Creating Community By Curating Content

A lot of people are talking about content curating these days. People are saying that it’s really important, it’s great, it’s awesome, it’s a growing part of the online world, et cetera ad infinitum. And hey, I’m really happy about that (cough, Blog Library, cough). But apart from the fact that it’s just plain enjoyable, not a lot of people really emphasize why it’s beneficial to curate content. The fact is, for me, working as an online content curator has helped me grow my online community.

How does that work? I’m so glad you asked!

You Visit A Lot of Blog Sites

Let me tell you, there are a lot of fantastic writers out there. Many of them are so good that once you find them, you can’t imagine reading anyone else. But then you find another person who is just as good. It can become easy to just get in the habit of visiting the same sites every day, or maybe just putting a few sites into your Google Reader or your Triberr account and leaving it at that. But when you curate content, you need to go beyond your own front yard. You need to try to find new people so that your audience remains interested in what you are doing.

Guess what happens when you visit other blog sites? You meet new people! You start commenting on those posts, thereby networking not just with the blogger but also with his or her audience. Pretty soon, you’re talking to them all on other platforms, and there you have it – you’re starting to add to your community!

You read a lot of different perspectives or opinions

Another benefit to curating content for your community is that you are offering perspectives and opinions that are not just, well, yours. There’s nothing wrong with sharing your opinion, of course, but people sometimes like to see what else is out there. Just like Ariel the Mermaid, they want to know what lurks above your part of the sea. If you provide access to that information, you keep your audience engaged and you also can entice people who may not relate 100% to your perspective but who enjoy reading some of the other perspectives you curate. Woops, there goes your community, growing again!

You reveal your likes and dislikes

I think curating content reveals a lot about a person. I’m sure that if you look at some of the curating I’ve done over the last year or so, you can get an idea of what kind of stuff I like and what kind of stuff I don’t like. You might get a feel for my sense of humor or for what I find touching. These are deep-seated aspects of a person that may not come across through a blog post here or there. By adding other peoples’ content to your world, you are rounding yourself out as an online entity. This makes it easier for people to engage with you, or at least easier for them to argue with you. Either way, the community grows.

Mentioning and promoting another person’s post is a good way to give back

Finally, it’s important not to overlook the fact that curating someone’s content is a way to tell them that you appreciate their work. I could retweet a ton of posts and I’m sure that would be fine, but I really enjoy the opportunity curating gives me to explain why I like a post as much as I do. What did the blogger say that really stuck with me? Why did I like the post so much? This helps my audience relate to the post, sure, but it’s also my way of telling the blogger how I really feel about what he or she is up to. Without agenda, without intent other than to gather good content together, you can bring a smile to a blogger’s face. What better foundation for community is there?

Now of course there are other benefits to curating content. If you do it a certain way maybe you get a lot of backlinks. Maybe you get traffic to your site. That’s what a lot of people focus on. But for me, it’s all about the community building.

Have you given content curation a try? Do you find these things I say to be true? Let’s chat about it!

Image by Iwan Beijes. http://www.sxc.hu/profile/iwanbeijes

10 comments
Diana Z
Diana Z

I'm new to your site and have just signed up for your email posts. I hate to even ask this, but what does curating content mean?

Thanks.

Guillaume Decugis
Guillaume Decugis

Margie, I think you're touching on a very interesting aspect of curation that is sometimes undervalued.

Interestingly, the way I've discovered your post is exactly what you describe: through the community I developed on Scoop.it (disc: I'm the CEO) as I've described here: http://j.mp/qZP1f9

I hope you won't mind the plug but your post highlights both a trend we've seen develop on our platform (where we see curators creating new relationships and interactions every day) as well as a vision we had.

One thing I would add to your analysis is that we've found adding a topic-centric approach to curation was even more powerful: the ability to instantly identify shared topics of interest is a great way to accelerate the building of a community through curation.

Don't you agree?

Thanks again for the post.

Susie Blackmon
Susie Blackmon

Curating has been the most personally beneficial aspect of my on-line life. People are much more responsive (over time) and adding value in whatever small way I can fuels my fire. I find I am neglecting my WordPress blogs but using my Tumblr and Posterous sites much more, so I guess I am a microblogger at this point. Being passionate about, and devoted to, horses and the Western lifestyle, I am not a 'mainstream' blogger. However, if I ever hit on that nugget I could blog and expand upon that would be unique and interesting and not already beat to death (there are MANY horse blogs and sites) in the cyber-world, I would be a more consistent blogger. I curate for the most part under #horsebiz, and I'm adopting a 12-step program on line to admit that Pinterest is my latest addiction. ;-)

Bill Dorman
Bill Dorman

I will tell you a little secret, but this has to stay right here; for your eyes only.

I am a much better comment curator than I am a blogger. In fact, it is really the only thing that brings traffic to my site. However, I still have plenty of room to grow as a blogger so I think I will just enjoy the journey along the way for now.

I too like to find new people; my challenge is I have to start picking and choosing who gets my time. Being the inclusive social kind of person I am, that gets tough indeed for me.

Thanks for sharing and hope you have a great weekend.

Margie Clayman
Margie Clayman

Hi Diana,

Great question. Think of a museum curator who gathers bits and pieces together to create a show. In the online world, you're gathering posts from different people (or tweets, or whatever) into your own platform so that you can share with your community. In this case, we're talking about gathering links to other peoples' posts on your own blog site.

This post from Mashable might explain it better: http://mashable.com/2010/05/03/content-curation-creation/

Margie Clayman
Margie Clayman

Thank you so much for your great comment and all of your support!

And yes, I do agree. Much like a Twitter chat draws people together because you know you have common interests, curating content can draw people together for the exact same reason. Plus, you're strengthening those ties because you're promoting other people.

And also, it's really fun. Let's not forget that! :)

Margie Clayman
Margie Clayman

I need to check out Pinterest, but based on how everyone talks about its addictive qualities, I'm pretty scared of it! :)

That's interesting that you're pretty much residing in the microblogger world. I think that's where a lot of people are going to end up. To me, you're ahead of the curve :)

Margie Clayman
Margie Clayman

I think you far undersell your skills as a blogger, Mr. Man. But whatever you say...your secret is safe with me :)

Thanks for your comment, as always, Bill!

Cheri
Cheri

Although I'm sure you are much better than I am, I wholeheartedly agree. I written some really good comments that should have been blog posts! You just get into the flow of the supposed conversation you are having with the writer...at least I do.

And I tweet this fact enough, I believed @toddschnick when he said we should be reading and commenting on at least five blogs per day. Really commenting, not just: Great Post! Thanks!

I'm a big blog reader too and I am now just getting to the point that something has to give...it's taking up way too much of my time as I keep adding on new ones and not eliminating anything.

Great Post! Thanks! [only kidding ;-) ]

Margie Clayman
Margie Clayman

Time is definitely a factor, Cheri. No doubt about that. If you decide to curate content on a regular basis, you need to be ready for it to eat your life, just like everything else does in this online space! :)

Thanks for your GREAT comment!!

Or...nice comment. ;)

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