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Why do most sites do content curation badly?

Content curation used to be one of the hottest buzzwords in online publishing. It seemed like almost everybody and his dog wanted to do content curation. The sad reality of all this buzz and excitement was that few people had a real clue as to what real content curation was all about. On the one extreme, you have people that just use RSS feeds to strip out random amalgamations of information based on keyword triggers and then slap them together in one website and present that as a curated website. The problem with this approach is that there is no filter. It looks like somebody just slapped together random content that has no thematic unity. This mess basically doesn’t build any credibility. It doesn’t build any authority. Most of all, it doesn’t build any loyalty. On the other extreme of content curation, a human editor tracks down by hand all these news items, reads them thoroughly, and crafts a well-put-together sequence of news clips that draw on parallels or relationships between these news items. On top of that, these relationships are presented in an originally worded heavily-researched article with lots of illustrations, diagrams and videos.

In an ideal world this is the best way to curate content. Unfortunately, as you can tell by the description of this content curation method, it takes a lot of effort and it costs a lot of money. It takes a lot of time and effort to read through all these materials carefully. It takes a lot of money to hire somebody to manually go through the thousands of news and resource items to pick out which one’s relevant. It cost a lot of money to have somebody read through these items carefully, analyze the relevant parts, piece them together and write a content bridge that pulls all these different elements into a concise whole. Thankfully, there is a happy middle ground. You don’t have to go either extremes while you can get a lot of credibility on authority with the labor intensive content curation extreme mentioned above. You might not have enough money to pull that off.

The best approach would be the middle-of-the-road solution where you hire freelance or outsourced data analyst to process your google keyword alert and data filter into a coherent newsfeed that you can then review for applicability to the news item that you are compiling. The next step would be to quote blocks of relevant summary text from those sources and then piece them together with a fairly short but effective text. Of course, you still have to do source attribution. This middle approach reduces a process that would otherwise take hours into a timespan of maybe 15 to 20 minutes. If you’re able to do content curation this way, your output increases, but at the same time you’re able to maintain the level of credibility and authority you would have with people looking for this particular type of niche content. Content curation works, unfortunately most people do it wrong by using this middle of the road approach. You can benefit tremendously from content curation without spending an arm and a leg.