Oct 13 in Posts for other blogs Written by: Heather Rast
I’ve written about organizing and managing a team blog for business, and shared some pointers about how to choose the perfect authors to generate juicy content. These two posts will get you started in terms of creating original content. But unless you (or your team) is a lean, mean, content production machine, chances are you need additional material to stay involved and current. You may need to curate content from other sources.
Content curation is the much-discussed tactic of gathering, cataloging, and presenting work of potential value to others. Think museum curator, the one who arranges the inventory, stores items appropriately, and lovingly displays the work for others to see and evaluate. If you’re a community manager, content – both original and curated – matters to you because you’re charged with continually rotating the viewing rooms and inventory to satisfy the visitors. It’s your job to encourage them to return for more visits with content incentives.
You may already know some ways content can help a brand build community (and have a handle on some tools to tactically manage that new community). Beyond using Timely or another Twitter client to straight-out share links to the works of art you’ve unearthed, what are some other creative ways you can curate good content and get those patrons back for another visit?
Social Bookmarking: tagging, feeds, social sharing
Delicious isn’t new, but that doesn’t take the shine off this completely effective, beautifully simple bookmarking tool. A community manager can set up an account expressly for the business and after establishing some content categories relevant to its audiences, start building a wealth of content readers will appreciate. I think the key here is a standardized body of tags (keywords) used to categorize and label good finds. Delicious allows you to grab RSS feeds of your tags so you (and your nifty programmer friends) can create a handy widget with which to publish the good stuff right on your website.
It’s also a handy way to access good support or reference material for your original content. When you’re writing, search for the appropriate tag, find the post you’ve bookmarked that best fits the point you’re trying to make, and link it within your blog post. Voila!
Link Lists: hashtags, posts, eNewsletters
Another way to add fresh content to your blog is to create themed posts that draw on other peoples’ good stuff. As part of your editorial planning, establish a day to publish a post on a single topic, then showcase links collected from a variety of resources (preferably some your audiences might not otherwise know about – you’ll be a hero).
Sarah Evans (@prSarahEvans) has published a list-style post of statistics drawing from tweets collected with the hashtag #commentz. Kellye Crayne (@kellyecrane) just launched an eNewsletter for PR practitioners and consultants. The first installment showcases a lot of links broken into several categories she knows her subscribers will find valuable: Tools, Feature Story, News, Worth Reading, Pro Tips. She didn’t write all the stuff she’s linked to, but she’s become a trusted source that culls great information so others don’t have to. In doing so, she’s added value to her community and stayed foremost in their minds.
If you already run a Twitter chat or dominate a hashtag, then there’s a wealth of artifacts at your fingertips. Themed blog posts and emails are two ways to get that content out in front of people who might have otherwise missed it.
Community-generated content: voting on value
There’s probably a good term for content that’s submitted by and voted on by users, but darn if I can put my finger on it. But isn’t it a beautiful concept? BizSugar is a small business website that consists entirely of content submitted by its community. An author can create an account and submit their own content to the pool, or submit a link to someone else’s good work. Readers vote on the posts (in the form of “sugars” or sugar cubes) to indicate content they liked the best. The most popular content is aggregated weekly and distributed in an email to subscribers. It’s a combination of a pull (website) and push (email) techniques.
BizSugar gives small business owners a megaphone and a platform, allowing them to reach wider audiences. Users themselves shine the light on each other through voting. From a community management perspective, it’s a gold mine of content authored by a number of different voices on different topics, all in one central place.
Other aggregators and filter tools
Try Storycrawler (“…intelligent news and information-gathering software product”) and Thoora (user-created topic organization tool) to discover fresh content from lesser-known sources that may interest your readers.
Authors note: I first published this post, titled “Rethink content curation to reach reacers,” on the Oneforty blog May 27, 2011 as a contributing author. I’m cross-posting here so that Insights & Ingenuity readers might also learn and enjoy.