Content curation is a powerful technique for building a following for a blog and on social media. It’s also a great way to build relationships with other influencers in your niche. The basic principles of content curation are easy to understand: brands and individuals use their blog and social media channels to highlight content relevant to their audiences.
Sharing is a fundamental component of effective social media strategy. The online ecosystem works only because content is disseminated throughout the relationship networks built by sharers. The Internet is a hungry beast, and most brands can’t produce sufficient content to keep their online channels fed. Sharing content created by others is a great supplement to content creation and it often engenders the reciprocal sharing that helps get a brand’s name in front of many more users than simply posting content on a blog and tweeting it would.
Although it seems fairly easy, discovering, curating, and sharing content can be time consuming. Fortunately, there are a number of tools that can be used to streamline the content curation workflow.
In this article we’re going to assume a content curation strategy that is made up of two major components. Firstly, discovering content and then sharing links followers on Twitter. Secondly, publishing a round-up of that content on a WordPress blog at regular intervals.
Pinboard is a social bookmarking site similar to Delicious before the feature bloat. It is a paid service, but it more than makes up for its cost with an excellent feature-set that will form the heart of our content curation workflow.
You’ll probably want to install either a bookmarklet or the relevant Pinboard browser extension.
You’re no doubt already very familiar with WordPress, the world’s most popular content management system. To follow this workflow, you’re going to need to install the HungryFEED plugin, which allows WordPress users to embed an RSS feed into their posts.
Buffer is a service for scheduling social media sharing. It allows users to “buffer” tweets and Facebook content before sharing it according to a predetermined schedule.
IFTTT (If This Then That) is an extremely useful tool for tying web services together. Both Pinboard and Buffer provide an API that IFTTT can use to integrate the services.
We’re not going to concentrate too much on content discovery here, except to point out that Pinboard allows users to search through the public bookmarks of other users. So, if you wanted to find posts about “WordPress”, you’d enter that as a search term in the box at the top right of the Pinboard interface and hit the “Search All” button.
Saving Bookmarks To Pinboard
Pinboard is the central repository of links from which we are going to build our content curation round-up blog post and our Twitter schedule. The two most powerful features of Pinboard are its tagging implementation and its RSS feeds — almost every page on Pinboard has its own highly configurable feed.I’d advise that when you are adding content to Pinboard, you choose a tag that ties all of your content curation together under one heading and/or use subject specific tags if you want to create topic-based content curation round-ups.
In the “Description” entry on the Pinboard bookmark form, you can either copy and paste a snippet of text from the article in question as a quotation or you can write your own. You can use HTML elements like block quote tags and links in the description to style your snippet.
Pushing Content Out To Buffer
Once you’ve got content in Pinboard, you can use an IFTTT recipe to retrieve it and add it to Buffer as a scheduled tweet. We’ve written extensively about IFTTT before, so I won’t go into too much detail about it here, but you should check out that article and then this IFTTT recipe, which takes all links in Pinboard with a specific tag and adds them to the Buffer queue.
Because we’re optimizing the Pinboard entries for the content curation round-up blog post, you’re going to have to go into Buffer and edit the content of the tweets, but this system is much better than having to add each one manually.
Building The Content Curation Round-up
The technique we’re going to use here is borrowed from The Guardian, which uses its publicly viewable Pinboard account to build a daily roundup of technology news. If you take a look at the Guardiantech Pinboard account, you’ll get a good idea of what’s possible with Pinboard.
Once you’ve gathered sufficient links in your Pinboard account, click on the tag you chose to use in the tag column on the right side of the main page. I suggest you add a second tag to group the links into bundles intended for each blog post, perhaps by month. You can filter your link lists by up to three different tags in the RSS feeds.Just next to the search box, you’ll see small orange RSS label: right click it and copy the link.
Pinboard’s RSS feeds are very flexible. One aspect you may want to make use of is the “count” parameter. It allows you to limit the number of entries returned in each feed and therefore the number that will appear in the roundup. You can specify the number by adding it to the end of your feed URL, like so:
Once you have the URL, head on over to your WordPress site and create a new post. You should have already installed the HungryFEED plugin, but if not, do that before you create the new post.HungryFEED adds a button to the post entry dialogue. When you click it, you’ll get a new dialogue into which you can paste your RSS feed’s URL. Set the other parameters as they are in the image below.
And that’s it! Publish your post, and, when you visit it, you’ll have an automatically generated roundup of the links you’ve created with their snippets. If you want, you can use your site’s CSS to style the lists to make them more attractive. This is a fairly basic workflow, but, with a little imagination, there’s considerable scope to go much deeper with these tools.
Image Credit: Carlos Maya