If Content is King, could Curation be Queen, and Pinterest your Pawn?

On the heels of Adam Japko's excellent webinar on Content Curation (here are a few of the tools he referenced), I have been mulling over a couple of striking ideas. One is etiquette and how it's changing in the online world. The other is the notion of curation as a lens through which to view the old adage "Content is King." Maybe a co-leader is a better term? Curation as Queen? Queen

It's not that SEO is dead, or that content is passé, it's that the massive amount of information available to anyone today creates an unmanageable flow of data. Like trying to take a sip from a fire hose. We need curation, if only to help us identify which stream of info is important to us. Once we do that, then we can write or share content with SEO in mind.

So aggregators, feeds and the need for such things are driving a ton of new apps and services - Adam shared a whole list which I'm looking forward to exploring, see link above for some. We absolutely need help identifying the things that we think matter among the vast array of data coming at us every minute of every day. These apps work like funnels, or off-ramps, sieves or straws, a redirection and sorting for you in ways you determine through choices, search preferences and such. You get the idea.

Pinterest and Smart Curation

In the meantime, consider Pinterest. If used well, we can drive traffic to our sites, create value and establish authority by harnessing the power of curation, and by doing a few smart things with it, or any other social media tool.

Here are some key pointers I shared in comments at TECHMunch a while back, many of which are echoed in this list of Pinterest mistakes new users make. Adam and I both use the cocktail party analogy in coaching people on social media best practices, probably because we both love parties, but also because it's an apt and accessible analogy.

Pour yourself a glass of wine, and think of the last party you went to.

  • Someone there was probably very self-absorbed and you tried to avoid them.
  • Someone else was a little interesting in that they talked about a lot of new ideas but might not have had something unique to say about those things.
  • And someone at that party really piqued your interest because they had something interesting to say about most things, whether it was a fresh perspective on something old, or a viewpoint on something new.

Be that person on social media (or at the next party) and you will rule. Even if ruling isn't your thing, you'll at least establish yourself as someone that people want to hang with, online or in real life.

On Becoming Queen - Three Tips

1. Share the why, not just the what. It's less interesting to simply share a data point (as in a RT) without context. It's harder in the scope of 140 characters, sure. In other places, like Facebook or blog posts, share your unique spin on something to add more value, be more interesting than that simple RT.

2. Don't just amplify, connect. Sharing a link is good, adding your unique spin is better. Connecting others who share this interest but may not know each other - ka-ching! Be that person at the party that says "Oh Adam, you have to meet my friend Rich, you both know a lot about wine."

3. Adopt/adapt, experiment. Change is constant and it seems to be more rapid than ever. Try out new tools as they come along, many have no cost so the only barrier is your time. Adapt as needed. They used to say "find one niche and be all about that, only that".

I actually believe the complexity and diversity of ideas and information available makes it possible to be a more complex and diverse content provider. People can pick and choose which of your posts, tweets or comments they care to respond to and ignore others. Most of us are more than one thing and have more than one interest. Denying things you are passionate about cuts you off from that audience, as well as the joy of being in the space you naturally gravitate toward.

Experiment and don't be afraid to discard what's not working. This is where the speed of change will work in your favor. I used to write a sports blog ("The Sixteenth Minute - because anyone can be an expert for 15 minutes - it's the sixteenth minute that counts.") Probably no one even remembers it. But I've found sports fans on Twitter. Does it dilute my "food writer" cred? I don't think so.


Coming up...

Look for my next post on N'etiquette - avoid alienating audiences or making your followers flee. Old rules, new world.

» What are your pet peeves in terms of etiquette online? Irritating offenses? Practices you find downright rude? Drop a comment here and I may include them in the post.