Content Curation: Balancing the Needs of Publishers and the Audience

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The demands of online publishing sometimes appear to conflict. Should you add new content constantly in the interests of search engine optimization (SEO), or should you take more time and make sure the content is as polished as possible?

It's not always easy balancing hard-hitting content with SEO needs.
It’s not always easy balancing hard-hitting content with SEO needs.

For most publications, success is a balancing act of these two demands. The person responsible for ”curating” content has to make sure the content keeps the publication afloat by bolstering traffic development, but it still has to meet the need of the repeat audience for content quality. Content should prompt people to explore your site’s ecommerce section or custom job board, and it should feed your audience’s need for information they can use. Here are some tips on walking the tightrope that runs between overt pandering to SEO and complete disregard for it in the name of quality content.

Attributes of Well Balanced Content

If your publication has a small staff, people have to wear multiple hats, but it’s important to take steps to ensure your content balances the need to drive traffic development with the need to strengthen audience engagement. Make sure you have people responsible for taking care of the following:

  • Monitoring popular and industry news regularly
  • Monitoring respected, industry-specific websites for opportunities to curate content
  • Fact checking
  • Image selection for every piece of online content
  • Checking content against a prioritized keyword list
  • Proofreading and reviewing content before it goes live

Sure, there’s the risk of ”too many cooks spoiling the broth,” but in general it’s wise to have more than one person review content before it goes live to catch errors and ensure nobody strays too far from your content goals.

Add Context and Value

When you curate content from other sites, you need to add your own original context and value to it. For example, a piece of research reported on a respected site could be summarized and you could explain how the research is relevant to your target audience. Adding value to curated content may be a matter of adding your own perspective. For example, you could provide examples of how the results of a study could benefit your target audience. Cross-referencing to other online resources can add value too.

Make Content Organized and Engaging

Organized, engaging content is more likely to be shared.
Organized, engaging content is more likely to be shared.

Whether you’re summarizing new information or providing examples of that information in action, it’s important to make curated content as organized and engaging as any other piece of content on your site. Adding appropriate graphics and photos increases visual engagement and adds value to curated content. A clear and concise organizational structure makes content more useful to the reader who is pressed for time. Categorizing it appropriately on your blog and attaching relevant tags ensures that it’s easy to find again later.

Sometimes ”Recycling” Content Is a Good Thing

A steady supply of fresh content is critical to traffic, audience, and revenue development, but over the period of a week or a month, it really adds up. Some sites successfully repurpose content and breathe additional life into it by creating weekly ”Top Posts” pieces. Scheduling the periodic ”roundup” piece on your editorial calendar shows you’re staying on top of your content and brings it to readers who may have missed it the first time around. Such posts are often very popular because they organize a lot of information conveniently in relatively small space.

Track Your Metrics

While you can take advice from other experts, there’s no substitute for staying on top of your metrics. If a certain type of curated content is consistently popular, try to define why that is. Likewise, if some content is met with little enthusiasm, try to figure out why it didn’t engage your audience as well as you expected. Your metrics tell their own stories, and you’re wise to understand them as you plan future content.

Surprise Your Audience Occasionally

Finally, there’s nothing wrong with shaking things up occasionally. A periodic light-hearted blog post, video feature, or podcast can reignite interest when audience members start becoming complacent. Try to address a topic from a different direction, or produce a piece about someone in your industry who is especially inspiring, and you will remind people why they keep returning to your site: for its valuable, engaging content.

Thoughtful content curation ultimately addresses revenue development by encouraging users to spend more time on your site, making them more likely to click on advertisements or check out your job board. Original content plus curated content to which you’ve added value and context should successfully fulfill your need for solid SEO and consistently build your site’s reputation for expertise.

Photo Credits: chanpipat/freedigitalphotos.net, Ambro/freedigitalphotos.net

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