According to Google CEO Eric Schmidt, every two days the search engine indexes the equivalent amount of information that was produced since the dawn of civilization up to 2003. While this might be a bit of hyperbole, the fact is there is a lot of content out there.
Computers may be able to process that much content, but we humans sure as heck can’t. That’s where content curation comes in.
What is content curation and why you should do it
Content curation in its simplest form means identifying and sharing the most valuable information out there.
In practical terms, effective content curation requires poring over large amounts of information and finding the highest quality material that really adds value and meaning to a topic. A curator highlights what’s important and filters out the noise. Good curation adds context to vast streams of information.
The important point to note is this: in the age of digital information, content curation is itself a form of expression. How and what you share represent opportunities to express your personality and demonstrate your thought leadership. And these are two critically important aspects of developing your personal brand and building social capital online.
When you share your unique content stream, there are many advantages that accrue to you:
- People think you’re smart and credible.
- People ascribe to you the virtue of uncovering wisdom and meaning from the sea of information in which we are all drowning.
- People are truly grateful to you for sharing your hard work with them and they look for ways to give back.
- You are perceived as being digitally sophisticated.
- People get a better sense of who you are and what you believe in.
- All this familiarity and intimacy helps people trust you.
- Sharing gives you an opportunity to be top of mind on a regular basis.
If you’re in the business of advising, influencing, counseling, consulting or recommending ANYTHING to ANYONE, then the benefits of curation can be huge.
3 steps to effective content curation
When developing a content curation strategy, you need to consider the following three aspects:
Content discovery: Start by figuring out how to find content that you’re interested in. I use Twitter and Google+ to follow people that influence me and review these feeds regularly. I also use Google Reader to subscribe to influential blogs using RSS feeds and review these periodically. Google Alerts allows me to set up numerous keyword searches the results of which are emailed to me daily. I am also experimenting regularly with other content discovery and curation tools like Postano and Scoop.it.
Distribution channels: There are a number of channels you can use to distribute your shared content, the most popular being LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook or Google+. Your choice should be based on where your most strategic contacts are. For many people in financial services, that channel is LinkedIn and you can share great content there as part of a regular stream of status updates and group discussions. Personally, I’ve found Twitter to be an incredibly powerful tool for content sharing. I use one particular tool – Bufferapp.com – to quickly and easily schedule my tweets and retweets according to a custom schedule that I control. Google+ is quickly emerging as another important curation channel, especially as search results get tied more closely to social media influence.
Interact with people: If you are adding value to discussions in your area of expertise, you will start to receive comments, likes and retweets from followers and connections. Set up email notifications for these events and then monitor your mobile device throughout the day. When someone reaches out, try to respond in a timely manner and engage your contact. Responsiveness is an important part of deepening your online relationships and building familiarity and trust.
So, that’s what I do to maintain a rich, personally curated content feed and to define my brand. With as little as a few hours a week, you can do it too.