An Interview With Master Curator Robin Good
When John Deere started publishing The Furrow back in 1895, the term ‘Content Marketing’ was more than a century away. But the idea of creating worthwhile content that adds value for your audience was just as relevant as it is today.
This value doesn’t always come from being the one with all the answers. Sometimes, it’s about pointing the audience in the right direction, towards the best solution.
Enter, content curation.
We presented Robin Good of Master New Media with some questions on content curation, to find out what it takes to become an expert in the field. Robin is an independent online publisher who focusses on the effective use of new media technologies for communication, learning and marketing.
His main areas of interest are content curation and the exploration of tools and services for communication professionals working online (tools.robingood.com). Robin has been publishing and writing online for more than 15 years. His work is cited and mentioned in over 100 books and he has been the first independent EU publisher to invoice over one million dollars to Google.
Q: Every content creator dreams of being a thought leader in his space by being the first one to present a solution or a worthwhile insight to their audience. With such a goal in mind, what would you consider as the ideal creation + curation mix for a content marketer?
A: The ideal content masterpiece for anyone wanting to become a thought leader in his space is to create something that gives ample proof of his competence and expertise over a chosen topic while being immediately useful to readers.
Great examples of such high-value content are directories of resources, catalogs and collections of best in class examples, in-depth guides, success stories, or interviews. The secret is in realizing that to step above everyone else, the best strategy is to stop talking about yourself and to start talking about the others.
Some content curation examples collected by me over the years: https://in.pinterest.com/robingood/great-examples-of-content-curation/
Q: Content curation and Content aggregation are often confused to be one and the same. What’s the key difference and inherent value in focussing on either?
A: Content aggregation is a form of content curation. However, it is often looked down upon and wrongly considered a superficial, all-automated approach to content creation. But to aggregate is not a low-profile, superficial task per se. It entirely depends on how you interpret and implement aggregation. If aggregation is done by deeply researching quality sources, actively filtering incoming content and then organizing and presenting it in ways that facilitate user experience, it can provide immense value and save time for the reader. ‘Techmeme.com’ and ‘AllTop.com’ are two great examples of quality content aggregation.
To understand the difference better, check these two different approaches to curating news about ‘content curation’ that I have taken in the past:
Q: What are some skills a master curator needs in order to become an influencer in the space? Could you share some best practices that have helped you become better at curation and what has been your biggest challenge (or challenges)?
A: A curator must possess and hone the following skills to become an expert in the field:
- Curiosity – An interest in searching and looking where no-one else is looking
- Competence / subject-matter expertise – Know all there is to know about your area of interest because you can’t find, select or add value to things you only know superficially
- Critical thinking – Constantly ask yourself ‘what is this content saying’ and why it would be relevant to your readers
- Synthesis – Develop the ability to comprehend and summarize complex concepts, issues and traits and to express them clearly
Q: How much do you think research tools can help, and how much should be left to judgement and research? Have tools like EpicBeat helped in your content curation in the past?
A: Tools can help a great deal indeed. This is why starting in 1998 I became an avid explorer and tester of all new tools, software and web services that can help communication professionals get better at what they do- online and off.
You can save yourself some time by browsing through the numerous tool collections and directories I maintain for my readers. Here are some of them that I’d personally recommend if you are a content marketer:
For content creation and discovery: https://content-discovery-tools.zeef.com
For content curation: https://contentcuration.zeef.com/robin.good
For publishing online: http://web-publishing.zeef.com/
But the most imperative need for a curator is the need to focus. I’ve created a list of great tools to focus, relax, chill out, turn off all distractions and to time how long you can stay focussed without drifting off.
Check it out here: https://superfocus.zeef.com/
Q: I know this is an oft-repeated question but would love to know what you think: should curators focus on being present on all platforms or focus on just one?
A: Content curation without sharing is simply collecting. What must be remembered, irrespective of being on one or many networks, is whether you’re doing or creating something that’s unique and of value to the reader. If you are, then it will be your readers themselves who will take care of sharing, spreading and promoting it all over the place.
Q: ‘World peace’ is one of the oft-repeated lines at beauty pageants across the globe. What is content marketing’s ‘world peace’ equivalent? A line or phrase that you’ve heard so much, you wish people would stop using it!
A: “Save time and produce more content with content curation” is not only a very popular idea being spread around, but it is one of the greatest lies I have heard in my whole life.
A curator doesn’t just write on a topic he has decided to cover. His task is decidedly much more complex, difficult, challenging and time consuming. He has to first search and gather the best resources and information on a specific topic. This content has to be verified and fact-checked before adding value to the content through additional opinions and insights for the reader. Once that’s through, the content needs to be cohesively organized in a format that can be published and shared across websites and social media.
For curators, quality trumps quantity a million times over. High-value content collections can be made to be appreciated and shared for much longer time and by a greater number of people than the majority of articles and blog posts published today.
Curation isn’t just a content marketing tactic on the side. If you’re serious about curation, it’s serious business that takes skill, effort and dedication. Thank you, Robin for giving some very pertinent answers on what it takes to be a successful content curator and elaborating on the integral role it plays as part of an organization’s content strategy.