The battle between content creators and content curators wages on.
Marketing Content Strategy

Content Creation vs. Curation: What’s Best For Your Strategy?

If you were to put two content marketers in a room—one pro-content-creation and the other in favor of content curation—the awkward tension would be palpable.

The debate whether to create or curate has long been talked about among marketers. There are arguments for both practices, and each shows results when used effectively. So, when it comes to investing in content, which avenue should you take?

To be fair, we at Skyword focus on original, quality content—it’s the core of our business. John Shea, Skyword’s vice president of agency partnerships, has written an article on MediaPost to share his thoughts on the matter.

When it comes to the basic argument over which process generates more leads or more authority, however, I don’t think curation has a chance. This is not because the practice is without value, but—as is the case with some content marketing plans—most curation strategies are stuck in neutral. There are fewer innovators thinking of how they can improve their curation efforts.

The Old Debate Rages On

The common belief among curators is that sharing a wide mix of content written from varying viewpoints gives readers a 360-degree view of the marketplace. But then again, your audience likely follows more than just your company on social media, searches for more information than what is featured on your branded websites, and certainly receives personalized emails from dozens of companies every day.

When a buyer does come to you, he or she wants your opinion, not someone else’s. This is why only 17 percent of marketers curate content as part of their content marketing strategies, and 87 percent produce original, quality content for their websites.

Current Curation Strategies Are Outdated

As content marketers, we hear a lot about content shock and content fatigue these days. The panic stems from the idea that the Internet population will grow weary of the volume of content published every day.

This fear is somewhat justified, but it poses greater risks to brands that solely rely on curation. If readers have to choose whose content to read, curating publishers are voluntarily forfeiting their authority and telling customers to check out the site next door.

The True Value in Curation

We’re in an age where channels and practices are converging far more quickly than ever before. In most cases, practices don’t have time to mature before every progressive brand rushes to adopt them. I think there’s a link between curation and influencer marketing as a direct result of content saturation. Let me explain:

Marketing teams understand that there are influential individuals in the market who are trusted by their target audiences. Influencer marketing has emerged as companies look to align themselves with these subject matter experts with large social media audiences. Here, content curation thrives.

By sharing and curating content written by the subject matter experts you wish to align with, you not only show you’re willing to promote their personal brands, but you also learn about their angles, opinions, and business objectives. This allows you to develop projects that benefit both you and your influencers with more accuracy.

Think of it this way—consumers in the buyer’s journey aren’t looking to understand everyone’s opinion about a product or service, but they are keen on learning how a specific group feels. Therefore, the idea of mass content curation is outdated and the idea of newsjacking is old-school. Similar to content marketing, curation must become more targeted. It has to be fed through the right channels in order for it to have any measurable impact. It is better to curate high-quality articles from people closely tied to your organization than articles promoted through Buffer or Klout based on popularity. Remember, the popular ones often burn out shortly after they reach their peak, while the insightful-yet-quiet pieces tend to gather more confidence over time.

I’m not here to say curation doesn’t work—there are just flaws in how many marketers are executing their strategies today. Original content creation drives organic search and social for your brand and is essential for lead generation. Curation is for building relationships and showing you’re paying attention to the broader conversation taking place in your industry. Together, they can work like a team, but curation cannot stand on its own.

Convinced my way could lead to greater results? Contact us to learn how to take your cohesive content strategy to the next level.

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