August 27, 2012

7 top tools for content curation

  • Buffer
  • Buffer, Storify, Pearltrees let you become a niche authority

This is the second of a two-part series. See part 1:
7 smart techniques for content curation

Target audience: Nonprofits, cause organizations, foundations, NGOs, social enterprises, businesses, educators, journalists, general public.

JD LasicaBy now you’ve likely heard of content curation, the process of collecting and cataloging the most useful or interesting things about a topic in order to share it for the common benefit. In part 1, Beth Kanter looked at 7 smart techniques for content curation. Today we’ll explore some of the best tools for doing so.

Keep in mind, there are lots of different ways to curate. Jorn Barger started Robot Wisdom, one of the oldest blogs on the Web, back in 1995 as a compendium of pointers to the top blog posts and articles he spied; Amy Sample Ward continues that tradition for the nonprofit community today. Others use Twitter or Facebook as retweeting and sharing engines, pointing to the best items that flit across their radar screens.

More often, though, the new breed of content curation tools refers to sites and services specifically geared for finding the diamonds in the rough. (I won’t be including aggregation services like Alltop, which provide a firehose of news updates about a topic such as nonprofits.)

Here, then, are Socialbrite’s six top tools for content curation. They are free except where noted. Become an authority in your vertical (tagline: “share ideas that matter”) ranks as one of the top content curation tools right now. The service, which has both free and premium versions, styles itself as a series of online magazines centered on niche topics. Pick a topic you feel knowledgeable or passionate about and start adding to your collection: articles, blog posts, Twitter lists, videos and so on. Socialbrite’s Debra Askanse, for example, has pages on Facebook and Twitter best practices.

Gabriella Sannino put it well: “ is like being your own newspaper editor.” The quality of the curators on is high, though you’ll need to root around a bit to find the subjects and authorities that interest you the most. Note: While you can embed it on your own site, it works better by viewing the topics on the main site.

Storify: Curate your next event

2Next time you’re covering a nonprofit conference or putting on an event, consider firing up a Storify account and then pick and choose the best images, tweets, blog posts, videos, etc., that others publish and tie them up with a nice ribbon — your overall take on the proceedings, of course. Storify is becoming a favorite of bloggers, journalists and Tweeps who like its curated take on current events. You can pull from blogs, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, Instagram and many other sources and then export it to your WordPress, Tumblr or Posterous blog or share it on Twitter, Facebook or Google Plus via social buttons. (Side note: I know the founder, Burt Herman, who’s a nice guy, and I always root for former-journalists-turned-entrepreneurs.)

Pearltrees: Cultivate your interests

3My vow for the fall is to spend more time with Pearltrees, which recently did a reboot and looks to be one of the most advanced tools you can add to your curation toolkit. There’s a bit of a learning curve, but here’s how it works: Your browser app lets you “pearl” the page you’re visiting. Connect your Twitter and Facebook accounts, then start organizing interests into topic folders (“pearltrees”). Any other curator expert in your topic area might ask to team up with you (and vice versa) to make your tree branches richer. You can share your pearls through Twitter, Facebook, email or embed them in your own site. You can also share pearls with colleagues or your own team. Curators, behold the potential of the pearl.

Pinterest: Share your favorite visuals

4Pinterest entreats you to “organize and share the things you love,” but it’s really all about compelling visuals. (And, by the way, here’s a Pinterest board on curation tools.) This year Pinterest has become the third most popular social network in the world, trailing only Facebook and Twitter, by making it drop-dead simple to “pin” images that you think are cool. The more serious Pinterest curators create boards around topics, like nonprofit marketing strategist Noland Hoshino. You can, too.

Delicious: Find & bookmark cool stuff

5Delicious, the first social bookmarking site, is arguably the granddaddy of the curation movement. Now that Yahoo! sold the service to YouTube co-founder Chad Hurley, there’s wind in its sails again. It’s pretty simple: Find a valuable story or post, bookmark it and share it with the community. Your tags can be used by you or anyone (if you select public rather than private). The collective body of knowledge on any topic — such as wildlife, bears or HIV prevention — is simply staggering.

Bundlr: Bundle your multimedia

6With Bundlr you can create topic pages with photos, videos, tweets and documents and then share them with everyone. I haven’t used the service but it looks to be influenced by the Pinterest craze.

