Most of us understand the value of sharing information. But when the information belongs to others, we wonder “what’s the point?” Yet, as massive amounts of information abound, the art of content curation can help us provide resources to our audiences while positing ourselves as an authority. Here’s how.

Curate When You Can't Create

It takes more than just words to create content. Content worth sharing takes time and insight to develop, which isn’t always available. When you can’t be the primary resource, pointing out secondary sources can be just as helpful.

Where do you turn to find new ideas or inspiration? Whether it’s an online magazine or blog, an academic journal or newspaper, valuable secondary sources should offer a thoughtful discussion of relevant topics, as well as poignant commentary.

Pointing others away from your site shouldn’t be regarded as poor marketing, but rather as a savvy way to position yourself and your company as an industry authority. By being selfless, you’re helping others make the most of their time. Sharing information tends to be reciprocal, as well. Those who share are likely to find themselves on the receiving end.

Additionally, sharing secondary resources says that you and your company thinks outside the box. By recognizing that good ideas come from within and outside the corporate walls, companies can begin to expand their horizons and revenue. But pushing out information doesn’t mean simply publishing a link. In order to emphasize a resource’s significance, it’s important to add context.

According to Andew Hannelly in his article Needles, Haystacks, and Content Curation for The Magazine Group’s Engage blog, how a company exhibits others information is what customers will regard as their end product. Hannelly writes, 

Learning Opportunities

How did you present it to them? Can they make sense of what is going on? Or is it more of a headache to go through your curated mess than it would be to find it themselves? Provide a logical flow, a clear explanation of what people are viewing, and do it in a presentable format as to not overwhelm or disinterest your reader.

Like any good museum exhibit, it’s important to have your visitor understand the relevance of the information provided. By making it relatable, curated content can guide a reader’s interest, while conveying important information.

The Wisdom on Curated Content

Curating content is not just a great way to keep a conversation going when you can’t be there to generate fresh content yourself, it’s also a great way to help synthesize a lot of information in a concise manner. How many of us scour Google for information, just to question the credibility of sources found? Yet, when we’re looking through our Google Reader, Twitter or Facebook feeds, we often find information that is more relevant or interesting to us than any Google search produced. That’s because, presumably our feed is full of sources, which we trust or we know not to trust. The links posted by colleagues or close friends will generally provide information we may not have found through our own searches.

In a recent article by Bob Garfield for AdAge, he says that while Google’s advanced algorithms can automate curation, they are based on the needs of everyone, content creation is most valuable when it’s generating from much smaller, trusted sources. He writes,

The nearly infinite supply of content demands that we rely on others -- either the crowd as a whole, or tribes with which we identify, or individual experts we've come to trust, or friends or offspring we have molded, trained, subtly influenced and generally imprinted with our tastes and worldview.

Curated content allows users to be more selective about the content they choose to read. You could find it all on your own, but what for? Your time is valuable so why not let others guide your search. Conversely, if you are able to synthesize lots of content because you not only know where to look, but you understand how specific information can affect the larger picture, why not share that with others?