12 Most Helpful Tips For Curating Content
I realized when I mapped this series out that the first two posts were kind of negative. First we talked about the kinds of posts I don’t tend to curate. Then we talked about easy traps to fall into when curating. Man, what a Debbie Downer! So, this week I’m lightening the load a bit and we’ll talk about something happy! Or at least helpful. I hope.
I’ve gathered a few tricks that have helped me become a content curator online, and some of those tricks — 12 to be precise — are just what I’m going to share with you! Starting… now!
1. Read the whole post
Now, this is assuming you want to be a credible and knowledgeable resource, but let me tell ya, sometimes people start a post one way and end up in a totally different hemisphere of thought. Read the entire thing. Make sure you are comfortable associating with all of that content, not just the first paragraph!
2. Decide on a primary means of disseminating your curated posts
Are you going to do weekly blog posts? Post things to Twitter? Depend on Tribber? Or maybe you’ll make your Google Reader public, huh? No matter which road you choose, one of these should be your favorite. Otherwise you will drive yourself insane. This is something I know a lot about!
3. Let your community weigh in on how they feel about the post
Sometimes I like to curate posts that I don’t agree with. I will indicate that I may not be 100% on board, but I don’t dictate to my community how they should feel. Instead, I ask for opinions. People seem to like that.
4. Skim your Twitter stream and favorite posts
This could also work for Google Plus, although it seems hard to “bookmark” things over there. Skimming my Twitter stream has become one of my favorite ways to find posts, especially posts that are by people I may not have a lot of contact with. Spend five minutes just looking through all of those tweets and you’ll be shocked how many great blog links are there. Favorite, store, read, and curate!
5. Ask people you like what they are reading
This is a failsafe against curating posts from just big names or just people you know. People you know may know people you don’t know! Right?
6. Ask a good question, then look for answers
Is there a question you would love to learn a lot about? Something you’d be willing to research? Instead of just writing one big long post yourself, it’s fun sometimes to go out into the Blogosphere and see what other people have to say about that very topic. Then you can create a post that links to all of that knowledge, and people will love you forever (this is quantifiable, don’t worry).
7. Look at who reputable sites are including on their curated lists
There is no shame in looking at other curated lists and learning from them. I have found a lot of great people because someone else said, “Hey, this person is great.” As Mr. T might well say, I pity the fool who would be afraid to curate someone who’s already been curated. I think he did say that in an episode of A-Team.
8. Find your own curator’s voice
Just like blogging, content curators need to find their own voice. This can include how you display your posts, whether you display your posts, and your methodologies for gathering posts. If you want to curate posts in alphabetical order by first word in the post, hey, go for it! Do what feels right to you.
9. Do not bug the crap out of people whose posts you are curating
There’s that old saying in the online world that goes something like “give to get.” Because of that saying, people who curate posts sometimes think that they have given enough, and now they want to get traffic, applause, stickers, or other such sundries. In fact, curating posts is still really about you. You’re showing other people posts that you found interesting. Therefore, begging people to promote your curation masterpieces will not always go over well.
10. Look for opposing points of view
If you see that a post is getting a lot of discussion going, see if there are other posts that agree or disagree with that blogger. Curate these posts together and allow your community to review all sides of the argument. This can create very useful and interesting conversations!
11. Link to peoples’ posts when you include them on your site
This may seem obvious, but occasionally I will see a curated list that will not let me actually visit posts that I find interesting. This makes me cry big salty tears. You are paving the way for your community to visit these posts, so make that path easy to follow (and make sure it’s easy to get back to your site, too)
12. Try to include posts that are wildly different from your own blogging style
One of my favorite things about curating online content is that I can find all kinds of subjects written about in all kinds of writing styles. If I curated posts that seemed to just echo my own content, well, I would think it was great, but you might find that kind of boring or uninteresting. Curation is an opportunity to showcase your interests in other subjects, in other people, and in other writing styles. People will appreciate the variety!
There you have it. Twelve tips that I’ve learned along the way as I’ve curated content online. I hope you found these tips helpful, and in fact, I hope you found this three-part series helpful. Why? Because that’s what I was going for!
Now you tell me… what did I miss?
Featured image courtesy of Dave_S licensed via creative commons.