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May 04, 2012

Content curation for small businesses

"Content is king", it is one of those terms that has been around the web for a long time and even then it appears, not everyone is aware of the true potential of producing content. This blog post isn't a debate between what holds an upper hand, creation or curation but rather helping you find what will work for you.

You can only create content when you have something to say. It reminds me of a quote by Scott Fitzgerald- "You don't write because you want to say something, you write because you have something to say." You can outsource talent to produce material for your brand but it won't hold much weight if it can't create engagement. The reader should be able to take away something from the written piece, more importantly content isn't only for search engine ranking! Makes no point to have a hundred pages with gibberish content that provides no value, people will see through it and stop taking your efforts seriously.

So what can you do when you really have nothing to say?
You curate.

What exactly is curation of content?
Its sifting through a wide array of relevant information and publishing only the best, most informative and reliable knowledge. My twitter stream is filled with some brilliant content curators who continue to provide me with information that expands my knowledge base, information that I wouldn't have been able to find if they hadn't guided me.

1. Area of interest: The first thing you have to do as a business that is just starting out with curation is to figure out what kind of information you want to begin curating. Most likely you want to publish industry related content. You can further narrow down the scope if you feel. Play with this one based on your own passion, your business story and what you are trying to sell.

2. Tools to build your database: Subscribing to RSS feeds of blogs that interest you is the first step forward. Google Reader is my friend because I can keep up with the latest updates from websites that interest me.

Secondly, subscribe to updates from influential people on Twitter, Facebook and any other social network. On a daily basis, I come across some mind blowing information on Facebook alone. It might come across as a very unprofessional social network but a little search will help you find people who constantly post very rich content.

Register on stumbleupon or the likes, follow Pinterest boards if that is relevant to your business. The point of doing all this is to keep you in the loop.

Once you have a rich database of people who share high quality information, you are ready to go.

3. Tools to publish: You can choose the old school way of posting information on your company blog but its considered best practice to target the outlets your audiences are spending time on. So if your people are on Facebook, begin curation over there. When it comes to Twitter, apps like Buffer will assist you in automating curation. and are slightly different as they help you build your own story, magazine or paper. On a timely basis you can publish curated information, using these tools.

4. Do it the Legal way: Don't steal! Don't steal! Don't steal! Give credit to the original source.

5. Add your 2 cents: Whether content curation is endorsement or not is debatable but if you are on a platform that allows you to publish more that 140 characters, then the best practice is to add in your 2 cents to the topic. This will show your audience that you haven't blindly copy-pasted something, giving your views on it shows that you have taken the effort to read and understand the information. Furthermore, you can publish your own blog post by writing down your own take on a certain subject. Curation gives you enough material to create your own valuable content, if that is something you are looking to do.

As a content curator, you'll soon realize that curation is just as hard as creation. You have to research, spend most of your time googling facts to be sure of their credibility and only choose the best. In return, you'll end up with archives of brilliant knowledge that will not only keep your readers interested but also prove beneficial for your own business by making you a knowledgeable authority within your industry.

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