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In late 2011, we spoke of how important content curation was becoming for web and business owners.  Not only does it tame the flow of information that the Internet can unleash on us, it can put you in a situation of thought leadership and authority and help you develop/share fresh content. We spoke of tools that can help you with content curation; today, we’ll turn to some best practices to help you get the most from your efforts.

A new white paper from Engauge states: “People stare into a fire hose of information every day, and it’s having an impact. They’re actively seeking ways to not only filter and organize what they find, but also to less stressfully consume more content.”  While speaking specifically of content curation site extraordinaire, Pinterest, this behavior is true of users across sites.  Whether it is a lack of time or a lack of attention span, people respond to these digestible bits.

  • Find out what your visitors want.  It does you no good to curate content that no one is interested in. Already, from the type of content you typically offer, you have a general idea of what else they may be interested in.  Follow that up with more in-depth research, whether it is hosting a focus group, creating a market study, or even adding a poll to your site.
  • Again, as you are already in the Internet space, you have a good idea of who your competition is.  What are they putting up?  Where are they getting information? How are they presenting themselves on Facebook? Twitter? Pinterest?  The key here is to learn not only what they’re posting, but what they’re not posting. You want to provide content that is relevant to readers, not content that they’ve already been linked to 5 times from 5 different sources.
  • Here’s a caveat though: in your quest to find hidden gems, you may just find rocks. It is all right to post previously curated material, if it is of value.  Your job as curator is to pick the best of the best.
  • Ask, “What questions have not been answered?”  If there is a particular current issue surrounding your area, for instance, you may ask what happened? Why it happened? Will it happen again? Etc., etc., etc. If you cannot find content that answers these questions: wonderful! Create your own.
  • Get familiar with sites like StumbleUpon, Delicious, Alltop, Pinterest, and Digg.

Content curation helps you point users to valuable, interesting, and relevant information; with busy schedules and up-to-the-minute attention spans, now is the time to take advantage of the trend towards curation.

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