These tools will create embed codes for anything on the Web,
develop lists, organize seemingly endless piles of data,
I tend to have problems with brevity when I write. Because
of this, people often mistakenly believe I don't deal with
That is not the case.
Sure, I always have 2,000 words in my pocket, but those words
are not often about the topic I need to write about.
When the blank page stares relentlessly back at me, one of
my favorite fall backs is to curate and comment on other
people's content. However, everyone is a curator these days.
Some people are better than others; the edge comes from
being different and adding a fresh perspective.
Here are five of the best free content curation tools
you can use to stand out:
This is my favorite tool right now. Why make a list when
you can make a List.ly? List.ly, as the name suggests,
allows you to:
Create lists as you browse the Web. There's a bookmarklet that allows you to add a website to your list, complete with an image, title, description and tags. Fill in the sections yourself, or use the data List.ly pulls from the site.
Embed your list anywhere you can create a post.
Get people's opinions of your list through voting.
Use the list as a resource to bring people together for a project or cause, or to gather data. (Advanced feedback labels include "I can help" or "I can participate.")
Re-sort the list alphabetically, by crowd rank or in the order curated.
Share and embed other people's lists or just one item from their lists.
List.ly also lets you present lists with style. Embed
options range from a gallery of images to a more minimal
presentation. There's a WordPress plugin, as well.
When I attend conferences, I like to summarize what I've
learned and take pictures with people I've met. I do this
to jog my memory later, as well as share as much of my
experience as possible.
Whether I want to promote the event or simply share the
high points with my subscribers, clients and customers,
Storify lets me take bits of information from a variety of
sources on the Web and curate them into a story.
With Storify you can use keywords or hashtags to collect
images, social media updates or Web pages (any media item
on the Web, really). You can then add your thoughts and
publish them in a blog post.
I've used Storify to:
Storify gives you the tools to expand upon what you've
curated with some free-form areas to include text. You can
also write your post and just add the embed at the end.
Storify lets you notify any person included in your story,
though I suggest personalizing the notice it sends out.
Embed options are similar to List.ly's.
Storify is now owned by Livefyer (another of my favorite
services), and has a WordPress plugin and an iPad app.
It took me a while to warm to Spundge. At first it seemed
like a buttoned-down version of Storify. Though some of its
features and functions are similar to Storify, there is
more to Spundge.
Like Storify, you can use Spundge to collect and curate
information from around the Web and present it in an
aesthetically pleasing way that's infinitely less boring
than a standard blog post.
Spundge also adds the ability to collaborate on private or
public topic collections called Notebooks. Notebooks allow
you to condense the fire hose of data into a coherent feed
of curated information. Journalists have taken to this
feature, and I suspect anyone who has to do ongoing
research would, as well.
The overused cliché that a picture is worth a thousand
words becomes meaningful with Thinglink. It allows you to
embed information hotspots into an image that provide more
information in text when you hover over them.
Hotspots can be anything on the Web with a URL. YouTube
videos have pop-ups that can play without the user ever
leaving your blog post. This can come in handy in places
where you can embed pictures but not video.
You can embed Thinglink images in your blog posts. Right-
clicking on a non-hotspot in a gives you the option to
share, embed or touch an image (Thinglink's version of
Thinglink is much easier to understand when you can see
it in action.Here's a Thinglink about Spundge's Notebook feature,
by clicking here.
and another about using Thinglink with Storify.
by clicking here.
Thinglink also has a free app for iOS.
Do you have something that's difficult to embed? Do you
want to include a PDF but don't want to use Docstoc or
Slideshare? Embed.ly can embed anything with a Web address.
Embed.ly is a good way to create your own embed code when
you need to share something but don't have the resources or
know-how, or don't want to use third-party tools.
Bonus: Find embeddable content to create a story around.
Every social media site with an embed tool, from Slideshare
to YouTube, has a way for you to embed any public
conversation into a blog post. If you are only pulling data
from one source, don't forget this as a quick way to
include the original source of ideas into your discussion.
Tinu Abayomi-Paul is chief visibility officer of Leveraged
Promotion, which performs corporate reputation management
for mid-sized companies, and builds demand generation
systems. A version of this article originally appeared on