There are—literally—millions of blogs, covering everything from news to entertainment.

99% of those blogging efforts generate no revenue for the creators and publishers of the content.

With all this noise—but seemingly no fire—what are the two ways that a peacebuilding blogger can drive traffic to their blog, without seeming to “sell out” in the process?

Advertising is the first and easiest way. But the battle over banner ads is not yet complete, and the click through rate on Internet advertising in general is beyond merely abysmal—it’s downright laughable. However, there are some benefits to advertising and allowing ads to display on a peacebuilding blog: The revenue generated through clicks and eyeballs has generated some revenues for bloggers in the past.

But they got in early on the advertising game and now the distance between them and the peacebuilder currently looking to generate revenues after three years of blogging, is the same as the distance between Google (0) and it’s nearest search competitors, Bing and Yahoo (1).

Curating content from others is the second and not so easy way. Curating content from other sources can be fraught with legal (and ethical) conundrums, but the fact of the matter is, with the definition of content having now expanded to audio (podcasts) and visual (images and videos) the amount of content both siloed on platforms (i.e. Facebook Video or Tumblr blogs) has exploded exponentially. This offers opportunities for the savvy peacebuilder to access a wide variety of content based on her audience’s interests, and to offer that content as an intermediary.

A gatekeeper, if you will.

Here are four platforms to begin the process of content curation:

Flipboard—We personally use the magazine and article aggregator, Flipboard to create magazine based content off of what we have on our blog already and to share what is being published other places. Check out what we’ve done by clicking here. The platform is easy to use and we’ve even turned others onto it…

Twitter—Far from being merely a cesspool (it can be) or a noise factory (it can also be that) Twitter serves as a place to share links and engage with content creators around their content. With the current changes to the platform around retweeting and sharing, the ability to truly engage effectively with shared content has exploded.

RSS Feeds—Yes, we know that Google killed its RSS reader and everybody lamented. But for curation, particularly blog based curation with no middle man of another platform, RSS feeds can be a goldmine of sharing others content. Every blog has an RSS feed, but the readers of the feeds are few and far between. The savvy peacebuilder has two choices: Either go out to every blog individually and crawl the sites for the best content to share, or get a reader service such as Feedly (free) or Buffer (paid) and add websites with active RSS feeds.

WP plug-ins—If the savvy peacebuilder with a WordPress blog wants to develop curation on their site directly, then there are a couple of plug-ins to consider. WP RSS Aggregator is the most popular one by far, followed by Super RSS Reader. Both of these solutions to content curation require the savvy peacebuilder to be in the backend of her website, ensuring that the blog theme integrates well with the plug-ins and that the posts, feeds and pages are all delineated properly. But once set-up, this solution offers the most value, as it drives readers of the content the savvy peacebuilder has selected back to their website, rather than the original content creator’s site.

Content curation is not for every blogger (or peacebuilder) and the benefits in increased credibility, trust and value don’t accrue immediately (unlike the risk of advertising, which may create frustration as an assured hit, turns out to be a regular miss) but when they do, there is great benefit.

-Peace Be With You All-

Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT: jsorrells@hsconsultingandtraining.com
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