“Brands as publishers” is a relatively new concept, but one that is gaining traction as brands start to realize the value of creating and sharing content to establish themselves as thought leaders. The content they post influences what people search and find about them, helping to make them influencers in their subject matter and industry. But content curation is a science, and to do it successfully requires not just sharing information, but sharing it thoughtfully and adding a unique point of view to distinguish yourself from the crowd.
This was the topic of our latest #ConnectChat, held Tuesday, Nov. 8, on Twitter. Angela Dunn (@blogbrevity), a content strategist who specializes on content curation and building digital thought leadership. Her post on "Content Curation for Twitter: How to Be a Thought Leader DJ" has helped more than 50,000 people. She recently launched CurationZen, a community for those interested in learning more about content curation and best practices.
Dunn shared tips on how to find, organize and share information that adds value and encourages engagement for the audience you’re hoping to influence. Following is a recap:
ProfNet: Angela, thanks for joining us!
Dunn: Thank you. It’s a pleasure to be here and share ideas on content curation!
ProfNet: I attended your presentation earlier this year at #RLTM. Very impressive and thought-provoking. Definitely one of my favorites.
Dunn: You did an amazing recap post of my talk. Recap posts are great content to share! bit.ly/kHw9HE
ProfNet: Thanks! Ok, let’s get started. First, for those who may not be familiar with the concept, what is content curation?
Dunn: Content curation is the art and science of finding, organizing and sharing information that adds value on a topic. Your goal with content curation is to build a community and engagement around a topic in your industry.
@Hoovers: Content curation = continually finding, organizing and sharing relevant online content that caters to a specific audience.
ProfNet: Why does content curation matter? What are the benefits of being a content curator?
Dunn: Content curation is a great way to build thought leadership and a digital brand. It helps you build community -- the 21st century way of doing business. Almost 79 percent of companies curate for thought leadership (bit.ly/tTTBY5). Your interest graph is built around topics; content curation helps you rule your interest graph.
@Hoovers: Content curation matters because others' words and ideas can help establish you as a value-added resource/information destination.
@Colleen_Young: Content curation matters in health to help tailor good content for specific audiences. Why create what already exists? Curate and editorialize. Content curation supports knowledge brokering and information adaptation.
@Tonia_Ries: Content curation is one of the reasons I love open networks like Twitter – it lets you connect with people around shared interests.
@GnosisArts: We curate primarily for lead generation and creating brand visibility/buzz.
ProfNet: Is content curation the same as content aggregation? What's the difference?
Dunn: Curation is selective; aggregation is collective. Curators don’t just collect information, they distill it to find great nuggets and add their point of view. Think of museum curators -- they bring a point of view to a subject matter and curate the best bits.
@GnosisArts: I think curation also involves the notion of checking and reviewing data for accuracy, revising and tweaking. A member of our wiki community supplied a pretty good definition of curation: gnosisarts.com/home/PR_Dictionary
@andrewspong: Curation infers selection/point of view/”taste.” To me, aggregation is collation/redistribution/syndication, and need not infer value-adding.
@Hoovers: But does thought leadership come from curation alone? Doesn't a company need to create something of unique value?
Dunn: Yes! Content curation and creation are both important parts of a content strategy.
@jonmertz: My take would be "yes" -- it is still a community. Companies need to contribute and share.
@Colleen_Young: Is curating for health equivalent to thought leadership or vetting according to expertise?
Dunn: In healthcare, you are organizing a body of thought leadership built on experts for your curation.
@andrewspong: That's a great question. Curation =/= a static exercise. Through content presented, new perspectives can be engendered. That's why I think the museum metaphor doesn't quite work, to be honest. Curation can be put to work challenging the precepts of a given subject area, as well as expanding them. Curators aren’t, of necessity, cheerleaders. Curation can be a radical exercise too.
Dunn: Curation may also involve showcasing opposite points of view in presenting your thought leadership.
@jonmertz: Yes, even in one post.
@colleen_young: Agree. I'm not keen on the equation of content curator = cheerleader, nor muckraker, for that matter.
@Hoovers: Agreed. Curation can be a platform for deconstruction -- opening up previous assumptions to reveal new questions.
Dunn: For example, you may curate several blog posts on a topic and then write a post with your point of view.
@jonmertz: Curation is thought leadership, I believe. More sharing = more thought leadership = expanding and engaging community.
@andrewspong: Curation should resist being defined as “entropic librarianship.” In my opinion, it can be more of a vital force.
@jonmertz: I think I agree. Curation needs to be an expanding, additive, active process.
Dunn: It is always additive!
@colleen_young: Content curation has parallels with community management in your definition, @jonmertz. I like that.
@jonmertz: Glad I am joining this chat! I’m getting all my words for the day in! Education at its best!
ProfNet: What makes someone a good content curator? What skills are involved?
