Remember that time I tried to make a website for myself? Yes, it was this one. And yes, it was amateur hour.

I've been working as a community manager for just about a year now, and not one day out of the last 330 has passed without me learning at least one new thing. I've delved into my existing passions for social media and community building, and in the process, developed some new interests like social strategy building, online marketing, and advertising/SEO. 

As I continue to evolve as Scoop.it's community manager, I've decided to improve myself personally too. I'm constantly learning during the work day, and even still, I come home and want to learn even more. That said, I've decided to jump into a few projects.

 
 
We've all heard it: now's the time to start using content curation as a part of your content marketing strategy.  There seems to be an endless supply of articles, blog posts, and tutorials on curation - we've done the research, read the articles, learned about all of the benefits and best practices. Now, there's only one thing left to do: actually get started.

After taking in as much information as possible on curation best practices, techniques, and tools, it's possible that you find yourself asking, "now what?" 

At Scoop.it, we have the answer.


 
 
We've all seen them, known them, unfollowed them, maybe even are them. This is by no means a comprehensive list (and by all means a rant), but here are some of the top Twitter characters who I will certainly not follow.

 
 
The folks over at SocialFresh put together this awesome infographic about community managers just in time to celebrateCommunity Manager Appreciation Day in a few weeks.

Check out the full infographic here, but I'll share a few tidbits that I found most interesting:

-Did you know that the majority of community managers are women? Girl Power!

-Additionally, 2 out of every 3 community managers works for a brand rather than an agency. Personally, I love working for a brandbecause I can fully dedicate myself to the company, our team, and our culture.

-Lastly, over 60% of community managers spend over 30 hours per week working on their community. Now, that's dedication!
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Img: SocialFresh
 
 
Cendrine is an incredibly insightful social media blogger that I have had the pleasure to work with over the last few months. I'm glad to have her as a part of my online community, and honored that she views me the same! Check out her 2012 year in review post to see what awesome things she did this year. I'm looking forward to seeing what Cendrine has in store for us in 2013 on her must-follow blog!
 
 
At Distilled's SearchLove in October of this year, SEOMoz CEO Rand Fishkin channeled his inner Beatles fan with a presentation called "Can't Buy Me Love." Of course, unlike Paul, George, John, and Ringo, Rand isn't talking about the "love" of a lady, but instead he's referring to the love of your audience.

To be completely honest, I never really understood search marketing. If I'm searching for something in Google, odds are I'm probably going to click on the search result for what I was actually looking for, rather than an ad that [may or may not be] related to what I typed in. I'm not saying that search marketing does't work, but I do like to think that there are better (and cheaper) ways to get people to click on your website.

That said, it's not surprising that I'm a pretty big advocate of content marketing - creating content that, while it may be optimized for keywords, is actually valuable to your readers and gets clicks because it's interesting and relevant.

I know I'm not the only one to say that content is going to rule 2013. To me, it already ruled 2012, but now it seems that it's becoming more commonplace for those who were unsure of it last year. We're seeing an increasing amount of "brand journalists" and "brand-as-a-publisher" mentalities, and I have a feeling this isn't going to stop any time soon.


 
 
My name is Ally Greer. I'm a marketer with expertise in content marketing and curation. You've probably never heard of me.

With over 500 million users on Twitter, 175 million on LinkedIn, and over a billion on Facebook, you probably haven't heard of most people on the Internet. The bad news is that this also means most of those people probably haven't heard of you either.

That said, I'm certainly not here to tell you how flooded the Internet is and discourage you from jumping into the information pool. In fact, I'm telling you to do the exact opposite. Although it isn't likely that all 500 million people on Twitter will be following you by the time you're finished reading this (or ever), there are a few ways to look what we call "information overload" right in the face and use it to your advantage.

In a digital world characterized by an overwhelming amount of noise, everyone is struggling to find relevant content from people and brands with an expertise on a specific subject. Content curators are the ones who step up to the plate.


 
 
Most content by brands serves only to promote the brand. This is not a conversation. This is a content marketing echo chamber.
-Michael Brenner
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It’s been a while since I’ve heard about the term “echo chamber,” and the last time I investigated it it was mostly concerning the social graph and surrounding yourself with the same people and the same ideas.

I always like seeing how social phenomena convert over into the business world, and this is a perfect example of that. If the entire online presence of your brand, including your content, only consists of talking about your own brand and encouraging others to talk about your brand, there is no room to grow, and no actual value to the content you’re providing.

Michael Brenner says that “good content educates, entertains or even amazes your audience because it starts with a focus on them, not you.” Get out of the echo chamber and stop throwing around generic praise and information about your brand, and start telling your story and demonstrating your expertise.

See on b2bmarketinginsider.com

 
 
I recently started taking part in My Community Manager’s “Community Manager Hangout.” As a somewhat new community manager, I was a little shy at first, but eventually started jumping into theGoogle+ hangout and now I can’t bear to miss it! 

Along with a Tweetchat at #cmgrhangout, the hour-long weekly conversation is an awesome way to connect with other community managers as well as an opportunity to learn different strategies and ideas that do and don’t work while building a community.

If you’re a community manager or want to be one, I would recommend following along and, if you’re ready, jumping in!

 
 
Max Minzer is a Seattle SEO consultant, internet marketing strategist, entrepreneur and business adviser who helps businesses and individuals establish and maintain engaged online presence.

Every Thursday, Max hosts a “Max Impact Hangout,” a conversation designed to help businesses have maximum impact in their industry on social media.

This hangout is centered around content curation, and feautres AJ Kohn, the owner of Blind Five Year Old, an online marketing consulting firm out of San Francisco.

Kohn has some great points about the benefits of curation, including:

-“It’s not just about sharing the content; it’s providing your context. It’s good to be able to read a lot, but it’s better to be able to understand it, and so it’s your job to help your audience understand it and put context around it. If you’re not doing that, it’s just a bunch of links, and that’s not particularly helpful.”

-“Curation at its core is about expertise.”

-“People are looking for trust and expertise, and they don’t have a lot of time. If they can rely on you to continuously deliver that trust and value, they’re going to continue to come to you.”

He also points out an interesting curation practice that is probably forgotten (or dismissed) by some businesses: curating the content of your competitors. Regarding this practice, AJ says, “Your users are talking about [your competitors] anyway. You want to control the story: if they’re going to be reading it anyway, it’s better to provide the context for them.”

The hangout also includes a Q&A/discussion session with AJ.