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Creation vs Curation, Part I


*The initial incarnation of this post was absurdly long, so I’ve split it into two parts… today we’ll cover curating content, and Monday we’ll cover tips on content creation.

When it comes to executing an effective social media strategy, I frequently talk about the importance of curating and creating content. The “creating” part, while challenging, is fairly self explanatory, but what does “curating” content really mean? Below we’ll take a look at what the curation process looks like, and list some tips to help you get started.

What is curation?

In his book “Non-Obvious Trends 2017”, Rohit Bhargava says that “the goal of curation is to take individual items and examples and weave them together into a narrative”, and that “curation is the ultimate method of transforming noise into meaning”. Curation is important to your social media strategy because diversity of content is crucial. Think of social media accounts that you enjoy following… are they constantly trying to sell you something? Most likely, they provide an array of content that adds value to your experience of their brand. An insurance agency, for example, might share home improvement tips, or hurricane preparedness information; a bar that serves specialty cocktails could share articles on flavor trends; a charter boat company could share articles about environmental awareness. The goal is to share content from outside, reputable sources that dovetails with your brand’s vision and aesthetic, to “be a resource, not a sales pitch”.

How can you find content?

Curating content is a challenge that I’m confronted with daily as I work. Generating content for my own business and also for other businesses across many industries requires me to cast a broad net, but in the long run I find that to be helpful and even desireable. One of the keys to curating great content is curiosity. Reading new magazines or blogs, watching TED Talks, following new and different brands on social media… all of these are ways to broaden the types of content you're exposed to. You never know where you’ll find inspiration! Once you’ve found something interesting, it’s important to have method for retrieval - after all, you may not want to use it right that second. I love the app Flipboard, which allows you to create “magazines” for various topics, and curate your own selection of articles on each topic. In a content dry spell, its wonderful to be able to pull articles that I’ve already vetted from the “Brand” magazine I created for my own business, and when ideas are flowing freely I can stash articles for future use. Other useful apps are Evernote, Pocket, and the “Save” feature on Facebook. Never lose an hour searching for “that one super interesting video you saw the other day” again!

Beyond curiosity, there are a few other keys to content curation. One is to be observant - keep an eye open all the time and take in your surroundings. What kind of content are other people creating? Is it useful to you? This is an incredible opportunity from cross promotion, co-marketing, and content swapping. Leverage your content by helping someone else promote theirs. Look to other businesses in your environment and see how you can help each other… foster your community.

Equally important is to be thoughtful - as you curate content, be sure that you’re adding value, not just adding noise. No one wants their feed flooded with junk, but a brand that consistently contributes thoughtful, relevant content will engender more loyalty in the marketplace. Quality is the key here. Think of curating as just collecting interesting bits information. If you find it interesting, it will be easier for your audience to see it as relevant and valuable.

What tips and tricks have you developed for content curation? What resources do you find yourself returning to?

As always, please feel free to email me, meaghan@writtenrightconsulting.com, with any questions or feedback.

 

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