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My number one and initial strategy to kick-start my niche blog project is to utilize curated content for many of my posts. The strategy is really quite genius, I think, and has several benefits which I will explain in this post. A few of the intended consequences of this curated content strategy include:
- Building relationships with other bloggers, authors and site owners
- Providing content with multiple viewpoints and from varying backgrounds
- Link building and social networking for the site
- Traffic generation through promotion by others
If done right, site owners or original authors are thrilled when you highlight some of their content using a curation method. It provides value to and benefits them and their site, while at the same time doing the same for your site. It is a win-win situation for both or all parties involved.
What is Curated Content?
Basically, curated content is taking a portion of somebody else’s content and using it within your own site or piece of content. It sounds a little shady, as if you are stealing (or scraping) content produced by others. But if done correctly, that is not the case at all. I will explain by showing my exact process for curating content on my Pay Off Credit Card site.
When I curate content from another site, I always introduce the piece by telling my readers who wrote it and where I found it. I then copy & paste only a portion of the article or post into my own post. I italicize and indent the curated content and then remind the readers who wrote it and provide a link back to the original piece. I explain that what they just read was only a portion of the original piece and that they should click through to the original piece to read the rest.
Providing a link to the original piece is very important. This is what provides the most value to the original creator or site owner. Not only do links drive traffic back to the original site, but they also provide all kinds of back-end website value when it comes to web and search engine rankings, as well as other technical metrics. Web masters and site owners love it when other sites link to their site (especially if that other site is a high ranking site). Having a portion of their content copy & pasted is a small price to pay to get that valuable link and most of them won’t mind at all. If they do mind, they will let you know and you can simply remove that post or the portion within that contains their content and link. This has not happened to me yet.
Lastly, I always let the site owner or author know that I have curated some of their content after it is published. I do this by sending a short and sweet e-mail, if I can find their e-mail address. If not, I will hit the contact form on their site. One of these two options is almost always available. In the rare case that neither of these is an option I can always connect on Twitter or Facebook, or even leave a comment to one of the posts on their site. Keep reading to see exactly how I do this.
How to Find Content to Curate
First, I need to find some content that I wish to use for my site. Since my site is about paying off credit cards, I need to look for content on sites that are relevant. Luckily for me, I have some experience in the personal finance blogosphere and have a few connections. Besides knowing some of the bloggers, I also know where to find an endless list of active bloggers in that community.
Here’s a hint: Go to a popular blog in your niche and open up a post from about a week ago. Scroll down to the comments section and you will likely find several bloggers from that same niche commenting on that post. Click through to any of their blogs for a fresh source of content. Rinse and repeat this process on every new blog you find.
If you don’t already know about a popular blog in your particular niche, you may be able to find content by doing a simple Google search. Or, better yet, a Google Blog Search. Just type in your target keyword and see what comes up. In my case, I usually type in pay off credit card.
Once I get to a blog or site, I still need to find the best relevant content to curate for my site. The first thing I look for is a search bar on the site. I put my keyword into the search bar and it searches only that site for articles containing that keyword. If a search bar isn’t available, I check the Categories list to see if anything looks relevant. I’m looking for things like, Credit, Credit Cards, Credit & Debt, Credit Card Pay Off. Many personal finance blogs do actually have a category along these lines. Either of these methods will usually supply a list of articles on that site. I browse through them somewhat quickly to see if anything fits with what I am looking for. If one catches my attention, I then read the entire article and bookmark it for use in my curation process.
Another method for finding content to curate is to simply ask the site owner. This is what I did for my very first piece of curated content on my Pay Off Credit Card site. Fellow blogger John has a site called Married (with Debt). I knew him pretty well from my days as a personal finance blogger. He was kind enough to randomly tweet out one of my articles from this site one day, which sparked the following twitter conversation…
Before I went to his site myself to do a search, I simply asked him. After all, it is his site. Who would know it better than him? He came back with the following response…
— John Miro | MWD (@MarriedWithDebt) October 26, 2012
To which I replied…
@marriedwithdebt Excellent! I think that will work perfect. I will use that one for a post next week. Thanks a ton!
— Matthew Allen(@Matt76Allen) October 26, 2012
Results for My First Piece of Curated Content
Here is a link to my very first attempt at content curation on my new niche blog, The Pay Off Credit Card Network. You’ll see here how I do everything exactly as explained above. Only use a portion of the original piece, italicize, indent, link back and explain to the readers that the rest of the piece can be found on the original link.
After my curated content is posted, I always let the owner or original author know about it. When I tweet out the link to the new post, I include that persons Twitter handle if available. Here is my tweet for this particular piece of content.
— Matthew Allen(@Matt76Allen) October 29, 2012
I also send an e-mail to the owner or original author of the content that I have curated if I can. If I can find their e-mail address, I simply use it. Otherwise I copy & paste something like the following and send it to them via the contact form on their site. Here is a copy of the exact e-mail I sent out today to a different site owner whose content was curated in a post that went live today (I sent something very similar to this to John):
Subject: I’ve linked to some of your content!
Just a quick note to let you know that I’ve highlighted some content from one of your articles on Financial Uproar and also provided you with some value by linking back to it from my website!
Please take a moment to check out the latest post on my site, The Pay Off Credit Card Network – Getting Rid of Credit Card Debt is Financial Advice 101.
I would greatly appreciate it if you would take the time to share this article using any of the sharing buttons provided at the bottom of the post. Also, although not necessary, a link back to my site from yours would be most valuable and appreciated.
Thank You for making the world and the internet a better place by providing such excellent content!
The Pay Off Credit Card Network
As you can see, I try to keep the e-mail short and sweet and get right to the point. I let them know what I have done. I make sure they know about the value I have provided for them and in return I boldly and directly ask that they provide value back for me. I also include the URL in it’s entirety on a separate line, just in case the hyperlinking doesn’t go through via a contact form or something like that. Also, this diffuses any suspicion that the hyperlinked text might be spammy or even contain a virus.
This e-mail, or connection via contact form is my number one strategy for link building, relationship building and social networking as I kick-start this new blog. My hope is that the owner or original author will appreciate what I have done and do at least one of the suggested things to help give value back to me. I know not everybody will oblige, but some will. Also, it doesn’t hurt to stop by that persons blog and actually read some of their other content and leave a comment to a recent post. This let’s them know that you are real and engaged and not just some lazy blogger trying to steal their content.
A few days after my first curated post went live on The Pay Off Credit Card site, I got a mention in a tweet from John. It went like this…
— John Miro | MWD (@MarriedWithDebt) November 2, 2012
This was John showing me that he took my suggestion and actually linked back to my site from his. This provided an incredible amount of value to me and my brand new site! The post that he stuck my link in is a PR2 itself, and John’s Married (with Debt) site is a PR3. Not only did this link provide me with PR value, but I am already getting a little bit of traffic from it as well! Thanks John!
I think this about covers my exact strategy for curating content for my niche blog. I hope you found this helpful and will consider using a similar strategy on your own site or blog. Bloggers or site owners curating and linking to other bloggers or site owners – a win-win for everybody!
Readers: I would love to hear your thoughts on my strategy as well as take any advice, suggestions or criticisms.
Remember, there are several dumb ways to create passive income online, but only one site that is blogging about it! Dumb Passive Income… dot com.
“Embraced by Words” – Image from Flickr by Robbert van der Steeg