Did you know that your project can be entirely original and of value without actually creating any new content? How? By getting into curation.
Curating means choosing the best of other people’s content, arranging it, commenting on it, and then sharing it with others. This allows you to become the one-stop location for the best in your field without creating your own stuff.
Many established business models are based on curation; a radio DJ curates their shows by selecting and playing music that they believe will have value for their listeners. A business conference chooses a theme and invites expert speakers so that an audience will want to come to listen and to network.
Curation is a great way of using your passion for a subject even if you’re not yet an expert and attracting an appreciative audience. The act of curation is now easier than ever due to the overwhelming amount of content available online, and the number of tools to share it with. And when we are all overwhelmed by information it is a very valuable thing to curate just the very best for people to absorb.
Here are three examples of businesses that have become successful as a result of curating content:
Founded by Maria Popova in 2006, Brain Pickings began as a weekly email sent to seven of Maria’s friends. Now a website, Brain Pickings has nearly five million followers on Facebook, 150k on Twitter and has received numerous high-ranking accolades (Maria was named in the top 100 creative people in business by Fast Company magazine; she was featured in 30 under 30 by Forbes as one of the most influential individuals in Media; and has gone on to writer for The Atlantic, Wired UK, Good Magazine and The Huffington Post).
Described as ‘like walking into the Museum of Modern Art’, Brain Pickings curates poems, letters, creative advice, photographs and illustrations by cultural icons into a weekly newsletter delivered to the website’s 150k subscribers. All of this curation takes time, though; Maria reads through hundreds of pieces of content every day to extrapolate and share the perfect material with her many followers.
The act of curation doesn’t always have to be highbrow. Buzzfeed started in 2006 by curating the most sharable content on the web. Lists such as ‘19 Things That Sound Fake to Harry Potter Fans’ and ‘24 Songs We All Grinded to At Senior Prom’ compile together already existing memes and gifs that get shared like crazy on social media sites.
Posts on Buzzfeed have been known to receive as many as 28 million views in a day, and in 2015 the company was valued at $1.5 billion. In 2011, the company repositioned itself and began venturing into serious journalism and reportage, alongside its already wildly popular clickbait material.
Somewhere in between Brain Pickings and Buzzfeed is NextDraft. Founded and run by Dave Pell, NextDraft is a unique and insightful daily newsletter that boils down and distils the daily news.
Describing himself as a curation savant, everyday Dave sifts through 50 news sites and pulls out the top ten ‘most fascinating stories’ to send to his 160k followers via email and app.
Dave and his site have received some incredible plaudits; he’s been described as ‘the managing editor of the internet’ and NextDraft has been featured in TechCrunch, Wired, and Forbes, just to name a few.
What about you?
Make no mistake the examples above have a put a lot of time and effort into their businesses but you can create real value as a curator in a much more modest way and still build a following.
The key here is to be specific and find your superniche so that you and your project stand out from the rest. Trying to be the number one source of news for entrepreneurs is a huge task, but niche it down to crowdfunding and it gets easier (and more interesting). Superniche it down to crowdfunding in your particular country or just in one field like indie film-making and it starts to become really interesting to a very particular audience.
You can start as easily as sharing the latest news on your topic on Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram and begin building a following.
What will you curate?
My new book Screw Work Break Free shows how to find your superniche, how to start compiling content that’s interesting to you, how to share your project publicly and 11 ways to make money out of it all. Download a free chapter now: