Seems like everyone is on the curation bandwagon, believing it is the be-all and end-all of online publishing. Well, I am going to explain just how stupid that line of thinking is.
First of all, think about this. Almost everything that has ever been published on the web is curated content.
You got it right. Nearly everything is curated. In other words, there is not one word published on the ‘net that has not come from somewhere else, originally published by someone else.
You may think you are writing original content based on your own ideas and thoughts, but all you are really doing is re-wording something you learned somewhere from someone. The thoughts and ideas are not original, just the method of delivery.
Pretty sobering thought, isn’t it. Kinda makes all of the “original unique content” arguments seem a bit silly.
You see, the reality is that Google really doesn’t care if it adds to the global pool of knowledge by only indexing the best original content – because Google can’t distinguish original content from curated content and better than we. Although they might try to suggest otherwise, they are not an altruistic entity. There is no “there” there.
Google is nothing more than a big ad agency. Like a television network, Google only makes a profit if it has viewers. And viewers don’t tune in for “original” content, or “unique” content, or “curated” content. They tune in for “interesting” content, or as Google likes to phrase it, “engaging” content.
Now, back to curation. If you, as a web publisher, truly believe that all you have to do is grab somebody else’s content and republish it with a few tweaks, you are sadly mistaken. Most of the content you’re curating has already been curated by someone else, possibly several times. What kind of chance do you have curating content from a site that already has 10,000 visitors a day with fans reposting their articles all over Twitter and Facebook?
Not much I’d imagine.
“But wait”, you say. “So-and-So told me all I’d have to do is buy CurationSoft, find a few snippets of content, add a few sentences, and I’ll be rolling in traffic”.
Well, hate to break it to you, that’s really doubtful. You’ve been led to believe, unfortunately, that a piece of this content + a piece of that content + a piece of that content = completely new and unique content. (Remember the first point of this post – that ALL content is actually curated)?
Sure, you may get a bit of a traffic spike if your post happens to show up in the search results for a minute, but in all likelihood nothing at all will happen. That’s because your version of the content is not really any more interesting, or more engaging, than the version of it you “borrowed”.
And why would it be more interesting? You haven’t added anything of value to it. And isn’t that really the name of the game? Adding enough value to the web to make it worthwhile to even mention what you added?
So, here’s the deal. Curate if you want. But, do it right. Use curated content as “support” or “backup” for your real, researched, original, factual content. Concentrate on the content itself, not the curation. Write the article, make sure it’s interesting and engaging and adds something of value as far as the visitor is concerned.
What “So-and-So” should have said is something like, “Write a great, informative article. Then buy CurationSoft and find related snippets to support what you’ve written”. Now, that sounds like a decent strategy.
By the way, Zemanta is a free tool that fits the “better” strategy like a glove. It loads in your browser, or in Wordpress as a plugin. Zemanta wants you to start writing before it even provides curation assistance. The idea is to write your article, add an image or two from their image sources, add a few authoritative links from Wikipedia and elsewhere, and tag your article with their suggestions.
Then, if you want, you can add links to other article sources (with snippets of text) as resources. Zemanta fully supports the “write first, then curate” formula.
As a bonus, Zemanta informs sites you’ve linked to that you have linked to them, and let’s you know when other Zemanta users have linked to you. Linking to other sites is therefore encouraged in the Zemanta network. Pretty cool, right?
- 5 Ways to Engage Readers Through Curated Content(business2community.com)
- Storytelling with Content Curation(contentcurationmarketing.com)