Spend a few moments on social media and you will quickly see a large volume of links to list-style articles. Readers can’t get enough of these types of articles, especially when they're teased with compelling, if not intriguing, titles like 44 Medieval Beasts That Cannot Even Handle It Right Now and 41 Creative DIY Hacks to Improve Your Home. You’ll also see people calling these articles "clickbait" and commenting that only one or two items out of the whole list was worth reading. Despite the complaints, the traffic numbers don’t lie – these list articles continue to be extremely popular, as evidenced by the large number of clicks and shares they get.
The answer is that list articles are curated content. Somebody else has collected a lot of facts, pictures, sites, or anything else that readers might be interested in, selected the best of the best, and presented the list to their readers as a useful resource. If list-style articles have become clickbait, it is because somewhere, deep down, readers know how valuable a curated list can really be.
What is content curation?
Content curation didn’t start on the Internet. It has been around long before we could access the knowledge of the world through our computer screens. Museum curators are called that for a reason – they curate the content of their museums. They select what items are going to be included in an exhibit, what items are going to be left out, and how everything is going to be displayed.
When you curate content for your own website/social media page/blog/etc. you are doing pretty much the same thing. You determine the pieces to include in your list or article and the ones that you are going to leave out. The value of your list depends on how well you manage your content curation. Did you include everything that your readers want to see? Did you put "filler" items that they don’t care about? These are the things you should be asking yourself when you are working on curating your content.
How does content creation drive traffic?
People visit non-social sites for two main reasons: to be entertained, and to learn things. If they can combine both of those activities, then it's even better. This is no doubt the reason for the massive popularity of Cracked.com – the authors curate informative and interesting content and put a hilarious spin on it. Readers laugh and learn something at the same time, and they just keep coming back for more.
Your site can do the same thing. If you establish yourself as a quality content curator and your readers learn that they can trust you to find the best that the Internet has to offer about their topic of interest, they won’t waste their time bouncing around on other sites trying to find information. They’ll come to you over and over again. Curated content blogs such as FreeTech4Teachers, iDownloadBlog, and PrettyHandyGirl show how content curation can work for incredibly diverse topics and areas of interest.
So when you find a resource you love, jot it down! Your readers are out there, waiting for the next best list.