ally greer content curation

“Content Curation:” David Walks Episode 8 with Ally Greer, Director of Content & Community

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David Smooke: Hello. I’m David. I’m with Ally.

Ally Greer: Hi. How are you?

David Smooke: Ally’s my friend and colleague at

Ally Greer: Yes.

David Smooke: Well, I’m not at But I consider us colleagues.

Ally Greer: We’re colleagues.

David Smooke: Peers? Is that the right word?

Ally Greer: We’re peers. We’re definitely peers.

David Smooke: Cool. So today we’re going to talk about content distribution.

Ally Greer: Sounds good.

David Smooke: Yep. So one thing I’ve been thinking a lot about lately is re-titling as the new form of curation. I just wanted to get your thoughts on how you can make your content creation fuel your content distribution.

Ally Greer: There you go.

David Smooke: I learned it from you.

Ally Greer: That’s a good sentence right there.

David Smooke: Yeah, it’s yours.

Ally Greer: Did I say that?

David Smooke: Did you say that?

Ally Greer: I think it’s a really interesting point. Re-titling is something that I’ve never even heard that word until you said it to me about four minutes ago. But–

David Smooke: Make up new words all the time.

Ally Greer: Well, it’s not a real word but it is a practice that I partake in [crosstalk 00:01:15].

David Smooke: You think I should put it in Urban Dictionary and Wikipedia and start to get the re-titling movement going?

Ally Greer: You should submit it to Oxford. Skip Urban Dictionary. Go straight to Oxford.

David Smooke: I would feel like I won if I took out the dash and it was just–

Ally Greer: Yeah. No, just one word.

David Smooke: Yeah one word.

Ally Greer: Just one word for sure.

David Smooke: Okay.

Ally Greer: So yeah, I think it’s really interesting. Funny you actually bring it up because at, we always tell people, “You can change the title when you curate.” People seem to completely overlook this and I think–

David Smooke: Do you know what percentage of people do it?

Ally Greer: Not off the top of my head. But that is something that I can come back to you on another time.

David Smooke: That would be a cool stat. You can put it in one of your marketing presentations.

Ally Greer: Yeah. I will definitely have to look that up. I know a lot of the times they’re just keeping the same title and it doesn’t really add much, especially when you’re using curation as a means of engaging your audience, which is what a lot of people are using it for.

It’s really interesting to take a stance on the article that you’re curating and changing the title allows you to do that. For example, if there was an article, this was actually a real thing that happened. There was an article about why curation is dead or something and yeah, so we got all on top of that and our–

David Smooke: So how did you respond?

Ally Greer: Our CEO, Guillaume Decugis, curated it and he … Which is pretty ironic and a nice little slap in the face.

David Smooke: Yeah, that’s good. Nice touch.

Ally Greer: -just kidding. But no, it’s a great debate. A lot of people talk about it. There’s interesting points on both sides. I personally view curation obviously. But he, so he took it and he curated it on and he added his insight, which was basically disagreeing with the article. Then he actually changed the title to, “Why Curation is not dead.” It was really cool because it’s the same piece of content and you really are, you’re still curating it–

David Smooke: Oh wow. We’ve got some loud noise here.

Ally Greer: Yeah. We’re just walking through traffic.

David Smooke: Yeah, I like to make the cars stop for me. I have an eye contact rule.

Ally Greer: Oh no, that’s terrifying.

David Smooke: Once we make eye contact, we’re on the same page.

Ally Greer: I hope I survive this podcast. So, when you’re curating something and you do change the title, it kind of brings a whole new meaning. Like I was saying, you still link back to the original content. You’re still sharing that piece of content and giving your audience the points within that, but you’re also giving them your perspective. In essence, you’re basically creating a new piece of content in a very lean way, but you’re changing the whole idea of the article and if you forget to change the title, it’s like people are going to get the wrong idea when they see the title. So even if you say, “Well, I disagree. Blah, blah, blah”, it’s all about the title. Think about it like in tweets, on Facebook, and social, any social posts and newsletter, whatever people are seeing the title.

David Smooke: So I’ve been experimenting with republishing. I found the most success, once you have permission to republish the content, is you do put a new title. So now it’s like you’re curating. Then I’ve taken it one step further, where also I’ll put new image. So now it’s like all the hard work of making the story and producing it is done by them, and then I just come in and frame it. It’s kind of brand new, kind of not.

Ally Greer: Essentially, you just defined content curation. Basically. When you use the platform for example, you can change the title, you can change the image, you can change the excerpts–

David Smooke: But the next step is hosting all of the actual texts on your site.

Ally Greer: Yes. So that’s different.

David Smooke: This is–

Ally Greer: Well, it’s a different method of curation. So you’re either linking or republishing. They’re both curation.

David Smooke: Reading experience wise, I’m so used to clicking that I understand it. But for time on page, the effects are just so massive.

Ally Greer: Absolutely. If you can host the whole thing, with your own curated angle, then your time on page will just go crazy.

David Smooke: If you can host the whole thing, with your own curated angle, then your time on page will just go crazy.

Ally Greer: That makes complete sense, but depending on how you’re curating, like for example, if I want to curate five pieces of content per day, I’m not going to be able to get that permission from all of those people. Maybe you want to curate something and they don’t give you permission to republish it or you can’t get in touch with them or something like that. Then there still has to be a way to kind of curate that piece. For example, I’ll read a blog posting or I’ll be inspired about it, and write another blog post that’s essentially curating that post and adding something. I’ll just link back to it because I don’t have, I’m not going to be able to reach that author and obviously …

David Smooke: It’s definitely nice to have both in your toolbox.

Ally Greer: Obviously copying and pasting is not ethical without permission. Also there’s the whole issue–

David Smooke: But this is the internet. I’m pretty sure it is. Aren’t we in the “copy and paste” generation?

Ally Greer: Everything is ethical on the internet. I forgot.

David Smooke: It’s a very flexible place.

Ally Greer: I forgot about the rules of the Internet. That everything on the Internet is true and there are no rules on the Internet.

David Smooke: Absolutely. It’s like the Wild West if they didn’t have sheriffs.

Ally Greer: Exactly. But there are a lot more cites.

David Smooke: Let’s go this way longer.

Ally Greer: This side of you.

David Smooke: Okay. Is that my good side?

Ally Greer: No, you were holding the phone in that hand.

David Smooke: This is my mic. I’m one man with the one iPhone.

Ally Greer: I wanted to stay by the microphone.

David Smooke: I was considering buying a boom mic and putting it, attaching it to the phone and then putting it out.

Ally Greer: Well, if you really want to make it seen, that’s what you should do.

David Smooke: Yeah. I would like to make a little bit of a scene.

Ally Greer: People would take pictures of you and be like, “Oh, what movie are they filming?”

David Smooke: That would be some good. While you’re creating it, it creates PR.

Ally Greer: I was going to say. That would be some great content right there. I’m totally on board with the re-titling movement and I will sign your petition to add it to the dictionary.

David Smooke: Sweet.

Ally Greer: In fact, I think it’s crucial. I don’t even, I wouldn’t even say I support it. I would say I encourage it.

David Smooke: Many times, I’ve considered making my own dictionary.

Ally Greer: You should.

David Smooke: I think you can start with Websters’, and then start re-titling.

Ally Greer: Re-titling. There you go.

David Smooke: Change some words.

Ally Greer: Just change the title, add a couple of words and then it’s the David’s Word Dictionary of Words.

David Smooke: I do have a dictionary at my house that I write in.

Ally Greer: There you go.

David Smooke: But there’s not enough room in the margins. So it becomes only a few … I just have a few favorite words marked. A few words with different definitions.

Ally Greer: Interesting. Very interesting.

David Smooke: There should be a Wikipedia about … I guess there’s a [inaudible 00:08:31] dictionary.

Ally Greer: Well yeah, there is, yeah. I mean, Yahoo answers? I don’t know. Yeah, who answers I don’t know.

David Smooke: Google does it now too. You put in a word and Google puts in their definition.

Ally Greer: There should be a collaborative dictionary. Like a crowd sourced, with only words that people used in real life. Not those big words that nobody ever says.

David Smooke: Like what?

Ally Greer: Like big words that nobody ever says? I’m not even going to say them.

David Smooke: I tried to trick you there. I tried to get you to say one.

Ally Greer: I know. You tried to get me to say it.

David Smooke: There is a time and a place, like the medical dictionaries.

Ally Greer: Okay, fair enough but that’s a specific dictionary. There should be a marketing buzzword dictionary. I’m sure there is actually.

David Smooke: So I’ve been using the app, Map my Walk to map my walks. What’s a better app to use?

Ally Greer: So I was saying that you should check out Charity Miles. I’m actually a runner, as you know. But I’ve been using Charity Miles for two–

David Smooke: I’m not much of a runner as you may know.

Ally Greer: I didn’t know that but now I know. Well, now I know you’re a walker.

David Smooke: More of a walker. It’s not like I can’t do it.

Ally Greer: A walker sounds like you’re a zombie or something. Isn’t that–

David Smooke: Yeah, it did sound a little negative.

Ally Greer: Anyway, I think they started about two years ago and it’s a really, really cool app that basically it’s for walking, running or biking.

Speaker 3: Have change? Have change Sir? Could someone give a dollar?

Ally Greer: That’s San Francisco. So it’s for walking, running or biking.

David Smooke: Whenever they have the street sheet, sometimes I give them money and I really like that program. I think that program’s a really good idea. They create the free content, then they put it out. There’s a few people that ask really … The ones that say, “Good Day”, they basically turn their job into greeters. I thought that was a nice touch, as opposed to like in your face like, “Give me money.”

Ally Greer: Give me all your money. That’s an interesting observation. It’s like, “Make me feel good and I’ll give you money.”

David Smooke: It’s weird.

Ally Greer: Tell me to have a nice day. Sure? Why not? Don’t just beg me. Anyway, Charity Miles is for running, biking and walking. I sound like an advertiser right now, but it’s really, really awesome. I am in no way affiliated with Charity Miles, but basically–

David Smooke: You know who I’m affiliated with?

Ally Greer: Who?

David Smooke: Nike.

Ally Greer: Wow.

David Smooke: This blog is brought to you by Nike.

Ally Greer: [inaudible 00:11:16]

David Smooke: Contractually obligated to put that in there.

Ally Greer: Wow. That’s incredible. Many hats on that.

David Smooke: Now back to walking for charity.

Ally Greer: So basically, it’s a GPS app and they have partnerships with, I don’t know how many charities, but used to be like four and now it’s like 20. Basically you pick a charity, then you just as long as you have your iPhone on you when you’re running or walking, you just map your walk and it times, not times, it clocks your miles and based on how many miles you’ve walked, it donates x amount of whatever to the charity that you chose. So for example, if you do Pencils of Promise, and you walk eight miles, maybe it will donate three classrooms worth of materials per mile or something like that.

David Smooke: Really cool.

Ally Greer: it’s completely free so it’s all done through their sponsorships. So you don’t–

David Smooke: I really like it on two levels. One, everything I’m doing is always generating money and then two, it’s good money.

Ally Greer: It’s good money. It’s not even like … The other thing is, it’s cool because it keeps a lifetime record of all of your miles. So when it starts to add up, it’s pretty cool. You’re like, “Yeah, I’ve run hundreds and hundreds of miles.”

David Smooke: How many you got?

Ally Greer: I don’t know. Sometimes I forget to turn it on when I have my long runs because I’m very focused on my Nike running app. But I don’t know. I probably have a couple hundred by now.

David Smooke: Wow.

Ally Greer: Yeah.

David Smooke: You should have a 1000 mile party.

Ally Greer: A 1000 mile party?

David Smooke: Yeah.

Ally Greer: I don’t know. Well, probably in the next six weeks, I’ll be running 300 more miles and then I’m running in a marathon, so after that, I’m probably going to stop running for a little bit.

So might not be for a year or two.

David Smooke: That’s ambitious Ally.

Ally Greer: Yeah. I’m trying.

David Smooke: So, in the long run, you’re always putting stuff online. There’s so many different places to put things. Do you look at it as what’s going to be the page for Ally? What’s like your blog, your site? What does that page look like five years from now?

