought leadership, posting links with short comments and insights might be enough to achieve that. HOWEVER, if you want to send traffic to your website, enhance your site’s ranking on Google and get found by more people based upon keywords you are trying to be associated with, you might NOT want to just post these links from the articles to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Why not? Great question!
Your Blog Is a Content Curation Site
Posting links from other websites on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn does one thing. It drives traffic and SEO benefits to the referring site. What does that do for you besides the aforementioned thought leadership development?
Nothing, Zip, Zero, Nada! In any language posting news, blog posts or any other links to other sites on these social sharing sites doesn’t do anything for your website traffic, your SEO or your lead generation strategy.
You have a website or a blog and you have the insight and links to the articles so why not put those links on your site in a blog post, optimize the posts for SEO and then post YOUR links on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn?
Best practices dictates that you do a few things before sharing someone else’s content on your blog or website. Please take note that the best practices listed below are in order of importance, and that number 1 is to give proper attribution to where the original content lies. If you just take the article, put it on your blog and don’t attribute properly you are not a content curator… you are infringing on copyright laws and becoming a thief.
Now that we have looked at "Why?", let's explore the "How!"
Here are 7 Best Practices to Becoming a Good Content Curator
1) Make sure to attribute the article to the author and the site where the original content resides.
2) The attribution should go before AND after the original content that you include in your blog post. You want to make it very clear where the article originated.
3) Make sure to include a link to the site the original content is hosted on in your attribution.
4) Don’t copy the entire article. Only include a few hundred words and use “read more” with a link to the article.
5) Don’t use images from the original content piece. Either create your own or use stock photography that you have license to use.
6) Include your insights and comments on the article BEFORE the content. For example: Today I was reading the “Journal of Social Media” and they had a great article on how content curation is becoming more popular. Below is a portion of the article. It’s a good one so make sure to spend a few minutes reading it.
7) Make sure to optimize the blog posts you create through content curation for SEO. Remember, the content you are curating is most likely centered around the topics and keywords you want to be associated with and found in search.
The only downside to following a content curation strategy of placing the articles on your own website / blog, versus posting them straight to Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter, is that you have to spend the time creating the posts and optimizing them for SEO. This isn’t as time consuming as authoring original blog posts, but it does take some time to copy the portion of the article you want, create the proper attributions with links, include your insights, and optimize for SEO and post.
If you review the 7 Best Practices to Becoming a Good Content Curator above you will take note that #6 states: “Include your insights and comments on the article BEFORE the content.” The reason why it’s important to add your original insights and comments before the article is so that it clearly shows that you are offering additional value to the original content. If you are simply reproducing the same content on your site that’s found on other sites without additional comments and insights, Google’s search engine algorithm will detect that and rank your site and post lower because of it.
Google’s Panda update and other subsequent updates have been focused on rewarding the original authors of the content, and penalizing scrapers that take the content and place on their own sites as if it’s their content in order to divert traffic to their site, and sell advertising based on that traffic. The difference between a scraper and a content curator is the insight and added value that’s provided by the content curator, making the content easy to organize and index. Remember, Google likes sites that are great resources and focus on specific topics.
Pause for a Minute Before You Select “Post”
The next time you find a great article that you want to share with your networks on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, stop and think for a minute. Do I want to spend a few minutes and add this content along with my insights to my website and enhance my site’s SEO and traffic? If the answer is “Yes”, congratulations! You are officially a Content Curator! If the answer is “No,” you’re just a business or individual posting articles on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter.
Brian Hasenbauer is an Inbound Marketing Consultant at The Center for Sales Strategy