Content Curation: A rose by any other name (Part III)

Continued from previous entry.

Making your content bloom

At EVG, we further define curation as essentially the organizing and sharing (some might even say “repackaging”) of YOUR content in ways that are meaningful to a specific target audience. We believe that definition encompasses the entire life-span of the content on a website. Invention, gathering, maintenance, sharing, removal and even replacement – these are all part of curating the content on a website so that whatever is there, original or otherwise, is always relevant and “user ready.” And that’s a big task.

Most companies appreciate that their online presence needs to be more than just a shopping cart or a cache of one-and-done articles. Clay Shirky, NYU Professor and author, notes that everyone is a media outlet, contributing to the vast amount of data that’s available on the Web. So it is easy to see how both companies and individuals might gravitate to a like-minded community for authoritative and high-quality information. Human-powered filters – curators – have the ability to orchestrate and synchronize such a community. The crucial component is having a gatekeeper who is an expert on the subject to frame and expand the content so it adds value and stays ahead of the digital curve.

If your company opts to follow the curation trend, you are, in effect, promising your audience the best of the Web for them. Here are some potential sticky points you may face:

  • Archives: How often are articles being posted and how often are old articles being archived? Is there a search feature for visitors?
  • Articles vs. links: Are you simply copy-and-pasting someone else’s work or are you posting links directing visitors to the original author’s website? Do you want visitors to your site to leave it in search of information? Are you willing to address compensation for the entire group of third-party authors? Do you fully understand the power of inbound vs outbound links?
  • Broad vs. narrow focus: What’s the role of the article cache on your website: general information, detailed analysis or something in between? Do you want articles that are focused on your brand or a general introduction that might mention competitors and their products?
  • Compensation: If you’re engaged in repackaging someone’s work, there are issues of compensation and copyright that must be addressed upfront.
  • Expertise: How do you engage company members from all areas in this process to incorporate their knowledge and expertise in order to maximize the results? How much are you willing to rely on third-party authors, and how do you validate their expertise to provide credible information to your customers?
  • Frequency: How often are you willing to invest the time and manpower to update your current and archived articles?
  • Man (or Woman) vs the machine: if your competitors are also using commercial programs to cull articles, what sets your content apart from the crowd? How do you build and increase the reader’s level of trust in your authoritative content?
  • Time: The Web is a big place out there; there’s enough material posted online to keep an employee surfing indefinitely. Are you willing to allocate time and resources to find relevant articles, or will you leave it to an automated program? If the program finds these articles, how much time are you willing to allocate to an employee for reading, evaluating and creating a context for their use? How much will it cost you in terms of finding, maintaining, payroll and updating?

At EVG, we know how difficult maintaining and managing business is in the digital age. We also know and appreciate the power of human thought and interaction. That’s why we believe the best of the Web is the result of thoughtful, knowledgeable people writing about what they know. Let us help you avoid cookie-cutter articles from content farms. Let us help you succeed. Ask us how.

Kathleen Gossman
EVG Editor

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