Platform Review: Scoop.it – Brand as Curator Comes to Life

While a lot of attention is on content, brand as publisher and the ways a brand can push its message through the social, shareable formats of the social web, growing interest is in the curation aspect of establishing a complete brand presence.  Content curation can bring another dimension to a brands presence online, showing that it’s aware of and a proponent of those individuals and organizations interested in similar or related topics.  Being a convener of, as well as a participant in, the larger discussion alleviates the content burden and puts the brand in context.

One of the new tools to help accomplish this is Scoop.it.  The following is a review of the platform as posted on the Scoop.it platform where I used a free trial of the pro version they offered to kick the tires, create two curations (“Curationist” and the co-curated “MDigitial” curation with Greg Matthews.)

 Usability Overview – Curating the Content Stream

As brands begin to find more options to tell their own story, they’ll look beyond the brand as publisher model and to the brand as curator – or becoming a convener of conversation around a topic or industry.  Scoop.it promises to make finding, reviewing and curating content an easy proposition.

One of the challenges of curating content around a topic is being able to easily select from a stream of good content.  Scoop.it allows you to use keywords to pull in possible content to curate.  The challenge is that the search tool isn’t refined enough to eliminate unwanted content.  This returns results from individual Tweets that may not have anything to do with the topic other than a keyword. It allows you to remove sources from consideration, but this can be a bit more time-consuming that it’s worth.  Having only spent a few hours with the platform, there may be an easier way to refine results. (Originally began reviewing the platform Dec 20. Additional time revealed additional and compelling features – included below.)

Other Curation Options

In addition to pulling potential content in through keywords, Scoop.it also lets you enter specific URLs for the content that you’re interested in curating – a good option for adding a specific post to your curated selection.

Scoop.it also lets you create your own blog post to be published alongside of the other content you’re curating.  It’s the feature I’m using now to provide these reviews of the platform.

Curation Platform – Pros & Cons

As my free trial of Scoop.it’s pro edition ends, I’ve had a chance to test the features and functionality as a curation platform. My experience with the platform has been generally positive.

The features I liked the most include:

  • The ability to share curation responsibilities with others
  • The usefulness of the platform as a way to curate across keywords
  • Being able to add specific urls to your curation list
  • The browser plug-in that allows you to easily pull in items you’d like to curate
  • The blogging feature (which I’m using here) to add your own content to your curation
  • The WordPress plugin (although I haven’t yet set this up on my blog)
  • Easy to create and share new topics

Some things that could improve include:

  • Further refinement of the keyword tool to turn up more specific results, eliminating the number of results that are less useful
  • Spell-check in the blogging widget
  • The ability for those you share curation with to edit or add keyword filters
  • Overall UX could improve (some of the features that are hidden should be more intuitive)

I think platforms like Zite and FlipBook do a good job of bringing in content based on specific filters. Expanding the ability to pull in or integrate with Zite or FlipBook content over mobile and the addition of some of the features above could make the platform an indispensable tool.

At $79 per month for the pro edition, it’s a relatively inexpensive way for brands to test the waters and encourage curation.

UPDATE: Scoop.it President Marc Rougier left a nice comment related to the post. Specific to pricing he added, “I’d like to also complement your review: beyond the free version of Scoop.it, we actually launched three premium packages: Scoop.it Business ($79/month), Scoop.it Pro ($12.99/month), and Scoop.it Education ($6.99/month).” See more from Marc about the platform in the comments.

Final Assessment

As it stands, I like the platform because it’s a single tool with a single purpose and almost makes curation a simple task. It’s definitely worth taking a look if you’re considering ways to curate the broader discussion, themes and trends.  The ability to plug the curated content into a blog is also a useful feature.  If the filters were more refined, reducing the amount of work to dial in a topic, Scoop.it would be on to something.  But, it’s a platform I’ll look at as some of the brands I work with consider curation options.

