Is Content Curation The New Black?

You've got to add value and relevance beyond the original content.

Posted Mar 07, 2011

Content is king...right?

If you want attention, a platform, the ability to lead, sway, sell, move, emote, promote, you need to be putting out killer stuff.

But, there's a major wrinkle in the theory that pretty much nobody talks about, even though it's become one of the most powerful content models on the planet.

The content...doesn't have to be yours!

We are assaulted and battered by so much content, from every direction, that 99% of the time, we don't know where to look first. We don't know what's critical or what's crap.

There's so much coming at us so quickly that if we undertook to read just the first few sentences of everything in an effort to decide whether it was worth it to read the rest, that alone would take us from morning to night.

Enter the Master of Curation...

One of the single most valuable roles you can play in this cataclysmic cacaphony of content is to be the one who lends sanity to the process of finding and sharing only the cream of the crop.

That's why many of the world's top websites and blogs are largely curation-based. is a great example. There's a smattering of their own stuff, a more substantial article mixed in here and there. But it's largely about curating the need-to-know info in the world of, well, life and tech hacks.

And, according to their advertising info-page, they get 4.4 million visitors and 43 million pageviews a month...curating other peoples' stuff.

Hell, that's almost as much traffic as I get (wink, wink, nod, nod)!

Other sites crushing it under a similar model include:

On my own blog, some of my most trafficked and best ranked posts in the SERPS are not my original content, but rather curated one-offs and collections, like:

  • 37 Videos That Will Blow Your Mind and Inspire Renegade Action
  • 55 Quotes To Inspire Creativity, Innovation and Action
  • The 7 Keynote MBA: How to Save 2 Years and $100,000

Why? Because I spent a lot of time sourcing, reviewing, vetting and assembling the most valuable content so that others wouldn't have to. And, because I've done it repeatedly, people have come to trust my ability to do it well.

So, as you're thinking about how you can best serve your tribe and deliver the coolest content experience possible, think beyond creation and consider mixing in curation.

It's a powerful ingredient to add to your content cake.

But, before you start curating your way to fame and fortune, there's one more secret to great digital curation. You can't just re-post something.

You've got to add value and relevance beyond the original content.

It might be by assembling disparate pieces into a coherent collection. Or, it can be as easy as adding commentary, context, cliff-notes or highlights. My last post on J.K. Rowling;s Harvard commencement speech on failure and imagination is an example of adding value in the form of context (tie-in with New Years energy) and highlights (pull-quotes below).

So, have you put this strategy to work? And, if not, how might you?

Jonathan Fields is the author of Career Renegade: How to Make a Great Living Doing What You Love.  He writes and speaks on meaningful work, being a lifestyle entrepreneur and creativity at and is a twitter heavy-user at @jonathanfields