Marketing via Aggregation, Filtering and Curation – Tools and Resources

Great picture and post on the Information Overload Paradox:

The post talks about the issue of overload:

I can certainly consume more content than I could two decades ago, but no matter how much content is available, I can’t consume much more. And relative to the sheer volume of content available to me, I’m actually consuming a smaller percentage every day.

And talks to where they perceive to be the real opportunity:

The real opportunity here, in my opinion, is to create – and curate – the best content focused on one specific area frequently enough that you become the one brand that consumers look to for this information.

Let’s assume that you believe that to be true and you want to essentially become a publisher of the best content focused on a specific topic.  How do you do it and what tools are available to you?

And let’s also assume that you don’t really have enough time to create that content – but you still want to be considered a thought leader in the space.  How do you do this in a time-efficient manner?

The answer is that you need to make smart use of

  • Aggregation
  • Filtering
  • Curation
  • Publishing
  • Distribution

How Marketing Might Want to Aggregate, Filter, Curate, Publish and Distribute

Before you start to look at all the different approaches, marketing professionals should be thinking about what exactly would make sense.  At the core, the following defines the heart of the concept.  You collect interesting information, you organize it, you share it.

There are some key questions to think through and it’s worth making some basic decisions:

  • Who’s your target and what would interest them?
  • Are you standing up a destination site?  Or does content need to flow into your existing site?
  • How are sources determined?  What kinds of sources can you bring in?  Can you bring in parts or all?  Can it bring in historical content to form a library?  Images? video?
  • Can it scrub to clean up content?  Does it automatically create snippets?
  • How is content filtered?  Manual? Social filtering?
  • Does it publish full copies, snippets?  Does it appropriately credit the source?
  • Does it allow annotation?
  • Can you give priority to your own content within the aggregated content?
  • What control of output do you have?  Does it produce a destination site?  Layout control?  Feeds? Widget output?
  • Does it help you attract traffic?  Social distribution strategy?  SEO?

Not sure?  You might want to take a look through the following articles that consider how aggregation, filtering and curation can be used by marketers to build audience, reputation, influence and as a means to do content marketing without having to create lots of original content:

  1. A Marketer’s Guide to Content Curation
  2. How to Curate Content for an Aggregated Content Site
  3. Content Curation – The next wave of B2B marketing?
  4. What the Future Holds for B2B Social Media Marketing
  5. Why Content Curation Could be the Best Marketing Idea in 2011
  6. Content Strategy: Divide and Conquer
  7. Curating Information as Content Strategy
  8. The New Curators: Weaving Stories from the Social Web
  9. Want loyal readers? Then aggregate
  10. Content aggregation drives viewers, but can it drive profits?
  11. Curation: The end of content aggregation as we know it
  12. Content Aggregation For Links, Traffic And Buzz
  13. Content Marketers: Are you a Teacher, a Curator, or a Pundit?
  14. Why content curation is the new hype for content marketing
  15. Online Content Curation: The Key To Building Visibility, Authority And Value
  16. 4 Content Curation Ideas to Implement Now
  17. To Create OR To Aggregate, That is The Question
  18. 10 Thought Leaders Share Thoughts on Curating Content
  19. Ten Use Cases for Content Curation in Marketing
  20. Content Is No Longer King: Curation Is King
  21. The past, present and future of content curation
  22. Curation, attention deficit and the exaflood
  23. Am I curating yet? Drawing the lines between creation, aggregation and curation
  24. Content Curation versus Content Aggregation
  25. Microsites: The next big thing in B2B
  26. Does Curated Content Drive Vendor Preference?

So now, let’s assume you’ve decided that this sounds like a good idea and you have some ideas of how you might want to approach it.  But you aren’t sure how to actually make this happen in practice.  Well the good news (and bad news) is that there are many tools and different approaches.

