It’s a rare morning that I don’t start out by looking at the news. No, I no longer get the newspaper delivered (it’s been years, actually), and I don’t usually flip to the front page of nytimes.com either. These days I’m most likely to grab my iPhone (often while still in bed, if truth be told) and log on to smartr. This cool app brings me my Twitter stream, but curated to only include links and to strip out Foursquare checkins and other non-news stuff. Smartr then presents those links to me as a news feed. They say they’re bringing you “only the stuff you care about” – and for me, that’s exactly what it does. [No disclosure necessary – I just love the app.]
Smartr is just one of many tools helping end users manage their ever-growing content streams. Online tools like paper.li, hybrid Twitter/facebook apps Flipboard and NewsMix and timeline-bender Cadmus all help to tame the beast of too much information 24/7.
Understanding and utilizing content curation is important for brands too. Because if your users are streamlining their reading, eliminating the chaff and pulling out only what’s most interesting to them, your messages may be getting missed. So how do you improve your chances of getting seen, and of engaging with your fans?
I recommend that my clients go “beyond the broadcast” and provide content in Facebook and Twitter which becomes a valuable resource to followers – going beyond only news or specials from the company. This curated content typically pulls from interesting outside sources and ultimately expands the brand. For many brands, curating outside content can be very scary – it means using content that others have developed to build your brand, and that loss of “control” doesn’t always sit well with upper management. But a savvy reader who’s got their finger on the pulse of your industry could do an excellent job as “editor,” bringing the best of the web in your niche or vertical directly to your followers and fans.
My blogging colleague Tom Webster suggests that “content curator” might be a job-of-the-future inside some companies, and I couldn’t agree more. Who wouldn’t want to spend their time reading and absorbing, following and engaging, all in the name of work? And that curator might also be a community manager, the person responsible for the ongoing awareness, buzz and engagement of the brand in social platforms and communities.
If the lifespan of a tweet is between 5 minutes and an hour, and a Facebook status update lives for two days at best, you’ve got to have a steady stream of good stuff coming at your fans and followers in order to even hope to catch their eye every few days. With some smart content curation you can build a great resource which can attract customers and potential customers alike.
Do you have tips and thoughts on content curation? The comments are yours.