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As it sounds, content curation is the process of filtering and sorting through information prior to sharing it with your community, fans, and followers. Content curation is a hot topic in the marketing arena, and reflects a growing emphasis on finding, highlighting, and sharing good content.

The key hallmark, to my mind, that separates content curation from simple sharing is that content curation usually involves an addition of comments or more information from the one who is curating, where a simple share is just a repeat of what the original poster originally shared.

So, for example, it might be considered a straight share when I retweet someone on Twitter, or share their update on Facebook. Where a simple share becomes a form of content curation is when I add my own comments or thoughts to the retweet or share. Something like, “Very good article” or “I’m attending this event, I hope you will too.”

These types of additions serve primarily a social/relational function. A more robust form of content curation occurs when you reference someone’s else’s blog post and add your own list of tips and strategies to it. This becomes a way of filtering information and presenting the best of it to your community. It places you in a thought leadership position.

Filtering is a powerful influence building mechanism. As the rate of content production increases, and people feel more and more overwhelmed by information, the most influential leaders will be the ones who filter best. Stated another way, you can gain some measure of influence and leadership over a community, simply by being a very strong filter of information specific to that community.

A better way to become a influencer is to create and curate your own content. You can build your thought leadership by developing relevant, timely, unique and captivating content that serves your target audience. You can curate your own content periodically by reintroducing a valuable post, or reigniting the conversation around a particular topic.

While curation seems to have initially begun as a way of rapidly creating new content, it also represents another way to build influence. By curating content, you are subtly allying yourself with the original content producer. By reintroducing content in a new form or as part of a new conversation, you are directing where attention and focus goes.

And, when you can direct attention and focus, you clearly have influence.

So, as a content producer, your goal is to create content that begs to be shared. Make it interesting. Have an opinion. Use graphs, images, infographics to make your point. Make your content captivating to your target market. Highlight what they absolutely must know and give them guidance on what is not that important.

To the extent that you can help people interact with your information in a productive way, while guiding the conversation so your community benefits, you will be a curator with influence.