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I've 15 years of experience in media, product & technology. By day, I work at a mainstream news site. On weekends, I read & write on media products. Most recently, I was a Knight Fellow w/ International Center for Journalists for 3.5 years.
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I've 15 years of experience in media, product & technology. By day, I work at a mainstream news site. On weekends, I read & write on media products. Most recently, I was a Knight Fellow w/ International Center for Journalists for 3.5 years.

How content curation can help you launch a media product

Published May 30, 2021
Updated Mar 20, 2022

A few years ago, I came across this Japanese consumer good brand called Muji. What struck me was their rationale and contrarian approach to building their product-based business.

Their tagline – “Lower prices for a reason” communicates that their products are low cost, not because they are cheap but because their manufacturing process is efficient.

Their three steps to achieving low cost are:

  1. Selection of raw materials
  2. Streamlining of processes
  3. Simplification of packaging

They give an example on their website

“For instance, if you omit the bleaching process for pulp, the resulting paper is light beige. MUJI used this paper for its packaging and labels. The ensuing products are remarkably pure and fresh.”

In a world full of over-embellished, shiny, refined products, simplifying raw materials and processes gave Muji a comparative product differentiation while reducing prices for their customers.

Source: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/muji-jeans-patch-stationary–196328864975471012/?d=t&mt=signup

How content curation helps create better media products at a lower prices?

In this product, the application of the Muji principle is as: 

  1. Selection of raw material
    • Mainstream newsrooms maintain daily Live Blogs. They can source what is happening live from the ground from their reporters.
    • Start-up news operations can do secondary research. They can maintain lists of the best experts, publications, journals that you are covering on Twitter, Reddit, Feedly.
  2. Simple, repeatable process
    • A researcher collects these links/updates and organizes them by topics.
    • The editor can then further curate the right links/updates and write short summaries.
  3. Simplification of packaging: The packaging could be as simple as a Substack newsletter.

Broadly, this entire process is called content curation.

From an editorial workflow point of view, both — live blogs and newsletters — have well-defined frequencies (daily, weekly, etc). From a performance measurement perspective, both are measured for stickiness and utility rather than SEO.

Here are three sites that do topic-based aggregations well

Google News, Techmeme, and Nuzzel (now sadly acquired and shut) showcase how the output of step 2.1 from the researcher to the editor look like.

Examples of curation and digests

Similarly, Axios newsletters and LinkedIn Digests showcase what the editor’s output could look like.

Tools

This entire process could be run from a paid Feedly account. Here are two articles: