If you are responsible for adding high-value content to your website, you are constantly being challenged to find page or post topics which are new, shareable, helpful and original.

As Google’s recent Panda update taught us, quick and easy content is not going to get our pages listed on page one of the search results. Besides which, quick and easy content does little to impress, engage or retain our readers.

So, given that you are now going to focus on high-value content, are there ways and methods you can use to deepen your expertise as a real-time expert?

I believe there are. My favorite method for keeping myself on the cutting edge, regardless of the content topic, is to become a content curator.

Being a curator means seeking out the best of the best, wherever it is being published, and then collecting it in one place.

No, I’m not suggesting you have to publish curated content on your own site or sites, although you can.  The idea here is to use the practice of curation as a means to keep yourself focused on what’s new, useful and remarkable in whatever topic area or business you are working on.

Let’s look at how various content curation tools and services can help you do that.

1. Publish your own online newspaper at Paper.li

When you sign up at Paper.li, you will be asked for your Twitter and Facebook account information. Once you have done that, and selected the publication frequency of your paper, Paper.li will then create your newspaper.

The stories you see featured are drawn from the links people share through your Twitter stream and your Facebook wall.  Not every link is published, as Paper.li appears to use an algorithm to identify the best content to share.

The quality of your paper will depend, of course, on the quality of the people you follow and like. The higher the value of your social media connections, the better the quality of your Paper.li newspaper.

The benefits of having your own Paper.li publication are two-fold.

First, it allows you to find the best of the best in one place. If you publish daily, you’ll get a daily snapshot of high-value news and information. You can then use that information to fuel the creation of your own, original content.

Second, your paper can become popular in its own right, and provide some valuable link-love back to your main site.

2. Create a Scoop.it page

Like Paper.li, Scoop.it enables you to create a unique publication, focused on a particular topic of interest.

Unlike Paper.li, your Scoop.it page is not created automatically. Instead, you go to your dashboard, type in some keywords, scroll through the list of results, and click on the content you would like added to your Scoop.it page.

You can also add a bookmarklet to your browser and grab content you find while browsing the web.

Again, the benefits are two-fold.

First, as you create and update your Scoop.it page, you are constantly increasing your knowledge of your topic...by depth and breadth. And that increased level of knowledge will help you identify more interesting and timely content ideas for your own website.

Second, your Scoop.it page will deliver link-love and direct traffic to your site.

3. Create a Tumblr blog

Tumblr is a bit like the love child of a late-night encounter between Wordpress and Twitter.

It’s a blogging platform, but other Tumblr publishers can follow your blog, and you can follow theirs. They can also republish your posts; the blogging equivalent of a Twitter RT.

Tumblr isn’t for everyone, or every topic. It is much loved by the arts, crafts, fashion  and entrainment crowds, and almost completely ignored by any kind of B2B business.

But if your topic or business fits, Tumblr can be a great way to network with other writers, and find and publish interesting content created by others.

The same two benefits apply – increased knowledge for you, and links and traffic back to your main site.

Use content curation to become a topic expert and add value to your site.

Becoming a curator results in total immersion in your topic. It means finding and selecting information from across the web, choosing what you want to share, and then gathering it together all in one place.

Becoming a curator is the fastest way to become a topic expert.

You can then use that expertise to fuel and inspire the creation of original, high-value, shareable content for your own website.

Nick Usborne

Published 20 April, 2011 by Nick Usborne

Nick Usborne is the founder of Web Content Cafe and a contributor to Econsultancy. 

1 more post from this author

You might be interested in

Comments (14)

Save or Cancel


Wonderful read, as one would say to write well is to do a lot of research, and emphasis on curation is rarely touched upon, specially when everyone seems distracted with the next most share-able item on their sites etc.

My question how are the mentioned tools different from say Google Reader and Blogger when used for curation purposes?


over 7 years ago



All good points, Nick.
In the early days of 2000 ish onwards, one of the key features of Google SEO was having "themed content." I had a themed content website as I had a generic name as my URL. This continues to work very well and the same content 9 years later still sits at number 1 for ammost all of my key phrases.
Doing one thing very well seems to be key. I think Panda and other updates are now exposing the "Jack of all Trades" publishers who have non themed content.
I am also aware of the fact that Pandas have black and white patches in varying degrees and perhaps readability is becoming recognised as a serious issue. Interestingly those sites with correctly laid out proper online copy seem to have done better than others. On page copy and other on page factors are a key starting point!
For those that think online is something like print, you have already failed.

over 7 years ago

Nick Usborne

Nick Usborne, Founder & Editor at nickusborne.com

Tamami, the main difference between the tools I mention, and things like Google Reader and Blogger, is that these new tools and services tap into social media in a big way - allowing you to find the best of the best from sources of your own choosing.

