April 27, 2012

Take charge of the curation wave with these slick tools


A Twitter best practices page on Scoop.it curated by Debra Askanase.

Why Scoop.it, Bundlr, Pearltrees, Storify & Pinterest should be part of your Web marketing plan

Second of two parts. Also see:
Top tools to help you curate business content

Guest post by Gianluca Fiorelli
SEOmoz

Target audience: Businesses, brands, social marketers, SEO marketers, website developers, Web publishers.

gianlucaIn the last couple of years, the tools available to content curators have really taken off on the Web. Some are worthy of the hype and have partly changed the nature of content curation (Pinterest anyone?), and others have a great user base in the content marketing field but are less known to social media or SEO marketers.

Below I’ll list and describe the most interesting ones. It’s a very personal selection, so please add your own favorites in the comments.

Scoop.it: An all-in-one solution for content curation

Scoop.it is probably the best site for content curation right now. Even though it offers several ways to share the content you curate in your Scoop.it magazine on your social sites and to embed on your site, it’s mainly meant to be viewed on the Scoop.it site.

The final product is a magazine, where it’s possible to publish content suggested by the Scoop.it suggestion engine — from the sources you have set up, from its bookmarklet, and from the other curators you’re following on the site itself.

The overall quality of the curators present in Scoop.it is quite high, even though you must dig to find the truly remarkable ones. The system suggests users related to your topic. But if you want to explore topics you’re not curating, the Scoop.it search system is not the best one.

Scoop.it offers the opportunity to republish your curated content on your site: via widget, which you can configure as you want, and via RSS feed. If you have a WordPress or Tumblr blog, you can connect it with your topic page and republish your curated content there.

Scoop.it is a freemium product, and the free subscription is powerful enough for your typical content curation needs. But if you want to use your brand, your own domain/subdomain and have analytics (and connect your magazine to Google Analytics), then you need to subscribe to the Business plan.

For more insights about Scoop.it, read this post, which Gabriella Sannino published on Search Engine Journal, or this great guide by Chris Dyson on his blog.

Bundlr: Clip & save text clips, images, video and more

Bundlr is a “clipper site.” Think of it as Pinterest but not limited to just images and videos. In fact, with it you can clip and save in your bundles practically everything you find relevant online: text clips, images, video, code snippets and more.

Bundlr, as with any curation content tool, lets you share on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google Plus what you have clipped, and it lets you add your note about the clip. This is especially interesting for social content curation. Moreover, the page can be curated by more than one curator or can be kept private if you are curating a topic for internal use only (both available in the pro version only).

Bundlr lets you embed your topic page in your own site, too. The embed will get updated as constantly as you continue to clip new relevant quotes and images about your selected topic. Another way to embed a page in your site is via RSS.

Alternatives to Bundlr include:

  • Snip.it is in beta and very Facebook oriented.
  • Bagtheweb.com is a mix between Scoop.it and a clipper site. Its most interesting functionality is that you can create a network of “bags” to create a deeper curated content experience about a topic and its subtopics.
  • Clipboard offers the opportunity to embed (or share on social networks or with a link) just one clip. For instance, click this link.
  • (Oh, yes) Pinterest.

Storify: Curate coverage while adding commentary

Storify fulfills perfectly the “chronology” concept of content curation. With it, it’s possible to narrate a story aggregating the best content about the same topic from different sources, while commenting on it and offering your own vision about the event presented, as this Storify by Charles Arthur about sexism in the web marketing industry nicely displays. Continue reading

April 26, 2012

Top tools to help you curate business content

Strawberry Jam, Zite, PostPost: Tools to help you identify content relevant to your business needs

First of two parts. Also see:
Take charge of the curation wave with these slick tools

Guest post by Gianluca Fiorelli
SEOmoz

Target audience: Businesses, brands, social marketers, SEO marketers, website developers, Web publishers.

gianlucaWhen it comes to the Internet, I imagine it as the warehouse where the Ark is archived at the end of “Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark.” The Ark is that outstanding content that someone has produced and no other will be able to see again, because it is forgotten and hidden between gazillions of other things.

Apart from the gigantic volume of pages present in the Internet, for a long time search spam has been making the discovery of reliable sources difficult. Social media has exacerbated this issue, because it added even more noise and dispersion. Actually, as Mitch Kapor once said, getting information off the Internet is like having a drink from a fire hydrant.

To tell the truth, this problem is not new.

What is content curation?

Since the beginning of time, people have collected the best that humanity has produced in art, literature and science. We invented museums, libraries and encyclopedias. We’ve written essays and done research. We’ve always looked at curators who knew how to identify the good stuff.

Content curation falls into that same tradition. Content curation is the process of collecting and cataloging only the most interesting things about a subject to share it for the common benefit.

We need this more than ever in the Internet era. As Rohit Barghava wrote in his Content Curation Manifesto, content curators will bring more utility and order to the social Web. In doing so, they will help to add a voice and point of view to organizations and companies that can connect them with customers – creating an entirely new dialogue based on valued content rather than just brand created marketing messages.

5 kinds of content curation

Let’s try to identify five kinds of content curation:

  1. Aggregation, which consists of curating the most relevant content about a topic at a single location. This is the most common way of curating content, and it is how most sites do it.
  2. Distillation, whose purpose is to distill the overall buzz about a topic to its most important and relevant essence. At its best, social content curation is supposed to work this way.
  3. Elevation, where curators discern a general trend or insight from a mass of daily musings.
  4. Mashups, where different material about a topic is combined to create a new original point of view.
  5. Chronology, which could be defined as historiographical content curation. Usually it consists of presenting a timeline of curated information to show the evolution of a particular topic.

How to do content curation: The tools

There are a large number of sites and tools that help the content curation process, but none is useful without one essential skill: your ability in separate the wheat from the chaff. That means that at first a curator needs to collect all the information out there about the topic he is going to curate and then start selecting.

The best way to collect that information is listening. For instance, if someone would like to start curating the SEO topic, he should spend some time each day visiting sites like SEOmoz, Search Engine Land, Search Engine Watch and Search Engine Journal, examining the sites/blogs of the people active in those sites, select the most interesting ones and use two starting tools, RSS and Twitter:

  • RSS to track their own content production about the SEO topic
  • Twitter to track the content related to the SEO industry they share.

This discovery phase can be facilitated by tools, two of which are not strictly Web-based but mobile apps:

Zite: A personalized magazine

Zite (for iOs, WebOS and Android and owned by CNN) is a “personalized magazine,” which not only offers the opportunity to connect your Google Reader, Twitter and Pocket (formerly Read It Later) accounts so that you have all the content in one place and organized into sections but also offers a large selection of content from other sources it crawled on the Internet. All of this content is presented in standard sections like Technology, Politics, Arts & Culture, etc. Continue reading