Curating's not just for dino bones!The internet brings us more information than we’ve ever had, but that’s not the real issue. As Donna Papacosta told the IABC/Toronto Westend group on Nov. 15 — quoting author and speaker Clay Shirky — “It’s not information overload, it’s filter failure.”

“People used to rely on the morning newspaper and the nightly news, and the library held the sum of human knowledge,” Donna told the group. “Now, we’re dealing with a firehose of information when we’re just trying to take a sip.”

That’s where curation comes in. It’s not the curating that museums do with paintings and dinosaur bones, but a way of finding, grouping, organizing and sharing the best content relevant to your audience. And it’s not just aggregating information, scraping and dumping like a robot; with curation, you add your own voice and perspective.

For an independent, curating can show others that you’re an expert resource or a trusted guide, something that will keep your brand top of mind. For a company’s intranet, curating pulls into one place important information like company updates, news about competitors, industry happenings and other factors that affect the market. You might also curate content for yourself, just to collect a daily summary on an important subject.

As with any communications, the first step should be defining a strategy. How are you trying to position yourself or your organization? What role does content play in your overall marketing or communications strategy? How will you keep your efforts going? And how will you measure success?

Next steps:

  • Understand your market and what your audience cares about
  • Identify thought leaders and influencers you want to track
  • Find content, using tools like Google Alerts and Twitter searches
  • Collect and save content, using tools like Delicious (a better way of sorting the 200 bookmarks you have on Firefox!),, Pearltrees, and Tumblr
  • Organize and document the content, adding context, meaning or opinion, or telling a story
  • Share the content, and make it easy for others to share – but always link to the original source or you’re just plagiarizing
  • Measure your results. e.g. increasing number of leads.

You could gather industry news, case studies, expert tips and advice, videos, photo, podcasts and/or presentations, publishing the content as an e-newsletter, blog post or microsite. Donna showed how companies like Adobe and Intel publish online “papers” that focus on interesting content with just a discreet mention of their sponsorship. Guy Kawasaki pulls together a range of topics using Alltop. collects information into a “brief” on topics from the expected (leadership and social media) to the niche (e.g. Geena Davis on women in media).

Donna encouraged the group to “keep your eyes open and think like a curator” and share, share, share.

Here’s a similar presentation on curation Donna gave at the IABC Western Region Conference in November.

Image: PANPOTE and