In Part 1 of his interview, Robin Good talked about how to create a revenue-earning micro-business. In Part 2, he tells us specifically how content curators can monetize their work using free online tools.

Robin, how do you get started making money out of content curation?

If we go back to the 4 steps to becoming a micro-entrepreneur, you need to listen at the beginning to learn what your tribe’s specific needs are. And then you monetize by creating or customizing products or services that fit those needs.

You need to use the tools in a serious way and become respected for your work on your topic.

You can’t just aggregate a newspaper where you have no input, where everything is left to the software. Neither can you just re-scoop on or re-pin on Pinterest. That doesn’t create additional value.

The value comes when you go beyond re-scooping, re-publishing and re-sharing and focus on curating a specific topic. It’s when you go out of your way to research, collect and bring in things of value. By doing this consistently and by paying greater attention to quality than to quantity, you will increase your authority and expertise in that area.

While there may be only a few good examples we can mention now, you can definitely plan to make revenue by learning to be a trusted curator on a specific interest area.

This is still very rare today, because very few people have captured the full idea of what curation really is all about. To most it is re-sharing, re-publishing, personal sharing, and personal expression.

But if you curate professionally, if you specialise in something unique, you will find people who will – sooner or later – pay to subscribe to your updates. Why? Because as the days go by it’s going to become harder and harder to find the things you’re most interested in and to keep yourself updated on those that count in your business life.

What kind of curation works best?

Curation works when it has a laser-sharp focus on a very specific topic. This allows you to monetize by obtaining sponsorship or advertising from companies selling products or services in those areas. You may also be able to sell subscriptions to your curated publication.

For example, take somebody who curates a channel on “social media and curation”, two of the trendiest buzzwords around. That is the antithesis of curation. A channel on “social media and curation” is broad and general, whereas a curated channel should be narrow and specific.

So rather than have a channel on “bikes and cars”, have one on “racing bicycles” or “mountain bikes”. That makes your publication very attractive to whichever company operates in that field, because your readers or subscribers will be people who are passionate about that topic.

Having 1,000 passionate fans interested in the same issue, problem or hobby is much more valuable than having 25,000 subscribers or readers with some interest in some of the things you are curating.

Can you give some real-life examples?

SmartBrief publishes a very broad set of curated niche newsletters aimed at professionals and is one of the most successful examples of monetized curation. SmartBrief makes money in multiple ways, including from sponsors and job advertising via a third-party agency which wants to target a niche readership.

App Sumo is an online store for entrepreneurs selling discounted business-related products. They select and showcase new tools of interest to publishers and bloggers and curate discount offers – you could call it the “Groupon” of the app niche.

Tech Meme is a news curation site that generates revenue through sponsored advertising and sponsored stories. They cover the world of technology by monitoring all relevant Silicon Valley blogs and news sites. They use algorithms to pull in the news feeds and a team of curators then decides what to publish and in which position on the site.

The way they make revenue from sponsored stories is interesting. A tech company may have a story that is not being covered by bloggers so can pay Tech Meme to cover it in a specific section. These stories are just as interesting as curated stories, so it’s an excellent way to monetize.

Tech Meme has three other publications – Mediagazer, (media industry news) memeorandum, (political news and current events) and WeSmirch (celebrity news).

Wisemarkit and Boutine are shopping sites allowing you to curate your own boutique from their range of high quality clothing. Other users can buy directly from your curated collection, and you get a commission for every item sold.

How can curators monetize is an opportunity to deviate from the typical creation of blogs and blog posts and to create something of value of a different kind – a news channel, a news radar, or a news magazine.

Say you are in the business of growing purple roses. Instead of posting daily on your blog about how to cultivate or fertilise them, you could create a news radar with that aggregates, filters and brings in the best from all the sources out there covering this topic.

You curate your paper by distilling the very best and most valuable stories. In the case of, that is done by deleting the ones that do not meet your criteria.

To me that is of greater value than a new blog post every day. At least it’s different, it’s unique and if you go out of your way to configure your, you certainly can get something a lot more valuable than a simple blog post.

For much more detail and information, check out Robin’s 7-part guide to content curation and his presentation below. 

Photo from Robin’s Facebook page

What else would you like to know about running a micro-business? Did you find these articles useful or not? If so, what would you like to know more about? If not, what would have been more useful? 

Liz Wilson
Liz Wilson writes copy in the Marketing Communications team at Orange Switzerland and used to edit this blog. She likes talking about content, copywriting and social media on her personal blog.

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2 Responses to “How to Monetize Curated Content: Robin Good, Part 2”

  1. Philip Turner

    Thanks Robin – I have read both articles.
    Can you use eg Paper.Li to grow a “tribe”? If so, can you tell us how that might be done. The biggest obstacle I can see is getting enough people to actually *read* what you have written if you don’t have a list of subscribers already.



  1.  How to Monetize Curated Content: Robin Good, Part 2 | The People ... | The skinny on Content Curation |

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