over 7 years ago


Nick Stamoulis

Content curation is a great way to keep yourself up-to-date and knowledgeable. Having a clear picture of what is going on in your industry helps your come up with new ideas and unique takes on popular trends. Paper.li sounds like a really interesting tool as well. Worth checking out.

over 7 years ago


Juan Vender en internet

This is brand new info to me. I've never heard this before. I didn't know these sites exist. I will use them right now. Thanks for this information.



over 7 years ago

Gregor McKelvie

Gregor McKelvie, Founder at buildtracks.com

Scoop.it and Paper.li are fads. I'd be surprised if they're around in a couple of years. The best way to add value to your site is to create great content. That's a long game and it takes effort, but comes with reward. Even with Tumblr, unless your Tumblr blog has great content it won't add any value to your site or brand. In fact, I'd argue that a brand with a Tumblr blog, Posterous blog, multiple Twitter accounts, Facebook page, Linked In group, a Paper.li and Scoop.it site and so on with average content is more damaging to the brand than valuable.

over 7 years ago

Dave Chaffey

Dave Chaffey, Digital Marketing Consultant, Trainer, Author and Speaker at SmartInsights.com

Hi Nick, I'm a fan of the content curation approach Nick, but think focusing on the tools as this post does is misleading. There are no real shortcuts for manual curation assisted by tools which evaluate content popularity.

I agree with Gregor: these tools add little value and are potentially damaging.

I've noticed the number of people I follow on Twitter who use them has dropped dramatically over a few short months. I'd say they do have some personal value 'though in keeping you sharp - I'd agree with that.


over 7 years ago


Morten Myrstad

There is good curation and bad curation. And of course there are good and bad tools. ☺ It is also early days: A lot of the tools are in beta, and new tools and revisions are coming out daily. Proof of the pudding, for me, is whether the tool is mainly used to aggregate content, or adding a human element from the curator. Paper.li is aggregating content from your lists, and does noe add much further value (today, that is, they are coming with an update in some weeks). Scoop.it, Storify, Storyful, Pearltrees requires active human curation, and is adding context, content and value.


over 7 years ago

Nick Usborne

Nick Usborne, Founder & Editor at nickusborne.com

Dave...I agree, it isn't about the tools. But the availability of the tools does make it easier for people to get started with content curation, and there is value in being able to share what you curate.

Personally, I use Evernote for the heavy lifting when it comes to curation. This stays on my own computer, and isn’t shared.

But I have noticed that curation with a tool like Tumblr, for example, takes on a different character. You’re not just collecting stuff, but there is a timeline there, and a narrative developing.

All interesting stuff. ; )

about 7 years ago

Nick Usborne

Nick Usborne, Founder & Editor at nickusborne.com

Morten, hi. Yes, the more interesting tools are those that require the user to make editorial choices and add value. What I find so interesting - and as you point out - many of these tools are still in alpha or beta. This, I believe, is the beginning of something big.

about 7 years ago


Guillaume Decugis

Thanks for mentioning us Nick: this is Guillaume, Scoop.it's CEO. Glad you liked our platform!

@ Gregor, the whole point of curation is to be another from of expression alongside creation. Yes, producing great original content will add value to your site but there's a lot your audience would gain from a selection of great content made by others alongside with your enlightened comments and introduction as as a topic expert. That's what good curation is about. I like seeing art. But I also like reading smart commentaries about art. Don't you?

@ Dave. I agree with you there are no shortcuts and scoop.it is just about manual curation. But just as you seem to indicate you value using tools to evaluate content popularity, we think there are other areas curation platforms can add value:
- helping you monitor content on your curated topic and thus provide inspiration
- enable your audience to simply follow your topic and make content suggestions to you
- provide easy formatting and editing options to publish content
We don't think curation should or can be automated and in fact we've firmly taken our side in the robots vs humans battle ;-) But we think a dedicated platform can significantly help you create and grow an audience around the topic you want to curate.

Care to try ? Lmk and I'll send you an invite: Guillaume at scoop.it.

about 7 years ago


Barb Smith

I can't wait to try the Scoop.it page ... sounds like an interesting approach. Thanks for the insights Nick!

about 7 years ago



Is content curation not about curating your own or guest created content on your own website? The approach you outline here is nothing less than link bait and content aggregation - no better really than the slew of "Top 10 ways to skin you can".

These tools do not offer anything new that an existing blogging platform or HTML powered site can do today.

Sorry, maybe I missed the point?

about 7 years ago



iuurr 588 kkk

over 6 years ago

Save or Cancel

Enjoying this article?

Get more just like this, delivered to your inbox.

Keep up to date with the latest analysis, inspiration and learning from the Econsultancy blog with our free Digital Pulse newsletter. You will receive a hand-picked digest of the latest and greatest articles, as well as snippets of new market data, best practice guides and trends research.