How to Get Started With Twitter’s Curator Platform
[By Karen Geier]
Twitter has evolved a lot for brands and content creators in the last two years, but Twitter’s latest play might have you looking at the platform in an entirely different way. Enter Twitter Curator – a platform to display tweets, links, and rich media in a way that the entire collection tells one coherent narrative.
If you’re looking just to blog or put out long-form content you plan to share on Twitter, Curator is not for you. You should try Medium, which is for that specific purpose. Curator is a means to take events (like Fashion Week, sporting events, film festivals, conferences, etc.) or topics that are in the public dialogue (like elections, celebrity stories, news, etc.) and hyper-focus them through a curator’s lens.
Curation is a great way of creating content without having to write everything yourself, but it has an added benefit for publishers: by combining numerous independent viewpoints from the general public, thought leaders, and even celebrities, you can endorse your brand’s ideas or viewpoint outside of a vacuum of a single-author blog.
Choosing Topics or Events to Curate
You’ll want to choose a topic that fits one of the two big criteria: 1) being germane to your brand, or 2) being so universal that there is a way your brand can comment on it organically. Once you’ve made these broad decisions, it’s time to look at an angle. The angle is just the way in/central thesis of what your brand’s commentary on this topic will be. For instance, if a major sporting event is happening but your company isn’t in the sports vertical, look for the universal themes: challenges, competition, teamwork, overcoming obstacles. Maybe there is a way in with that type of point of view.
Once you’ve chosen a theme, you will want to discuss this theme on Twitter to make sure your voice is at least somewhat a part of the story you curate. Think about the key points you want to get across in the final piece and write tweets to this thesis. Consider that as others tweet, you may need to contribute on the fly.
Things that Might Be Difficult To Curate for First-timers
Don’t try to curate a story that’s too big in real-time. Don’t choose an awards ceremony live tweet or long Twitter conversation as your first curated story. You will be stuck with too many choices and it will ruin the experience for you – and possibly turn off the readers – if there isn’t a broader point to the coverage.
Try to stick with something fairly specific that has enough appeal and participants to be worthwhile for you to build the collection and attract readers.
Building Your Story
Log into your Twitter account using the web interface. Visit curator.twitter.com to get started. There is a three-step .gif that shows you the main steps of the process, namely 1) creating a search for your topics/hashtags/users you want to highlight, 2) selecting the tweets you want to add to your curated story, and 3) creating a collection to hold these items.
The first two steps are really easy to navigate. Search works similarly to Twitter’s native search engine, and you simply scroll through the tweets and select the ones you want included by clicking the blue checkmark to the right of each tweet.
Next, you’ll want to start a collection. Give your collection a name and a description, and decide whether you want that collection to be public or private (unlisted.) You can make it private until you’d like to make it public, so do that until your story is complete.
You can toggle the order of the tweets – and you will want to do this if you have guide tweets that comment along the way. You’ll want to space these out so the narrative flow makes sense.
Once you’re ready to publish, you’ll want to use the “gear” to change the collection from “Unlisted” to “Public” and then click the button for “Embed” to see the final story laid out. You can customize the “layout” of the collection by selecting how many tweets to show. There’s also a button in this view to generate an embed code so you can post the entire collection on a website. Here, you have color, size and media options, which can help you make the widget look more like the website you’re embedding it on.
As curation gains steam and legitimacy as a content methodology, it’s important for brands to look to tools they can easily leverage to help them tell stories. Twitter Curator is a tool you can learn in minutes, and in an hour or two you can create curated stories that can help your brand express its views.