The value and benefits of curation in the information age
Content is king. Create more content. Write more blog posts.
That's the story that many content marketing gurus and social media gurus have been preaching for the last few years. It's a story and an idea that has been talked about so frequently that we're now living in a world that is overcome with content. It feels like every topic is being written about. It feels like every acquisition is being analyzed. It feels like it's impossible to keep up with all the great content being created and shared.
Which is why now more than ever, there is a real need in the world for people who curate great content.
Content curation is very different from creation as it's the process of filtering through all the articles, resources, newsletters, forums and blogs to uncover and identify value resources worth sharing. Content curation is a phrase that evolved from the idea of curation in a museum or art gallery. The role of a curator in these industries is to go out and uncover the best artifacts or art pieces to show off in the gallery or museum. In today's world, content curators take a similar role but instead of dealing with artifacts and art -- they're dealing with infographics, videos and blog posts.
Because so much content being created, brands that help their audience discover great resources are viewed positively by their customers. Most brands make the mistake of thinking that content curation is the act of simply aggregating content from a bunch of 3rd parties while also promoting their own work. Wrong!
The best brands leveraging content curation recognize that it requires deep thinking and a commitment to only sharing content that your audience will appreciate (sometimes even if it's your competitors work.) Content curation is something every brand should consider. You can curate content for a newsletter or simply in the form of tweets -- it's a flexible content marketing approach and one that can drive great results.
Here are four benefits of content curation for brands:
Curation takes less time than creation
At first glance, content curation might seem like a lot of work.
I mean, there are tons of articles being published on a regular basis, and I'm sure you're already quite busy with your day-to-day. I get it. We're all busy. But content curation doesn't have to take up as much time as it would usually take to write an in-depth article or research piece.
As you begin your content curation process, the time required to find great resources and pieces of content gets shorter and shorter. At first, you'll be required to do a bit of heavy lifting and begin creating a system for yourself that will allow you to uncover great content. This might mean subscribing to a handful of different newsletters in your industry or signing up for a few different online communities where articles are posted regularly like Reddit or Pinterest.
Technology has made our lives 10x easier when it comes to content curation. Today, there are plenty of content curation tools that you can use to quickly uncover, read and share content within minutes. The great thing about tools like Crate, Curata and Scoop.it is the fact that you can not only find great content using these tools, you can also share the posts without leaving their platforms. Other great technologies like Feedly and Pocket make it easy to save content as you see it and share it later as well. Because of all these tools, curation is quickly becoming easier to do than ever before.
Content curation opens doors to new relationships
One of the biggest benefits of content curation is your ability to establish new relationships with people and strengthen relationships with others. For brands, the ability to connect with industry influencers and potential business partners is an important strategic effort. In business, people do business with people they like; and if you're able to get on an influencers good side because you're sharing their content, that can be a great win.
Brands can establish relationships with other brands and industry influencers by letting them know when they share their content. You can simply send out a tweet that uses one of the following disclaimers:
- Great article from @Username
- Loved this piece from @Username
- via @Username
- New post from @Username
or any other variation that results in that person being notified on Twitter that you mentioned them. The same effort can happen on LinkedIn or Facebook with potential brand partners. If you're curating content through a newsletter, let the influencer or brand know that you mentioned them by reaching out directly over email with a heads up. Keep in mind: this isn't a pitch. Don't ask for anything. Simply let them know you included their content and expect nothing in return.
Curation is a great way to build an audience
As you curate more and more content, people in the industry will quickly start to take notice.
The key here is ensuring that the content you're curating is truly unique from the hundreds of other people trying to be seen as industry authorities but are actually nothing more than content aggregators. Remember the 5:3:2 model for content sharing on social media. You can use some of the curation tools above to help you discover content that is new and trending which will be the key to standing out. As you consistently deliver value to your audience, people will start noticing and word of mouth will begin sending more followers to your account on Twitter or more emails to your newsletter.
Curation can build a thriving community
The best content curators I've seen online don't just share content -- they add context.
As you curate content and come across great resources, don't be afraid to add your own thoughts to the piece. If you're sharing content that is about the Stock Market, give your own analysis of the state of affairs in the industry or on a report that was recently released. If you're curating content about Marketing, don't be afraid to chime in and disagree with controversial posts that are worth reading but that you don't see eye to eye with.
These small little efforts will help people connect with your brand on a deeper and more human level. As that starts to happen, you will see more and more people reaching out to you with content that they believe should also be featured in your newsletter or Twitter feed. That's how you know that a community is starting to be developed and your curation efforts have truly worked.
Wrapping it up
Content curation isn't an easy task, but it's something that brands should consider as a real part of their marketing mix.
I've seen content curation work in B2B industries and even in the wonderful world of ecommerce. As you think about your brand and the potential for content curation, remember to start with your audience in mind. What type of content do they want to read? What type of content would they click if it came across their LinkedIn or Facebook feed? Start with your audience in mind and ensure that everything you share is something that you feel confident they'd appreciate.
Now over to you: I'd love to hear what curation advice or tools you've used in the past! Leave me a comment.