search contentAt SXSW 2013, WordPress CEO Matt Mullenweg boldly stated that content curation would be one of the key areas of focus for his company in the future. How did content curation become such a hot topic for publishers and a strategic priority for a company like WordPress? Let’s take a high-level look at the evolution of content curation to learn more.

The Early Days of Content Curation

In the early days of blogging, bloggers published “Link Round-Up” and “Link Love” posts to draw attention to content across the web that they liked and thought their audiences would like.

The practice accomplished a few goals. First, it was a quick and easy blog post for a busy blogger to write and publish. Second, it gave the blogger’s audience access to excellent content from sources the blogger trusted and recommended. Third, it drove traffic to other blogs, published trackback links on those blogs, and helped to build relationships between bloggers. This was the first evolution of content curation among online publishers.

The Next Phase of the Content Curation

The next phase of content curation came when larger online publishers and websites launched with the primary purpose of curating great content.

Unlike aggregators that simply gathered links on related topics, curation publishers used real people—editors and writers—who searched for great content, added their own commentary to it, and published it in a new form and with additional insights or information. Smaller bloggers were already doing this, but when sites like The Daily Beast launched and proudly announced their purpose as editorial curators, content curation took on new importance in the world of online publishing.

Content Curation Today

Fast forward to 2013, and the world of content curation has exploded into a huge, money-making industry. Curation tools, websites, and plugins are everywhere, making it easy for anyone to curate content and distribute it within seconds.

Mike Thompson of EContent Magazine published a comprehensive look into what’s happening in the world of content curation today, and Newstex President Larry Schwartz was quoted within the article explaining, “People will always pay to be able to get information faster than everyone else. Knowledge is power; speed is power.”

In the end, Thompson comes to a conclusion that is absolutely correct. Content curation is fairly useless without human editors and writers behind the scenes who find, select, and add to the curated content. Content curation has been around far longer than the Internet, and it will be here for many years to come. Tools will come and go, but publishers who employ and reward the curators who understand how to effectively collect and enhance content to tell stories that reach new target audiences will stand the test of time.

What do you think?

Follow the link above to read Mike Thompson’s full article on the EContent Magazine website.

Image: Guillermo Alvarez