Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Best Practices in Content Curation

Building on yesterday's post on content curation, today I want to share with you some "best practices" for curating content in your career services business.

As I talked about yesterday, content curation is all about providing jobseekers with the information they're looking for — and adding value to that content at the same time. It isn't difficult to do successfully, as long as you use these guidelines.

Know What Jobseekers Want
Successful content curation requires that you choose content that your readers (jobseekers) will find useful or intriguing. Start by understanding your readers and what they're looking for online, information-wise. The better you know their interests and needs, the better you'll be able to deliver the most relevant content. Some jobseekers are interested in the resume (they may have one that's not working, or they may be looking to create one for the first time); others want to know how social media can help in their job search (LinkedIn strategies especially); while others may be in the interviewing stage and be looking for ideas on questions to ask or salary negotiation techniques. Understanding what topics you can curate is the first step.

Follow Other Curators
The best way to learn any skill is to imitate those that came before. Follow other content curators and see not only what kind of information they share — but how they go about doing it. You can learn a great deal about sharing content and engaging readers by simply paying attention to the methods of the experts. Wendy Enelow does an excellent job of this for career services professionals in the Career Thought Leaders E-Bridge newsletter.

Here's a snippet from the Nov. 1 E-Bridge (Issue #20):

Choose the Right Tool
There are many good tools to help you deliver content to your readers. In fact, there are too many. Resist the temptation to bounce around among different tools. Instead, choose one that you like and that does what you need it to do, and stick with that one. You can deliver your content via email newsletter (I recommend AWeber), blog posts, via Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn (simply sharing links to content you come across), or using specific content curation tools. Pinterest can also be a great tool for curating content — especially those with strong visuals. (One great tip I heard last week was to curate videos in a YouTube channel using Pinterest. I did this a few weeks ago with "Call Me Maybe" videos on YouTube on a Pinterest board.)

Add Value
Don't just present the content "as is." Always add some extra value to it by commenting on it, giving it your own spin or opinion, or even contradicting it and creating some controversy. A blog post that starts off with, "I found this article online and I totally disagree with it," can get others commenting and giving their two cents. This is especially important when curating content and sharing it via Twitter and Facebook. Even a sentence or two can increase engagement and discussion.

Quote Articles
One important note about content curation: when you refer to an article in a blog post, don't just put a link to it. This makes your readers follow the link, which is extra work for them and also leads them off your site. Instead, include a snippet or quote so that your reader doesn't have to go anywhere to get the gist of what the article says. Then they can make an informed decision as to whether they want to read further. (Note: When using Twitter to share content, you obviously can't do this -- but it does work when using Facebook, LinkedIn, blog posts, and content curation tools.)

Mix It Up
Don't present the same type of content in your content curation efforts. Mix it up. Rather than just curating articles and blog posts, share videos, infographics, resource sites, and podcasts as well. By curating content from as many different sources as possible, you'll make the learning and reading experience more interesting both for your audience and for yourself.

Always double-check your content curation from the reader's point of view to see if it's truly providing value. Is it better to read your posts or just go straight to the source? Put yourself in their shoes and you'll understand what you need to do to add value to the content you're curating.

Next up: Where To Find Careers Content To Curate

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