Cobbling Together a Solution

Certainly, this is not a new concept.  Marshall Kirkpatrick talked about aggregation and filtering several years ago in How to Build an RSS and Blog News Site for Your Project where he had cobbled together a solution using Google Blog Search,  dapper, Feed Digest, PostRank, Roller, and others.  This allowed him to create what he described as:

a news dashboard for anyone interested in seeing what’s being written about at JavaOne.

The vast majority of aggregation, filtering and curation going on out there is cobbled together and often quite manual.  People search for interesting content, they package it up, they post it.  If you are going down this route, you probably should also be looking at lots of tools that are in the spirit of how Marshall attacked the problem.  Feed creators, filters, etc.  But let me start with the most common way that manual curation gets out into the word: Content Management Systems (CMS) and Blogging Platforms.

CMS and Blogging Platforms

There are a variety of different CMS type platforms that are often used associated with this approach such as:

Each of these either have built in aggregation or there are modules for adding aggregation and/or curation.  Typically, you would adopt a CMS if you want to also create lots of original content and have lots of flexibility around layout.  However, most of these will require technical staff and you probably are willing to spend more time and effort.  That said, if you already have one of these, let’s say a WordPress based blog/site, then it may make sense to look at some plug-ins, reblogging, widgets that help with this process.

Finding Content

Sourcing the content you will use is, in some ways, simple.  You likely are already using an RSS Reader to subscribe to various sources.  You grab the content that appears interesting to your audience.  And then you post it into your LMS.  You might be using a few of the following to help you to broaden your search.

If you want to include scanning across sites that don’t naturally produce feeds, then you should look at RSS Feed Creation tools such as:

Of course with each of these, you still have the issue of what you are going to do with the output.  You can either just be feeding this to people for them to scan through and pull out interesting content, or you can leverage the fact that it creates RSS and use tools for mixing, filtering, merging RSS feeds.

And there are a few of these tools that also help filtering based on quality measures.  This is important to reduce the noise.

  • PostRank – Likely the best known of these tools.  Leverages social signals to indicate quality content.
  • FeedZero – more of a personalize filtering mechanism
  • FeedScrub – Feedscrub filters your feeds based on your preferences. Subscribe to all your favorite feeds, then tell Feedscrub which posts you do and don’t like. Feedscrub will learn your preferences and begin filtering out posts that don’t interest you.

In order to take content (likely RSS) and get it into your CMS, you should know about reblogging and RSS to post type tools:

There are also tools that are more or less bookmarking plus annotation that allow you to output in various ways.  These can be used as curation tools where the output is then used to form blog posts or can be displayed as widgets.

Distributing Your Content

You should also probably look at the following tools to help you get your content out by packaging it and/or broadcasting it.

Aggregation Filtering and Curation Platforms

There are a variety of relatively newer kinds of platforms that are designed to provide more of a complete packages and generally are designed to produce a destination.   So rather than cobbling together a solution as above, these platforms generally provide a more inclusive solution and often produce a destination themselves so that a CMS is not required.  Of course, it’s way messier than that.

  • Aggreage (formerly Aggregage) – aggregates content, leverages Social Filtering to form online publications, powerful long tail SEO. Used to produce sites like Social Media Informer
  • Loud3r – a real-time content discovery, curation and publishing platform was used to produce Chicago Now
  • Curata – content curation platform behind
  • CIThread – helps editors intelligently Curate for Communities
  • CurationStation – find, vet, select and share relevant content. aggregates anything via bookmarklet + RSS-OPML, Twitter, Google Alerts, YT, FL + commenting, output via embed, RSS, API, PHP, manual or automated
  • OneSpot – Tools for publishers aggregates RSS, Twitter, community ranking
  • Publish2 – publisher solution – share and distribute content for print and web publishing
  • idio – publisher platform for aggregation and publishing.
  • DayLife – powerful publisher platform
  • Eqentia – multi-purpose semantic publishing platform for knowledge tracking, competitive intelligence, media monitoring, SEO enrichment, thought leadership or any custom content.
  • PublishThis – on-demand content publishing platform that revolutionizes the discovery, collection, and delivery of relevant, real-time content, providing valuable audience segmentation capabilities
  • PerfectMarket – publisher solutions, topic pages, monetization of content
  • MainStreetConnect – creation of independent hyperlocal news sources
  • Outside.in – hyperlocal content solutions

As I mentioned, some of these tools are more aimed at producing flexible destinations – others at providing RSS feeds, widgets, etc. that can be integrated into other sites.  The advantage of having a destination as a result is that they also then can provide more sophisticated audience building solutions like SEO and social media integration.