BagTheWeb: Add to a knowledge network

7OK, now we’re getting a bit repetitive. BagTheWeb helps users curate Web content through a different metaphor: Create a “bag” to collect, publish and share any content from the Web. One interesting twist is that BagTheWeb enables users to build networks of bags so that topic areas can be linked together to provide rich datasets about any subject.

Other curation services worth checking

Other social curation services worth a look include:

Chill is a video-centric curation service that lets you vote up stories (mostly locally produced video), Digg style.

Diigo is the social bookmarking site, research tool and knowledge-sharing community I’ve been using for the past two years., Flockler, LOUD3R and Searcheeze are among the new breed of DIY instant news publications on niche topics.

Qrait is “a real-time curation platform designed to fulfill the needs of content curators and reduce information overload for the rest of us.”

Curation Station, a paid service, can be used to help you create streams of curated content for your community through websites, social channels, email digests, widgets and more.

Locker Project provides users a locker, “a container for personal data, which gives the owner the ability to control how it’s protected and shared.”


Curation tools to help you cope with info-overload (Socialbrite)

Top tools to help you curate business content (

Content Curation Tools For Brands (Return on Clicks)

• 5 tools to help you master Pinterest (Socialbrite)

My review of “Curation Nation” (

Scoop This: A Comprehensive Guide to for Content Curation (Search Engine Journal)JD Lasica, founder and former editor of Socialbrite, is co-founder of Cruiseable. Contact JD or follow him on Twitter or Google Plus.

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33 thoughts on “7 top tools for content curation

  1. One of my favorite Diigo features is its ability to post to Delicious. I get to use a better tool while the masses make do with the original one. Win-win.

  2. Nice basic list of what nonprofits seem to be using according to my scans. These are curation tools – tools that allow you collect and organization and present your links and resources. However, to be a good curation, you need to add another group of tools to the mix – news discovery tools. I like how Robin Good has organized the tools – reviewed them and put them into this taxonomy – BTW, I’m really disappointed with delicious lately, they stopped supporting stacks and have been looking for an alternative to assemble small collections, especially for instruction. I’ve been liking bundlr because of the annotation features – would like something easy like storify that allows you annotate ..

    • Beth, thanks so much, I think your point is dead on and one that deserves greater attention. I’m a big fan of Robin Good (you, he and Howard are the top curators in my book) so will check out his taxonomy right now!

  3. Add to the mix! It is a great tool to see what others are saying about you on various social media, and then re-posting that content where appropriate!

      • @brittanybotti  @nickkellet  listly Cool. Thanks. I saw your comment on Ric’s Post
        SEO and Curation play very well together. Would love to chat and share some data.

        • @nickkellet  listly Definitely! I agree, they do…it’ll be interesting the role that content curation plays in the future of SEO. My thoughts are that it will be the content curators who will emerge as the power players to help guide us to the content we’re looking for…saving us from wasting time searching through endless irrelevant or shallow content.

  4. I would like to recommend one more content curation service to personal usage. It collect yours “likes&tweets with links” in one place and make it searchable. In addition it analyze your interests and recommend to you new content from other users with relevant interests.

  5. A little late, but if you have a WordPress blog, try MyCurator.  I wrote an article on how you can use it to curate to your blog at

  6. Great piece, I’ll be checking out most definitely. Also worth checking out is NewsWhip Spike – it tracks the stories spreading fastest on social media across verticals or a search term.

  7. I’d heard of all but one on the list – however, the “Other curation services worth checking out” section was where I learned about new services :-)  FYI, Qrait says that development is currently suspended and they are not accepting new users.
    There is a new player on the scene, The approach is similar to the DIY instant news services, except with a great deal more control over content, look, and feel. It’s in open beta.

  8. Who wants to build someone else’s business? Didn’t we already go through that with Squidoo? If they make it easy to curate content on my own blog, great. Otherwise, no thanks.

  9. great list… has anybody compared squidoo with any of these curation services. Squidoo helps you earn too by showing relevant ads on your lenses…

  10. as a digital marketing agency we have been using most of the above sites and i can sincerely say that the above list of sites are the best we have worked with. real good traffic coming along to our sites and clients websites. thumbs up for sharing it JD ;)

  11. Yeah , this list is awesome and i find it very helpful when i am finding a content curation tool . thanks for this article and for the content curation tool . and also i want to add a content curation tool that what i’ve used lately and i find it very interesting and helpful to me in my content curation . the name of the tool is the FeedCurator a total package content curator , content aggregator and Rss Generator based on the curated items . try to look this and use it for free. FeedCurator .