How To Create a Successful Curated Blog
Content curation is, in a nutshell, picking and choosing content from around the Web, and sharing it with your followers. Running a curated blog is not just about finding interesting content to share. It requires selectivity, context, and relevance. It’s very easy to flood your readers with a lot of content. Instead, you should pick and choose the very best content you can find, and always let people know why you think it’s worth sharing.
Running a curated blog can be a great way to build a community, to share the things you love, and to even become a trendsetter within your own niche. In order to keep a successful curated blog, you need to be selective, organized, passionate and knowledgeable about your topic of choice. A bit of good karma will always help, so always be sure to link to the original page where you found the content.
Choose Your Niche
The first thing you have to decide when creating your curated blog is deciding what you want to blog about. Like writing, with curation, choose what you know, and what you feel you can become an authority on. You can get as specific as a selection of “the finest articles and essays saved with Instapaper,” which happens to be the topic of one of the most popular curated Tumblr blogs out there, The Feature.
If you’re a designer, focus on the kinds of design that suit your aesthetic. If you’re a writer, hone in on the best that the literary world has to offer. If you’re into social media, keep an eye on how brands and people are reaching out on social networks. But most important of all – pick a topic you love.
Pick Your Platform
Picking your topic is likely to be the easiest part of getting your blog off the ground. The next choice you’ll be faced with is picking a platform. This is something you shouldn’t get too hung up on. While it’s important to have a platform that you feel comfortable using and also gives you access to extra features that will come in handy for sharing content – it plugs into other social media networks, you can use handy plugins or bookmarklets, and a decent sharing and commenting system built into the blogging platform – at the end of the day, it’s all about the content.
One of the most popular blogging platforms that would suit your curation needs is WordPress because of the sheer amount of options available to bloggers whether in themes or plugins. If you’re new to WordPress be sure to check out our in-depth WordPress Guide which will teach you all you need to know about setting up and running a blog using the platform. If you haven’t already discovered it, WordPress’ Press This is a great bookmarklet for sharing content from around the Web on your WordPress blog.
Another popular option is Tumblr, because of its ease of use and built-in audience which certainly lends itself to curation. Again, if you’re new to Tumblr, we have a great post filled with tips and tricks for Tumblr newbies .
Another option is to ditch the blogging platform altogether and head over to a space with a ready-made audience – using Facebook or Google+ to curate the content you want to share. While it does give you access to an audience that is already on the network – you risk losing people who aren’t on Facebook or Google+ and also risk losing the opportunity to put a little bit of your own personality into the design and look of your blog. Instead, you can always use those social networks, along with Twitter, to share your posts using these great autoposting services .
The final option, which we’ve took an in-depth look at, is using third-party services like Storify and Clipboard to curate your way to an Internet following. Whether it’s a service you want to embed on your own blog, a service you want to use as a stand-alone, or that you want to use on your own sub-domain – we’ve got you covered.
Stay On Top Of Your Topic
Once you’ve got your blog set up and are ready to start sharing the best of what the Web has to offer on your topic, you have to make sure that you’re keeping up with the most interesting news to emerge. One of the keys to becoming a leading voice on the topic of your choice is to uncover hidden gems that no one else has heard of, and to get to the big news before anyone else does.
There are several ways you can do this. First, you need to set yourself up with an RSS reader, following other similar blogs and news sites so you know what else is out there. With the sad news that Google is shutting its RSS reader down, we have a few great alternatives to Google Reader that won’t leave you out in the cold.
An RSS reader is not the only option available for keeping up with your topic of choice. Google Alerts delivered to your email inbox as they happen or as daily digest are a great way to discover hidden gems from around the Web. In addition to Google Alerts, there are several ways you can monitor Google’s past 24 hour search results , including the extremely handy TrackEngine.
A third option for keeping up with the topic is to use third party apps like Flipboard, Pulse [No Longer Available], Zite and Prismatic. These are all services which you can choose your favourite topics, sources, social network accounts, and more, to create a curated personal magazine of sorts that delivers only content that you are interested in. You can then take that content, parse through it, and decide what you want to share with your followers.
Once you’ve made a commitment to run a curate blog, you have to be consistent. The best way to do this is to set a schedule and workflow for yourself. If you have a long commute, use that time to filter through the content that you want to share. Use a tablet, or even your phone, and save items from Flipboard, Zite, your RSS reader, Twitter, and wherever else you’re finding it. Create a dedicated Evernote notebook where all the content can go, or opt for a read-it-later service like Pocket or Instapaper. Whatever you choose – make sure you have both mobile and desktop access to your content.
You should also make sure to schedule your actual blog posts. With both Tumblr and WordPress you can schedule posts, making it easy to space out your content so that you don’t flood your followers with a ton of content only when you have access to a computer or Internet connection.
And remember – part of building an audience is meeting expectation. If you don’t keep a consistent posting schedule, people are less likely to come back, and even less likely to find you in the first place.
Promote. Promote. Promote
While the old adage, “If you build it, they will come“, has some truth to it, there also has to be a certain amount of effort on your part to promote your content. Make sure it’s easy to subscribe to your content using an RSS feed, or even offer users the option to receive an email digest or weekly newsletter.
Use social media, like Twitter, Google+ and Facebook to promote your posts, and make sure there are easy-to-use buttons for your readers to share that content. Adding read-it-later buttons is also a great way to make sure that your content gets the attention it deserves.
Looking for some inspiration? Here are a few recommended curated blogs that are among the best in their field:
What tips would you add to the list? Do you have a favourite curated blog? Share it with us in the comments.
Image credit: Scissors via Shutterstock
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