We’re all facing the same overwhelming torrent of data coming at us every day. Our e-mails boxes are flooded, the pace of change is blistering and the number of sources of information about our various industries is growing almost daily.
Between blogs, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and internally created editorial – there’s more information than there are hours in the day.
The good news is there’s a methodology emerging that companies can embrace to help gather and sort the information that matters. Smart corporate CIO’s and CMO’s are exploring ways to build internal curation solutions.
There are basically two forms of Corporate Curation:
1. Internal Curation:
The current way that information is shared is often informal, with an endless stream of e-mails and CC’s being sent round-robin within the organisation. This informal sharing does little to stop the flood of data, and often, in fact, increases the noise.
But there is a better way. Nominate a team curator for your company or group. Chances are they’re already doing it – acting as an informal editorial hunter/gatherer. Then, instruct your team to forward any interesting links, posts, or tweets to them – and have them organise and publish a daily digest.
Because this is internal, it can include user-generated comments, tweets, industry blog posts, even competitive information about your industry or direct competitors. The important point of having internal curation is that you can agree on the tone and focus of what information needs to be gathered and shared – and over time you’ll find that your team won’t each individually need to be reading 50 blogs or rss feeds to keep current.
2. External Curation:
As consumers look to get coherent, up to date, accurate information – companies that formerly had not thought of themselves as publishers are finding a new need and opportunity in providing trusted information. The idea that consumers can read your website or subscribe to your Twitter feed for a steady stream of information about your company’s area of expertise is a significant shift from the days of objective editorial.
External Curation, the art of gathering links, information, video, and photos that are spread across the Web and providing a feed of related editorially interesting material to your customers, and potential customers, is a powerful new tool in the marketing toolbox.
What’s important here is that if you’re going to offer your Twitter followers or newsletter subscribers an authentic and trusted voice. You can’t cross the line and turn a curated offering into a PR channel that promotes your brand or provides a biased view of the market. This is hard for some corporate communications folks to accept. But face it, no one is subscribing to an RSS feed of your press releases.
As an example, Best Buy has built Tecca.com and deployed a curated app into the iTunes app store called Tecca. It’s free, and it offers bar code scanning, product tips, and price comparisons. Recently, a search for Halo3 ODST on Tecca resulted in the lowest price of $21.50 on estarland.com; BestBuy.com was the highest at $29.99. But BestBuy.com also offers in-store pickup, and their gambling that they can win on convenience and service, not just price. Best Buy is producing content, and aggregating and curating data. Best Buy offering competitors pricing? Welcome to the world of leadership through trust.
Why Curation matters – to both readers and publishers.
We’re at the very beginning of the era of content abundance. The volume of data being created is already overwhelming all the institutions that we currently trust to help us find and filter. Search is broken, mainstream media doesn’t know how to keep up, and tuning out isn’t an option. Curation is a human solution to a problem that robots can’t fix. Finding trusted curators is going to be critical for individuals who want keep their digital heads above water.
The two key elements that are core to successful Curation are authenticity and consistency. Find the voice of your curatorial space, and keep with it. And, if you plan to publish a daily digest – don’t allow yourself to miss a day because you get busy. Find a partner or co-editor. But once you set a pattern for a time and publicity schedule – make sure you keep with it. There are a bunch of tools that can help you with this – Magnify – of course, but other as well Feedburner, Hootsuite, Paper.li, Pearltrees, Needlebase, Curata, and Storify.
Steven Rosenbaum is a curator, author, filmmaker and entrepreneur. He is the CEO of Magnify.net, a Realtime Video Curation engine for publishers, brands, and Websites. His book “Curation Nation” is slated to be published this spring by McGrawHill Business.
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