Curating and aggregating third-party content obviously requires less commitment on the creation side than does conjuring a steady stream of original content. Nevertheless, there’s still a commitment of time, resources, and setting up procedures to mine and sift through sources.
Your first step is obvious: Scour the media and the Internet for topics of interest:
- Set up RSS feeds for keywords and phrases to automate the delivery of web content from blogs, newswires, and news stories that is potential of interest.
- Read relevant trade publications, newspapers, and magazines.
- Subscribe to trade organizations’ and competitors’ publications to spark new ideas.
Don’t Be a Pirate
It should go without saying (but alas, too often it does not) that curating and aggregating content comes with a set of obligations—ethical and moral, as well as legal.
Respect copyright. Most editorial sites have published guidelines regarding the reuse of their content. In most (but certainly not all) cases, this can be summarized as allowing third parties to link to the full story or item with a headline and brief descriptive blurb or a quote of reasonable length. Most publishers are happy for the link. It increases both their traffic and their search engine visibility.
Other sites have more liberal or more restrictive policies. When in doubt, ask. Shoot over an email explaining what you’d like to use and why (supplying any necessary links to the site or channel).
Aggregation, Filtering, and Curation Platforms
Content aggregation and the curtain are only emerging as far as technology solutions are concerned. Some are newsletter specific, whereas others are aimed at communities or hyper-local markets. Some emphasize SEO, whereas others lean on social filtering. Some work on your sites, whereas others create content sites on their own platforms. There are no cookie-cutter solutions, but there are technologies that help publishers and marketers aggregate, filter, curate, and publish content.
Here’s a list of some commercial solutions:
- Aggregate—Creates topic-centered sites around specific market segments
- thread—Helps editors curate content for online communities
- Create—Hive Fire’s content curtain and distribution platform
- CurationStation—Web-based software service offering a tool kit for gathering/monitoring, selecting, and sharing specific items among dynamic content
- Day Live—Publisher platform that consolidates media sourcing, management, curtain, and composition
- Eqentia—Enterprise platform for aggregating, curating, consuming, analyzing, and republishing news content
- Idiom—Platform for aggregation and publishing using semantic extraction and other analytics approaches
- Loud3r—A real-time content discovery, curation, and publishing platform
- Main Street Connect—Creates independent hyperlocal news publications
- One Spot—Aggregates, filters, and prioritizes content
- Outside. in—Hyperlocal content solutions for sites and apps
- Perfect Market—Helps publishers identify, package, distribute, and monetize content
- Publish2—Content acquisition and workflow optimization
Content curation and aggregation can take many forms: feeds, “channels” (such as on YouTube), blogs, or even the links you upload to social media sites such as Facebook. It can be an online newsroom, a collection of links, an assortment of RSS feeds, or a Twitter list. Whatever form content curation does take, it’s around a topic, a subject, or even a sensibility that speaks to the knowledge, expertise, taste, refinement, brand message, or persona of the person, brand, or company that has created the particular content channel.