The basic idea behind content discovery for curating and producing it is simply listening to good sources. It is handpicking reliable sources and linking to it. This going to be always manual process but you can still automate some of the process with some handy tools. You start off first by visiting sites related to the topic. For example if you would like to start curating the SEO topic, you should have to start visiting on a daily basis sites like SEOmoz, Search Engine Land, Search Engine Watch, and Search Engine Journal, examining the sites/blogs of the people active in those sites, select the objectively most interesting ones, and use two starting tools, RSS and Twitter:
– RSS to track their own content production about the SEO topic;
– Twitter to track the content related to the SEO industry they share.
The idea is to look for something to learn all the time. You are looking for content that is going to be borne of experience and application. Once you are there and have worked with the above and taken a feel of these tools you can start using the other tools. These are not restricted to websites but are also mobile apps on the iOS and Android. So lets look at a few:
- Zite (for iOs, WebOS and, very recently, for Android too and owned by CNN), is a “Personalized magazine”, which not only offers the opportunity to connect your Google Reader, Twitter and Read it Later accounts in order to have all the content present there in just one place and organized into sections, but also it proposes a large selection of content from other sources it crawled in Internet, and all this content is presented in standard sections like Technology, Politics, Arts & Culture, etc.
You can also add sections based on your specific needs/interests thanks to a sort of “search suggest box”. For instance, I have personalized it with very specific sections dedicated to Content Marketing, Content Management, Copywriting, and all those disciplines that can be included in the Inbound Marketing umbrella.
The “magic” is that with a simple rule of thumbs up/down you can teach Zite which content is the one you really consider relevant and what not. So the next time you access it, the content proposed will be closer to the one you are really interested in. For a curator, this is like having a robotic personal assistant.
Flipboard, (for iOS only, sorry), is another “social magazine”, which can be personalized not only by selecting which sites to be republished on our Flipboard and we want to read the content of, but also from an interesting curators’ list and – especially – adding a bigger number of social accounts we subscribe to: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Instagram, Flickr, 500px, and obviously, Google Reader.
Other tools that can be used for this discovery phase are:
- Feedly (for iOS, Android, Chrome, Safari and Firefox), the plus is having browser versions which are always in sync with the mobile apps.
- Factiva (by Dow Jones), a great resource for discovering very authoritative news content.
- My6sense (iOS). This app – apart the classic functionalities of a tool like this – has a very good engine, which is able to understand your tastes and, the more you use it, to present them at the first place. It offers an API for third party development.
- PostPost. It is focused just on Twitter, but it offers the very appreciated function of breaking the content shared in your stream into a faceted navigation (links, photos, videos…) and ordered by priority: First the content from those contacts you interact the most, secondly the content most shared and cited in your stream and, finally, all the rest.
- Delicious, especially now that is starting the implementation of some of the characteristics that made Trunk.ly, which it bought months ago, so popular.
- Faveous, which can be considered a Delicious on steroids. In fact, it can also collect those links you share in Gmail.
- Inbound.org, Hacker News, and any other content curated news site. These sites are a great shortcut to find out valuable content and, even more importantly, other curators specialized in one or two specific topics. In particular, Inbound.org, with its very well thought categorization of the RSS sources, helps considerably the further skimming of the content published.
So these are tools you can look at to start getting good content and collect stuff you like.