Content Curation Primer | Beth’s Blog

Content Curation Primer

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What is Content Curation?

Content curation is the process of sorting through the vast amounts of content on the web and presenting it in a meaningful and organized way around a specific theme.  The work  involves  sifting, sorting, arranging, and publishing information.  A content curator cherry picks the best content that is important and relevant to share with their community. It isn’t unlike what a museum curator does to produce an exhibition:   They identify the theme, they provide the context, they decide which paintings to hang on the wall, how they should be annotated, and how they should be displayed for the public.

Content curation is not about collecting links or being an information pack rat, it is more about putting them into a context with organization, annotation, and presentation.     Content curators provide a customized, vetted selection of the best and most relevant  resources on a very specific topic or theme.  As Rohit Bhargava points out  in this post via Robin Good,   a content curator continually  seeks,  makes sense of,  and shares the best and most relevant content on a particular topic online.   Content curators have integrated this skill into their daily routine.

Why is Content Curation Valuable?

People and organizations are now making and sharing media and content all over the social web.   For example, on Facebook the average user creates 90 pieces of content each month.  If you multiply that by the 800 million Facebook users,  it isn’t surprising that  data or content on the Internet is  measured in exabytes, or billions of gigabytes.      Simply put, we are living an era of content abundance.     A content curator offers high value to anyone looking for quality content because finding that information (and making sense of it) requires more and more time, attention, and focus.

Content Curation Provides Value from the Inside Out

What does that mean for nonprofits and the people who work for them?  I think there are many benefits for both individuals as well as the organization.

For some staff members, content curation can be professional of learning.   Professional development used to be about getting trained or acquiring a specific skill.   But, with so much information available and coming at us from many sources,  we often don’t know if it’s the right information or if it’s current.   And depending on our field,  it can get out of date quickly.   In today’s world of content abundance,  the skill of  how to find, make sense, and share content that we need to be effective in our work is critical.   Simply put, being a content curator is a method to help you stay informed about your field and be more effective at your job.

The biggest challenge to becoming a content curator is getting past the feeling of “content fried” or so much good content and so little time to digest it.    There are techniques that we can use to minimize feeling distracted and with some discipline make it of our work flow.

For organizations and brands, content curation can help establish the organization’s thought leadership and capture attention in today’s information cluttered world.    Content curation can help your organization become the go-to authority on an issue or topic area.   It can be done as simply as writing a blog post with links or sharing annotated links on Twitter around your topic.  Take for example, how Bruce Lesley from First Focus uses Twitter to establish authority as a content curator on children welfare issues.

The key principles of content content creation for a brand are outlined in this article “Become A Content Curation King”  - what is most important for nonprofits that want to get started is consistency, knowing your audience, and identifying your topical niche.   It is also important to understand that content curation is NOT  just about information, it is about feeding and tuning your network as Howard Rheingold notes.

The Three S’s of Content Curation:  Seek, Sense, Share

Content curation is a three-part process:  Seek, Sense, and Share.    Finding the information or “seeking”  is only one third of the task as Mari Smith points out in this video about why curation is important and some tools  for doing it.        Making sense of the information is just as important.  Sense making can be a simple as how you annotate the links your share,  the presentation,  or what you’ve left out.      Sense making can be writing a blog post using the links (like this post) or summarizing the key points in a presentation.    However you create meaning, but it has to support your organization’s communications objectives or your professional learning goals.   Finally, the sharing – is about giving the best nuggets of content to your audience in a format that they can easily digest and apply it.

Putting content curation into practice is part art form, part science, but mostly about daily practice.   You don’t need to do it for hours, but a little bit everyday will help you develop and hone the skills.  It is best to do the seeking part in small bursts to avoid feeling overwhelmed.  One way to be effective is to find the best curators your topic and follow them.  It is like sipping fine wine.  You have to be organized and know your sources. And you have to scan your sources regularly and thank them.

 

It is also good to learn from experienced curators and how they hone their craft.    Netsquared recently published this summary of tips from nonprofit content curators.   You can also learn a lot by looking at the work flow of “master curators” like Robin Good,  Howard Rheingold, and Robert Scoble.

Getting Started

Use this questionnaire to help you think through a plan for content curation before you dive into the curation tools.  There has been an explosion of tools and you can distracted by useless features.    Even better, perhaps focus on the skills with the tools you know how to use already.   You might want to integrate the process of content curation into a channel you’re already using.      Next, you might want to expand to using a couple of the new tools that are specifically designed for content curation.

Here’s a few curation tools that are easy to get started.

Storyfy — Storify is a way to tell stories using social media such as Tweets, photos and videos. You search multiple social networks from one place, and then drag individual elements into your story. You can re-order the elements and also add text to give context to your readers.   I use storify if I want to capture conference sessions.    Here’s an example from Zan McColloch Lussier using storify to capture the conversation from a panel “Good Grantmaking:  What’s Social Media Have To Do With It?”    A quick tutorial on how to use it.

