It’s not enough to have exceptional content. You have to curate. In simple terms, curation is the intentional selection and placement of discrete pieces of content allowing them to appear in particular spots on webpages.
Digital curators promote, highlight, and sometimes create a new context for content by the placement and organization of the other pieces of content that appear on the same page.
Many of us are digital curators without realizing it. By curating content, we are influencing what our audiences read first and even what they view as most important. So as you select feature stories for your home page or identify RSS feeds for your campus portal, you are curating. Consider the benefits of a compelling faculty profile placed alongside a video clip of an alum praising the career advice she received from her favorite professor.
On a Confab panel about content curation, Margot Bloomstein described curation as a means of filtering the flood of content that’s out there and demanding our attention. She said that filtering content for a specific audience, time, context, perspective and brand has always been of value. And, according to Bloomstein, curation is not just about selection, it’s also about emphasis and persuasion and organization.
Create a different experience.
Speaking of digital curation, are you excited by the opportunity to create a different experience for your audiences by the human-aggregated webpages that present content in meaningful ways? Do you realize that your content curation choices can influence your target audiences to read something they might not find otherwise?
What’s the right balance between content that is automatically machine-aggregated and content that is hand-picked by a human curator?
Don’t know the difference? Netflix uses a sophisticated algorithm to machine-aggregate content specific to your viewing preferences, while sites like Flipboard.com and Longform.org are curated by humans. The sheer volume of digital information means many of us need to use some degree of automation. Perhaps we can rely on aggregation as a first pass and then on the human curator as a fine tune.
Regardless of how you pull together content, consider your institutional communication goals. Communication and brand strategy should always inform your content strategy.