Being a content curator is all about displaying information. We don’t create the content, we display it. We share it – and people read it. But, first you have to display it. There are several skills involved in displaying content. Here are some thoughts for you to consider when creating and curating a Scoop.it topic.
Avoid the SEO trap
Don’t put SEO first! Before you even get to optimizing for SEO you need the basics to make your post appealing to a reader: a description and an image which can be both eye catching and descriptive. Then, step back and look at the content you display with a little distance and perspective to decide if this post is of the quality you’d like to consistently display.
At this point you can think about keywords and other stuff, but use caution. Keywords may attract Google and Bing and other search bots (we used to call them spiders) but keywords do not make your post more readable, nor do they add anything to your display. I tend to skip both keywords and tags.
Choosing a Topic
Pick topics you value and want to know more about, personally. Don’t start your first Scoop.it topic with something you don’t have a passion for. Each topic I curate is personally interesting (if not endlessly fascinating) to me. This is how I keep it fresh and interesting — for myself — as well as the reader.
Don’t think about Google when you create your topic, think about yourself. You need to be the one maintaining your topic even on days when it gets dull, when you feel burnt out or can’t find anything new. So, think of something which gives something back to you, personally.
What do you want to know more about? What topic do you live and breathe everyday? What do you always have an opinion about? What could you still see yourself writing or researching 50 years from now?
My process for finding and displaying content
When I actually plan to make posts to Scoop.it I use a feed I have created on Blog Lovin’. You can do this with an RSS feed or a tool like InstaPaper. I stash assorted interesting links there and skim through the feed. Each post which makes me want to read more I click on to open as a new tab in my web browser. This is a great way to find a lot of really interesting content — fresh too. Content is regurgitated endlessly online. Try to bring new light rather than rehashing or reposting old news.
One really great way to bring new life to a repost is to add your own ideas, theories, opinions and experience in the “Insight” editor comment section of your Scoop.it post.
Everyone should have the Scoop.it bookmarklet in their browser. You can find an interesting link that might make sense any time you are reading online. I often find the best stuff when I am not at all looking for anything at all relevant. So, having the bookmarklet makes it very easy to add content to Scoop.it without having to go out of my way.
Get a tool (like Skitch for Mac users, or Snagit for everybody) which will let you select, cut and paste images for your Scoop.it feeds. Scoop.it will automatically select images if they are available in the source post, but part of being a content curator is making sure you have a good, if not great, image. I often cut and paste something from the source and add it manually to my Scoop when editing the post.
At the very least do not ever post an image which is an ad on the site, not relevant to the post and pretty tacky too. Posting an ad image or an irrelevant image makes it seem like you don’t care about the reader’s experience. If nothing else post the photo of the writer from their profile or the header/banner from the site itself.
Spelling and grammar matters
Watch your spelling and grammar. I’m not perfect, but I make a point to run spellcheck on my web browser to help me catch my typos or words I have forgotten how to spell. Please, especially watch your spelling of names like WordPress, or other proper legal names. Misspellings such as this do lots of damage to your credibility as a curator. Show respect to all the content creators and companies you come into contact with while curating.
Getting traffic and sharing
Approach friends, co-workers, content creators, and others with your Scoop.it feed. Would another blog/website find value in your content and Scoop.it feed and agree to put the code up somewhere on their site? How about content sharing or trade?
If someone is warm to the idea but wavering, offer them a trade. Barter with something they would like — for instance you could give them the featured spot in your Scoop.it feed for a week, a month, etc.
When you share a Scoop.it post do you just share with Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or the other popular social media sites? While potentially valuable due to their market size, these sites are plastered with sharing, wall to wall.
Look at other sources where you might actually be heard over the usual chaos. Consider something radical like posting your Scoop.it feed to your own site, or posting a link you found to a relevant forum where people are already discussing the topic. (Use your Scoop.it link instead of the direct link).
A quick trick for sharing to Twitter from Scoop.it
Twitter is my social media feed of choice. However, this means I am careful about what I post there when it comes to having a real post versus sharing and promoting anything. So, I get extra bang for my buck when I do choose to share a link from Scoop.it.
I do this by visiting the Twitter account of the link’s source, the person who wrote the post or the blog which it came from. Then I cut and paste the Twitter @name into my Twitter shared post along with the standard automatic stuff from Scoop.it. I almost always get a response back from the person or site owner. Often they repost my tweet and sometimes others who follow them also repost my tweet. I can get five retweets from my one shared link.
These are just a few ways that I’ve built my visibility online utilizing Scoop.it. What ways have you discovered to optimize your Scoop.it account? Tell me in the comments!
Laura Brown is an urban explorer, ASCII artist, creative web publisher and web writer since 1996. Find here online: http://thatgrrl.ca | http://wordgrrls.com | http://asciiartist.com/ | http://www.scoop.it/u/laura-brown