The web is almost entirely content focused these days. Even social networks, which are at the core a way of connecting with people, are centered very much around content and the sharing of that content with others. Socializing is almost based around the concept now; just think of how much you have shared on your own profile in the last week. How much of it was content found elsewhere?
But the question we are really going to be addressing here is not the way content is used on the social web, but how it is gathered. What is the difference between content curation and aggregation?? Or either and content syndication? And how can all three be used to strengthen your overall social marketing?
What Is Content Curation?
Any time someone published a link to content they found on a different site (or repost from a social network) they are curating it. But when you do it as a marketing tactic it becomes a whole other process with rules that have to be followed. Rules such as:
- Always make sure your curation finds unique, interesting and relevant content.
- Always source your content, including a reference to the original source when you first post it.
- Always write your own opinion or thoughts on the content you are posting, and make sure it is a well written response rather than a single sentence.
Content curators have a big job ahead of them, as finding interesting things to show their social feeds isn’t always easy. They should be signed up with multiple social networks, follow plenty of pages/accounts, have a lot of RSS feeds subscribed to, including using an effective reader to keep them in one place, and have Google Alerts set up to watch their industry for new mentions around the web. Having affiliate pages on sites like Facebook can also be incredibly helpful.
What Is Content Aggregation?
Similar to content curation, content aggregation is usually a reference to the act of syndicating content you find around the web. It can also mean syndicating content you have written yourself, though this is rarely what is being talked about when people mention content aggregation.
But there is a key difference between the two: one (curation) is the manual collection and sharing of what you find, and the other (aggregation) is an automated process that uses software to constantly update their feed using keywords. While it is efficient for heavy sharing, it is not nearly as beneficial since you are choosing quantity or quality.
What Is Content Syndication?
This brings us to content syndication, a process of making it easier for people to access content that you put online. The main point is to have it readily available the moment it is published, to catch the immediate attention of readers with most traffic being within the first twenty four hours or less.
You often see this being used with time sensitive materials like press releases, news stories and advertisements based on scheduled events. People will use tools like Atom, PRWeb and Google News to boost their content into syndication.
Out of the three, which is best? The ultimate answer will be different for everyone, as some marketers have their tried and true methods that they will swear by. But my personal opinion is that a mix of content curation and content syndication are the most effective. Both use a personal touch to diversify their materials and provide a higher standard of quality for their readers/users.
What do you think? Let us know in the comments.
Ann is the social media addict and pro blogger.