Content Curation 101

Effective digital marketing requires that you share content online. That content can be created by you or by others. Content curation refers to effectively sharing content created by others to establish your expertise.

The balance of original and shared content differs for each situation. For some, most of their content is original. For others, sharing other content is the best way to maintain a steady stream to engage online.

Choose the Right Content to Share

How do you pick content to share? The right content is accurate, interesting and useful to your target audience.

People follow you because the information you share is worthwhile to them. They don’t need more information just for the sake of it, they need information of value.

A concerning phenomenon I see all the time is content that is shared without being vetted. I see links shared thousands of time that few actually click. I see people comment that they did not know what the content said when challenged or questioned about the contents.

Read the articles and watch the videos BEFORE you share with your followers. Have criteria to determine what is worthwhile and what doesn’t make the cut.

Find Worthwhile Content

Here are a few tips on how to find good content to share:

  • Ask Google – A simple Google search for a keyword or phrase will turn up relevant content. You can also Google ‘Best Blogs (or other online source) for X to find sources.
  • Monitor Your Existing Network – Your network of connections online should be a constant source of quality content.
  • Use Hashtags- Check the trending hashtags on Twitter, Instagram and other channels to see if anything is relevant to you. You can also use hashtags to search those platforms.
  • Follow News Outlets – News organizations are all about sharing the latest. Follow general outlets as well as any that are specific to your niche.

Add Your Own Thoughts

When you find content, sharing the link is not enough. You need to add your own perspective. You need to tell your audience why you have shared the content – what’s particularly interesting? Do you agree or disagree? Etc.

Your comments can:

  • Summarize a key point
  • Ask a question
  • Highlight a quote
  • Clarify a statement
  • Add context

Share Socially

When sharing content, tag the original creator in your post so that they know that you’re sharing their content. While you don’t need to get permission to share someone else’s content, connecting your share with the creator is a win-win, since you’re both tapping into new audiences. 

Accessibility Online and Your Website

Does your website need to be accessible? Disabilities rights advocates say the answer is yes, but the actual requirements are less clear.

Federal websites have had a mandate to make sites accessible for some time now. Most state and local government sites have complied as well. When I worked at Fairfax schools, making the websites Section 508 compliant was a major priority.

Legal Requirements for Accessibility

Recently, the Supreme Court declined to take up a case  from Domino’s, in which the pizza chain argued that the Americans with Disabilities Act, which protects individuals with disabilities against discrimination, doesn’t apply to online spaces. A blind man, Guillermo Robles, sued Domino’s when he couldn’t order food on their website and mobile app using a screen reader that helps people who are blind read text online.

The Supreme Court decision to not hear the case means the lower court’s decision, which stated that customers should be able to access Domino’s website and app, stands.

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Title III federal civil rights law, public businesses are required to provide effective communication with the people served. Effective communication isn’t happening, disabilities rights advocates argue, when someone who is blind can’t use a business’ website or mobile app.

However, the requirements of the law related to online spaces are vague. There aren’t any explicit federal regulations mandating that businesses make websites and mobile apps accessible. The ADA was passed in 1990, when internet was just emerging.

Requirement or not, every business should ensure that the website – their online home base – is accessible to everyone. Everyone uses the internet. Period.

Accessibility Factors to Consider

Many of the web content accessibility guidelines are easy to incorporate into any website.

  • Provide clear and consistent navigation that can be navigated with keyboard keys
  • Use “alt text” for any non-text elements of a page, such as pictures and charts, so that a screen reader can identify what’s in the image
  • Pay attention to color contrast to be sure that text can be read by people with low vision and those with color blindness
  • Mark up videos with closed captioning and audio descriptions
  • Use proper structural elements on pages (heading and body tags)
  • Ensure that moving, blinking, scrolling, or auto-updating objects or pages can be paused or stopped

Check Your Website

Not sure how well your website does on these and other accessibility checkpoints? Website accessibility tools can help. Keep in mind that not all tools pick up on all issues. Any progress you make on being more accessible increases the number of people who can meaningfully experience your website.

WordPress Best Practices

WordPress is a terrific content management system for most business websites. It’s easy to use even for non-technical people. I love to deliver sites to clients that use WordPress because I know it will be easy to use and will be updated with all the latest tools for years to come.

Here are some best practices to follow with the underpinnings of you WordPress site.

Mind Your Permalinks

Permalinks are the URLs of each of your web pages. Once you’ve set them, you really shouldn’t change them. So, give a glance at the permalink BEFORE you publish a page or post.

If you  change permalinks after content is published the URL will change. This means search engines may not find the content if they have already indexed the old permalink. Visitors coming to your site via search engines will end up on your site with an error message saying the post could not be found. You want to avoid that!

Keep Software Updated

WordPress, plugins and themes all need regular updates. These keep you safe from hacks and other security issues.

This can be as easy as a click in your dashboard, but proceed with caution! Always back up your site first, so you can restore it if something goes horribly wrong. Better yet, have this work done by a developer who is familiar with common pitfalls and how to avoid them.

Remove Unneeded Plugins

Sometimes you try something that you don’t want. Other times, plugins are no longer maintained and you need to use a new one. Don’t let old, unused plugins clutter up your dashboard.

Also evaluate carefully before you install a new plugin. The wrong choice can slow your website and, worse, make you vulnerable to hacks.

Delete Carefully

You may want to delete posts or pages because they no longer serve a purpose. That’s a good idea, but you need to proceed cautiously. Since the search engines have indexed your site, deleted content on your site will render the infamous 404 pages: page not found. You need to have a plugin that will replace the page with a 410 deleted content header so search engines know the page has been deleted.