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Content Curation Tools & Software – Which One?

Content Curation Tools & Software – Which One?

In the drive to bring more great content to our tribe I have been learning lots (and I mean LOTS) about content curation and the software tools to use. So below is a review of some of the best content curation software tools…

(FYI the old dude above is Weston Naef, Senior Curator of Photographs at the Getty Museum)

What is content curation?

Definition:

Curate: To organise, nurture, care-for, oversee

Curator: One who has the care and superintendence of something; especially : one in charge of a museum, zoo, or other place of exhibit [or in charge of a website]

So content curation is all about carefully collating the best information into one place, adding value by what you decide to include and adding critique and analysis of it.

Let’s consider what it is not…

Curation is NOT about aggregation. Aggregation is just sticking things in a pile. Curation is about making decisions. So content curation tools cannot fully automate the process. It has to be about personal, human decisions.

Which things are you going to include in the collection? Your readers have limited attention and limited time. They want the best content, the most helpful content, the most actionable and useful content. They don’t want everything. If they did, they could just use the internet!

Trinity College Library, Dublin, IrelandWith curation I definitely subscribe to the ‘quality over quantity’ school of thought. This is because of my reasons for doing curation.

Now, there is a second school of thought, which differs primarily because of the reasons and drive to do content curation. This camp is about doing content curation for its SEO (Search Engine Optimization) effects. Google loves fresh content and apparently content curation is a great way to achieve this.

I’m not disputing this at all. In fact, if in our efforts to curate great content – genuinely helpful articles, audio, video and text, which passes the Grandma test (interesting, educational, entertaining, useful, actionable) – if in doing that, we gain some Google love, then so much the better. Fantastic.

Its simply that first and foremost, I am doing content curation on a website and topic I care about. Care about passionately.

Curators Of Content

But my main aim, and the aim of true Curators of Content, is to firstly, bring my tribe truly great, helpful content.

The truth is this…

We Are All Curators

Jennifer Farrell, Curator of Exhibitions, University of VirginiaIf you’ve ever had a discussion then you’re almost certainly a curator. If you gave your own opinion, that was you curating all previous experiences in your life.

You assimilated all things – all ‘content’ – you’d previously learned, and pulled it into a conversation, with your own perspective and view on things.

That’s how content curation should be.

Now, enough preamble. You now know enough about it to know that some level of software should be able to help us with this. This is where I have spent a lot of time analyzing what is the best option.

Content Curation Tools Comparison

From experience, I do not want to purchase a new tool or software or system, learn how to use it, teach my outsourcing team how to use it… then discover it is not optimal, that there is something much better, and then have to ditch all that time effort and money (time mostly) invested in the first tool.

For this reason I invested the time to investigate the different tools available in this space, which would potentially get a return on investment, more in terms of time than money.

The main criteria for selection and analysis are

  • Time saving
  • Produces quality content – interesting, edited
  • Adheres to the generally accepted rules of curation
  • Will publish the curated content into my WordPress blog website

After preliminary research I had a shortlist as follows…

  1. Instant Content Curator Pro from John Pearce/Hugh
  2. Page One Curator from Paul Clifford
  3. Instant Curator from Mike Johnson
  4. Curation Traffic from Scott Scanlon
  5. CurationSoft from curationsoft.com

These all met the basic first-glance check. The first one, Instant Content Curator, I already owned. I purchased it a few months back and having not yet used it, wanted to make sure we were investing wisely the time to learn whatever tool we use. The last thing I wanted to do was start using one content curation software tool, and then change to another later.

So here are my notes on what each is and does and their advantages and disadvantages.

Quick Definition:

Short Form Curation: Written about 1 article, pulling from 1 source. A critique of one article.

Long Form Curation: Written on a topic, pulling from multiple sources. An analysis of a topic, giving numerous views and sources.

NOTE: These are my notes from a good few hours of digging. I’m not saying they are full or correct exactly – obviously I’ve made this as correct as I could do, from the information available in the public domain. This is all the information I could collate on this before actually buying the tools. Maybe I will buy all the tools at a later date to check them out further purely for this analysis, if people are massively interested. Let me know in the comments below.

Also, I’m happy to stand corrected, if any of these software creators or users of the software want to chip-in and correct anything here. I will keep this post edited and updated whenever relevant. Let me know your thoughts in the comments and review below.

First the 2 software tools I decided against using…

Content Curation "No's"

Instant
Content
Curator
Instant
Curator
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$37 single userDesktop computer based.

Buggy (personal experience)

Interface: Not so good looking, difficult to use.

