The irony of the web world today opening its doors to almost everyone who has something to say is – we’re fast running out of new things to say. With so much great content out there, how do you top that?
How can a marketing website make it to the upper echelons of the snooty Google search index?
And once there, it’s a tooth and nail battle to maintain the spot – so how do the successful websites do it? If you can’t create content, then you have to learn to curate content.
That’s the mantra for business websites that don’t have the time to create new content, or deal in services and products that are hard to create value-adding content around.
But content curation also requires some skill and focus. It’s not simply about channeling others content.
It’s about establishing a standard and maintaining it.
Here’s a look at 10 websites – both well-heeled and upcoming – that manage to curate content that is fresh, of high quality, relevant and valuable. These can offer lots of lessons for the attentive reader.
The BMW blog (at bmwblog.com) of course has its daily dose of BMW news, features and great, created content.
But the website likes to vary its content with a dash of curated, relevant video content, such as the Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol trailer which stars the BMW i8 alongside Tom Cruise.
The folks over at Huffington Post (huffingtonpost.com) do content curation as well as – if not better than – BMW.
They create some content, gather some links from around the web, and invite some content from its readers. This is the way the best news websites keep at the top of the content game.
While The Huffington Post and BMW use human curated content, Google News uses aggregated content. Aggregation is automated curation of content.
While this method of curation is not recommended unless you are a giant corporation with plenty of clout (and great technology), automated aggregation has been used successfully by publishers and web owners in the past. Whether it will be completely replaced by human curation is yet to be seen.
Learnist is a new website that features crowd-sourced lessons bringing together videos, web pages, e-books and other forms of information into one space.
This allows users who know enough about something, be it music, floriculture or science – to create teachings (or rather ‘learnings’).
Learnist makes a good use of content curation and creating a community around it.
The Monkey Cage (at themonkeycage.org) does content curation really well, and with a difference. The blog presents social science research that is publicly available.
The focus of the blog is to curate such research that is socially relevant and draw interesting correlations between our daily and political lives in democracies today.
There is well-written and illustrated commentary by the blogger – Political scientist John Sides – which sets the blog apart.While this is not an overt marketing blog, Sides did begin this blog to publicize his field. And so far, he has managed really well. The blog made it to the TIME’s top 25 blogs of 2012 list.
This is another blog that is on TIME’s list, located at whatkatewore.com. The blogger Susan Kelley has picked a big subject for her blog – the outfits that the Duchess of Cambridge is seen in.
She deconstructs the Duchess’ outfits, holds polls and links to events in the life of this public figure. Here Ms Kelley has followed an important element of good content curation – she has focused on a niche audience.
The other two are not the biggest websites out there that have become household names, but this next one is.
Reddit (reddit.com), as we all know, is the place you go to in order to discover stories and conversations that you may never have heard of otherwise.
Reddit uses crowdsourcing to produce interesting, serious and silly content that keeps readers hooked.
Another website that uses crowdsourcing really well is the new Intel website (at iq.intel.com).
The site contains content that is sourced from Intel Employees via Twitter. This is an example of smart curation – Intel knows its sources will be relevant and good.
The senior marketing executive looking for digital marketing insights will find plenty of food for thought on cmo.com. The website is directed towards curating content for a niche audience, and appears to be a news website.
But readers will find that the content is highly relevant to the digital marketing industry. The website has a global traffic ranking of 57,170, which is great in a landscape of more than 600 million websites.
Inbound.org is a partnership between SEOMoz co-founder and Hubspot co-founder to create a community for marketers and marketers interested in social media, content marketing, SEO etc. to come together and curate content.Readers can discover great stuff on these subjects and more and share them. This is a good example of how social ranking can be made use of to curate content in a given area.