Beyond Content Creation: Why Content Curation Has Gone Mainstream

Curation_smallerPeople have probably been talking about “information overload” since the invention of the printing press, but the day of reckoning has finally arrived. The Internet makes it easy for anyone to create and broadcast written, visual and multimedia content in the service of their career, brand or politics.

Unfortunately, the sheer volume of information makes it harder to reach the people who matter to you with unique content. That’s why more small- and medium-sized business owners are turning to a practice that was once the ] province of museums, libraries and major publications: content curation. If you want to faithfully represent your brand while drawing new prospects to your digital doorstep, you must understand that effective content marketing is about more than old-fashioned content creation.

Quantity Does Not Equal Quality

While it’s easier than ever to source information, the vast majority of seemingly relevant online content isn’t worth your time. Sturgeon’s Law famously states that “90 percent of everything is crap.” We’re a bit more optimistic than the science fiction writer who came up with this quote, but it’s certainly true that it’s hard to find truly compelling content online. According to a recent study in Forbes Magazine, more than half of business owners cited “finding quality content” as their top online marketing challenge.

Since you don’t operate in a self-contained bubble, you can’t rely solely on self-published content to market your brand. At the same time, you can’t just re-post the first five hits of a brand-related keyword search and expect readers to take you seriously. Content curation allows you to “filter” relevant content so that only the strongest, most pertinent material sees the light of day.

Thought Leadership Is Essential

Why is it so crucial to cut through the ever-growing pile of semi-relevant content to find top-quality content that engages your readers? The answer is “thought leadership.” Every relevant item that you create or curate contributes to your reputation as an expert or leader in your field. Whether you’re writing a blog post on the importance of proper equipment maintenance or linking to a white paper on the value of a service that you provide, your public content should establish your company’s authority in its field. When your readers have a question or problem that relates to your industry, they’ll be more likely to turn to your richly curated content portfolio for answers. We don’t have to spell out what this means for your lead-generation and conversion rates.

Skillful Curation Improves SEO

Successful content curation creates a coherent “information environment” that can and will establish your credentials as a thought leader. It can also endear you to Google and Bing, the elephants in the inbound marketing room. Think of it this way: If you were the curator at the Museum of Natural History, would you shell out millions of dollars to borrow the MoMA’s Jackson Pollock collection? (Don’t answer that.) Like flesh-and-blood readers who respect thought leadership, search engines reward content curators who build engaging, coherent content portfolios around specific areas of interest or expertise.

The World Is Smaller

The social media platforms that have “shrunk” our world can serve as sources of relevant content and vehicles for the broadcast of original and non-original content. As a thought leader who actively participates in the dialogues that shape your industry, use platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn to find and converse with other experts. Reciprocal relationships are a huge part of social media outreach: When you curate and share relevant content from other industry thought leaders, you encourage them to do the same for your own original content. Content curation doesn’t have to be an individual effort.

More Than Just Sharing

In this information-saturated world, you simply don’t have the time or resources to create all the content that’s relevant to your business. On the other hand, your curation strategy can’t simply involve sharing and re-posting other people’s ideas. Truly successful content curation schemes require a deft balance between high-quality content that’s created in-house and relevant “shares” of useful information from other thought leaders peppered with your own observations or opinions on the topic.

There are many different ways to share, create and promote content, and you don’t have to get it “right” on the first try. Ultimately, your successful content curation strategy will be as unique as your business.

Is your content curation strategy hitting its stride? Are you looking for more detailed advice on how to craft a winning content marketing campaign? We’d love to hear your concerns, future plans and success stories.