Destinations with Aggregation, Filtering and Curation

Again, this is messy, but there are also a wide variety of sites that allow you to aggregate, filter and curate within their destination.  They allow you to create a new location on their site (think Facebook Page or Google Sites).  Often they provide distribution of the results via social networks.

  • Kosmix – The best of social media – filtered and organized by topic.
  • Alltop – Limited blog aggregation
  • Twingly – Creates automatic news channel on topic you specify and makes it easy to share on social media
  • Evri – Social curation of news that allows you to create channels
  • MustExist – Social Content Curation.  Coming technology that use Twitter streams to find best content on any topic.  (coming soon)
  • Qrait – A realtime curation platform designed to fulfill the needs of content curators and reduce information overload for the rest of us. (coming soon)
  • CurativeApp – The Easiest Way To Aggregate and Curate Content From Around The Web (coming soon)
  • Paper.li – paper.li organizes links shared on Twitter into an easy to read newspaper-style format.
  • Hubpages – Create a hub somewhat a cross of Squidoo and Paper.li
  • KeepStream – Remix your tweets, statuses, and other social goodies into a neat, tidy, permanent web page.
  • TwitterTimes – The Twitter Times is a real-time personalized newspaper generated from your Twitter account
  • Anckr – Read, create or contribute to moderated Twitter streams organized around specific topics like breaking news stories.
  • Eddy – a media aggregation platform built for the public display of up-to-the-minute activity on realtime services like Twitter.  Collection and curation of twitter around events, moderation of acceptable material, and republishing of these conversational streams.

A slightly different approach to this are the following clipping and bundling sites.  They produce destination pages or widgets or both.  I think of them a little bit different than the platforms because they are mostly aimed at clipping content you encounter into a bundle that can then be used.  This is very much aggregation, filtering and curation.  If a widget is created, you can obviously use that as part of your marketing strategy.

  • Amplify – social network for learning, discovery, conversation but more of a clipping service
  • TrailMeme – story telling through curation
  • PearlTrees – organize content and share via a visualization
  • Storyify – twitter curation with bundling
  • BagtheWeb – Create a “bag” to collect, publish, and share any content from the Web.
  • Licorize – Turn web page bookmarking and status updates into projects, ideas, teams at work.
  • HabitStream – aggregates various sources and allows widget based output
  • Curated.by – collect and organize tweets into topic based streams that can be shared or embedded anywhere
  • Publitweet – platform to curate real-time content, and make it more readable, shareable and monetizable
  • Scoop.it – service with content discovery tools for finding quality content, after which you can manually share it in your topic, which is essentially a topic-based content repository.

Other Tools

This world is so messy right now, that there are lots of interesting tools that definitely relate, but I’m not sure where they get classified.  So this is a dumping ground for some tools you might want to look at:

Great Articles about Aggregation, Filtering and Curation

Haven’t had enough, here are some great articles with lots more about approaches, tools, etc.  Have fun.

