I’ve noticed that curation is a discussion topic in both L&D and marketing.
With so much out there, if you can find content that already exists, that makes your point and delivers the learning you want, adding it into your blend seems like a no-brainer.
Yet statistics from Towards Maturity’s last learning benchmark tell a mixed story about the impact curation is having.
Of the 14% who are using it, 66% say they are “just experimenting”, and only 32% plan to do so in the next two years.
It’s inspiring to see marketers embracing content curation with such success, however – and it makes me wonder if there’s not much, much more L&D could be doing.
So what lessons do top marketers have for us when it comes to curating content for our audiences?
1. Make it personal
HubSpot, one of the biggest developers of marketing software, dispenses daily wisdom in blogposts that I find particularly interesting—their universal style means that I am often presented with food for thought in my own work, even if the topic doesn’t directly apply.
For example: “I don't just want a bunch of browsable links,” says one blogpost on curation, speaking as a reader. “I want to know why I should read this stuff, and how it pertains to me.”
Curating is a great way to hook learners by incorporating a wide range of content. However, when attention is at a premium, they will need to know how this links to their work.
Sense-check everything you pull in to your blend, and make sure that it is relevant, context-appropriate and on the right wavelength for your learners.
If you decide to create a library of content, perhaps consider grouping it by role or department; this could be a great way to distribute learning that deals with challenges commonly faced by several different roles.
Also, use clear messaging. What you know to be an engaging, relevant piece of content might not register if learners aren’t sure if or why it’s for them—especially if it takes a different form than expected.
2. Keep it relevant
One benefit for L&D is that curating content to deal with common issues can stop learners duplicating effort, thereby saving time and money.
If a hundred of your people are Googling the same question every day, it is cheaper and easier for you to pull the resource they are accessing into your blend than to create one anew, or let them go on searching.
Use data to help you make decisions about where to focus your efforts. Gather insights using everything you can— what are people saying on Yammer? What does the data from your LMS show? Also, you can simply ask!
Once you understand your learners’ problems, you can save the organisation hours every year—not to mention money—by curating the answers.
3. Have a system
I love consuming content, but used to find that, due to the overwhelming amount of content on the internet now, I would forget where I saw something, or exactly what I had read when I wanted to go back to it.
Luckily, marketing folks love to evangelise about their favourite tools, and many of them have written about the systems they use to organise their content.
Buffer says that content curation is “both as simple and as difficult as finding great content and sharing it with your audience.” Their solution is to use a tool like Pocket to read, mark and save content for later.
However, you need to start by looking in the right places for up-to-date and relevant content.
And after you’ve invested time in researching content, you don’t want to do it all over again. Keeping a Pinterest board, Evernote notebook, or even a spreadsheet as you go along means you won’t duplicate this effort – and you can find it again when you need to call on it!
Anders Pink wrote a whole eBook on this topic, so I’ll let them have the last word:
“Curation is a gateway to understanding better whatever we may be interested in, and curators will be our “trusted guides” into this learning journey.
You are the “trusted guide”, and your personal expertise is the filter.
Your knowledge of the learners, the business and their context is what will help you find and fit learning content perfectly into your blend, so make sure to employ your human understanding and your L&D skills at all stages.
Natalie Lewendon, Content and Marketing Executive
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