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Content Curation Is the New RSS

Wed Feb 19, 2014

When Google first announced that they would shutter Google Reader, their popular RSS feed aggregator, on July 1, 2013, there was, to quote Obi-Wan Kenobi, “a great disturbance in the Force. As if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror, and were suddenly silenced.” Of course voices on the internet are rarely silent, and many (myself included) publicly bemoaned Google’s cruelty in abandoning a tool that allowed avid readers to collect and organize countless feeds.

In the months since, some have declared RSS dead, even as most blogs still feature the bright orange RSS button, but I’m tempted to concede that Google was right to kill Reader. RSS might not be dead, but it’s been replaced, and content curation is the new RSS.

Curation Picks Up Where RSS Fell Short

RSS, or really simple syndication, delivers content directly to subscribers, but it’s not ideal for driving website traffic to increase page views, and more importantly, conversions.

The biggest problem with RSS is that however you organize your feeds, you inevitably face a massive content backlog that you’ll never have the time to read. Marketers have gotten the “content is king”memo, and with more content being produced faster than ever, RSS is just another way to get overwhelmed. 

The new definition of successful content delivery is how easily readers can cut through the noise and get to the posts and information they actually want to see. A well-curated feed connects readers to high value content without them combing through the web to find it. It also positions the curator as a reliable, credible, and helpful resource.

Content Curation Apps Make Content Mobile

Besides the need to cut through clutter, one of the forces behind the shift to curation has been the growth of mobile web contentconsumption.

Content curation tools like Flipboard provided a new visual template for consuming and organizing large amounts of content without endless scrolling through article summaries, taking advantage of touch-based interaction enabled by tablets and smartphones. Ziteis a personal favorite of mine that curates based on interests you select, and makes content discovery and sharing easy.

For anyone who was doubtful about the growing dominance of curation, Facebook’s recent announcement of its Paper app (not to be confused with this one) sent a loud and clear message that the social behemoth wants to be your chief content curator. Like Flipboard and Zite, it has topic-based curated content feeds, but also includes stories from your Facebook newsfeed.

Content Curation Is Truly Social

You might roll your eyes when someone claims they get their news from Facebook or Twitter, but odds are that if you spend time on a social network, you’re using it to source interesting content. LinkedIn invested heavily in curation, even before they purchased Zite and Flipboard competitor Pulse, understanding that users wouldn’t come back daily just to update their resumes. Pinterest is a curated visual search powerhouse that rivals Google image search in usefulness.

In these social networks, your connections serve as content gatekeepers, vouching for each link they deemed share-worthy. Social curation is like crowdsourcing the role of a newspaper or magazine editor, who chooses which stories rise to the front page, and ensures that the content you see is well-rounded and complementary rather than plentiful but redundant.

Curation Platforms Empower the Enterprise

Becoming a content curator allows brands to deliver high quality content to their audiences without having to produce it. When content delivery needs to scale up, platforms like MassRelevancePublishThis, and our favorite, Curata, enable businesses to curate, share, and measure the impact of content in order to make better strategic decisions around content marketing.

Make content curation work for you by helping your customers avoid information overload. Strategically select and feature content that addresses their specific needs, enhances the value of your offering, and positions your brand as a trusted voice.

Karo Kilfeather, content marketing manager at Percussion Software
Karo Kilfeather
Content Marketing Manager | Percussion Software

Karo was born in Poland, and learned to speak English by watching "Saved by the Bell" reruns during her first summer in the U.S., which has left her unable to go through life without occasionally breaking the fourth wall. As Percussion's content marketing manager, she oversees and creates content that drives website traffic, engages followers, and helps fill the marketing and sales funnel. She writes about content management, content marketing, SEO, social media and web design, and how to make it all less complicated.

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