  1. Automated Filtering vs Human-Powered Curation
  2. Filtering and Curation for Specific Topics
  3. Sorting Through Content Curation Options
  4. Real-Time News Curation – The Complete Guide Part 6: The Tools Universe
  5. On Reflective Learning, Blogging, and Content Curation
  6. What are the best content curation tools for daily use?
  7. Social Filtering
  8. Storify and the search for curation
  9. Storify An Attempt to Curate
  10. HiveFire: Content Curation for Marketers
  11. Twitter, Curation and iPad: Meet Tweet Library
  12. Curation Curation Curation and The Next Social Media Business Model
  13. Airvanas Content Curation Aids in SEO of its News Portal FemtoHub.com
  14. MySpace is Reborn as Social Curation
  15. A Question of User Expectations
  16. Introducing aggregates
  17. Aggregate the aggregators
  18. Publishers Dilemma
  19. Aggregates go mainstream
  20. Real-time Story Telling
  21. Crowdsourcing Curation: The Social Graph as Gatekeeper
  22. What’s the law around aggregating news online? A Harvard Law report on the risks and the best practices
  23. Social Currency and Curation
  24. Curation and The Next Social Media Business Model
  25. Is 2010 the Year of Curation?
  26. Content Curation: a Required Skill for Digital Era Communicators
  27. Social News Curation: Simplifying or Adding to our Social Media Overload?
  28. Unskewing the Web: Curators as filters
  29. We Me We – Why the Curation vs Aggregation Discussion is Messy
  30. Curate The Cloud
  31. Using the ‘Steal-O-Meter’ to Gauge if Stories Steal or Promote
  32. Content aggregation solutions move beyond the RSS feed
  33. The Creative Plateau and Content Curation
  34. Is curated content a viable publishing model?
  35. Curation. Can you Filter Free Content
  36. Who are your curators?
  37. Real-Time News Curation – The Complete Guide Part 5: The Curator Attributes And Skills
  38. Content curation: A required skill for digital-era communicators
  39. Content Curation: Why Is The Content Curator The Key Emerging Online Editorial Role Of The Future?
  40. Curation Makes the Difference, or Why Seth Godin is (Finally) Wrong About Something
  41. Curating, not moderating, the flow of content and participation
  42. Is Flipboard the First Social Aggregation Product?
  43. Aggregators: the good ones vs. the looters
  44. Content Strategy: How and Why to Curate Content
  45. Content Curation to Build Trust
  46. Content Curation: Learning from others and sharing their knowledge
  47. Content Curation Evaluation Framework
  48. Aggregation or Content Hijacking
  49. Real-Time News Curation – Process, Key Tasks, Workflow
  50. The future of publishing: Social News Curation
  51. Content Curation for Twitter: How To Be a “Thought Leader DJ”
  52. Why paper.li and automated curation are doomed to fail
  53. Real-Time News Curation – The Complete Guide Part 2: Aggregation Is Not Curation
  54. DataSift Curation Engine Aims for Relevance in Real-time
  55. Crowdsourced Curation
  56. Taming the Content Curation Beast
  57. Real-Time News Curation – Types And Real-World Examples
  58. How publishers curate the world of content
  59. The Golden Age of Content Curation
  60. Content Curation: Advocates, Influencers and Relevance
  61. Feedly and Lazyfeed Help You Navigate the Information Rapids
  62. What’s the law around aggregating news online
  63. Social News Curation: Simplifying or Adding to our Social Media Overload?
  64. The curation for what ails us? When good ideas are oversold
  65. Social self-importance: Why content curation will never be king
  66. Content curation: Definition before innovation?
  67. Why Keepstream has Promise as a Curation Tool
  68. my6sense – of consumption, curation and the needstream.
  69. Guide To Online Content Syndication
  70. Online Content Distribution: Guide To The Best Content Syndication Services
  71. The Future Of Content Curation
  72. You’re Not That Interesting
  73. The Sun: how not to win friends or influence bloggers
  74. How to measure 5 popular social media channels
  75. Microsites. A Bad Idea Most of the Time
  76. aggregate, filter and connect
  77. Too much information to follow? Build your own feed generator
  78. Everyone a Re-Publisher
  79. Content Farms: Why Media, Blogs & Google Should Be Worried
  80. Information Aggregators and Dashboards
  81. The end of aggregation?
  82. Stay Informed: Topic-based Reader Roundup
  83. Social Filters
  84. The role of knowledge filters
  85. The 3 social filters
  86. Cloud Culture: Introducing the Filters
  87. Why Filtering is the Next Step for Social Media
  88. Content Networks are the New Blogs | chrisbrogan.com
  89. What Is Newsmastering And What Are Newsradars? RSS News Aggregation And Re-Publishing For Beginners – Robin Good’s Latest News

