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Imagine you’re a teenager again, playing a new mixtape for the first time (or a mix CD for the 90s kids). Perhaps it was a gift from a friend or an older sibling, someone whose taste you admire, who always seems to find the coolest stuff you’ve never heard before. You pop the tape into your Sharp GF-7600 boombox and feel the satisfying resistance and click as you press the play button. As the first track starts to play, you’re immediately transfixed by the alluring yet unfamiliar tune filling the air. It’s a little weird, but your initial thoughts are, “I think I like this.” By the time it’s over, you love it — and the trajectory of your evolving musical taste will never be the same.
Nostalgia for analog technology aside, the humble mixtape (or ‘playlist’ to get with the times) highlights the transformative potential of content curation. Sure, mixtapes or playlists are created for the purposes of entertainment and we’re in the business of learning, but the parallels are there. At its core, the act of curating content of any type benefits both the Curator and the Consumer.
For the Curator, your knowledge grows deeper and wider as you continuously mine for the most relevant and impactful content to share. For the Consumer, you get the pleasure of experiencing content on a subject that’s important to you, hand selected out of an overwhelming pool of options by a discerning expert.
So, how should you go about developing and implementing a content curation strategy at your organization? It’s more than just sharing links. There’s a common curation process to follow, and much to consider in terms of the channels you use to share content with your audience. Before you dive into the weeds of those decisions, here are three high-level strategies to guide your approach:
Effective L&D programs put learners at the center of the strategy. If you don’t know your audience that well — what a typical day looks like, their common challenges, how they consume information — it’s going to be difficult to deliver content that really makes a connection. Developing learner personas is a great way to build foundational knowledge of your audience and better understand their needs. Once your content curation strategy is up and running, pay attention to how people are responding and use what you learn to refine the approach in terms of content topics, sources, and formats.
The 70-20-10 model tells us that employees acquire 20% of their knowledge through social learning experiences, which content curation is a perfect example of. So plan to get everyone involved! Provide multiple ways for your learners to engage with the content being shared and encourage participation — including sharing their own content finds. That could be slow at first, requiring your Curators to do more nudging to get others to respond. But eventually, once a few people start commenting and engaging, others will notice and want to join in. Clicks, views, ratings, and comments are simple metrics to track engagement with your content, providing valuable insights to fine-tune your strategy.
While your content curation strategy needs an owner, one person will be limited in the variety of perspectives they can bring to the table. Try to identify a core group of Curators with diverse backgrounds who have the skillset, curiosity, and capacity to deliver on your strategy. Knowing your audience and what they like is important, but an effective strategy gives people more than what they like. Always be looking to expand and diversify the content sources and voices you’re sharing with your team. Strive to expose your audience to new ways of thinking and a variety of formats that look at old problems through a new lens. Occasionally, you’ll unlock someone’s understanding of an issue in a way that sparks growth. For the Consumer, this feeling is unmatched.
It takes time, an endless curiosity to discover what’s out there, and an understanding of your audience to deliver a great mixtape, er … content curation strategy. But I encourage you to believe in the transformative potential it has to make a real impact with your audience. You never truly know what’s going to resonate with a learner, but with the right approach you might just give someone their all-time favorite jam.
Want to connect with a Content Curation specialist to learn more? Reach out to us.
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