Previously, I talked about how marketers need lots of content – way more content than they can produce themselves. That’s where the emerging category of curation tools becomes an important part of the online marketer’s arsenal.
Curation tools help push a lot of content through your site. That’s a good thing – you stay relevant in search engine results, and keep popping up in social spaces every time a new piece of content goes up on your site.
So far, the toolset for curators has been homegrown. RSS has been around for years, and Yahoo Pipes allows your to get in there and tweak to your hearts’ content (here are the pipes that I have created and assembled). PostRank is a crucial piece to the puzzle, proving automated prioritization. And, of course, Twitter is an extremely useful curation platform.
But, all of these need to be kludged together in a workflow that relies on some fairly robust technical understanding to get everything feeding the right way. Despite these challenges, some people have pushed the limits of RSS and blogging platforms pretty far in order to create curated portals (see this or this post from Marshall Kirkpatrick, who has been doing this for a while).
A new breed of service is bubbling up now that puts many of these tools into a unified framework. Recently, I looked at HiveFire, which is a good example of how filters and curation come together in an easy-to-use package for marketers.
HiveFire pulls together RSS feeds in a reader-view, then allows the editor to select individual articles from those feeds. Once you select an article, you can post it to your content portal, and add your own commentary and context. All of this is wrapped in the company’s branding.
This framework is fairly straightforward, but the implications are significant. A non-technical user can review content items, clip snippets, insert their own commentary, and publish, all in a matter of minutes. They can queue up a series of new posts easily. This platform borrows strong parts of blogging and RSS reader platforms, and puts them together in a way that is quickly actionable.
There is much work to be done in this space, still. It appears that HiveFire does not support custom themes, which means that all of its examples have the same layout. And, there is still a lot of human intervention to get things published. But, overall, this is a step forward, and I am looking forward to ongoing iterations from HiveFire and other content curation platforms.
What tools do you use to help curate content online? Let me know in the comments.