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Experimenting to advance the cause. Clients ID'd. Views my own. View all posts by bradmays

7 responses to “Platform Review: Scoop.it – Brand as Curator Comes to Life

  • Greg Allbright (@GregAllbright)

    Since reading this well-thought out review of Scoop.It I’ve been thinking about how to use it and look forward to a trial soon.

    You’ve also had me thinking about brand as publisher vs. curator. A part of your review implied brands move from publisher to curator almost akin to a linear move, or the next phase of their social competency evolution. “Brand as Publisher” is difficult to grasp for some brands, those that are smaller or in fields that don’t easily lend themselves to “thought leadership” type articles. I’m thinking more about small businesses like yogurt, donuts, and plumbers.

    However, brand as curator might be an easier place for them to start. They may not know what to publish, but they may know the articles and people to share that would be of interest to their customers/clients. This half step into content curation might lay a stronger foundation for them to move into “brand as publisher”.

    • bradmays

      Thanks for the comment and the discussion on Twitter, Greg. You’re absolutely right about there being a mental shift to accommodate the publisher and curator concepts. I’ve actually seen a bit of the opposite happening – I think that brands are starting to understand the role of content (although not all brands and industries), but there’s a considerable resource burden (both time and money) to create or repurpose the content. Whereas, there’s an inverse relationship with curation – it’s a fairly low investment (which is where tools like Scoop.it can help), but the shift in thinking about the brand in context and bringing those other, even differing, points of view together in one place to convene the larger discussion runs counter to everything marketers have done for years. In the old model, you don’t want your brand to be the center of attention, and you would never differing points of view airtime for fear of validation. The dirty secret of an online presence in social channels is that everything is driven by content – the brand’s (publishing) or the community’s (curation). Curation can serve as a foundation until the publishing model gets established within a company. Once established, both can work to support a more complete brand presence.

  • Marc Rougier

    Brad,

    Thank you for your review of Scoop.it! We’re really glad you found it useful and we certainly share your viewpoint about brands (and more generally, companies, organizations and services of all sizes) needing to tell stories, to establish a persistent and recognizable presence on the web, to become media on their area of expertise. We launched Scoop.it with the belief that curation is one effective contribution to meeting this growing need.

    I’d like to also complement your review: beyond the free version of Scoop.it, we actually launched three premium packages: Scoop.it Business ($79/month), Scoop.it Pro ($12.99/month), and Scoop.it Education ($6.99/month).

    The most comprehensive package, Scoop.it Business, offers additional features such as detailed analytics (to monitor and optimize the publications), full topic branding (graphic chart, logo, domain name, etc) for maximum visibility and SEO impact, post scheduling and sharing to multiple social media accounts (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, WordPress, Tumblr). Its mission is to really make it easier for brands to become publishers, to effectively grow an engaged audience on the web.

    Thank you also for sharing your thoughts on how to make Scoop.it better. We keep upgrading the service based on user feed back, so yours is greatly appreciated! We try to keep the UX as sleek as possible but we’ll keep improving it. As for integration with other services (as inbound sources of content, and outbound destinations for the share), we will consider Zite or FlipBook.

    Thanks again for your interest in Scoop.it ☺

    Marc (president of Scoop.it)

    • bradmays

      Thanks for the comment, Marc. I’ve updated the post with the additional pricing information and directed people to your comment for more about the platform. Keep up the good work.

  • Marc Rougier (@MarcFuseki)

    Very much appreciated. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any question or suggestion. Great exchanging with you!

  • jonathansalembaskin

    Brad, thanks for a really insightful and useful guide to using Scoop.it.

    I’m fascinated by the thinking and processes that drive curating, and I’ve created a half-day training called “CuratorCamp” in which I distill the guiding principles of museum curating and apply them to business. As a Senior Fellow Emeritus at the Smithsonian as well as a 4-time published marketing author (my new book, Tell The Truth, is just out), I think there’s huge potential to borrow the proven successes museums have delivered in terms of credibility and reliability. Here’s the description of CuratorCamp on my firm’s website. I’d love to know what you think! http://bit.ly/GKDZxz

    JSB

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