Today’s guest post is written by Susan Young.

Content curation is the hot ticket item in social media and business these days.

Content curators — or editors — find, sort, categorize, and distill the big data and vast amount of content that’s available.

While Google alerts will locate and list stories and articles, and platforms such as may work for amateurs,  good content curation requires the human factor — someone with a pulse — to make sense of the collective information chaos.

Content curation is so much more than simply compiling lists and dropping articles, blog posts, and images into pretty templates.

It is a big time business.

Author Steven Rosenbaum writes in Curation Nation

When you add a human editorial layer, a curational perspective that organizes gathered content and community participation, you get real results.

Savvy companies and communications pros understand what it takes to curate content well.

Good curators:

  • Know their audience, readers, and brands
  • Keep abreast of trends, twists, and turns in a specific niche
  • Pay close attention to articles, chats, interviews, videos, and conversations to discover the ‘buzz of the hour/day’
  • Discern the junk from the gems
  • Monitor trade associations and industry events
  • Recognize news when it happens because their radar is always on and they trust their intuition
  • Feel generally curious and enjoy soaking up information like a sponge
  • Compile a series of valuable and reliable information knowing their readers trust their judgment and enjoy the blend of quality content they gather
  • Understand that by doing these tasks on a regular basis they become a credible source of content and news within a specific area
  • Become the people who decide what is news

As a result, the curator becomes the ‘go-to-guy.’ When superior news judgment is reflected in the curation process, including attribution to sources and links to original sites, others come to depend on this ‘go-to-guy’ as more than just someone who sends emails every morning.

Setting the record straight: Curators vs. aggregators

Blogger Clinton Forry says the distinction between aggregation and curation is that aggregation is automated and gathers records based on metadata or keywords. Aggregators can’t evaluate individual pieces of content and make editorial decisions. This is where talented curators shine.

By nature, our brains are drawn to finding and organizing patterns. Humans are funny like this. We can read between the lines, draw inferences on mood, influence, and power, cross reference content, and (attempt to) determine intent and authenticity. Aggregation doesn’t allow for this.

Curators are editors who readers come to like and trust. Curators use their brains; they tap into emotions.  Automation and algorithms are based on mathematics, not passion or news judgment.  Editors recognize a well-written story. They fact-check. They have reliable sources within the niche who offer insightful content.

All of these elements, separately and together, gradually build rapport, credibility, and loyalty between the brand (curator) and the reader.  That’s when the editor becomes the ‘go-to-guy.’ He/she has the information other people need and want for their own success.

How does your organization pull together valuable information for your employees, clients, and prospects? Who is the ‘go-to-guy’ in your company?

Susan Young is a social media, news, PR, and communications consultant. She works with organizations to create compelling content to increase online visibility, credibility, and revenues. Her latest achievement: Being named one of the ’75 Badass Women on Twitter’. On Twitter @sueyoungmedia.