I had a customer that decided he wanted to do blog curation … but he became very frustrated quickly.
He studied all the information he could find online, including asking some basic questions about content curation at several marketing forums.
It seems he came away from his investigations much more confused than he was when he began his research.
People just don’t really understand the curation business model. Many say it is nothing more than stealing content and putting it on your own site.
Others believe curation is simply quoting another site on a particular topic and giving a link back. This practice, by the way, is called “attribution.”
I think a lot of IMers have trouble understanding the curation model because many do it wrong and still call what they’re doing “curation” even though it’s not even close. I have noticed more than a few “gurus” who even teach curation – but what they teach is not correct.
Curation is not ripping off other people’s content, spinning content, or syndicating others’ content.
Think of a curator in a museum. That’s the person that chooses what displays are going to be seen by the public and often lays those displays out with original added explanation in an editorial style.
Curating content is much the same. As the curator in a niche, you aggregate (bring together) valuable content in the niche and add your own commentary, voice, or “take” on what you’re presenting.
A niche curation website would function the same way. The site owner would (usually on a daily basis) set up “alerts” for his email inbox so that he could review the latest niche happenings and news, highlight certain articles and then provide his own comments and insight.
“Fair use” allows a person to quote a short passage or two from the article he finds, then add his own review, editorial, take, analysis, or related content without infringing upon the copyright of the original author.
When you curate you don’t use someone’s whole article, spin their article, or in any other way resort to stealing their content. You always give a link back to the source of the content you curate (again, called attribution.)
By far, the biggest time drain with curation is reading all the articles you find, analyzing what you’re seeing, then preparing intelligent, thoughtful comments of your own that will add value to what you’re presenting to your audience.
Many gurus get this all wrong. They teach that you simply “copy and paste” a few quotes from other sources, add copy like “Check out this great article” and then quote the source. What they are teaching is not true or valuable curation.
Curation software is available to help automate parts of curation; however, in my opinion, it is only very marginally useful.
Anyone can grab a post, add “check out this article, blah, blah, blah” and call it curation. But that’s not what your audience wants to see and I wouldn’t call that curation by any stretch of the imagination.
Being a curator is all about being the person that is able to quickly assimilate a large amount of information and provide quality article snippet “choosing” (to re-post), thoughtful narrative that is unique and most likely some type of editorial or niche analysis of the quoted article, and a compelling reason for prospects to want to stay on the web site. No software can take a human’s place in doing this … despite the claims of the software creators.
Yet software products abound with claims like “this push-button solution will curate for you” without the curator adding the human element. The creators of this kind of software don’t understand, in the least, what content creation through curation is really all about.
When you curate, you are the important part of the equation. Your analysis, your voice, your personality, your knowledge in the niche … in sum … everything you add to the short snippets you refer to, those are the critical elements of the curation model. Those are elements that so-called automatic curation software leaves out!
The reasons curation is so successful when done properly are that it saves people (the blog readers) in the niche the time it takes to hunt down all the latest and best news and it offers a unique and thoughtful perspective from someone skilled and experienced in the subject.
Advertisers in your niche will love your curation when done properly because, once you’re generating a lot of traffic, your curation site becomes a gathering place for your niche audience – a place that advertisers will pay handsomely to put their products on display for sale.
I hope this clarification will help anyone that chooses to curate niche content.
To your online business success!