The Effect of Curation On Reader Engagement and Loyalty

What about context?

Since everyone is pretty much focused on the technology behind curation these days (shiny new thing syndrome), I thought it would be nice to pull back and look at why curation works.

Specifically, why proper curation causes readership to rise and engagement to increase, as well as notable increases in social “buzz.”

The whole point of content marketing is to provide something of value which is highly desired by the target market you are trying to woo.  So it is definitely not enough to simply switch to a partial or total curation model and expect numbers to rise in all the categories above.

Nor is it a matter of which tools you choose to use to make curation possible, efficient, and effective from the publishing standpoint.  The thread which sews all these parts together is the human being doing the curation.

These Are Not The Droids You’re Looking For

No person

Image via Wikipedia

There are dozens of sites and services that use the word curation to describe what they offer their users.

Unfortunately, most casual users of such sites are doing nothing more fancy than when we used to experiment with aggregating content onto our blogs from RSS feeds and other sources around certain keywords.  With no input from the curator as to why items were chosen or commentary that makes sense of the news or media curated, the new services for curation are just fancy versions of the “splogs” that are so frowned upon by mainstream online media.

Sure they look fabulous in some cases.  And very important looking too.  But without context and the human touch, landing on pages of “curated” content that is nothing more than aggregated content puts a big question mark over the heads of visitors.

Where the failure comes into play is a lack of education on just how to curate effectively.  On most of the sites we’ve reviewed where curation is the buzzword, the focus is on the technology and not the art of curating effectively to achieve reader engagement, rankings, loyalty, or social buzz.  The result is often just a mashup of seemingly unrelated or loosely related content completely out of context and with no added value or use to the reader.

True Curation Delivers The Goods

True curation works precisely because of the opinion, commentary, and engagement of the curators themselves.  Even the simple act of attaching a question to your readers at the end of a curated piece can result in vastly more engagement from your readership.

This type of extra input delivers vast potential in increased traffic, better rankings, more links, and more social buzz.  Not to mention a loyal readership that is happy to curate your  stuff on their social networks, bringing you more readers all the time.

About Author: Peter Lenkefi