It's easy to forget that just because we talk about a concept a lot in the media industry ― e.g., “curation” ― doesn't mean traditional publishers are doing it. That came to my attention at a conference for consumer magazines last week when Matt Robson, SEO specialist at Hearst Magazines, noted that print-based publishers still aren't completely on board with linking to content from other sources.
Here are three points about content curation that Robson brought to my attention, speaking at the MPA Digital:Technology conference in New York. Robson joined Hearst as part of its acquisition of Hachette Filipacchi Media
Opportunity for aggregation in new verticals
Media outlets covering the media and technology space (like this one) are generally more open to curation. We might forget how new it is to publishers in other niches.
Publishers in verticals like politics and media/tech are leveraging curation, even focusing their entire strategy around it (e.g., Mediagazer). But there aren't as many aggregators for verticals like finance or entertainment, Robson noted.
Resistance to linking out
Even in 2011, media companies are not entirely comfortable linking out to other sites, although we know doing so can help get link juice
to improve SEO.
The need to be a better content hub
Publishers would be better off if they did link out more often, becoming more of a service-oriented venue for the topics they cover, Robson said. “Going into a service model of the Web is potentially disruptive to current traditional publishers,” Robson said. But it's also an opportunity for media companies to revamp their strategies.
He said traditional publishers are focusing too much on original content rather than becoming a hub consumers come back to. The reader's mindset is: “I read your feature; what reason do I have to return to your site tomorrow?"