Let’s face it. Not everyone has time to write regular blog posts, create videos or record podcasts. Despite my belief that we all can make time to create helpful content if we try, some people can’t or won’t do it. Plus, not everyone is skilled as a writer or speaker.
There is another option to get involved online, communicating information about your particular area of healthcare – content curation. Now what is content curation? You might not know the term, but if you are even the least bit active on Facebook or Twitter, you see it all the time.
Content curation is the process of surveying a large amount of articles and other information, filtering out the ones that are misleading or not useful, and sending out the content that can benefit your audience. You can sift through scientific journals in your field, articles on health topics in the mainstream media, blog posts from others active in social media and more. And you can share your curated articles on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn or your website or email newsletter (see the example of a tweet in which my friend Jenny shares an article she feels would interest her audience).
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If you decide to go this route, or if you curate and share content as part of your larger social media strategy, I have a few observations to help you provide value to your readers and benefit the creators whose work you are sharing.
Add your perspective.
It’s ok to simply tweet the title and link to an article, but tell people why you think they should read it. Explain why the study could be important for patients. Ask readers if they agree with the writer’s opinion.
Explain it briefly in layman’s terms.
If you want to share a study from a medical journal, recognize that many people will not understand the medical jargon. Summarize the study using words and descriptions everyone will understand. And remember, most journals only allow subscribers to access the full article, so either point out that fact or ensure the article’s abstract is sufficient.
Offer your perspective on information in the mainstream media.
The New York Times, CNN, Yahoo! and many other sites publish health information based on hot topics among their readers. Curating this content can help you know what the public is interested in and is talking about. Plus you can challenge some of the myths and misinformation when it appears in the media.
Give credit to the authors.
These writers put a lot of time and effort into creating their articles, videos and podcasts, so recognize them for it. Mention the name of the author and the website in which it appears. If you tweet a link to the article, include the Twitter handle of the author (and website, if possible) to help them gain exposure, too.
Some social media enthusiasts argue that while curating content is beneficial to your audience, you only develop real influence as a thought leader by creating content of your own. I don’t have a strong opinion that one is better than the other or that you must choose. Try this approach to social media and see if it works for you.