4 Ways to Create Value with Curation

January 18, 2014


They’re everywhere.  Long lists of people chased by tantalizing tweet bait.  They draw folks in with the timeless human desire for inclusion.  And in the mad rush to draw human eyeballs we’ve begun to confuse list making with thoughtful curation.

Lists represent the quick kill for marketeers.  But great curators create deeper value for their readers.  Curation involves the infusion of the curator’s own unique human values – their own eye makes the collection meaningful and real.  This is why computers don’t curate, they aggregate.

Here are four elements to help the transition from list making to curation:

  1. Make it valuable.  Offer something that really helps.  Live by the rule that your list should do more for your audience than it does for your analytics.  And when the true needs of the information consumer are considered first, the curator can’t help but win.
  2. Make it unique.  Make it something that’s not been done.  Be different in a meaningful way.  Don’t give us the list that we expect.
  3. Make it controlled.  Give us quality, not quantity.  While including every site or person in a particular niche will drive time spent on your site, it isn’t manageable for the time-constrained reader.  Limit your collection to the best of the best.
  4. Tell us why they made it.  Then tell us why they’re there and why I should care.  What have they done or what have they done well?   Give us a few sentences specifically describing how that member of your list fits in to your collection.  It doesn’t have to be elaborate.

Making lists is easy.  Curation is hard work.  Respect the time and bandwidth of your audience and give them something really good.


Murat Cannoyan January 18, 2014 at 10:30 am

The value of curation is immense and the points you highlight are spot on. As to your point about “Tell us why they made it” could you please elaborate? Did you have specific services in mind or are simply expressing what you’d like to see? Thank you.

Bryan Vartabedian January 18, 2014 at 10:51 am

Sure. What I meant is, why is so and so an important person to follow, or whatever. In other words, tell us why you included that person, blog, or whatever.

Wendy Sue Swanson January 18, 2014 at 5:53 pm

Nice post. I agree about your point on value. Sometimes I author or curate content I know isn’t popular/controversial/sexy and I know it won’t propagate. No “credit” for it in regards to # of eyes on it for those who watch the numbers but inevitably I will hear about the post from someone personally — that it helped with their children or their family. That’s the most meaningful thing for me. I hate that analytics have become paramount to hospital systems looking to estimate “value” (or ROI) on physician expertise (online). Understandable but frustrating when it comes to “value.”

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