Content Curation & Creation: a Balancing Act
I recently read up on an interesting argument that took a stance against the future of curation in today’s content marketing world. The article raised some valid points on brand building, encouraging businesses to strive to be more than filters of the web’s already-public content and to become more of an authority figure on the creative front of its industry. The writer’s main concern over curation stemmed from the question, should a brand choose ‘to be the curator or the curated?’ My response is simple, why not choose to be both? Rather than take a black and white approach where it’s one content marketing strategy or the other, a brand should strive to be as versatile as possible, finding the ideal combination of both content creation and curation that most effectively grips hold of its audience’s interests.
The Dilemma: Avoiding Content Gaps and Consumer Abandonment
Although I wholeheartedly agree with the writer that content creation is integral for a well-rounded marketing campaign, it’s much easier said than done to keep those creative juices flowing for the long haul if all content output is manufactured internally. What if your staff doesn’t have (or runs out of) time, inspiration and financial resources to keep the ball rolling – then what? If that inkwell happens to run dry and triggers a lag in the content flow, the goal of establishing consistency has been abandoned, and in effect could very well result in audience members abandoning the brand online. Remember, for consumers with social media-adapted attention spans, it’s as easy as an unsubscribe, unlike, or unfollow button to say goodbye. Treat content like the nutritious social fuel that it is. Consumers desire it, and in today’s day in age, need it to survive the day. Feed consumers regularly and become part of our consumption routine, but don’t force feed junk food data simply out of necessity to throw something out there.
Stocking the Cupboards: Where Curation Tech Subs into the Game
How much original content can your brand create? That is never an easy answer to address as inspiration comes in waves, topic relevancy shifts and evolves, and free time to be creative is sparse one day and wide open the next. Brands need the curation tools to lean on when the time calls for them, when content creation becomes a pain point for a company’s content marketing agenda. I argue if a brand has already paved its avenue of interest, why not let others ride alongside if they also know that same avenue like the back of their hand? Perhaps even better. Sharing fresh, relevant content that comes from an outside source doesn’t take away from a brand’s authority as a subject matter expert, even if coming from an unknown blogger or business competitor. If anything, it only builds layers atop an already established expertise, telling consumers that this is a brand that cares less about clicks and SEO hounding than it does about bringing the audience the best information available. By curating the great work of others, a brand is not only pushing the market along with original ideas, but riding along with it, breathing in the many voices speaking up within the industry. It even seems to humanize a brand a little bit when they too identify themselves as readers and consumers of content, not just writers and product pushers.
Summarization and Annotation = Reach & Collaboration
One of the more underrated uses of curation in the field of content marketing comes when there is a nice collaborative mix of both curated and original content all within the same published piece. You often see bloggers partake in this method as they grab snippets from a noteworthy article and implement them in their blog post as a platform to address their personal reaction and commentary. However, for brands, this strategy doesn’t need to be used in a manner that says, this is what so-and-so wrote, and this is why they are wrong. Rather than annotate outsider content to set the stage for a fiery rebuttal, use this strategy to show praise to the original source, or furthermore, to provide additional context and value. We’ve all seen how excited folks become when they are retweeted by a famous person or entity, just imagine the reaction after a brand shows love to user-generated content by sharing and adding them to the conversation. Curation doesn’t have to feel like piggybacking someone else’s work and should be looked at as a convenient outlet for inspiration when content creation attempts are lagging. Find an awesome animated video discovered on the web? Perhaps that video could be reposted, but with a twist, given a stat-loaded infographic, a clever cartoon, or a brief passage on whythisis a great contribution to the conversation. This is a great chance for brands to establish its voice, sharing feelings on why it chose to endorse the piece of content that it did, and why it should strike importance to the audience following.
The field of content marketing is a crowded room these days, it seems all brands are jumping on the bandwagon to find links to feed their various social media engines. As a consumer, I don’t expect all brands to pump out exemplary content on a daily basis, but I do expect them to have a firm grasp on the latest dialogue within their industry. Curation tells us a brand is paying attention, while creation shows us its fierce level of passion. Quantity is important, because it holds my interest in a fast moving internet and keeps the brand fresh on my mind, however when it comes time for a brand to speak with its original voice, quality is paramount. Creation and curation shouldn’t be competitors, they should be teammates.