Content Curation: What Does it Take to Be Successful?

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WebProNews had a little Q&A with Kate Brodock, the Executive Director of Digital and Social Media at Syracuse University about content curation on the web. She will be giving a talk on this subject at BlogWorld next week, but we decided to pick her brain ahead of the talk, as this subject is one that only continues to become more important to the web as consumers are bombarded with endless information from so many different web channels.

WebProNews is partnering with BlogWorld and New Media Expo, the world’s first and largest new media conference, in an effort to broadcast how new media can grow your business, brand, and audience. BlogWorld takes place November 3-5 in Los Angeles and includes speakers such as Kate Brodock. Stay tuned to WebProNews for much more exclusive coverage.

Answers to the following questions are Brodock's .

What does it take to be successful in content curation?

"It comes down to a few key processes. You need to have good aggregation tools in place to gather and filter information. You then need to have a way to centralize and showcase that information in a way that communicates to your audience effectively. Lastly, in most cases – especially those involving gathering information from digital, user-driven sources, you've got to nail down the verification of that info. While in many ways curation has become easier, it's also become harder to sift through and find the reliable and factual sources."

"What are the best tools available right now for content curation and why?

A few of my favorites:, for a centralization tool. I use it a lot, for various purposes, and they actually just launched a bunch of major changes yesterday, I've played around with them and it's a great improvement on many levels. In terms of aggregation, I'm a Google Reader person, but I've also started playing around with lately. It's as if you mind-mapped your RSS feed list. Very neat concept. A few others that stick out are the Zite and Flipboard apps for iPad for content discovery. Depending on what needs you have, blogging platforms like Posterous and Tumblr make it easier for teams to curate and centralize third-party content as well."

"In your opinion, who is doing content curation right on the web?

In terms of media outlets, I've been impressed by BBC and their content curation desk and Al Jazeera, especially with "The Stream" which was launched this spring. I like Clay Shirky's Thought Leaders channel, and Andy Carvin has led the way in disseminating critical information quickly, but still having a high standard for verification. The Smartbrief industry roundups, of which I'm subscribed to many, are great curated resources. I've also come across "Earth Knowledge," which is a really neat Google Maps mashup."

"Who is doing it wrong?

People or organizations tend to falter in two areas. In the verification process or when they should be giving proper attribution to the original content creator. These two areas need special attention."

"What are the boundaries of fair use in content curation in your assessment?

Again, proper attribution of the original content creator is very important. There are many ways to do this on various platforms, and there are generally recognized "best practices" that people use. If you neglect the attribution part of the equation, this is when you get into sticky situations. For instance, when Posterous first came out, several content creators were upset by how little attention Posterous users paid to giving them credit for content… in some cases the "creators" thought the "curators" had downright plagiarized their work. Since then, the community of users has developed a set of practices to support both parties. It pays to take a look at how each platform handles this aspect of curation and make sure you're dotting your "I"s and crossing your 't's."

"In your opinion, how much does it matter to the consumer if they're obtaining information from its original source, as long as that source is credited? Consumers want information, and that means different things to different people. Many consumers are only concerned about the information they receive and being able to process it quickly because they're reading these sites simply as a way to quickly digest information and move on. Other consumers may want to dig deeper, explore more sources, get to the original source and expand their body of information. And others still may actually NEED to have the original source for verification purposes or if they're conducting research or writing an article. This depends on what type of consumer you are."

Have additional thoughts on what it takes to do content curation right? Share them in the comments.

For 5 years, WebProNews has partnered with BlogWorld and New Media Expo, the world’s first and largest new media conference, in an effort to broadcast how new media can grow your business, brand, and audience. Stay tuned to WebProNews for much more exclusive coverage.

Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.

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