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Getting Started with Content Curation

February 22nd, 2011 by

As a blogger and web content writer, I was a tad embarrassed that I wasn’t familiar with the term “content curation.” One article I read said curation might eventually take the place of algorithm search mechanisms. Admittedly, I don’t know the difference between “algorithm” and Alfredo sauce, but I do know I welcome any research tools that make my job easier. When I’m content sourcing, the time I waste wading through irrelevant data is not time that I can bill a client.

Content Curators

Web researchers and the general public couldn’t function without search engines. But you’ve surely noticed that search results can get a little bulky and off-point. Just like curators at museums sort, catalogue and combine relevant pieces into collections, content curators sift through the flood of Internet information to find usable content.

There are two components to successful research and content sourcing – a good, reliable search engine and a skilled researcher. In reality, the search engine is only as useful as the human who initiates the search. As a writer, if I don’t define, limit and contain my search criterion, that’s user-error. I can’t blame the search tool if I’m not doing my job.

Curation Tools

So, how can you become a better curator? A few tricks that can help are:

  • Narrow your parameters even more. Google is helpful here. Think of the specific result you want and tailor your search. If you are looking only for guidelines for filing a homeowner’s insurance claim for someone injured on your property, add “How do I…?” to the latter part of that sentence.
  • Search by lists, rankings, quizzes, favorites. Yes, I realize there may be 2,000 “My favorite Twilight character” lists. But you’re more likely to get highly-rated responses in the category.
  • Use social media criteria. Again, searching Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn might be overload, but if social media is your desired result, this is your framework.
  • Specify video, images, maps, etc. If you want to copy Keira Knightley’s hairstyle, don’t waste time wading through text like movie reviews, etc.

Not Just SEO

Because a huge part of my job, especially as a content writer, is to use SEO, it has to be on top of my list of search criteria/rationale. But good writers want to employ keywords without hitting people over the head with them. So I can see how content curation is helpful to weed out heavy-handed SEO. By being a bit more discriminating with my content sourcing, I’ll produce material that utilizes SEO, but also delivers readable, valuable information.

Nancy L is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments. WriterAccess is powered by ideaLaunch, a full service content marketing agency serving hundreds of clients and thousands of writers since 2000.

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