The Future of Content Marketing is Self-Curation

curateyourcontentEveryone knows there’s a lot of stuff on the internet.

In fact, 90% of the data in the world has been created in the last two years.

This makes it incredibly important for you – from company to individual – to curate your own content.

Last week, I talked about how this means taking all your best stuff and arranging it in a way that caters to your audience.

Because if you don’t curate your content, it doesn’t matter how much content you’ve even made: people simply don’t have the patience to search for that golden Stuff.

I recently found someone who had perfected these gingerbread trail gymnastics. Let’s take a look at how she curates her content:

A kingdom of content curation 

Last week, I was resting quite comfortably on my laurels for curating my “Fiction” tab.

Until I was forwarded an email from Jane Friedman, a former publisher at Writer’s Digest and an editor at The Virginia Quarterly Review.

I clicked onto the home page, not knowing I had just stepped into the ring of a heavyweight content curator. I was unprepared for so many gut-punches of Relevancy:

Jane’s home page throws hooks of relevant content curation everywhere you turn.

A tab for writers! A bunch of posts for new readers! More social media tabs than I’ve ever seen in my life! The hits kept coming. So…much… relevant…stuff.

I was in a daze. Free Advice for Writers? Of course I was going to check it out.

So, I did.

Jane self-curates by creating her own archives.
Jane self-curates by creating her own archives.

Unlike most people who use WordPress, Jane doesn’t depend on the handy but disorganized category archive (see my “Essay” tab for an example).

Instead, she has carefully crafted a path with very helpful road signs.

Optimizing for skimmability 

The “Free Advice for Writers” tab leads to pretty much every topic a writer could be looking for.

Blog readers already have a tendency to skim things, so Jane has created a page that is optimized for skimming.

Here’s the best part: once you choose a direction on this blog, those signs guide you even further.

If I click “Start Here: How to Get Your Book Published,” I’m treated to a blog post that is not just optimized for skimmability, it’s optimized for my impatience in getting the information I want. 

Because, right now, I’m looking for stuff about how to get a book self-published, not traditionally published.

Imagine my delight, then, when I saw a sub-header in this blog post and a collection of links that matched my search perfectly.

That’s how almost each section of the blog post is set up:

Each of Jane's sub-sections links deeper into her site with even more relevant content.
Each of Jane’s sub-sections links deeper into her site with even more relevant content.

This blog post leads me deeper into the site, which helps boost search engine optimization (SEO), which in turn boosts rankings in search engines. Occasionally, these links lead to outside web properties: articles Jane has written for other sites or useful, relevant resources.

Most importantly, these links make the user experience seamless.

At no point do I find my attention straying, because there’s always something new and exciting to click.

Contentology 101

Behind every great content marketing set-up is a deep understanding of what your readers and potential readers want to read.

Not just when you’re creating content, but when you’re curating content.

There’s an infinite amount of great stuff out there already.

The battlefield has spread beyond what you create to how you set it all up.  

The breakdown 

1. Impatience is one of the things every content creator needs to think about: create a path for your readers that leads them to the stuff they want, as fast as possible.

2. Gingerbread crumbs are the relevant links you put in one blog post that link to other blog posts. That way, if someone is only half-interested in one post, they have the chance to change the channel, but not the station.

3. Psychology is vital to the health of your blog. You need to think about not just what readers want to read, but how they read it. What’s the natural next step? 

4. Archives are obsolete if you’re not curating them appropriately. After you reach a certain number of blog posts, automatic archiving features won’t help you, because they don’t know what your readers want as much as you do.

5. Wander your website like a first-time visitor, looking for more information about what you write about. What would a visitor think? What would they click? 

Looking for more help? I’m working on a guide to Facebook & content marketing for early 2013.

If you’re interested, sign up for The Creative Brief, my free monthly newsletter, and I’ll email it to you as soon as it’s ready!

Photo Credit: Franck Vervial

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