Have you heard of BuzzFeed? Whether you’re a regular reader or have just seen the URL on your newsfeed from time to time, it’s worth taking a closer look at this social news and entertainment website. Why? Because it attracts a whopping 150 million visitors each month.
BuzzFeed is one of the most successful examples of content curation, and there are a few ingredients crucial to their success.
Facebook and Twitter are considered the front pages of the web by BuzzFeed; after all, when we use these sites, we expect information to come to us. Internet habits have changed over the years, and we no longer visit websites to find out what’s happening in the world around us. We simply log on to social media and let the information fall into our laps.
Because of this, BuzzFeed ensures that its articles are present and shared on Facebook and Twitter. This is a surefire way to get content to people in the places where they’re expecting it. Facebook and Twitter users are encouraged to partake in conversations around BuzzFeed articles and comment on what’s going on in the world. This means articles are continually shared and attract more and more hits.
But it’s not just the way BuzzFeed reaches out to its readers that makes it so widely read; it’s also the approach it takes to creating content. Specifically, BuzzFeed doesn’t simply rely on algorithms, but instead makes the most of human curating skills.
While it indeed uses algorithms to harvest trending topics from websites like Time and AOL, BuzzFeed also employs creative individuals to turn viral content into something readable, shareable and memorable.
BuzzFeed has become known for its catchy headlines and list articles, or listicles. Just check out “The 10 Most Horrible Celeb Selfies” and “10 Ways to Become a Brilliant Writer” for classic examples of widely shared BuzzFeed content.
Let’s take a closer look at the curation process itself. What strategies are available to content curators today? Well, there are several models that make for brilliant curation. The two main approaches are aggregation and distillation.
Aggregation is about gathering content about a certain topic and combining it in one easily accessible location. The BuzzFeed listicle is one example of how the aggregation model can be applied to create succinct, snappy content.
While the aggregation model is centered on placing lots of information in a single spot, distillation is more focused on boiling down the volume of information available online into the most relevant content for a given topic. So, while large amounts of content may be lost, the user is now able to skip long searches through text and links when seeking out essential facts.
There are, of course, many other ways to curate content beyond aggregation and distillation. For instance, video curation requires an approach suited to the dynamic nature of the medium.
YouTube has grown to become an unmatched example of video curation. The site began as a platform for content creation, where people could upload videos and browse them as they pleased. But as more and more videos were posted, relevant content would often get drowned out.
To give users the orientation they needed, YouTube gave users the ability to curate as well as create. The platform now lets users run channels where videos on specific topics are collected in a playlist form. YouTube also creates its own playlists and channels for users to browse, offering preselected, top-notch content for everyone to enjoy.
Ever feel frustrated by the amount of spam that inevitably weasels its way into your inbox? You’re certainly not alone. The average internet user today is pickier than ever. Why? Because companies are pressuring us from every direction with digital marketing.
It seems that everyone is after your views on the internet these days. This only serves to distract us from the content that we’re really looking for. In order to cut through the noise, users have been forced to become more and more selective – and new online services have even stepped in to help.
SaneBox is one program that sorts important e-mails from friends, family and coworkers from all other marketing and junk mail. This allows users to read the e-mails they care about now, and deal with other information later on when they have time.
As a curator, the one thing you don’t want is to be filtered out by selective readers. How can you avoid this? Simple: don’t give people content they don’t want or need. Start by listening to your audience, rather than just observing their reading habits.
Give readers the opportunity to provide feedback about your content, or offer rewards when they complete surveys about their experience on your site.
Finally, content curators should keep in mind that less is more. This is easy to forget given the sheer volume and rate at which content is created today. But among all the noise and excess, a pared-back approach in which quality beats quantity will make you stand out.
So, don’t try to scream louder than your competition; instead, curate and create content that you know is worthwhile. The internet will thank you for it!
Curation is about selecting, organizing and presenting content. While algorithms can gather content too, a human touch is necessary for brilliant curation. There are several strategies you can use to get your content to your audience and keep them coming back for more, all while establishing your brand as a reliable source of great content. Keep creating and curating.
Check out my related post: Is creativity messy?