The joy of Storify: Content curation made easy

Storify is a content curation tool which allows you to gather together social media updates from lots of different sources and turn them into simple, shareable stories.

We've been using it more and more in our work, in particular for coverage of events.

As they explain in their own words on the Storify website, it's a simple process:

1. Collect media from across the web

2. Publish on Storify, embed anywhere

3. Share and notify sources, go viral.

Can it really be that easy? Well, actually yes. Although of course the scale at which it goes viral will depend on a lot of factors!

These are four reasons we love using Storify.

Get a wider perspective on a niche topic

Have you ever been to an event and realised later that you were so busy live tweeting every single comment that you forgot to sit back and enjoy the moment?

Storify allows you to pull together a mass of information from different perspectives and images from different vantage points, creating a summary of a day which captures so much more than if you were trying to do it alone.

For example when our client Elektron Healthcare was at an ophthalmics conference in New Orleans we used Storify to get across a real flavour of this massive four-day event. Our AAO13 story featured everything from the latest innovations in eye health to images of giant eyeballs (which had to be seen to be believed!)

In social media, flattery gets you everywhere

One thing we love about Storify is the way you can easily let all the contributors know that they are featured in the piece. You're appealing to vanity here. People love feeling special, to be rewarded.

In turn they are very likely to share the story on their own social channels. Make sure you edit the automatically generated tweet though to make it short, friendly and shareable. You might want to cut out any irrelevant hashtags taking up extra characters.

The people I featured in David Schneider: Is the internet making us more stupider? were really pleased to be included. And because I put it together as soon as the event was over while it was still top of mind, there was an eagerness to share the content.

Tip! Make sure you have a good spread of contributors rather than lots of posts from the same person.

And if you've got your wits about you, you'll make sure to include the people or brands  with lots of followers; if they share your story it'll hit a much wider audience, bringing you extra followers and traffic as a result.

Storify gives you valuable, highly shareable content

Content marketing is a very powerful way of raising awareness of your brand and driving traffic to your site. Storify content is made to be shared and easily embedded in other websites.

So make sure that your stories:

  • are good quality
  • offer a good mix of text, image and video
  • deliver something topical, entertaining or useful.

So you could choose a news story or showbiz event everyone's talking about and pick out the best bits, like the BBC did recently with Doctor Who Day and the Strictly Come Dancing highlights. 

Charities are using it together to create informative and highly emotive stories, as DEC Appeal did with the Philippines Typhoon Appeal.

Get a hashtag going on Twitter and pull it all together, as we see with Al Jazeera and #NotYourAsianSidekick or Independent journalist Rhodri Marsden's hilarious Your awful dates, in 140 characters and Worst job interviews.

Or offer a summary of an event for people who couldn't attend, as I did recently with the CamCreative event with Amanda Palmer and Neil Gaiman (above), which had a very limited number of tickets available and a fervent fan base who were distraught at not being able to get in.

It's just so easy. Almost too easy...

Although putting together a story can be done in minutes, this doesn't mean there isn't an art to doing it. Some tips:

  • Don't make your stories too long. If you think it's going to result in pages and pages of content think about how you could break it down into smaller topics, and make a series of stories instead. 
  • Avoid featuring duplicate posts where people are saying roughly the same thing. You risk irritating readers if they have to scroll lots of similar comments.
  • Always include lots of high-quality images. Mix these up among the text to keep things interesting and lively.
  • Pick out well-written content otherwise other people's sloppiness will reflect on you!
  • Put the really interesting stuff at the beginning to grab the attention. If you save the tastiest nuggets until the end most people will never get there!

Your next steps with Storify

Visit the Storify website and set up an account.

Follow Sookio on Storify and see what we've been up to.