For the last couple of weeks I have been using a content curation service called Scoop.it to generate lots of referral traffic to my blog posts and I’ve decided to share what I have learned so far and also show how content curation can help you to grow your social network too.
What is Content Curation?
If you have a good understanding of the new social web landscape then there is no doubt that the term “content is king” comes up again and again. Content is the currency of the internet and by sharing your own great content and other people’s great content you will grow your social network and be held in high regard by your followers as the go to source or expert in your field.
By following all the latest news sources in your niche you can soon find yourself overrun with numerous RSS Feeds, Tweets, Google+ updates and Facebook shares flashing before your eyes every day. This is where content curation comes in; quite simply content curation is the process of filtering out the best content that you find and then sharing this with your networks.
What is Scoop.it?
Scoop.it is a content curation service, but rather than have me rattle on about it you can watch this brief video below.
Scoop.it has the latest news delivered to you and allows you to re-share it with your social network. Another great aspect of Scoop.it is that other people can suggest for content to be added to your pages too. Scoop.it have a free entry profile which allows you to setup 5 pages and get used to the interface, if you want to curate information in more niches or have analytical data then you need to upgrade to a paid membership.
How to Use Scoop.it
The key to being a great content curator is by picking a niche in which to share your information and vigilantly sticking to it. The narrower the niche you decide to curate content in, the better. If you decide to setup a Scoop.it page about knitting patterns the majority of your regular followers are unlikely to be interested in your curated content on pictures of kittens.
First things first, go to Scoop.it and sign up with either your Twitter or Facebook Profile.
You will then see a screen similar to this one where you fill in the name, description and keywords for your new page.
Pro Tip: Use Google’s Keyword Tool to find keywords that people looking for your content may use. If you want to learn more you can read my blog post on using the Google Keyword Tool.
Now that your page is created you want to setup your news sources. Simply enter your keywords into the search box, these keywords will be checked regularly in Google, Digg and Youtube for the latest content in your niche. Next you want to click on Advanced Options. This is where knowing your niche comes into its own:
As you can see from the above image you can add in various personalised news sources such as RSS Feeds, Twitter accounts and lists, Google News Search, Google Blog Search and OPML files from Google Reader. You want to add all the best curators and thought leaders in your Niche to this list & the best blog feeds too.
Protip: Use a blog curator such as AllTop to grab your feed and setup a Twitter List of interesting people you can add to easily so you don’t have to keep adding them to your Scoop.it sources.
Now you are ready to start your new career as a content curator. After about an hour Scoop.it will have scraped your RSS feeds, Twitter Followers and searched Google for new content based on your keywords. Simply clicking Scoop.it will scoop the news to your page, from here you can share it with your Twitter and Facebook accounts, add tags to make the Scoop easier to find and change the text or images. If you don’t like a suggested article simply click discard and the page is removed.
Pro Tip: Install the Scoop.it App (its free) and add the Scoop.it bookmarklet to make it easier to Scoop content on the fly.
If you see a piece of content on another Scooper’s page you can “rescoop” it by clicking the arrows that look like a refresh button. It is also common etiquette to thank (thumbs up) your fellow content curator when you rescoop their find.
Generating Traffic to your Site with Scoop.it
Well there are two ways to get traffic from Scoop.it, the first is obviously to add your own blog posts & photos to your page. This will have limited results, just like running any web site, until you grow your following. Building a following takes time and may require weeks of curating and sharing great content, following other people on Scoop.it and commenting on other peoples Scoops. If you are anything like me this looks a lot like hard work, but by doing this I have noticed I am sharing lots more content with my Twitter followers and growing my followers.
So the second and quicker way, and I’m sure all the link builders have spotted this already, is to suggest your content to other users.
There are people on Scoop.it who already receive hundreds and hundreds of views per day to their pages and in one of the examples above they have had over 130k views in less than a few months. So by suggesting your own content to their page you have a chance that your post will be accepted and a good percentage of their fellow Scoopers will come flooding to your site and re-scoop your page to their followers and other social networks too.
To start you need to find who the influencers are in your niche. This is easy to do by searching for your keyword in the search bar at the top or by browsing the topics based on popularity and current trends.
You can then quickly research the curator as their profiles often contain links to their other social profiles e.g. Twitter or Facebook.
From the this example you can clearly see links to this Scoop.it users Linked.in, Twitter and Facebook Accounts.
As any experienced linkbuilder will tell you its important to build a relationship with a Social Media Influencer first rather than just bombard them with requests out of the blue. By engaging with them on other social networks and where possible find their website and contact information you can then begin to approach them with suggestions for their Scoop.it accounts.
My favourite tool at the moment to research potential link targets is Follower Wonk. It is a great way to learn more about who your influencer influences. It will also help you discover if they have any “Thought leaders” within their network, so you can gauge whether or not your suggested content will go Viral if it is shared by them too.
My last blog post on Automating Google+ with your other Social Media Accounts was curated on a very popular Google+ Scoop.it page. Over the next 48 hours I received about two hundred visitors from this page and two other pages that re-scooped my blog post. I also received a 10% increase in traffic from Twitter and Facebook than normal during this period too.
But, isn’t Content Curation Bad for my SEO?
In a post Panda World I can understand why people might worry about “duplicated content” but the thing about content curation services such as Scoop.it is that you never republish the whole web page. The web page is also linked back to from Scoop.it providing confirmation of the contents origins and although most of links on Scoop.it are no-followed, to prevent spamming, a link is still a link.
Many businesses forget that SEO is not just about links or chasing the number one spot in the SERP’s but by growing and diversifying the traffic to your website. By having diverse traffic sources you will be able to continue to grow your business online for a long time to come no matter what happens with the next big “algo” change.
If you have had any positive or negative experiences with curation services such as Scoop.it please leave a comment below.