Correct source attribution

High quality content
$199 within Profit Marketer.WordPress plugin.

Long Form curation, multiple sources

More content feeds – 30+

Can add own feeds/shortcodes

Shortcode-based

Bit spammy.

Interface: Looks OK, normal WP admin style.

Less about quality content.
- more towards the ‘Aggregator’ end of the spectrum, less about editing and curating.

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More notes (hover)

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These 2 above I opted against using for different reasons. IIC becuase the interface was not easy on the eye (no point starting off fighting to work with it) and on using it, it was not intuitive and slightly buggy. Instant Curator looks usable for auto-blog sites, less so for high-quality websites (apologies to the creators).

Curation Fire – Baed upon a reader’s comment I reviewed this.  Here are my notes from looking into the software:

Easy to use interface, a little spammy options, rather than true selected curated content; offers little over the other software outlined below.

So now lets look at the ‘higher quality’ options. I have bolded the key differentiators, as I see them.
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Content Curation Software - Good Options

The Best 3 Content Curation Software Options
Curation
Traffic
PageOne
Curator
Curation
Soft
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$97

WordPress Plugin plus optional WP Theme (example here).

Bookmarklet for browser toolbar

Interface: Looks OK, normal WP admin style.

Short-form curation, single source

Twitter post inclusion.

Hootsuite schedule, Pin, Buffer, Share

Outsourcer friendly

Ultimate Call To Action plugin bonus

Curation Training bonus

Easy sectioning of content by paragraph.

Correct source attribution

High quality content
$47 single user
$97 - 5 PC’s


Desktop computer based.Interface: Easy to use, intuitive.

Long-form curation, multiple source

Image spacing around edges

Easy add images + videos.

Outsourcer friendly

Keyword analysis tool

Can future-schedule

Add feeds + group OPML from Google Reader

Correct source attribution

Twitter post inclusion

Impressive, responsive Support

High quality content
$59/yearDesktop computer based – 3 PC’s

Interface: Easy – Drag/drop. Quick, intuitive.

Long-form curation, multiple source

Outsourcer friendly

Sources – Google blogs, News, Twitter, Youtube + RSS feeds.

Inserts summary paragraph and link to original source article. This paragraph can be edited manually

Keyword tool

Any web platform (WordPress, Joomla etc)

Correct source attribution.

High quality content

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My apologies to John Pearce, promoter/creator of Instant Content Curator. I own it and just didn’t get on with the interface. The base tool I’m sure is useful, I just found the interface hard to use, so that’s why I’m not going to be using it.

Equally, Mike Johnson is one of the good guys. I very almost bought the whole Profit Marketer membership. I may still yet – there are other very good tools and training included. But that decision wont be based upon the Instant Curator tool.

All the people who create these tools are good people. I’m a firm advocate of judging the tool at least in part by who is behind it. They’re all good. Other curation tools out there did not make this list because they didn’t make this criteria.

Best Short-Form Curation Tool: Curation Traffic

Best Short-AND-Long-Form Curtion Tools: PageOne Curator (best option to analyse one source article in details and/or analyse an overall topic, pull from multiple sources and critique each for an overall view)

Best Long-Form Curation Tool: PageOne Curator or CurationSoft

Which is best for you? It will depend on how you want to curate. If you only want to do a critique of one article at a time, then Curation Traffic is probably best for you. If you want to write your posts by pulling in and quoting from multiple sources, or if you are not sure, and might want to sometimes do singe-source (short-form) and sometimes multiple-source (long-form) then PageOne Curator is probably the best option for you.

My final deision? We’re using PageOne Curator

To learn more about PageOne Curator click this big button…

downloadnow

So there you have it. These are my personal notes, from having spent hours investigating and trying to make the best decision for ourselves. I hope it helps you make an informed decision for your business.

If you found this post useful, please let me know in the comments and Review section below, and let me know any feedback. I’ll be happy to update this article over time.

 
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About the author: Duncan Elliott is a successful entrepreneur, with many years experience working full-time online, running 3 successful companies, all operating smoothly and profitably using the same outsourcing strategies you will discover here.He is a published author and expert on outsourcing to streamline your profits. If you need Duncan to consult for your business, please contact us using the Contact page above.You can learn a lot about outsourcing for higher profits from this website, and also from the “Outsourcing Exposed” book, available on Amazon

24 comments… add one
  • princessleia December 13, 2012, 11:55 am

    I wish there was an ability to use these programs with regular html websites, squidoo lenses, and on non-Wordpress blogs. One of the reasons I seem to be leaning to PageOne Curator is that it allows me to highlight the portion of the article that I want to curate. From what I can gather my second choice (CurationSoft, which I think works with any kind of blog) is that it curates the first/summary paragraph not necessarily what I want to highlight. Have I got that figured right? Any response is helpful. I’m looking to make a purchase in the next week or so.

