Curation, Curation, Curation…. Otherwise Known As The Publishing Model

I have to laugh when I see all the hyped up emails about “curation”, i.e. “content curation”, as if it was only invented last week.

I’ve been doing content curation online since at least 1999, and offline for even longer.

I didn’t know the fancy name for what I was doing, I just did it.

For eleven years I edited long email newsletters about New Zealand for German speaking readers, and for nine of those eleven years about Australia as well, equally long. Every two weeks.

There was no way I could research and write enough content to fill those things 26 times a year each.

So I just collected stories I found on the internet or by email, and when the time came to prepare the next issue I put them in a sensible order (with source acknowledgements) and linked them up with sensible comments interspersed with a few ads.

And then wrote a sensible sounding editorial at the beginning to round the whole thing off.

That was it.

For eleven years, every two weeks.

Those newsletters are still online by the way.

Oh and yes, although they were “German” newsletters, much of the content I “curated”, i.e. selected or chose, in plain English, was just that: in plain English, not German.

There is of course much more material available in English about those two English speaking countries than there is in German, especially if it originates in said countries.

And as one can assume – despite what they say about assuming anything, I just went ahead and assumed it – people interested in going to an English speaking country are likely to understand at least a smattering of the language, I saw no problem with that and no one ever complained.

Some even liked it as a chance to practise their English.

The point is, you can collect and collate – or “curate” – and publish just about anything as long as it fulfils an information need for your readers.

As a matter of fact, if you go into the editorial offices of any newspaper or magazine, you’ll find they have stacks of other publications they read first thing looking for stories for their own rag.

Then they choose (er, curate…) some of those stories to rewrite, I mean develop themselves.

Most of them don’t let on what they are doing, others, like “MoneyWeek”, an Agora publication, make no bones about the fact that their raison d’être is to summarise what everyone else is writing about and what all the other media are saying on the current hot topics of the day.

So don’t go thinking this is the latest wonder weapon and you need all the “flavour of the week” tools to do it yourself.

Of course, you can use some of the latest hot offerings to simplify things, but setting up a few appropriately selected Google Alerts in your niche and signing up to relevant newsletters, ezines, blogs etc., as well as regular keyword searches on your favourite search engine(s), are all things anyone can do without any expense at all.

And if you create a simple system to “curate” aka choose the items you want to include in your next offering, like I did with those newsletters, it needn’t take much of your time either.

The wonders of Ctrl + C, Ctrl + X and Ctrl + V are then just about all you need. Oh yes, and Delete – a lot of what you gather you’ll find you don’t need after all.

Just remember to acknowledge your sources – as various European politicians have been finding out lately, unattributed plagiarism (is that a tautology?) doesn’t go down too well.

But curation that does not pretend to be anything else – even if it is just collating content from a variety of sources and publishing it in one place – is likely to be seen as a welcome service to readers who don’t have to go out and find all that information themselves.

If you’d like to learn about one of the ways I have been “curating”, a system I developed that anyone can easily follow to get started, take a look at my product How To Create A WordPress Blog You Can Monetize (that’s a special offer by the way) and if you pick it up, come back here and tell me what you think.

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