Scoop.It –  (beta, invite-only) — Scoop.it is a terrific tool for discovering those super nichey, hidden gems relevant to specific topic. Use the dashboard to manage an unlimited amount of sources (websites, RSS feeds, specific social media accounts, etc.) and plug in relevant keywords and date parameters. Scoop.it does the rest and delivers you a constant feed of exactly the type of content you’re looking for.     Here’s my scoop.it lists as well as the lists by some of my favorite curators there.  Amy Sample Ward has a review of Scoop.it here.


BagTheWeb
— BagTheWeb helps users curate Web content. For any topic, you can create a “bag” to collect, publish, and share any content from the Web.  Beyond most curation tools’ capability, BagTheWeb enables users to build networks of bags. This way bags can be linked together to provide rich and complete information about any topic. Susan Kistler has an example with evaluation resources.

Pearltrees — An extremely powerful tool that aids discovery of new, relevant content by presenting it in a very visual way. The interface builds a hub-and-spoke style tree diagram of content that you search for, discover and collect. Hover over new “pearls” to see at-a-glance previews of the content which you can then “pick”, comment upon, and share. Susan Kistler has curated this list on Evaluation.

What are your questions about content curation?

199 Responses

  1. Dale says:

    How do you deal with copyright issues? Does proper annotation the key?

  2. Beth says:

    Dale: Yes, you need to cite your sources!

  3. [...] There are a lot of C’s when it comes to content marketing: content, creation, curation, choice, and conversion, to name a few. But the biggest C that content marketers should have is: [...]

  4. [...] What is Content Curation?This is essential reading for anyone considering using content curaiton for learning or anything. This is the post that made me realise the potential and also shooled me on the right way to do it.   Seriously read and reflect before signing up to any platforms.  [...]

  5. But please can you help us research “What type of topic and niche” that legally allow for content curation without violating search duplicate content penalty.

    E.g news site hope you got my idea?

  6. [...] What is Content Curation?Content curation is the process of sorting through the vast amounts of content on the web and presenting it in a meaningful and organized way around a specific theme. Beth Kanter provides some great tips on getting started with digital curation and how you can become a go-to authority on an issue or topic area.  [...]

  7. [...] Learning Geeks Ok, not strictly a department, but dotted around your company you have people who love learning. You may not know who they are, or where they are, but find them because they can help you. Recruit them and convince them to start sharing what they’re learning and discovering using your curation tool. They get recognition, you get someone to help find the content. Make sure you help them understand the difference between curation and aggregation. [...]

  8. [...] one of the best articles I’ve come across on content curation, on Beth’s Blog – Beth gives the clearest definition you could hope to find, plus a whole host of links to [...]

  9. [...] Here’s one of the best articles I’ve come across on content curation, on Beth’s Blog – Beth gives the clearest definition you could hope to find, plus a whole host of links to useful resources. [...]

  10. Shanker says:

    Very Nice Exposition Beth!

    I’ve read a couple of articles on ‘Content Curatuion’ earlier, yet felt uneasy because even reasonably, I couldn’t figure out what it is. Thanks to your curation(!), I guess I could get an idea of it now.

  11. This is one of the best articles about content curation that I have come across so far! It is true that content curation is playing an active role these days. The web is spinning into a form in which we are flooded with content and there is a need to streamline all the content, spin it off with your own opinion and engage the audience with a new perspective. However, narrowing the content encompasses a complex form of backend search engine algorithms. In addition, there is a need to present the vast amount of content in a meaningful manner such that readers can make the most out of it. We, at http://www.groupiest.com are providing individuals and businesses with a free platform that allows users to publish their content in a way in a easy to use and hassle free way. http://groupiest.com/?utm_source=externalweb&utm_medium=sc&utm_campaign=blogcomment1

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  12. [...] Content Curation Primer | Beth’s Blog What is Content Curation? Content curation is the process of sorting through the vast amounts of content on the web and presenting it in a meaningful and organized way around a specific theme. The work involves sifting, sorting, arranging, … [...]

  13. [...] is not exactly a blog, it’s more of a content curation [...]

  14. [...] One, you can rely on this method when you run out of ideas for blog posts. This is also called “content curation”, meaning you simply reblog the other post but add your commentary and thoughts on it (and link [...]

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  16. [...] What is Content Curation? Content curation is the process of sorting through the vast amounts of content on the web and presenting it in a meaningful and organized way around a specific theme.  [...]

  17. [...] Content curation is not about collecting links or being an information pack rat, it is more about putting them into a context with organization, annotation, and presentation.     Content curators provide a customized, vetted selection of the best and most relevant  resources on a very specific topic or theme. …more at Content Curation Primer [...]

  18. [...] Beth´s Blog. Content curation. (online). Pridobljeno 17. 12. 2012. Dostopno na naslovu: http://www.bethkanter.org/content-curation-101/ [...]

  19. Ron says:

    Hi, Beth. Excellent work on this article! Thanks. I even quoted you on my website (newly revived) where I write about content marketing. Check it out here: http://ronvanpeursem.com/content-curation-simple-definitions/.
    Again, thanks for putting together a great article; over one year old, but still “on the money”!

  20. [...] What is Content Curation? Content curation is the process of sorting through the vast amounts of content on the web and presenting it in a meaningful and organized way around a specific theme.  [...]

  21. [...] Turn your students into curators. Since information is ubiquitous, the question now becomes, “So what are you going to do with it?” Beth Kanter, expert in non-profits, technology, and social media, states, “Putting content curation into practice is part art form, part science, but mostly about daily practice” (148). Here’s her easy process for novice curators: Seek, Sense, Share. Students largely do not know how to seek because they are constantly given information and answers, rather than encouraged to find it, or figure it out themselves. For more information on Kanter’s Content Curation Primer, click here. [...]

  22. Adam Nguyen says:

    Very Useful tips!
    Thanks for sharing :)

  23. [...] you may also want to consider reviewing a post on Content Curation by Beth Kanter. She lists ideas for coming up with a strategy to help sort through tons of information, decide [...]

  24. [...] What is Content Curation?Content curation is the process of sorting through the vast amounts of content on the web and presenting it in a meaningful and organized way around a specific theme. The work involves sifting, sorting, arranging, and publishing information. A content curator cherry picks the best content that is important and relevant to share with their community. It isn’t unlike what a museum curator does to produce an exhibition: They identify the theme, they provide the context, they decide which paintings to hang on the wall, how they should be annotated, and how they should be displayed for the public. Moreover Beth Kanter explains other interesting points into her article about the process of curation and some curation tools….[read full article http://j.mp/pDHNrP  [...]

  25. [...] like, while some people still care about this, most people don't.” Sort Share http://www.bethkanter.org       4 months [...]

  26. [...] knowledge management. In it, Beth Kanter is quoted using my Seek-Sense-Share framework in her Content Curation Primer and earlier [...]

  27. [...] on their mission.  These groups want to provide valuable content to their communities, though. Curating germane content keeps you a trusted source and connected engagement with your community. As much as sorting, [...]

  28. [...] Tools” zusammengefasst. Ein noch relativ neuer Begriff, den Beth Kanter folgendermaßen beschrieben hat: “Content curation is the process of sorting through the vast amounts of content on the [...]

  29. @Laurizon says:

    Thank you so much for this article Beth! Now I understand clearly what curation means and I got a few more tips from your article: like anything I need a strategy!
    I even appreciate the image that makes sense with the content.
    Cheers

  30. Rita Blash says:

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  31. Mark says:

    I once had an awesome content curation site. Curating together news stories in specific niches that interested a specific genre. Basically news stories outside the norm. I ran into big problems with Google. Otherwise I would have kept going. Have you any advice on ethical content curation, whereby I don’t get any slack for it?

  32. [...] what is content curation? The process of curating content entails you, the expert, filtering through resources that relate [...]

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  34. [...] What is Content Curation? Content curation is the process of sorting through the vast amounts of content on the web and presenting it in a meaningful and organized way around a specific theme.  [...]

  35. [...] In the process of pinning these resources I swerved and ran smack dab into learning! I’ve spent considerable time exploring curation as a skill and have learned it is significantly more  than collecting resources. Curation also requires reflection and sense-making. A key resource I explored was this presentation by Robin Good “Content Curation for Education and Learning, Emerge 2012” (note – it will take considerable time to digest, but it is worth the investment). For a shorter resource see Beth Kanters piece “Content Curation Primer“. [...]

  36. [...] you get good at it!) of becoming an expert in your niche.  Beth Kanter has written a really great content curation 101 with more insight in to what it takes to be a killer content curator. Content [...]

  37. [...] session and some really great blogposts from Howard Rheingold, Robin Good, and Beth Kanter, I feel like I’m on my [...]

  38. [...] together in one place these randomly placed discoveries. However, Beth Kantor, in her excellent primer on content curation hastens to add that being a quality content curator is more than simply aggregating links – [...]

  39. [...] and more consumers are flocking to the Internet. This social media influx has lead to the growth of content curation. What this means is PR departments need to find creative ways to produce a social media buzz for [...]

  40. [...] What is Content Curation? Content curation is the process of sorting through the vast amounts of content on the web and presenting it in a meaningful and organized way around a specific theme.  [...]

  41. [...] the World and I found this Ultimate list of content curation tools. Beth Kanter’s post about Social Curation stood out for me because it is not approaching the topic from the educational perspective. [...]

  42. [...] What is Content Curation? Content curation is the process of sorting through the vast amounts of content on the web and presenting it in a meaningful and organized way around a specific theme.  [...]

  43. [...] Amongst the myriad of great posts we recommend one from last year entitled Content Curation Primer. You can read the entire post here [...]

  44. [...] Amongst the myriad of great posts we recommend one from last year entitled Content Curation Primer. You can read the entire post here [...]