2011-07-01color-blog-graphic-150x133I am asked daily about content curation. What is it, how do I use it and will I be criticized by anyone for using it. There are so many misconceptions about content curation the questions could go on forever.

Blogs are a lot work! There is no such thing as an auto blog, or a blog that you do not have to work hard to produce. Of course you could use a hired staff or virtual assistants to write your blog, but that usually comes after several months of assigning them other work that you review and okay.

One should never allow another person to become the voice of your blog. Once you know for sure your assistant can write like you do (your voice), then you can gradually turn the work over to them.

Why Should You Consider Content Curation Information?

 One of the oldest and most popular magazines in the US market is Readers Digest. Why do you think it has had such legs and is still so popular? Actually, it is very simple – first and foremost it has content that fits into the short attention span of the American public. The size is perfect for a brief case or handbag. You know the content is going to be funny, enlightening, empowering, answer questions and entertain you. In fact, it is largely content curation at it’s best and has been since the beginning. That was way before the term content curation became a buzz word.

All viewers and readers of your blog will love content curation. It gives them not only your expert view of the niche, but other opinions and information as well, in a short and concise format with the option of gaining additional information from additional sources if wanted. It is the best of all worlds for the reader.

Content curation is going to explode in 2014 and you should be ready to use it to your advantage. I’ll answer the most asked question first. No, you can NOT just surf on over to anyone’s website and clip and past their content into your website. Yes, there are lots of auto blogging plugins and software being sold that may create that impression. Using one is at your own risk. Doing so is a definite route to being criticized. 

Plan Your Blog Content in Advance!

It is much easier to plan your blog content well in advance so you can find sites and blogs that may have information you would like to reference. Here are the basics. Additional information follows below.

When you find such a site, jot down the title of the content (do not clip and past the content into the email you will be sending) you are interested in. Then contact the site owner and ask for their permission to reference the information in a post on your site.

Be sure to let them know why you think the content is relevant and important to your readers. You should also ask for the correct way to reference their permission, the author and the link to their website when you use the content.

TIP: If you are going to reference their content then you must use the documentation information exactly as they send it to you at the bottom of the post.

Give them time to answer you. If you don’t hear back from the person in ten days or so, forget about referencing the content. Move on to another site with equally interesting information. Add the topic to your blogging editorial calender for a month or so out. Then write a post on the topic, using your own research and words.

TIP: Personally, I would not use the same research references contained in the post you originally wanted to use. Better safe than sorry.

How To Gather Curated Content For Your Blog.

In order to use curated information on your website, it takes a lot of preliminary work and a lot relationship building. This should be a two or three month in advance project. This is why having an editorial Calendar of topics is so important. If you do not feel you can plan out a whole year, do at least the first quarter of the year. Be sure to use a day during the last week of the first month of that quarter to plan out the next quarter. Rinse and repeat for the rest of the year.

To help in your blog planning, Lynette Chandler has a wonderful and FREE Blog Planner called The Blog Engerizer. There is also a Blog Engerizer App available from the Apple App Store. It is a calendar for your content planning. You will also find special national days/weeks/months of the year that may be a prompt for your blog posts and promotion.

TIP: If you use these special dates, be sure to mark the end and remove dates in your personal work calendar.

Not that I have personally let them run way beyond their time or anything in my blogs. Okay, so I have, hence the tip.

Planning Day

Find a blog or two with content you like and trust.  Of course, it should be information you can add content to offering your expert insight.

Visit the site daily or weekly for a period of time to insure the quality of content is consistent. Leave a few comments to establish your presence on the site. Answer questions in your area of expertise, if possible.

Connect with the website owner or blog writer and compliment their work. Build a relationship. Send an email requesting a guest post written for your website (builds two-way traffic). Follow the website and or person on ALL the social media services.  Use a few short quotes from the website owner in your own blog posts, articles or pages.

The first key to using curated information is to use snippets of information. Your readers are not looking for long paragraphs of information clipped and pasted from another website. Nor are they looking for a long list of quotes referenced by he said, she said or they said.

Add your expert opinion or the additional facts you have researched and written yourself to the curated content, in an easy to read and understand way.  Of course, you will use quotes when using their exact words or thoughts.

Content Curation Magic

The second and most important and key to using curated information is always using a link back to the quoted source and/or website. The link back is what makes curated information so magical.  It creates two way plus additional traffic for your blog or website. It makes you appear more professional, connected and worldly. It proves to your readers that you actually work hard to bring them quality and varied content and information.

Most of all it shows you care about relationship building within your niche of information. You never know where these contacts may lead you in the future.

 

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