Ally Greer: Here’s the thing. So I have, you know, I was always telling you, “You need your own blog if you want to be in this industry. Need a blog.” I’ve started my own blog, I have a personal website, but I just don’t use it. I never use it and here’s why. So if I want to write a blog post, I can publish it on the blog if it’s relevant. I can publish it on LinkedIn. I can publish it on Medium. There’s so many publishing platforms that why should I create another one that I’m just going to be fighting for traffic, fighting for people to read my stuff, when I can put it on other platforms and leverage existing audiences? So I think that, in terms of my portfolio or whatever, it’s highly curated. So it’s basically, anything I’ve done, written, contributed to, created. I actually have a page on that like a dynamic portfolio that I keep on adding to and I think it’s great because there’s so much content out there. I was saying this before. I forget the exact number but something like in the last couple of years, more content has been created online than the entire history of time.

David Smooke: Yeah, it’s a powerful thing. I’m getting chills on my neck.

Ally Greer: I know. It’s crazy.

David Smooke: I think we’re running out of readers, aren’t we?

Ally Greer: yeah.

David Smooke: Everyone’s spending their time creating, how are we going to get our–

Ally Greer: Well, that’s exactly what I was going to say next. So now that everyone can be a publisher, everyone’s just writing their own and reading their own blog posts and–

David Smooke: I’m walking down the street with an iPhone, just recording things.

Ally Greer: Exactly. If everyone did that, everyone could do that. Everyone did, then there would only be listening to their own stuff and that is why you need to curate. But seriously, I mean there is no reason when I’m sitting down and “You know what? I think I should write a blog post on why you need dynamic content on your website.” Then I Google it to do some research and I see that this blog post has already been written 17 times. So why should I write another one? Why are people going to read mine over their own or someone else’s?

David Smooke: Don’t you have some new original take to it?

Ally Greer: I mean of course …

David Smooke: Is there still originality out there?

Ally Greer: That’s why you curate. So I take the existing posts, I curate it. I change the title and I add a little something to it and that’s it. Now, not only have I essentially created my own piece of content in a way shorter amount of time, I have also engaged another writer that is in a similar area of expertise and has a similar audience–

David Smooke: Look at you making friends.

Ally Greer: If I’m referenced, I always try to make friends. This is really hard. So there I am, I’m referencing back to this article, I’m giving them a link back, so they’re going to get a ping back, even if I don’t reach out to them, they’re still going to get a ping back on that website. Then, they reach out to me, they share my content and then there’s a new relationship. There’s so many benefits of curating others’s content for yourself, for your friend or whoever you’re doing it on behalf of. I just, I don’t see the reason why everybody should just keep on creating. It’s already so overwhelming. I’m just overwhelmed thinking about when I sign onto Twitter and check the content marketing hashtag. There’s so much there. Just so overwhelming. I really think that we’re going to have reach a point where you just work with what already exist and make it better. The end.

David Smooke: That was great.

Ally Greer: You should have seen the face I just got, from David.

David Smooke: I hear it, the Internet’s overwhelming, but I still just want to believe that you can make something new. I know people are creating so much but I also think anything to do to hinder people and say you should create less – it’s a dangerous road for me to walk down.

Ally Greer: I mean, I’m not saying that people should create less. You have something to create then by all means, you should create it. But if you can leverage something that already exists, why not?

David Smooke: Yeah. Yeah. Absolutely.

Ally Greer: I’m not saying you should stop creating.

David Smooke: It’s also like [wing 00:18:04] development. You build right on top of Google Maps. You don’t reinvent the map.

Ally Greer: Exactly. Exactly. That’s why there’s APIs and everything. Why ignore–

David Smooke: Do you want to end with the quote I stole from you in the beginning?

Ally Greer: What was the? I forgot it already.

David Smooke: You forget it already?

Ally Greer: Say it again. Whisper it. No, I’m kidding.

David Smooke: I think it was something, united curation… united curation distribution and create… Creation, curation and distribution.

Ally Greer: Oh. What I said was that for distribution, people can curate their own content and nobody realizes that. People often overlook that. But meanwhile curating, you can curate your own content along with the other content your curating, to leverage that whole other audience.

David Smooke: You think curation is your favorite word?

Ally Greer: How many times have I said curation?

David Smooke: It’s a cool word.

Ally Greer: We should have a curation drinking game for this podcast.

David Smooke: That’d be good.

Ally Greer: Nobody’s going to make it to the end.

David Smooke: They’ll be curating the whole time, so it’s less work.

Ally Greer: They’ll be curating their, curating how many times I said curating?

David Smooke: That has been all we have for you today for David Walks.

Ally Greer: Please don’t make me say curate again.