    • Duncan December 13, 2012, 12:34 pm

      Hi,

      CurationSoft is the most versatile for non-WordPress sites (not an issue for me because I have almost everything in WP)

      Yes, PageOne and Curation Traffic have the best options for editing/choosing the paragraphs included. The Ultimate Call To Action plugin which comes with Curation Traffic also certainly adds a bonus in their favour. It looks very handy.

      PageOne Curation has the most versatility for copying and pasting. The thing is, the more control you get in this way, the closer you come to not using curation software, but just doing it all manually. As such, Curation Traffic, with its paragraph selection tool, might be a better option.

  • princessleia December 13, 2012, 12:51 pm

    You’re right about that. What I like about PageOne is that it automatically sources the article for me. Until I read more about CurationTraffic I hadn’t realized there was a difference between “long form” and “short form” curation.

    “Curation Traffic is built for short form curation and will curate one content source per post.”

    I’m looking to sort of do more research papery kind of stuff. Lots of sources. etc. I guess I’m leaning more to PageOne. There’s got to be a way I can copy and paste what I do into a squidoo lens and just use my Wordpress as sort of the writing application. I’ll look into it.

    Thanks for your help and article.

  • James December 13, 2012, 9:52 pm

    I’d love CurationSoft because of its drag and drop capabilities. A very simple tool that is powerful for curating content in blogging.

    I have a blog and I’m using CurationSoft for curating content in my niche, I am using it for posting youtube videos, articles and twitter feed.

    You can also use CurationSoft effectively in your pinterest page. The easiest way to search and pin your favorite post.

    This is the best thing since sliced bread in curating content.

    • Duncan December 14, 2012, 5:38 am

      Brilliant – Thanks James for your input.

      For me, right now, its a really close-run decision between CurationSoft, PageOne Curation and Curation Traffic, for the bolded reasons outlined above.

      The drag-and-drop of CurationSoft is definitely a massive bonus. How easy do you find it to edit the section/paragraph it selects for you?

      • James December 14, 2012, 8:38 am

        After the drag and drop you can copy paste additional paragraph in your post.

        This is the most simple and most powerful content curation software out there. If you know basic html you can style the post the way you want it to be.

        • Duncan December 14, 2012, 9:27 am

          Sounds good. Thanks James

          • Peter Lenkefi December 20, 2012, 11:40 am

            Hi Guys,

            Peter Lenkefi here from http://curationsoft.com.

            CS 2.0 is just around the corner. It will be released in early January. Amongst other smaller updates it has one huge one: fully featured post builder which will help creating much nicer and more effective curated posts.

            From next year development will speed up significantly and we will come out with awesome new features and content sources as well, so stay tuned.

            Our pricing model is going to change, therefore you can get access to the application on a more affordable level.

            Have a Beautiful Christmas and a Lucrative 2013!

            Peter

          • Duncan December 23, 2012, 2:00 pm

            Thanks for the input Peter – much appreciated. It is very difficult to decide which is the best, it is such a close-run thing. It seems CurationSOft is better for multiple-source posts, while PageOne might be better for more detailed analysis of one or a few sources, by paragraph.

            Thanks

            Duncan

  • Sieracki April 9, 2013, 4:27 am

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    • Duncan April 9, 2013, 9:10 am

      I am not sure if your comment is spam or not so I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt. If you need a writer then Filipino Virtual Assistant writers can most certinaly do the job for you. Have a look at http://www.expertteam.tv and you can sign up there to get access to the candidates

  • Barrientos April 15, 2013, 8:47 am

    Thank you, I have recently been searching for information about this subject for a long time and yours is the greatest I have found out so far. However, what concerning the bottom line? Are you positive concerning the supply?|What i don’t understood is in truth how you’re now not really much more well-appreciated than you may be right now. You’re so intelligent.

  • Conrey April 29, 2013, 7:34 pm

    EDIT: SEE REPLY

    Hi Duncan,

    I am a premium member of CurationSoft and all I can say it beats any other curation software mainly because they have high quality and fast support, constantly updating, lots of resources, lightweight application and with all that it still comes with drag and drop feature, built in post builder and supports RSS. Its the perfect software I have ever use when it comes to curating. They also have free version which can be attained here if anyone wants to try: http://curationsoft.com/free-download1

    Happy curating everybody!