12 Responses to “Marketing via Aggregation, Filtering and Curation – Tools and Resources”

  1. posicionamiento en google February 2, 2011 at 5:59 am #

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  2. Barbera Klawuhn February 2, 2011 at 6:22 am #

    As a Newbie, I am always searching online for articles that can aid me. Thank you

  3. Barry Deutsch February 3, 2011 at 4:24 pm #

    This is the best compilation of content/sites/tools around curation and aggregation that I’ve come across.

    Here’s the issue I am facing:

    I have a blog for which I am aggregating content in a particular niche – executive job search. I am using a wordpress “alltop” type templage that pulls the RSS feeds from a manually selected group of top bloggers in that niche. I then manually select 1-2X per day an outstanding article from the feeds, add my own comments/ideas and publish it as a blog (the ultimate goal being to drive SEO with classic wordpress categories, tags, and meta info through an SEO plugin.

    I would like to use a curation tool to annotate/comment on articles vs. just providing the feed. Most of the curation tools I’ve looked at provide an RSS output or an output directly to wordpress (such as Amplify). Unfortunately, all the tools appear to post into wordpress directly -then you’ve got to go back and set the tags, categories, correct the page title, set the meta info — all after the fact.

    Sorry about the long-winded background. Here’s the key question:

    Is there any curation tool that will post into wordpress as a draft. For example, I use MS Livewriter to craft my blog postings which I post as a draft into wordpress and then make the appropriate SEO coding in tags, categories, and meta information.

  4. Tony Karrer February 3, 2011 at 6:26 pm #

    Barry, fantastic comment. Your use case is really spot on.

    I don’t know a tool today that really does what you are asking for. But, I guess I’m wondering whether someone really can build a tool that will make us bloggers happy. Essentially, you are collecting a bunch of (content) resources and then you will want to edit it as you see fit.

    How is this really different than copy, paste, edit? How much faster would a tool really make this?

  5. Robin Good February 6, 2011 at 11:12 am #

    Hi Barry, Blogbridge which is free and open-source, will do that for you. Go to the site download it, check the tutorials and if you have any doubts contact Pito Salas who will certainly guide you in achieving exactly what you have described.

  6. Sprichie March 1, 2012 at 1:09 pm #

    Hi Barry,

    I have looked for days and days and finally found a wordpress theme that comes fully loaded and also has a bookmarklet. The bookmarklet, when clicked, allows you to pull any story from any website, add an image, highlight whatever parts of the article to quote, add your own commentary, and more.

    The best part is that it opens your wordpress “add post” box and saves as a “draft” which is what you and I both want. So then you can add videos, links, tags, etc, then post.

    It’s called Curation Traffic. http://curationtraffic.com/. I don’t have any affiliation with them, but they are the only solution I found.

    My only question to them, and I’m waiting on an answer is. “Can I just use the bookmarklet with my existing blog?” I don’t want to change my design and install their theme so we’ll see.

    I hope this helps.

    • Scott Scanlon March 27, 2012 at 6:38 pm #

      First, this is a great overview for curation, full of great info.

      Spriche,

      Thanks for sharing our platform here. The bookmarklet as a addon for your existing blog is in the plan, right now it’s 2 months out in the development cycle.

      Before that we have a few things to add to the existing platform that will help with creating a top notch curation platform. Plus a few more layouts and more conversion features.

      Sorry for not seeing this earlier and responding but I wanted to share that we do plan on adding what you suggested.

    • Adam Fanslau October 24, 2012 at 10:29 am #

      Thanks for the post Barry, Great insight.

      Sprichie,

      I just wanted to give you an update. We have recently released the plugin version of Curation Traffic.

      With this plugin, you can what you are looking for, use the Curate This bookmarklet on an existing WordPress site.

      Go to http://curationtraffic.com/ to see if it is a fit for you.

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