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Enhance Your Professional Profile through Online Content Curation

online content curationYou’ve heard of online content curation—and most likely, you’re already doing it without thinking much about it. Every time you post a link to an article on Twitter, or share a video link on Facebook, you’re curating content for your own network of friends and followers.

But when done well, you may be able to take content curation from a hobby to a professional service that you can offer to clients: For instance, Maria Popova, owner of the design-focused curation blog Brain Pickings, has parlayed her expertise into paid gigs with The Atlantic and other publications. Here are a few tips for taking your curation skills to the next level.

Build a theme. Curating content, along with creating your own, can help you develop an expert platform in a particular field. If personal finance is your focus, use your Twitter feed, your blog, and any other online media formats of your choice (such as curation tools like Paper.li and Scoop.It) to highlight the smartest writing on money you’ve seen that week. Shining a light on others’ work can also help you develop relationships with content creators in your field, which could lead to paid writing opportunities.

Find hidden gems. Successful curators don’t simply tweet and share the articles and videos that are already hot in social media—they dig deep into the web to seek out older or more obscure pieces of content that deserve a chance in the spotlight. Jason Kottke, who runs the popular blog kottke.org, often publishes excerpts and links referring to fascinating older content, such as a 1982 guide to video games by Martin Amis.

Give credit. When curating content, you’ll find mixed views on whether it’s acceptable to include a few lines of the original text excerpt or if you should simply link back with a summary. When in doubt, ask the content creator if excerpts are permissible; if so, make it clear that the text is a quote and not your original writing. It’s also generally seen as good web etiquette to give a “via” credit to other blogs and their content writers where you spotted a link to the content you’re citing.

Bring your own personality to the mix. Even if you’re primarily linking to and excerpting existing content, sharing a little bit about why you’re sharing this particular content will help distinguish you as an expert curator. “Bring your own voice to the topic and each link,” says Laura Brown, owner of the blog Word Grrls, who curates content at Scoop.It. “This will keep the topic from getting stale for you and keep people reading because you’re not just moderating a flat topic without life, personality, a sense of humor, real opinions and real experience.”

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