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🔎 The curator economy

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The sheer deluge of content out there poses a challenge to audiences— and marketers

Content marketing (ie., videos, social posts, blogs, and emails) is totally having a moment —and it’s only going to get more popular in 2024.

Trouble is, if there's one thing we're all probably going to want a little bit less of in 2024, it's content.

I mean, look around: we're absolutely inundated with content and info these days.

And it doesn’t help that, when it comes to content marketing, an increasing amount of that stuff is written at scale by robots on behalf of people and brands.

Don't get me wrong. There is plenty of valuable content around.

But the sheer deluge poses a challenge to audiences (ie., how do we sift through all this to find what's relevant and truly matters?) and also to brands, marketers, agencies, and marketing solopreneurs needing to “feed the beast” with ever more… stuff.

What’s a marketing pro to do?

UPSKILL TIME

Marketers, side hustlers, and founders: make 2024 the year you get good at the underrated —yet invaluable— skill of curation.

Zoom out: A lot of people think that curation is simply selecting stuff that meshes with your taste.

It's not. That definition sells curation short.

Curation is literally an art form in and of itself.

Really.

Curation involves understanding context, audiences, cultural relevance —and marketability. When curation is done well, the curator themself is much much more than a mere gatekeeper of information.

They’re a storyteller.

I mean, what even is a story if not disparate characters, scenes, and threads of information, all woven together to create a coherent and engaging narrative.

(See where I'm going with this?)

In an age where AI is mass producing content at an unprecedented scale, it's high time to add meaning, context, and even a personal touch to the impersonal output of machines.

So, let's take a look at how exactly to go about curating, in this new AI era.

HOW TO CURATE

These steps are for the curation-curious, or really anyone looking to get a jump on their content marketing for 2024.

First, identify your niche. Remember what we said about curation being a story? Well, curation begins with a focus. How else could you possibly know where to start?

So, as basic as this may sound, begin your curation efforts by determining your area of interest or expertise. (This should be the easiest part of a whole journey.)

Of course you can always branch out, but to start: decide what specific topic you’re curating.

Sidebar: I did not follow this when creating our sister newsletter fv/. That newsletter is a mix of culture, media, business, technology, travel, and luxury headlines, and while it has its diehard fans (thank you), that wide range of subjects has actually made it difficult to truly scale fv/.

So, take it from me: choose a focus.

Next, source wisely.

When information is this abundant, the sources you choose matter. This doesn't just mean choosing reputable ones. It also means mixing mainstream media with independent and high quality sources —whether they're blogs, podcasts, or even newsletters. Remember: quality sources = quality curation, or put another way: garbage in, garbage out.

Then, hone your filter. Once your niche and your sources are in place, really work on the unique lens through which you view all of your content.

While looking at something, ask yourself: does this really add value? Not only is it relevant to my audience, but does it offer a fresh perspective?

A strong personal filter is what will distinguish your creation from mere aggregation, which anyone —or frankly any algorithm— can do. (I like to think that this is something I do really well with fv/.)

Finally, remember that curation is a two way street. You ain’t curating for an audience of one. Engage with your recipients. Solicit feedback, and —if and when you get it— reflect on the responses.

Your interactions with your audience can offer you new perspectives and even help refine your curation skills further.

Pro tip: The only constant in the world of information curation is change, so be prepared to evolve your curation strategy. Meaning: explore new sources, and adapt to emerging trends. Be willing to learn and adapt and your curation will stay relevant and valuable.

OK, WHAT’S THE POINT HERE?

Look for curation to become a more prominent, and more respected skill —not to mention an essential part of the marketer’s toolkit— in the year to come.

Curation in 2024 will be less about understanding what content to present, and more about how to present it in a way that chimes with human emotions and intellect.

Many curators can and should harness the power of AI to gather their information, but the best ones will inject their innate human ability to connect, empathise and tell stories to take their curated output to the next level.

The bottom line: the future of content isn't only about creation. It's about making sense of what others have created and presenting it in a fresh way too.

Welcome to the curator economy.

Written by Jon Kallus. Thanks for reading.

Problem: Keeping email marketing fresh and welcome is hard for brands to pull off.

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