Are You a News Aggregator or a Content Curator?

A few weeks ago I read an interesting article by Barry Feldman about whether content curation is news or noise. He made some good points. As he notes, “In the end, the acid test is to ascertain whether or not people like what you’re doing.” That provides some of the backdrop of this article.

When I advise organizations on content strategy matters, my message is that you can’t tell someone else’s story, and what works for someone else might not work for you, so you have to make your content your own, which means you will have a content path unique to you. And, if you are looking for instant gratification with your content, you are going to be very disappointed. Having an effective content, and marketing, strategy is all about (1) understanding your audience, (2) showing empathy to their issues and needs in such a way that you establish trust and build a relationship, and (3) being able to help them.

There’s a lot of time spent on researching your audience, listening and engaging on social media, creating and revising content, and in some cases, discarding content and starting from scratch. A content roadmap is a must so you know how to get from point A to point B and ensure that it aligns with your business goals. Thus, it is paramount to have a content strategy, not just for the creation piece, but the curation piece as well.

With sharing information, there are two paths to take – you can be a news aggregator or you can curate content. The key message here is you have to be consistent – no waffling between being a news aggregrator and a content curator. Pick one.

So, I put it to you, are you a news aggregator or a content curator?

There is nothing wrong with being a news aggregator. The American Marketing Association, The Association of Fundraising Professionals and Who’s Blogging What are some great examples of who does news aggregation well. The important piece to note here is to ensure the news items are resonating with your audience. And that all comes down to keeping a keen eye on your analytics, and promoting news your audience wants to see.

In the case of content curation, my favorites are, Curata and The Huffington Post.

There are some outlets, like member associations, nonprofits and those that specifically brand themselves as such, where news aggregation works. For the rest of us, content curation is the better path.


Beth Kanter writes in her blog, “A content curator cherry picks the best content that is important and relevant to share with their community. It isn’t unlike what a museum curator does to produce an exhibition: They identify the theme, they provide the context, they decide which paintings to hang on the wall, how they should be annotated, and how they should be displayed for the public.”

We have communities that we try to keep happy and we do that through providing content they want to see, that is relevant and resonates for them. That’s why they stick with us. Content Curation is all about providing news that our audience wants to see but also putting it in context of why it is important and relevant.

Below are 5 content curation tips to help you be an effective content curator.

1. Add content curation to your overall content strategy. Determine such things as the topics and themes you want to curate content for, the daily and weekly curation frequency you want to implement, sites you want to use to curate content, etc.

2. Research. This is going to take a time investment in going through a plethora of sites and good, old-fashioned reading to identify the content that makes sense to curate. Determine a checklist of what elements the content must have in order to be shared and create a site list of where this content is located. Have focus. You don’t want to be all over the map. Always keep your audience in mind and focus on things that will help them. Manage your time by using content curation tools like and Feedly.

3. Share the content the right way. That means give your content context. Answer why is this important and relevant to the reader? Provide your take. Your audience is interested in your thought leadership, that’s why they are part of your community. Enable engagement by asking questions and emotionally charging the discussion so it provokes comment. Respond to comments on your blog, social media, etc. Don’t get too crazy with your comments as you want your comments to be on as much point as the content you are sharing is. And, give credit where credit is due, credit the original author and source of content.

4. Be consistent. Be consistent not only in the type of content you share but when you share the content. Consistency builds trust. Your audience will become used to you helping them on two fronts – giving them the relevant content they need to stay in the know, and helping them manage their time so they don’t have to go elsewhere to find it. And, they will like you even more for it.

5. When sharing on social media, be sure to credit the author and media outlet. Some sharing tools may only list the outlet. Go the extra step and mention the author, too!

Are you a news aggregator or a content curator? What content curation best practices work for you?

Let us know in the comments.

14 Replies to “Are You a News Aggregator or a Content Curator?”

  1. Pingback: Are You a News Aggregator or a Content Curator?...
  2. As a content curator, you need to be aware of what’s happening in the society. You need to provide content that they want to see and fresh content.

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