In the blog problem, I wrote:
The default organization is posts being archived by date. This leaves more posts siloed with each passing day in your growing library of content.
When this happens, there are very few signals for users or search engines to discern what’s important and its all due to the automated sorting of blogs.
Even if you use categories or tags effectively, it is still hard for users to discern what’s important within those categories.
But curation is different. Curation actually increases the value of your content by elevating it and putting it in its rightful context.
So how do we curate?
Put your best content forward
Obvious, right? But it’s rarely done well. Think about what you usually see as a user on someone’s blog.
Create an automated list of the most popular posts
Most viewed. Most commented. Recent. These are options and often better than what happens by default (date).
But if your lack of good “signals” to users and search engines is resulting in random posts getting the most traffic, then highlighting your most popular posts just exacerbates the problem.
Highlight the most relevant quality posts for your users
Now we’re getting into curation.
We rarely know what content will have outsized returns so it’s important to create standards by which to determine if a piece of content is worthy within your body of work.
Thinking in terms of constraints can be helpful here – e.g. if everyone that landed on x category read one post, which would I want it to be?
Content performance metrics
If you have a lot of content, any metrics you can use to start quickly separating the good from the not so good is going to save you time. Here are common metrics we’ll use to create initial standards for what is “best content.”
- Number and quality of backlinks to pages
- Amount of traffic (total, search, email, as page views or sessions, etc. )
- Engagement (shares, comments, signup conversion rates)
Types of content based on approach
Once you’ve culled underperforming content and taken your top x posts per category, you’re ready to go through them piece by piece.
Here are some times of content you should be paying attention to:
- “Start here” type content
- Tutorials, Tips, Training
- Thought leadership
You’ll notice common patterns in different types of content you might have. If you allow sponsored posts or have roundups with a lot of affiliate links – they probably shouldn’t make the curation cut.
Category topics as goals
Imagine that your category topic is a goal. What do the users reading up on it want?
Develop a skill? Learn something new? Solve a problem?
Whatever the answer, this should help determine how you curate your content.
Your tip top content
Do you see a way that any of these posts could be organized into a series that could loosely be considered a guide?
Can easily point out the best 3 to 5 most important pieces of content in a category?
You can start to see how different pieces might fit together to serve users interested in a given topic, at different points in their journey.
Next we’ll talk about an approaches to turn your top “category” pages into curated hubs.