Whether you know it or not, you’re using content aggregation as we speak. How did you find this article? A newsletter? Social media posts? Or through an RSS reader? That’s all a form of content aggregation.
It’s natural to do so because content discovery is not what it used to be. Today, the chief reasons to visit a specific website are because you’ve clicked on a forwarded link or you’ve found a post through search.
That’s the nature of the Internet right now. Every minute a wave of new content is being published, uploaded, and shared. Navigating all this without the proper tool kit is inconceivable.
What is content aggregation?
Content aggregation is the automated collection of posts from different sources, which are then all displayed in one convenient place. Automation is one of the key aspects, which defines the process as you’re seeing the flow of information from sites and social media as they’re published. There are different types of aggregation by the subject that occur on different platforms.
Think about playlists on YouTube, hashtags on Twitter, and the various subreddits on Reddit that can be as broad as technology or as niche as your favorite TV show. One of the sole drawbacks of raw aggregation is that you still have to search through all the posts for relevant information.
Content aggregation vs content curation
Content curation differs from content aggregation mainly due to the presence of a human element. A passionate reader will go through the great volume of newly posted content and select only what is relevant to their audience. Internal newsletters, aimed towards the workforce of a company with a selection of articles and think pieces on industry news, are one such form of curation. However, there’s another form of curation on an individual level: RSS readers. Users utilize different filters and settings to take control of the aggregated content.
Social media and content aggregation
Social media platforms by their very nature are content aggregation platforms. You see the posts of different people, publications, and businesses in one stream.
Both Facebook and Twitter support aggregation through hashtags and following certain keywords. YouTube aggregates recommended content on the front page (though the algorithm is questionable at best) and popular videos gaining traction on Trending. Currently, there are further opportunities to migrate social media feeds on third-party applications and services called RSS feeders.
The best content aggregation tools
To answer this question, you have to know what you want out of content aggregation. News junkies will want to focus on developing stories, breaking news, and newsworthy items and to that end, there’s Google News or Yahoo News. Both are web-based, simple to use, and don’t have much in ways of filters.
If you’re seeking more control over the content you’re reading, then you’re better off going through an RSS reader. Inoreader is powerful in its ability to tailor how you receive and read the content that matters to you. The one drawback to RSS readers is that not every site supports RSS, so that limits your information pool.
Alltop is a blog aggregator, which has a grid view on the latest posts grouped by the website. Not only are you in sync with new publications, but you’re also able to focus on one specific website at a time. What’s better, if you seek out a place to submit your blog for more visibility, Alltop is open to submissions.
Stitcher is the most popular podcast aggregator and Reddit relies on social sourcing of information, which nonetheless keeps you well informed.
How to use content aggregation to optimize your resources
The oversight most professionals in any industry commit are to use content aggregation passively as a way to skim over content, which is fine on its own; just not optimal.
There’s not enough to be said about the importance of continuous research and study of news and developments in your industry as a tool to effectively lead a company, or if you’re not a manager or owner, pull ahead on a professional level.
Study your industry and niche
Globalization. Need we say more? Whether you’re a small local business or an international brand, it pays to listen to tremors on the ground. All markets are finely connected across borders and the great expanse of the oceans. You pull on one and the entire system responds as we’ve seen during the pandemic. As a leader, it’s this ability to sense change that grants you the flexibility to adapt to changing tides.
Discover more content
Blink and you’ll miss the moment you’ve encapsulated yourself in a bubble. You might be aware of the echo chamber social media builds for you through its algorithms. It’s not a far stretch to say that you are your algorithm and it’s easy to get stuck within a loop of the same sites and the same voices. You might feel as though you’re well informed, but in reality, you’ve kept yourself in a narrow lane.
Find more in-depth resources
Expertise before the Internet was once readily achievable, but much harder to obtain and maintain at today’s breakneck speed. There’s always more to learn and you have to keep up every single day. Content aggregation and its varying tools to delve deeper into articles, essays and tutorials give you that much-needed push. If the end game is to position yourself as an expert, you can leverage this expertise into a personal brand.
Gather more recent resources and be aware of the trends
All this reading and digging into trustworthy sites should open you up to the bigger processes that are transforming your industry. Humans seek patterns, so keep reading intently, and sooner rather than later you’ll spot trends as they emerge. It’s one thing to respond to a market change as it’s emerged and another thing entirely to predict the change before it even happens.