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Content curation business

How content curation works and how you can make money from it.

Anna Grigoryan
Anna Grigoryan
4 min read
Content curation business

Table of Contents

Let's say you are a good old project manager and you are assigned to a project out of knowledge scope. You kind of know what the industry is, but also you don't know how the business works. For me, for example, it's the publishing of physical books.

Now, what would be your approach to finding out more, so you'll be comfortable leading this project? And let's say this is the project of your life so you want to nail it.

There are a couple of ways you can help yourself to understand an industry:

  • find a few good books on it and read them
  • find mentors, instructors, and people to talk to
  • find youtube channels or online courses

... OR

Find all of that in one place categorized and organized specially for you. One can say curated 👀


In this article I'll talk about content curation: how, why, and (potentially) how much.

How to curate content

There's no scientific way of curating content, I'd argue that the best curations are happening when creators are genuinely interested in the subject.

However, as a person who had and already closed a curation project, I think there are some patterns here.

1) To be useful your curation needs to be centered around something very specific. If we take my example of book publishing, a good curation around that topic would be something around publishing a non-fiction book.

2) The curation should cover the whole process - starting, growing, and finishing.

3) The curation should be diverse. Take note of fans, superfans, the respectful haters, other curators. Curating content can be an opportunity to show the whole picture behind a niche.


How to organize the curated content

Hello, it's me your organization fairy. What I can do all day and every day? That's right kids organize stuff. Structure in the case of curated content is very important.

Good structure is the only thing that divides your curation from the vastness of the internet.

I think it's hard to come up with a strategy for the organization in general because each industry has it's differences. One general piece of advice that can be useful is:

try to understand the processes of that industry and key stakeholders.

This helps to organize the curated content by the processes and points of view.

In the case of publishing a non-fiction book the curated collection can look like this:

  • How to start writing?
  • How to write consistently?
  • How to find topics for your book?
  • How to organize the book?
  • How to find an agent?
  • How publishing companies make money?
  • How to self-publish?
  • What is Amazon KDP?

Tools for content curation

If you want to take the noble role of a curator, I think here are some tools that might help you in the process.


Image caption

Featured in the picture:

  • Airtable - for a database like architecture, also interconnectedness with other tools and automation
  • Notion - for a more fluid database and blog feel.
  • Google Sheets - if you don't want to mess with any new tool
  • Obsidian - open-source secure alternative to Notion. With a $4/month plugin, you can also directly publish the content on a website. What I like about it also the graph representation of the notes.
  • Roam research - a mix between Obsidian and Notion, perfect for people who write essays and long-form content.
  • Rows - up and coming alternative to Airtable, with a big variety of built-in integrations.
  • PayTable - a tool that helps you sell access to Airtable databases.

How to monetize the curated content

As with anything on the internet, curated content can be successfully monetized.


Image caption

The business model of monetization is the one you can compare to the library or educational center. Things are free until they are not.

Some potential ways you can monetize your curation:

1) selling access to a database - you have a demo version on the website but to get access to it customers have to pay one flat fee.

2) selling access to a more detailed database - you have a free version available with limited information, and customers have to pay a flat fee to get the full version.

3) selling access to an updated database - you have some (old) version free and accessible, but to get the constantly updated version you have to pay a subscription fee.

4) original content (newsletter or podcast) based on curated content - you use the curated content at top of the funnel to attract customers and sell subscriptions to your existing original content.

5) sponsorships - sell ad spots for the relevant industry tools or companies.

How to market curated content

The problem that curated content is solving is almost always productivity.

The pitch is:

Don't lose time googling stuff, I have everything you need right here.

Your positioning should clearly state:

  • what processes are streamlining,
  • which niche you are covering,
  • what experts you are curating.

Examples of curated products:

Also, make sure to mention how often is the database updated. As usually curation projects are starting at top of the funnel for the next step of selling a product in that niche. Usually, some projects are abandoned and it's fair to set the expectation straight for the customers.

Do you have a curated database? Do you want to start one? Let me know below in the comments and let's chat about it.

For Creators

Anna Grigoryan

Writer, engineer and recovering over-achiever. I bring context into creator economy with Community Weekly newsletter, and help people discover best podcasts out there with Kradl.