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What is a Content Aggregator?

How to be the kind of content aggregator that readers appreciate

There are a lot of things you can do without knowing it, but content aggregation isn’t one of them. For example, you could offend someone without knowing it. You could drive through a stop sign without knowing it. Or, you could steal a piece of candy when your five-year old drops it into your bag… and not even know it.

But if you’re rummaging through the web for content you can use as the basis for new articles, you probably know it. If you’re a content aggregator, you know it.

Many successful publishers, especially news publishers, are newsjacking, a form of content aggregation. This is the process of excerpting news articles and adding about 60-80% more original content than you excerpted. When done well, you’re adding value to the original excerpts with your own perspectives and additional data.

When done badly, the publisher relies on the excerpt for 80% of the content and simply fluffs up some content around it as an excuse to publish new content. This would not be in the realm of “high quality content” if your goal is to drive website traffic organically through search.

How to be a better content aggregator

The best way to create content is to write it yourself, but news publishers can develop high-quality content through newsjacking as long as they follow these simple rules for the structure of their posts:

  1. Restate
  2. Revalue
  3. Provide abstracts
  4. Summarize the information
  5. Provide a link to the source

1. Restate. If I’m excerpting a news article about the new Princess Charlotte of Cambridge, it would be in my best interest to state my intentions up front. What is the news, and where am I going with this article?

2. Revalue. Additionally, what more do I have to add? Am I writing about how Charlotte will be the most popular baby name next year, with this news story as an example of why? Or am I just going to give a timeline of Princes and Princesses for the past 100 years? Or, am I going to focus on the news piece solely, and tell the readers why I do or do not agree with the story? In any case, these are three ways to create value from aggregated content.

3. Provide abstracts. Once you’ve stated your intentions and made clear your position or angle, now you can excerpt pieces from the article that are good representations of the article as a whole, or provide enough information to make clear and complete ideas.

4. Summarize the information. If the original article is lengthy and difficult to digest, then you can do a service for your readers by breaking it down into bites of content that are easy to consume. Otherwise, you can pull in quotes. Be careful though, not to rely completely on your source. In order to show authority in your writing, use your own voice to summarize and explain certain points, and use quotes more for direct statements that can’t be summarized.

5. Provide a link to the source. This is hopefully a no-brainer, since you should always source your sites. If you’re covering a topic that has multiple sources, use each in your article so you can show accuracy while highlighting some of the nuances between each article.

If you want to see some examples of great content aggregators, just look at the news outlets themselves – they’re all aggregating from each other when it comes down to it.

As a reader yourself, what do you love (or not love so much) when you see a publisher aggregating content?

Posted in Multiplatform Publishing Strategy

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One thought on “What is a Content Aggregator?

  1. Mike Yarnal says:

    When I learned journalism and news thru “Communications” at CalState, we did not have Content Aggregators. We interviewed our “victims” and they saw the reporter, face to face.

    Mike Yarnal

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