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How to Curate Content for an Aggregated Content Site

OpenView Labs, my firm’s new content site, was launched last month. The site includes articles written by the OpenView team from repurposed blog posts, articles from the community, and summaries of content created from others outside of OpenView. For this post, I’d like to discuss how we use summaries of externally-created content to keep the site full of valuable content on a daily basis.

Why summarize someone else’s content?

In a recent blog, Joe Pulizzi,  shared an article from B2B’s Paul Gillin describing the growing popularity of curation rather than creation. We have decided to take part in the curation movement for the following reasons:

  • Curation may help position your company as a thought leader in your industry. By packaging the best ideas in the industry and presenting the ideas in a digestible way, your target audience will attribute that value to your brand. Joe has described curation as an essential component to any content marketing strategy for that reason.
  • Summarization is an efficient way to present the most valuable and engaging content for your audience. There is a very good chance that someone else is producing engaging content for your target audience. Instead of creating this same content, why not curate this content and package it for your audience? It will take less time, and your audience may find equal value.

Here is the process we use.

Step 1: Identify the content

All of the information on our Labs site was hand-selected by a member of the team. In fact, several firm members are committed to identifying the best content for our target personas. Here are some tips on how we optimized this step:

  1. Create a definition of “the best content.” This will be different based on your company and target personas. We define it as blogs, articles, videos, presentations, ebooks and white papers that we think our target persona will find value in consuming.
  2. Assign each team member a category or set of categories to own. Each team member is focused on identifying content on two to five topic areas based on the structure of our content site.
  3. Make it easy for your employees to participate. There are a number of ways we help our employees find the best information:
    • We identified keywords to help our contributors find the best resources for each topic area.
    • Our participants find great content using Google Alerts as well as searches on Google and Twitter.
    • We encourage everyone to subscribe to RSS feeds and review the updates on a daily basis to make it seem less daunting.
    • I regularly send out an email reminding everyone to submit the content they’ve found.
  4. Send or post the best content to a central location for review by an editor. We have every employee submit content to one location rather than just sending me an email with the best content.

Step 2: Work with a freelancer to develop the summary

As I mentioned in my last CMI post, OpenView uses several freelancers for our content marketing strategy. The most important thing to note is that you should spend time defining exactly what you want your freelancers to do so that they are set up for success.

Here are some tips on finding good freelancers:

  • Create a Statement of Work to outline the specific details of your project and post that to sites such as Junta42 or Craigslist
  • Interview the standout candidates
  • Assign homework assignments to the potential freelancers to ensure you have found someone who meets your standards

Step 3: Ensure quality control

Since this process involves several people, we have developed a checklist to use with our freelancers so we can ensure our site is of the highest quality at any given time. Here are some samples from the checklist we use for written summaries:

  • Ensure the post has not already been summarized by another freelancer on our team
  • Avoid posting summaries that appear to be advertisements or other low- or no-value content
  • Be sure to follow Fair Use Guidelines, which requires that content taken from other sources:
    • provides a summary;
    • provides insight;
    • cites the original source;
    • encourages readers to check out the original source.
  • Use appropriate OpenView keywords in the summaries from the targeted keyword list

How are you curating content? What are your curation ideas?