Last year I read a book entitled Curation Nation by Steven Rosenbaum. It proposed that in this age where we are overwhelmed by content choices, the future to finding what we want is context and that this context will be provided by trusted curators. Traditionally in the world of video and screen media, broadcasters and distributors were the curators of film and television content. Neither the audience nor the creators had much choice and had to go through these traditional gatekeepers to reach each other. In the digital world this is changing. Everyone can make content and throw it up on the Internet. Many people do and much of it is not good or at least not relevant to everyone. Both audiences and creators of quality video content (whether film, TV, webseries or transmedia) need the right online curators to connect. As a creator it is important for you to find these new gatekeepers. Who are the online video curators? Which ones are right for your project? And how do you start to identify, find and engage them?
Curator used to be the job title for people who selected artworks and exhibits for museums and art galleries. Today it is a word that is applied to everything from film festivals to website content. Curation still implies a person has decided what is worthwhile to include in these venues and that value is added through this editorial process. As Rosenbaum says, “curation means quality, but quality is in the eye of the beholder.” And just as all content is not created equal neither are curators. Online curators come in many shapes and sizes from The Huffington Post to my own Twitter feed. How do you find the curators that are right for your online video content?
Online Video Curator Types
There are many ways that video content can be curated online. Examples of these include:
- Video aggregators (such as Vimeo or Blip)
- Bloggers/Vloggers (such as this example environmental blog or this webseries guide)
- YouTube channels (channels that bring together the content of others such as this European marketing channel or this video review channel)
- Online “broadcasters” (such as Mingle Media or the Mother Nature Network)
- Social media superstars who post others’ videos (such as the Indie Innertube)
- Video reviewers (such as Libra Girl or Alterna-TV or PlaceVine)
- Niche news sites (such as IndieWire or ScreenRant)
- Award shows (such at The Streamys or the IAWTV Awards)
- Online video festivals ( such as The HollyWeb Festival or New Media Film Festival)
This is by no means an exhaustive list and not all will be applicable for every project. You still need to find the right curators for your content. How do you do that?
Curation vs. Search
I often write about using Internet search to find your audience directly, but you can also use it to find the online video curators who are right for you and your project. In Curation Nation, Rosenbaum proposes that search is dead as a way for finding the best content. However, search is evolving rapidly. (I just read a fascinating article on how Google will be using a new knowledge graph to dramatically change and improve search results.) In some ways the search engines like Google are automated curators, trying to connect audience with the most relevant content through their search queries based on algorithms. You may not be able to build relationships with them, but you can definitely use the search engines to find human curators who are relevant to your project. Guess what? It goes back to keyword research and using this language to find who is in the space. But what steps do you need take to connect with the right curators? I’m so glad you asked.
Connecting with Online Video Curators
Some submissions, such as to awards and festivals and even review sites are fairly straight forward, but to be as effective as possible with niche curators can take some effort. You can begin laying the groundwork for this process as soon as you have video assets to share. Here is a very basic outline of the steps you need to take:
Step 1. Get your content online. It seems obvious, but if you don’t have your video content on the Internet there is nothing for curators to review. If you can’t upload your entire project think of the ways you can leverage other video content – trailers, outtakes, behind-the-scenes footage. Use an online tool like TubeMogul’s OneLoad.com to get your content distributed as widely as possible. But you may also want to hold some of the best little bits back to provide “exclusive” content for curators down the road (see step 6)
Step 2. Use keywords to draw curators to you. Use the keyword you have researched in the right place to ensure you are providing a context with the language potential curators may be searching with.
Step 3. Use keywords to find curators. Use that same language on Google or the search engine of your choice to find out who is using that language. Look at those sites and the ones they are linked to and that are linking to them (using a tool like Open Site Explorer) to find potential curators and communities that might be interested in your video content. Do searches on Facebook, Twitter and other social media to find similar audience members in those networks too.
Step 4. Engage in conversations with relevant online communities. Don’t just jump into pushing out your content. Learn more about the community/audience on the sites above and try to participate and provide real value to the conversations that are happening. The work you have done on creating your project has likely already educated you; this knowledge and your passion for the topic is really all you need to prove yourself.
Step 5. Engage in conversations with key curators through their content. Curators are usually quite excited about their niche and the content they share. They often invite discussion. “Follow” them on Twitter, “like” them on Facebook, and “comment” on blog posts. After doing this for a while you will develop a relationship with these curators (and may learn even more about your niche audience along the way).
Step 6. Share “sneak peeks” video. By now you should be a valued member of your niche audience/community and your submissions to curators will be recognized and welcome. If possible, start to share early, exclusive content with key curators to whet their appetites and get them excited about your project before it even is live online.
Step 7. Finally – share your project. You’ve earned the right. Enjoy! Although it seems like a lot of work, by following the steps above you are investing in the future of your project and your business. Your video will have a much higher chance of getting reviewed by curators and shared with their audiences.
What Do You Think?
Have you looked into the potential curators of your video content online? Do you think they should be an important part of the digital marketing strategy for your film, TV, webseries and transmedia project? Please share your thoughts, ideas, questions below or send them to me at annelise (at) veria.ca or on Twitter @veriatweet.
Next issue: Beyond Copyright: Micropatronage and The Future
Or revisit the previous issue: My Smash Social TV Wish List