    • Duncan April 30, 2013, 6:39 am

      Hi Conrey,

      I’m thinking that maybe you are a little more than a ‘member’ of CurationSoft, given that the email address you added this comment with was “curationsofts@…” – maybe you actually work FOR CurationSoft?

      Now, I am not saying that your comments are not justified in praising CurationSoft. I was very impressed with Peter Lenkefi’s effort and understanding of CS and of curation. But I always prefer honesty, and certainly here on OutsourcingExposed.com. If a product owner writes any content on this site, it is always published as the product owner’s comments.

      I am writing this only so other readers can appreciate the truth in this situation. Again, nothing against CurationSoft – it is a viable curation option.

      Duncan

  • Jack Agnew May 25, 2013, 4:13 am

    Does anyone have any thoughts about or experience with Curation Fire? A very successful IM I know swears by it… but I’m sure did not perform a comparison review like this.

    • Duncan June 5, 2013, 4:57 am

      Hey Jack,

      Curation Fire was not previously on my radar (thanks) – the others listed above I had been recommended from a number of different trusted sources (Its usually a good sign if you get a number of different independent pointers from different sources). I’m going to have a good look through what Curation Fire does and how it compares. If its more or less the same as the ones listed above, I’m not sure there’s much point in adding it to the review. But if its got things that the others dont have, then I’ll include it.

      Meanwhile, PageOne Curator (the one we chose in the end) is proving very good – and they have a new launch coming which has further tools and training so that might be the best option currently.

      Good luck

      Duncan Elliott

  • Jac November 25, 2013, 10:20 am

    Heya i am for the first time here. I found this board and I find It really useful – it helped me out much. I hope to offer something again and help others such as you aided me.

  • John D November 29, 2013, 5:46 am

    Duncan, your post is really helpful in trying to decipher which tool to use. Each has its pluses and i am tempted to go for Page 1 Curator ahead of Curation Soft. My dilemna is I will be creating content for clients too so excerpts are not as useful except on blog or content round ups. Does Curation Soft allow for taking relevant and related articles from the discovered content. I think Page One does. Curation Soft really grabs some great content, I don’t know how but even the free version rocks as a discovery tool. It is the editing part that needs a few more bells and whistles to make it the unbeatable one. Curating content through collating and pasting from different sources is easy. Putting it into an attractive and meaningful post is the art. People may tire of curated content if it has not been screened and really relevant so it pays to put a bit more into the editing and into a quick check of the curated content itself.

    • Duncan November 29, 2013, 8:34 am

      Hi John,

      I agree with you that the curation needs to be done with care, that it gets screened properly. Which is exactly what ‘curating’ means, as a word, but I guess some other marketers see this primarily as a way to circumnavigate (“cheat”) Google. If it is for a site that matters, and that adds value, it has to be done with care. Yes, PageOne does allow you to take relevant articles from teh disocuvered content.

      I have emailed Paul at PageOne Curator if he could respond for you here.

      • John D November 29, 2013, 11:38 am

        Thanks Duncan. This is important as content is still king on the web especially in gppgle search eyes. I hope the proposed “new”version of Page One Curator allows for multiple chosen paragraphs from different discovered posts/sources. It would be nice to quote paragraphs from one post and back it up further down with another paragraph from another post and maybe a video. Hope Paul can chime in.

        • Duncan November 29, 2013, 12:07 pm

          Yep, I’ve contacted Paul, lets hope he has a minute to drop in and answer here

  • Jean January 10, 2014, 10:05 pm

    I’d love to hear your feedback on WP RSS Aggregator and its add-ons , we’ve got a lot of satisfied customers using for the purpose of content curation.

    • Duncan January 11, 2014, 10:05 am

      Hi,

      Email me a copy and I’d be happy to review it for you, and add it into the review here as relevant.

      Thanks

      Duncan

  • MaryAnn May 14, 2014, 12:29 am

    Hugh, Yes, came here from WSO where I’ve left a comment, however I wanted to know more about why Instant Content Curator Pro got left behind in the main three you eventually chose between.
    Yes, it did have a nuggly look about it. The guys putting it together were coming from far away from design school intelligence at the time but they do know SEO and deeper analyses of content so I wanted to keep them in mind.

    But last year Instant Content Curator Express was launched and they are getting ready for a further update and launch now in 2014.

    I also have PageOne Curator and have felt warm enough with its interface, so I am looking forward to ICC Express as a new evolution from John Pearce and Hugh Hitchcock.

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