Content Curation Is Listening and Engaging | Beth’s Blog

Content Curation Is Listening and Engaging

Content, Movement Building

Content curation is  the organizing, filtering and “making sense of” information on the web and sharing the very best pieces of content that you’ve cherry picked with your network.    But finding and organizing the information is only half of the task.    As Mari Smith points out in this video about why curation is important and some tools  for doing it.   By sharing the information and giving credit to the source where you found the link, you build relationships and a network.     I used to describe this process as “Listening and Engaging” but really like focusing it the process around a content strategy – makes listening and engaging much more actionable.

Last week, I helped launch a peer exchange for  Packard Foundation for Children’s Health Insurance grantees with Spitfire Communications (creators of the SMART chart).  The focus is how to use effectively integrate social media, measure, and learn from it.   (It’s the topic of my next book that I’m co-writing with KD Paine).    As my focus is on peer-driven learning,  we included two peer organizations working on this issue at the national level who have vast experience using social media as part of an integrated campaign:   Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner co-founder of Momsrising and Bruce Lesley, President,  of First Focus.    (I learned so much that I enough material for whole chapter in the book and ten blog posts … so I’m starting with this one.)

Bruce Lesley is one of a growing number of  nonprofit executive directors and senior leaders that use Twitter.  And, he isn’t tweeting about what he ate for breakfast or one of his personal passions, basketball.   He uses Twitter to curate information related to his organization’s mission and work as a bipartisan advocacy organization dedicated to making children and families a priority in federal policy and budget decisions.   He also uses content curation for sources for his guest blogging.     His use of Twitter (and his organization’s use of Twitter and all communications channels for that matter) serve this intent:

First Focus is working to change the dialogue around children’s issues by taking a cross-cutting and broad based approach to federal policy making. In all of our work, we seek to raise awareness regarding public policies impacting children and ensure that related programs have the resources necessary to help them grow up in a healthy and nurturing environment.

If you take a look at Bruce Lesley’s Twitter stream, you will see that he is curating information on public policies impacting children.   Bruce does his own curating, using Google Reader and FlipBoard.   Any individual or nonprofit organization can curate information using these tools.  They can make it strategic by linking the information to their mission.   But what is the secret sauce to doing it well?

 

What do the experts say?      I found this  video interview of Robert Scoble with Howard Rheingold about Scoble’s curation techniques and tools.   Scoble is known for his ability to follow and make sense of hundreds and thousands if not hundreds of thousands of people through social media channels.    And while most people who work in nonprofits don’t have a compelling reason to do curating at the same level that Scoble does, there were a couple of gems in what he said.   It comes down to organizing your sources, knowing them as trust worthy, and seeing patterns.

If you take a peek at Bruce Lesley’s Twitter lists, you’ll see how he has identified and organized different sources by topic.    This makes it easy to fine-tune the Twitter stream and find patterns.   By acknowledging sources and engaging in brief dialogue, he is also building a network around this topics on Twitter.

Bruce notes, “There  is an initial investment but I was surfing on the web for information anyway and found Twitter to be an efficient way to find people and thus do less web surfing.”    Bruce says he made a few mistakes, like anyone learning a new tool or technique.  ” I followed some of the wrong people. I am interested in child health policy, obviously, but searched for “children’s health” and thus followed children’s hospitals across the country. They are not engaged in public policy so then I unfollowed them because it didn’t meet my goals.”

I mentioned the above video on Google + deep in a thread of a resource that Scoble originally shared.    The ever helpful Mari Smith shared this  post analyzing the video and pointing to the best Scoble quote:

“If you want more followers, you have to follow better people. Because your inbound will inform your outbound. If your inbound is crappy and jumbled, and you don’t understand what you’re reading and who’s writing it.. then you’re not going to be a very good person on pushing stuff outbound… and therefore you wont gather an audience that’s interesting to you, because you won’t be informing them very well. I look at it as a funnel: who do I put in my funnel? People I trust.”

Mari Smith goes on to talk about her approach to building networks through curation and building relationships across networks. Also, that anyone can curate information and share – either through multiple channels or a single channel.   Her advice is to focus on quality, not quantity – and that being consistent is the most important quality.

If this isn’t too meta, here’s my curated content on content curation for nonprofits.

Is your nonprofit using curation as a content strategy?   How?  What tools do you use?  What are your best tips and practices?

 

18 Responses

  1. Hi Beth,
    Great that you’re giving good coverage to this important topic. Rightfully so, good curation is not something to be taken lightly. It takes some work and time to get it right.

    As an enterprise content curation platform, we know a thing or two about this topic. Curation as a topic is being used lightly and it shouldn’t. Professional-level curation needs professional level tools, as it all boils down to productivity and how efficiently you can curate. FlipBoard and GoogleReader are reading platforms which you can share content from. It’s a stretch to call that curation. Professional curators need tools where they have more control and real filtering, plus a way to publish content, not just push it out to other social platforms. And above all, curation isn’t just about social. Content curation is part of the content marketing mix which existed before social came along, so let’s not be blinded just by social signals.

  2. When I attended the #140conf Tel Aviv two years ago, a panelist announced that she no longer uses her RSS feed. Instead, she relies on her Twitter stream to give her the industry information she needs. Everyone was amazed, and many in the audience couldn’t believe it. I find, more and more, this is what I’m doing as well by trusting my inbound stream, (as you write, above).

    I also recently read Curation Nation by Steven Rosenbaum, which is a very useful introduction to understanding why we need to curate, strategies and methods of doing so.

  3. [...] Focus.    (I learned so much that I enough material for several blog posts, my first post is here – it is about content [...]

  4. [...] Content Curation Is Listening and Engaging Content curation is  the organizing, filtering and “making sense of” information on the web and sharing the very best pieces of content that you've… Source: http://www.bethkanter.org [...]

  5. Claire Sale says:

    Hey beth– thanks so much for submitting this to the September Net2 Think Tank! I’m really excited to share your contribution with the community.

    If any of your readers have anything they’d like to contribute about curation to the Think Tank, they are more than welcome. Here’s the announcement post: http://netsquared.org/blog/claire-sale/september-net2-think-tank-curating-conte

  6. Beth Kanter says:

    Thanks Claire for organizing a think-tank on one of my favorite topics!

  7. Dara says:

    Beth,

    Thanks for this great article. For someone who is new to the term “content curation” I found this incredibly helpful and informative. Since twitter is the only stream I use right now it was really great to read about the importance of creating lists and the idea of following better people. I appreciate it!

  8. It is appreciating article about curation

  9. [...] Build relationships: "By sharing the information and giving credit to the source where you found the link, you build relationships and a network." – from Beth Kanter on her blog. [...]

  10. [...] the very best pieces of content that you’ve cherry picked with your network."-Beth Kanter http://www.bethkanter.org/curate…This answer .Please specify the necessary improvements. Edit Link Text Show answer summary [...]

  11. [...] Content curation is the organizing, filtering and “making sense of” information on the web and sharing the very best pieces of content that you’ve cherry picked with your network. But finding and organizing the information is only half of the task. As Mari Smith points out in this video about why curation is important and some tools for doing it . By sharing the information and giving credit to the source where you found the link, you build relationships and a network. Content Curation Is Listening and Engaging | Beth’s Blog [...]

  12. [...] Content Curation Is Listening and Engaging | Beth’s Blog Content curation is the organizing, filtering and “making sense of” information on the web and sharing the very best pieces of content that you’ve cherry picked with your network. But finding and organizing the information is only half of the task. [...]

  13. [...] it can create a useful resource for your readers.  here’s a definition I picked up from Beth Kanter. Content Creation is the organising, filtering and “making sense of” information on the [...]

  14. [...] Content curation is the organizing, filtering and “making sense of” information on the web and sharing the very best pieces of content that you’ve cherry picked with your network. But finding and organizing the information is only half of the task. As Mari Smith points out in this video about why curation is important and some tools for doing it. By sharing the information and giving credit to the source where you found the link, you build relationships and a network. I used to describe this process as “Listening and Engaging” but really like focusing it the process around a content strategy – makes listening and engaging much more actionable.  [...]

  15. [...] "Content Curation is Listening and Engaging" -Beth Kanter [...]

  16. [...] 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 [...]

  17. [...] I often come across the term “curation”.  Beth Kanter defines content curation as  ”the organizing, filtering and “making sense of” information on the web and sharing the … (be sure to read the whole [...]