While CMSWire and others have been talking about content curation for a while, it has increasingly been coming up in the context of its use as a necessary component of the future of journalism.
Follow the Story, Curate the Experience
A SXSW session on the topic sounded a little like this:
The way to cover big news in 2011 is not "here's what happened." It's "here's how to follow the story"
The concept that aggregating and curating content helps to add meaningful perspectives to important stories isn’t new -- artists, librarians and historians have been doing it for years. But it wasn’t until content curation emerged as a viable option for companies that it began to gain traction.
The Internet’s success and the prevalence of online, social, digital and mobile media has made scanning, rather than reading, a necessity. When people read online, it’s slower. To capitalize on reader’s need for speed and information, aggregating content helps keeps users informed, while helping news media stay relevant and useful.
Putting Content Curation In Action
But you work in the enterprise, not publishing. Still, you have a story to share, so how can you create a way for users to follow the story, when it’s not breaking news, but product launches or system updates?
Here are a few examples of successful content curation projects as demonstrated by companies that will help convince, inspire and energize your content initiatives.
IBM’s Smarter Planet
Launched in 2008, IBM’s Smarter Planet concept was born as a traditional advertising campaign, but positioned IBM as a global thought leader, taking part in the debate about the world’s future.
Frank Boermeester, a research psychologist and content innovator, says that IBM’s Smarter Planet initiative
…isn’t just a campaign. This is a real attempt to change the world for the better. This is communication as it should be."
So what does it do? The Smarter Planet Initiative aims to present a series of conversations for a smarter planet through an interactive, collaborative archive of a variety of topics, from energy and utilities to electronics and aerospace to healthcare and transportation. By synthesizing content around topics that are well-organized, engaging and relevant to businesses, IBM’s Smarter Planet helps make us all smarter and empowered to make a difference.
Hotels, Clouds, Cars
Obviously, not all of us can be like IBM, but we can take a cue from its efforts and provide our customers with ways to help them make smarter decisions.
We found a few content curation anecdotes while perusing Quora. Jason Ford, founder of FeedMagnet, says:
Morgans Hotel Group curates content from Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and RSS feeds to provide hand-crafted feeds for news and events, which they then place on iPads in every guest hotel room. One of the feeds showcases all of the content being generated by their own people talking about culture, art, and events in the city, which is then re-purposed on their marketing website."
Novell’s Trusted Cloud provides the latest news and opinions about cloud application security and cloud security in one useful interface. From featured articles to recent posts and video, a diverse array of content is thoughtfully and aesthetically curated.
Toyota, with a little help from TweetMeme, has created Toyota Conversations, a site dedicated to creating a dialogue around all the popular links on Twitter referencing Toyota. Toyota wins points for transparency because it clearly explains how links get featured and what users can expect from the site.
Ultimately, Toyota Conversations is designed to be a place where users can find the most relevant, useful, real-time Toyota information available on the Web, while serving as a destination resource for users who want to learn more about the latest news and links, and engage in conversations with the car company.
Curation in the enterprise can be as big or as concentrated as it needs to be. Regardless of whom you are trying to influence, by giving users the ability to sample different perspectives easily and diplomatically, companies can position themselves as thought leaders, visionaries and trusted authorities, which in turn will build customer loyalty.