The Art of Curation with Rockstar Finance’s J. Money

As the online money media sphere continues to explode with more and more (and more and more and more) content, the ability to highlight the best of this content becomes really valuable.

J. Money, founder of BudgetsAre$, recognized this fact, and is curating the best content from the money media sphere over at Rockstar Finance.

Rockstar Finance Screen Grab

I sat down with J. Money over a couple of virtual beers and picked his brain about his curation process. Don’t think that you need a website like Rockstar Finance to implement these tactics. Use them for your Twitter stream, Facebook page, or email list. Here’s our interview…

1. What do you think makes for great personal finance content?

Anything that gets you to stop and pay attention. We’re all so go-go-go all the time, and unless an article really stands out the odds are you’ll either ignore it or just skim for a few before the next shiny thing grabs your attention. Or, your boss standing behind you telling you to get back to work ๐Ÿ˜‰

Once my attention has been caught (and I’m perfect for this since I’ve been diagnosed with A.D.H.D.), I look for the following:

  1. Is it interesting?
  2. Is it different?
  3. Is it HELPFUL?

In my perfect world every article I find would cross all three areas, but usually it passes the test if at least 2 of the 3 qualities are met.

2. How do you go about finding rockstar content?

I do a couple of things. First, I subscribe to over 150 RSS feeds and scan every single one of them in the mornings using These are all blogs or sites I either read myself, or those I know put out great quality stuff (I also have a “maybes” list which are the sites I just came across and trying to figure out if they’re worth sticking to).

Then, I peruse as many link roundups and blogrolls as I can find while on all these sites to learn about other great bloggers out there popping up too.

And then lastly, I monitor all my social media streams: Twitter, Facebook, and even Pinterest (I had no idea there was some good stuff there?).

All this takes me between 1-2 hours a day depending on what I find, so it’s VERY good that I enjoy this financial blog world, haha..

3. What’s your method for collecting it?

Pretty much what I mentioned above. Once I have a list of potential articles for that day though, I’ll then sort through them and either get them scheduled to go out ASAP, or I’ll put them on my “maybes” list for later. After you read a dozen or two articles in one sitting, your brain gets a bit frazzled so it’s good to come back later and view them with fresh eyes ๐Ÿ™‚

4. How do you keep from sharing the same person or site’s content too often?

Excellent question! And one that a lot of people don’t think about. You know how I have an “ASAP” list and then a “Maybes” list? Well, I also have a “Add this up later” list where I keep those articles I *really* want to post up but can’t yet because I need some time to pass first.

There’s some bloggers who just KILL it almost every single time they type, so I try to keep a 3-4 week buffer in between their posts just to make it a fairer fight for the rest ๐Ÿ˜‰ If I were to add up all their stuff every day it would just be a duplication of their site! Haha… But fortunately there’s enough awesomeness out there that it’s not too hard to space these guys out a bit… which also keeps me on my toes and forces me to continue seeking new publishers out there.

5. How do you keep things fresh and locate new areas of content?

J Money Quote Rockstar FinanceBy *constantly* poking and clicking around.

While I tend to do most of the work in a 1-2 hour period every day, my eyes are working 24/7 and anytime I see an article, or blog, I like, I’ll take a hot second and copy the link to a draft email I always have for potential rockstar placements…

But then I move on to whatever it was I was doing because you can literally go for hours finding interesting stuff and you’d never get anything else done! ๐Ÿ™‚

6. How do you involve others in the curation process?

I do two things:

1) I have a link up at the top of my page, and at the bottom of my newsletter, that allows people to submit favorite articles they’ve read or written themselves. This not only helps me out a ton (though of course I still have to review each of them as I would any other article), but it’s also cool for them if it does indeed get placement on the site. And, let’s face it, 99% of the time it’s bloggers submitting stuff over so it’s definitely in their best interest to do so ๐Ÿ™‚ Even when I don’t run with the article, odds are I’ll probably find something in the future from them as their feed goes right into my feedly account – thus helping me (and them) in the long run too.

And 2) I email every single person I feature on the site. Which is up to 3 people a day since I feature 3 new articles a day on Rockstar Finance. This not only helps me build relationships with them which in itself is pretty cool, but also future collaborations or article pickings since they’re now on my “good” list. Meaning I’ve already featured them on the site so there’s a good chance I will again in the future too ๐Ÿ™‚

7. What tools help you the most in your processes? hands down, followed by good ol’ gmail and then Twitter. Everything else pretty much relies on just my two eyes and the great content people are producing out there. Or, if you want to look at it another way, all the crap content out there as well which helps highlight the good stuff! And believe me, EVERY last blogger reading this right now – including myself – knows damn well we don’t produce top-notch stuff every single time we sit down at the computer. It’s just not possible. But every last blogger DOES produce gems of excellence as time goes on, and it’s my job to pluck them out and promote the hell out of them as best I can.

8. How do you “promote the hell out of them”?

Great question ๐Ÿ˜‰ By doing the following:

We get picked up at least once a week by one of those big guys (among other great sites too), which means the bloggers’ content gets pushed even FURTHER throughout the web.

And ultimately that’s the main goal: get as much traffic and eyeballs to the bloggers pumping out awesome content. The bigger the site gets, the more traffic that gets passed around!

9. How can you make curation pay? Can it be monetized directly or is it a matter of leveraging the authority?

I’m still trying to figure that out ๐Ÿ™‚ But what I can say, so far, is that there’s definitely an appetite for this sorta site as evidence of how fast my traffic is growing and the plethora of sites popping up all over. Such as the Upworthys, ViralNovas, Distractifys, and even one now from my good friend, Nate St. Pierre: And we all know that when there’s traffic, there’s money to be made.

Now, how much is a different story (though those guys up there are raking in *hundreds of thousands* a month). Lowly one-man’ers like us are at the bottom of the totem pole, however, I am now seeing some money come in just by copying the same monetization they’re doing: adsense and banner ads. It’s not a lot quite yet (low hundreds/mo), but it’s not too shabby for just a few months out. And much better than $0.00 which was what was making at this same given point in time! ๐Ÿ™‚

We’ll see how everything pans out… At the very least, it’s fun to dabble and try something new.

Image credit: Sang Valte


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