Association Curation

I just ran across a great article Association Publishing Priorities, Challenges and Hot-Button Issues for 2012. It started with one of the best captures of the challenge/opportunity for publishers and particularly association publishers:

The most pressing issues facing publishers today all stem from one central concern: To deliver relevant, targeted and in-demand content to readers where and whenever they want it, to break through the wall of information overload and determine what exactly that is – which seems to be expanding and changing from day to day.

The article goes on to talk about different kinds of opportunities that trade associations and professional societies have including Associations Social Media Opportunities.

What surprised me though was that the article does not bring up the opportunities for curation and aggregation by trade associations and professional societies. If you look at the “most pressing issue” above, clearly a big part of the challenge/opportunity is handling the information overload. This is what I start with in Marketing via Aggregation, Filtering and Curation – Tools and Resources.


If you look at the opportunity that publishers have, it’s narrowing down the content so that it’s targeted, relevant to the readers. What we are most often seeing from publishers and associations is that they continue to provide great original content, but relatively few are trying to take the flow of the broad range of information flowing at it’s readers and taming it for them.

Steve Drake brings 30+ years of trade association experience and does a great job capturing the opportunity for association curationin In a Content Fried World, Associations Content Curation Can Benefit Members:

An organization that gathers, scans, digests and shares valuable content in your industry or profession will win the attention and loyalty of your members.

As I discussed in Curation Tools and Resources, Associations should be looking at the following aspects of association curation:

  • Aggregation – how do you find and bring together relevant content
  • Filtering – how do you filter it down to content of interest to readers
  • Curation– how do you select the best content
  • Publishing / Distribution – how do you provide it out to your members (and others)

Of course, part of the challenge here is how associations can make this happen given limit time and budgets.

Association Curation Examples

Association Universe

If you look at Association Universe, you can see how the Young Association Professionals are doing exactly that. They are pulling together content from 50+ thought leaders in the world of associations and providing it in an on-going basis for their members.

On the surface, this is pretty classic example of association curation and aggregation. The site aggregates content from various industry sources. It filters and curates according to social signals, what people are doing with the content on social networks, and it publishes and distributes as a web site and newsletter.

Beneath the surface, there are two big differences from most association curation:

  • It takes little time and no budget on the part of the association. The site is primarily pulled together and operated by Aggregage and the budget comes from sponsorship.
  • The site provides personalization. If you think about the “most pressing issue”, it really comes down to how well an association can provide relevant content. However, relevance is really specific to an individual. For that reason, the site provides a sophisticated mechanism to personalize the content based on individual interests. It also will get smarter over time as it observes the interests of registered users.

Several other associations have done this such as SalesProCentral by The Sales Association.

ASAE 2011 Meeting

Another example of association curation comes from what ASAE did with curation of its 2011 Meeting and again with it’s 2012 Meeting. They collected articles together that talked about the conference and relied on the #asae11 hastag to help get a flow going. The result was an interesting curation of content for attendees and even those who could not attend the conference:


Joe Rominiecki, on the ASAE Acronym blog had talked about association curation the prior year in Isn’t “content curator” just another term for “reporter”?

I wholeheartedly agree that content curation can and should be a central role for associations. However you go about delivering that info to members magazine, blog, e-newsletter, Twitter feed, seminars, conferences, or (better yet) all of these that’s a valuable service, particularly if you’re the best (or the only) curator of info in your industry.

However, Joe goes on to equate curation with being a reporter. My guess is that if Joe went back and looked at the curation site for their 2011 meeting, he would think of it a bit different from “reporting”. Certainly, Association Universe is different than reporting.

American Business Media Videos

Another great example of curation is the American Business Media Videos Site. Below is a view of videos that is in a widget on their home page. By partnering with, ABM has been able to pull together videos from various sources into a library that is interesting and relevant for their readers.


Parting Thoughts on Association Curation

If you know of other great examples of trade associations or professional societies using aggregation and curation, I would love to hear about them.

There must be more. After all, Maddie Grant, a guru on social media for associations, captures the opportunity for curation in her post on Digital Trends in 2011:

Associations have TONS of content and member content. With all of the groups we’ve worked with, no-one has had any issues with finding enough content – but being a good curator of that content is a skill to be paid attention to and developed internally.

And that doesn’t even begin to address the opportunity for how associations handle all the content outside their digital walls.


If you’d like to discuss how Aggregage can help your organization with it’s content curation, please contact:

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