Karen Dietz
January 3, 2014

Create an Impact Through Curation – Here are the First 6 Steps

Yikes! There are about 20 steps to curate quality content. But never fear — they don’t all apply at once thank heavens! Or we’d never get anything else done. I want to make it really easy for you – because it can be. If you know what to pay attention to. Once you know what to do, you should be able to zip through these steps pretty quickly.

While I may spend an hour or two each day (sometimes less) going through articles and selecting the very best for my curation, after that I want to quickly post my pieces and get on with paying client work.

Today I’ll tackle the first 6 steps that will make your curation top notch, attractive, and begin to bring you gold status.I use the Scoop.it platform and you can see my curation here. Scoop.it allows me a lot of flexibility in managing the articles I post, which is why I use it. Because this flexibility also brings added value to my readers, and allows me to properly (and ethically) support the authors of the posts.

So here goes. A great curator will typically:

Optimize Titles

I curate articles on business storytelling. Not every article I curate has storytelling in the title. But that is what my readers are interested in. So I change the titles of the articles to make them relevant to my audience. At first I refused to do this and only added the word ‘story’ to the title because I thought I shouldn’t change the author’s original work. But then other curators pointed out to me that ethically, I absolutely needed to change the titles.

Why? Because curators never want to be in conflict with the author’s SEO. If your title is the same as the author’s title, you could be inadvertently sucking traffic away from their website to yours. So always change the title to make sure you are not conflicting with their SEO, and are instead actually helping drive traffic to the author’s post.

In addition, titles can be badly written. Your goal is to get the reader interested in reading your review and clicking through to the article. So if the title is boring, rewrite it to make it more interesting. The curator’s task should be making titles relevant to your specific audience/tribe, and highlighting what the content is truly about.

Edit Descriptions

When you pull an article into your curation a description comes along with it. Many times these descriptions are terrible, missing, or simply repeat the title. Before you post it, check the description and edit it if need be. One quick trick is to simply copy and past the first sentence or two from the article.. That usually does the trick. In any event, this can also further customize the focus of the post for your specific tribe or audience.

Format the Review

Make your mini-review easy to scan and read. Break up your paragraphs into easy-to-digest chunks. Create numbered lists. Highlight key words and concepts in bold. Put quotes in italics. Your readers will love you for this because you are making your review quick and easy for them to consume. Help them out by saving them time.

photogSelect Images

Most times the articles I curate come with great images. But sometimes not. One of my favorite podcast channels to curate never has an image, so I always need to go find one. With Google Images it’s easy to do. And fun. Selecting a quality photo or illustration fully complements and reinforces the content they are associated to.

I’ve said this before: in my world of business storytelling my pet peeve are authors who use cute campfire, fairytale, or kids reading photos to make a business case. I ALWAYS change those photos. Why? Because the author has made some terrific points that companies need to hear. But the photos undermine the message. So I select different once that I hope supports the message better.

Add Excerpts From the Article

It’s a terrific idea to periodically bring in an excerpt of the article into your review. This gives the reader a taste for the piece, and besides – sometimes the author makes a point far better than you can! Instead of struggling to paraphrase the author, let the author speak for his/her self.

In addition, adding an excerpt from the article is a quick way to write your review. This works like a charm and helps the reader to understand as quickly as possible what the content is about and why it is relevant to read.

Write a Review

In addition to including an excerpt from the article, you will always want to write your own introduction to the article, and explain the relevance of the article to your specific audience or tribe (“This is why you should read it…”).

As I’ve said in a previous article, this brings your own personal voice into the curation. It threads together news and content coming from many different sources. Your voice guides the reader through your curation like a museum guide. This is a good thing and where a lot of fun can happen. Don’t be stiff and boring. Lighten up, have fun with your readers, be human. 🙂

writing hand




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Karen Dietz has been working in business storytelling with organizations for over 2 decades. She is also the top global curator on business storytelling at www.scoop.it/t/just-story-it. Karen is the co-author of the just published book "Business Storytelling for Dummies" by Wiley. You can find this and more at her website here.