Maybe you don't have the resources to develop a lot of content, or maybe you're a professional association that wants to serve its members better by being super helpful. Add that there are many more content creators, inside and outside organizations, and you see how curating information as content strategy could be a very elegant option.
Noting the evolution on the World Wide Web quickly to show you a pattern that went in lockstep with use. You had forums and discussion boards, many still very active, Web sites, then journals, which evolved into blogs with RSS (real simple syndication) capability to package and read feeds, social bookmarking and networks, and then media sites to upload and view videos, photographs, etc.
Each set of tools building on the next, thriving when filling a specific need, and evolving or morphing into something else as appropriate. By now, like most people, you have linked to and shared information, photos, videos, quotes, posts, and stories on your Facebook profile wall, Twitter, blog posts, and other social networks.
Real time logs
I suppose I'm quite old fashioned to be still using a blogging platform in a blog format to publish content. Many publications that got a similar start have moved to more of a magazine format based upon blogging tools. Many blogs have moved to more real time publication tools.
Moving away from blogs and into easy-to-use real time publication and bookmarking tools, you now have a couple of solid options.
Tumblr is a re-envisioning of tumblelogging, a subset of blogging that uses quick, mixed-media posts. It hit 1.5 billion page views this past July and counts more than 18 new posts and 5 reblogs every second allows users to publish photos and images as well. Their strength is the bookmarklet. There is little to no learning curve involved in using it. Features are intuitive and quick to establish. Users simply sign up and begin posting in a minute. It's also possible to add DISQUS as a commenting platform.
Here's a complete guide to Tumblr, if you'd like to see what it can do.
Posterous is another tool that allows you to publish and bookmark very quickly. It’s a simple web publishing platform via email. Text and files can be uploaded to the site via email. Users are not required to create an account to use it. It embeds video, MP3s and other media into a player and turns images into image galleries.
Here's a guide to switch to Posterous from dying platforms.
Say all you want to do is collect and aggregate web links from your social circle and display them in a magazine format you can flip through. If you have an iPad, you'd want to use Flipboard. Launched this past July, this free app has already collected accolades.
You can customize it with sections created from your favorite people, lists and blogs on Twitter, and turn digital pages as in a magazine. The result is a very personalized publication with the links to your favorite stories of the day or week to savor in an attractive format.
Cool Hunting took the app for a spin, see what they say.
You probably saw them everywhere on Twitter. paper.li organizes links shared on Twitter into an easy to read newspaper-style format. Newspapers can be created for any Twitter user, list or #tag.
I confess that this one has me scratching my head, especially since I am seeing dozens and dozes being issued every day. What is their utility aside from aggregating links from Twitter under a tag?
The next iteration for aggregating and publishing are a generation of tools that allow you to build context around the information -- a hybrid of publishing and embedding links from sites to tell a more complete story.
The first one that caught my eye is Storify. It helps you collect the photos, video, Tweets and more and then to publish them as stories or threads that can be embedded anywhere. Say you go to a conference and want to aggregate the tweets, photos, videos in a certain order, this tools allows you to do that.
Is it the future of content creation? Interactivity and functionality exiting in the tweets, content, photos dragged into the stream is preserved. Here's a review from Mathew Ingram of how Storify wants to pull stories from the stream. Finding relevance in the noise is the name of the game.
It looks like start-ups are so resource-starved that they cannot even afford to use correct or full spelling in names. Qrait follows an already rich tradition with its name. It stands for curate, as in content curation, of course.
This is so new that now even Scoble has written about it, yet. According to the site, it's a real time curation platform designed to fulfill the needs of content curators and leverage what you already have. From the video, I gather functionality is similar to that of Storify. It will be interesting to see what the differences are.
While many of the tools above allow you to filter, organize, and publish content, that alone doesn't pay the bills. We've used email newsletters to convert prospects and cross sell to customers for quite a while now. They are still powerful. Would your content sell?
Many of my readers are involved in B2B organizations, so I thought I would add one tool that might just be what they're looking for -- Curata. According to the site, this is a powerful B2B online marketing and content curation solution that delivers easy content production and distribution for high quality leads and elevated market visibility.
This hosted solution reduces the effort of looking up content manually by using natural language processing that identifies, classifies and tags potential articles, automatically. There is a manual review process before posting. The tool also indexes the content for future reference. You will want to look into the lead data capture reports.
I would be remiss if I didn't mention SmartBrief, which produces high end newsletters and whose service I have used when on the corporate side. In addition to having been a client, I am also on the SmartBrief Social Media Advisory Board.
The service includes working with editors to integrate your content with news content researched for your list and purpose. The service comes with solid lead and intelligence reporting that allows you to adjust your approach from month to month.
Here's a sample newsletter for small business.
All in one
Of course I would be remiss if I didn't mention that the biggest play in the content aggregation and curation space is Facebook. You can use the wall to drive engagement, and social ads to drive people to your content. Custom tabs and apps help with campaigns and programs -- here's a tab for Dos Equis, and an app both developed for Disney's Epcot Center by StepChange, a Powered company (where I work).
The tools are in the service of the curator, and this is just the beginning of an evolution that will allow you to filter, edit, and publish information to your networks of friends and customers. To that end, what would you like to see as added features that would benefit you? I'd like to see an automatic
[image from world's largest house of cards record]