” I play a curator, the most American part you can think of. I work at the National Archives in Washington.”
– Diane Kruger, on her role as Dr. Abigail Chase for the film National Treasure
“If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.”
– Thomas Jefferson
Remember that epic theme song from the movie Gladiators, “We Are Free” by Hans Zimmer and Lisa Gerrard? What does it really mean to be free, especially in Western countries today? What is the value in “staying in the know” in an era where time has become a precious commodity and the struggle to balance humanity/technology and work/life continues in earnest? I ponder these questions a lot, which is why social entrepreneurship is embedded in the DNA of my business plan. I reflect and research these questions a lot, which is why I think that the old expression “ignorance is bliss” is a phrase that needs to be retired. Especially in 2014, which I believe will be THE year of the female thought leader re: books, blogs, and social media posts. I wrote about that in my latest Tumblr post, which you can read here. I also wrote about that in my latest article for The Huffington Post, which you can read here. Julie Winkle Giulioni believes that 2014 will be THE year of the career, and you can read her take on it here.
January is National Mentorship Month in the USA, and I want to take a moment to publicly thank all my mentors/virtual mentors who have knowingly/unknowingly contributed thought leadership which has been invaluable to my growth, process and journey as an entrepreneur this past year. In real time and cyber time, I have repeatedly learned so much from people such as Rieva Lesonsky, Diane Bertolin, Geri Stengel, Maria Popova, Ashley Milne-Tyte, Marty Zwilling, Dan Lyons, Guy Kawasaki, Dan Rockwell, Brian Solis, Vivek Wadwa, Mark Crowley, and Dan Schawbel. I recommend that you look them all up online, and you will see why! Their virtual mentorship and thought leadership have all impacted on my Theory of Mind and entrepreneurial trajectory, which I write more about in my upcoming book, The NICE Reboot: How to Become a Better Female Entrepreneur.
Virtual mentorship and content curation are foregone conclusions now of both the Entrepreneurial Revolution and the Tech Revolution, which have intersected. They will continue to do so, spurring continuous changes in disruptive innovation (social media, mobile technology, Open Data, Big Data etc.) and company culture. You can see a cool Infographic, A Field Guide to Social Media and read about best practices re: social media strategies to learn more. You can read this blogpost from one of my favorite blogs, Steamfeed, to see their 2014 Digital Forecast predictions re: innovations and trends re: technology and marketing. Innovation happens when people stop labeling themselves/others and try new things. When they think “outside the box” and positively exploit patterns of behavior in themselves and others to promote change. It’s something I learned as a pediatric speech therapist/Autism Specialist, which I carried with me into the entrepreneurial arena. That’s why this blog post written by a mother to her young son with Autism really resonated with me. It reminded me of my roots and the power of having a “Can-Do” attitude, something Ben Horowitz eloquently writes about in this post about company culture, which you can read here. If I had to predict two business trends for this coming year, I would predict the a) increase of visual digitalization storytelling in content marketing strategies, and b) increased transparency of company culture; both of which can be conveyed to global customers via social technology. I am not alone. See what Venture Beat wrote about 26 startups to watch in 2014 and why you need to know about them here.
Joe Pulizzi and his team exemplify best practices re: transparency and storytelling, including a “Can-Do” attitude about being helpful and relevant. Pulizzi is the founder of the Content Marketing Institute and a prolific author who has been on my radar for some time because of his excellent writings and products. In fact, one of his unique products, a free magazine, Chief Content Officer, has spurred today’s blog post and title. Because at the end of the day, the greatest gift to give an entrepreneur is an easier, faster, and cheaper way to curate content which helps him/her with thought leadership, virtual mentorship, and leaves a breadcrumb trail to follow when increasing one’s company culture transparency and digital footprint. For those who want to understand what content curation is in a nutshell, I suggest reading Beth’s Blog, by Beth Kanter, and her seminal post, Content Curation Primer.
Content curation is a crucial component of an entrepreneur’s “workflow”. It results in better virtual mentorship so that the entrepreneur can provide better thought leadership. This is an outcome of today’s globally and digitally connected, project based learning (PBL) oriented customers and wannabe entrepreneurs who are comfortable learning online (think MOOC, Udacity Udemy, and Coursera) and hungry for meaningful, helpful, and positive leadership and marketing campaigns . Content curation also results in better storytelling and blogging to convey that virtual mentorship. I will write more about storytelling next week when I continue the current series I am in the midst of here on WordPress. In the meantime, I wanted to let you peek “behind the curtain” and share my content curation “workhorses” that have helped me and will hopefully help you do what you do.
I know that they are somewhat off the beaten track, but that’s where the best, creative, and effective ideas come from, right? As Deepak Chopra says, “Instead of thinking outside the box, get rid of the box!” I hope you’ll share this list so that more people start to integrate these free tools into their own “Content Curation Plan”…..
Penina’s Pointers for Content Curation-Five Far Out Freebies:
1. Content Marketing Institute’s Chief Content Officer Magazine. A paper magazine mailed to you to read at your leisure? Who would have thought this would have such impact in the Digital Age? It has, and the growing number of subscribers (70,000 or so) will attest to it.
2. Zite (a universal App): My favorite! It’s my MVP (most valuable player) for my workflow, especially since it saves articles and links to Evernote, Pocket, Twitter, and Email! I wrote my book based on my use of Zite and its “holding pens” 🙂
3. Slideshare.net: A visual learner’s go-to site for digital decks on a plethora of subjects displayed with a plethora of styles. It has style and substance, and the free service is quite robust. Another reason to join LinkedIn and sign in to Slideshare using that account! While you’re there, check out my latest deck in my own vault, The Care and Feeding of Global Female Entrepreneurship in 2014- Your 4 Step Plan.
4. Alltop.com: The ultimate website by content curator extraordinaire, Guy Kawasaki and his team, who bring you “all the top stories” all the time. There’s even an App for that! Enough said.
5. StumbleUpon.com: A website that helps you find other websites with content that is customized to your preferences, as long as you sign up for a free account. There is even an App for that, and a Google+ community for this. What’s not to like?
* Honorable Mentions: Three Thought-Provoking Free iOS Apps to Try:
1. TechWire: Get ad-free, up to date information from your favorite tech blogs (Tech Crunch, Gizmodo, Mashable etc.)
2. Pearltrees: Organize your links and clipped articles from the Web into a visually appealing, easy to retrieve, and easy to share “tree” when you sign up for a free account. There is also a website.
3. Cambria Style: A free lifestyle/interior design magazine that comes in both digital and paper formats. It uses excellent storytelling, thoughtful marketing of their kitchen products, and celebrity interviews to educate and entertain the reader about current trends. I’ve gotten the paper magazine for a while, have the App too, and appreciate both more and more each day I learn more about entrepreneurship and visual content marketing best practices!
Once you curate content, it is up to you what you do with it. I will leave you with a final link to a great article, Content Creation Lessons from another go-to blog I recommend, Buffer. At the end of the day, we are all works in progress and I for one, hope to secretly remain so. We are all on a learning curve and all curators for our own Story. I hope this post will help you better curate the content you need for yours. I look forward to intersecting with it more in the coming year!