Dunn: With content curation, you need to narrow in on a specific topic, and cast wide for sources and people. A good content curator sees patterns in the information, connects the dots to distill the best. A good curator is a polymath, inquisitive and passionate about the topic.
@Hoovers: Content curation skills: research, analytical thinking, a good ear for language, a good eye for detail, big-picture perception.
@andrewspong: Ultimately, a curator is no more than the sum of the content they marshal and their competence in excerpting its value. Curators need to be great sub-editors, for one thing. Great source content can be killed by lousy titles with sub-optimal SEO.
Dunn: Yes. Knowing how to craft titles and tweets is a key skill. Here’s a great video on why you should follow a lot of people to be a good curator: bit.ly/rX5SFN
ProfNet: How do you go about finding great sharable content? How do you wade through all the noise?
Dunn: First, find people by searching keywords by hashtag. Find the leaders in the conversation. Engage and cross-pollinate ideas. Create and curate “how-to” information, which is always popular. Share your experiences/methods. Find content with curation tools like @pinterest, @scoopit, @thoora, @twylah, @storify, @flipboard. Curation tools are services that curate or organize tweets based on Twitter lists or keywords. They help you collect information; it’s the job of a great curator to select the information.
@Hoovers: We're constantly reading, searching and bookmarking content! There's no easy way -- you just have to love finding hidden gems.
@andrewspong: The platform chosen can determine output -- narrative (Storify) vs. layout (Scoop.it) vs. taxonomy (StumbleUpon), for example.
@GnosisArts: "Truth has as much to do with what is selected as with what is omitted." -- Howard Zinn
ProfNet: That’s a great quote!
@jonmertz: How does Tumblr fit in to a curation strategy, or does it?
@andrewspong: Another good question. The rich media possibilities of Tumblr (as well as great sharing options) make it a great curation prospect. What stops me using Tumblr more personally is a lack of clarity around growing community on the platform.
Dunn: Tumblr is great for its brevity and ability to link to all types of content quickly. You need to curate the written word and visual elements -- videos/pics/infographics.
@andrewspong: Automation is the antithesis of great curation, in my opinion. I'd rather publish nothing than “fill a hole” in a schedule
@GnosisArts: Agree. I think that's another way curation differs from aggregation. Aggregators tend to be fully automated.
@andrewspong: Stats suggest that Tumblr is beginning to exert a significant influence as a platform of/for content discovery.
@GnosisArts: How does curation intersect with content marketing?
Dunn: Curation is about building a community and providing value; content marketing involves a bigger picture.
@andrewspong: It’s a complex question. Curation can be viewed as a means of delivering value whilst manifesting one's credentials as an authority. Such benefits as curation may confer upon the curator are indirect rather than direct from a marketing perspective. My POV: Social Web credibility will come to hinge upon factors such as curatorial aptitude. bit.ly/rrgbvC
ProfNet: How does curation affect online influence?
Dunn: A content curator builds trust first, then influence. You build trust by helping others. Mix great content that others will want to share, comment on, like, reply and retweet so they look smart.
@andrewspong: Influence metrics are the first fruits of social metadata. Curated content elements with URLs are worker drones for your influence.
Dunn: Also, your influence is determined by your "role." Many people find that when they leave a position, they do not carry over all the social capital they built for the brand.
ProfNet: What are some good examples of brands doing content curation?
Dunn: Some examples of CEOs who know how two curate and tweet include @CommunispaceCEO and @gcolony. Using @twylah, @wholefoods showcases seasonal interest: www.twylah.com/wholefoods. Also, creating a separate hub curating on a topic is a great brand strategy. For B2C, @TiffanyAndCo does a nice job with this romance site: bit.ly/tiffanyromance. For B2B in healthcare IT, see @corepointhealth and its @healthstandards site, bit.ly/hl7standards. I will embarrass him, but @andrewspong is a master on @scoopit: www.scoop.it/t/pharma. @Nordstrom groups its products according to themes on @pinterest: pinterest.com/nordstrom/. These are just some examples of what some folks are doing.
ProfNet: We only have a few minutes left. Before we go, can you tell us a little about CurationZen?
Dunn: CurationZen will be a community where everyone can share their methods, resources, expertise and tools regarding content curation. All are invited.
@GnosisArts: Congratulations, Angela! CurationZen must be a really exciting accomplishment for you.
Dunn: Thank you! It will be a labor of love! I am always curating for others.
ProfNet: Ok, and it's a wrap. Thank you so much to everyone who took part in #ConnectChat. I hope you found it interesting. Angela, you are brilliant. Thank you for being our guest. I hope you enjoyed it.
Dunn: Thank you, #ConnectChat community and ProfNet for all your support and knowledge sharing!
@GnosisArts: @ProfNet, This was a good chat. Thanks to @blogbrevity for sharing her curation wisdom!
@andrewspong: @profnet Thank you for moderating.
Dunn: This was a great chat -- my first 90-minute one! I enjoyed every minute.