Kick Your Content Strategy Up a Notch Using Curation

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Content creation versus content curation: which is better? While content creation used to be the gold standard in journalism, new media has made it possible to create killer content through curation. Sometimes, content produced using a solid content curation strategy can actually be more informative than original creative.

To understand the terms, think of creation as the development of content that’s totally original. Curation, on the other hand, involves sharing or incorporating content that’s been created by someone else. If you tweet a link to an article on someone else’s website, for example, that’s curation. But if you seek out an exclusive interview with an expert to write an article, that’s creation.

Most often, companies use a mix of both and sometimes take a blended approach, meaning they incorporate content created by others but add original insight and analysis.  Content curation, especially when blended with creation, is a strategy smart marketers use to increase the volume of content they’re able to put out there for consumers. Here’s how to use curation to your advantage.

Robert Scoble Uses Curation to Circumvent an Apple Event

Robert Scoble, in a 2010 post for SCOBleizer.com, analyzed the pros and cons of content creation versus curation. Scoble had an invite to an Apple event where Steve Jobs was slated to speak. An invite to this type of event, from a journalistic standpoint, is like finding the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. But Scoble didn’t see it that way. Instead, he opted to stay at home in the comfort of his pajamas and take advantage of the curation tools at his disposal. Scoble identifies a number of advantages to curating content over creation in this instance:

  • There’s little chance of getting an “exclusive” at a large event. But you stand a better chance of getting an exclusive from an industry leader in attendance from the sidelines.
  • New media allows journalists to monitor live events in real time, by following attendees’ tweets and updates.
  • Curating analyses from multiple sources allows a journalist to offer a more comprehensive discussion than a single outlet using only their personal experience as insight.
  • Monitoring events and discussion in real-time is an opportunity to identify the best sources for photos, videos and blog posts. Linking out to credible sources lends credibility to your own work.
  • Comparing commentary from the sidelines offers a unique perspective. How are different industry leaders responding to the event and announcements? Are techies more enthusiastic about the latest Apple release than consumer advocates?

How to Use Curation to Your Advantage

Now that we’ve made a case for the legitimacy of content curation, let’s talk about a few ways you can use this strategy to take your content up a notch. Much of the content you see  — and probably much of what you create already – is curation. Here are a few ways to use content curation to your advantage:

  1. Create top ten lists. Lists get attention. They’re short, precise and easy to comprehend. Web readers love lists. Identify ten facts about a niche topic, ten leaders in a certain industry, ten ways to do something. Can’t find ten? How about seven? Odd numbers can tend to draw readers’ attention because they’re used less frequently.
  2. Conduct a meta-analysis of expert opinions. We all love to read what the gurus think. Identify a few of the thought-leaders in your field and gather their opinions and stances on a hot-button issue. Compare and contrast in a blog post or static article.
  3. Create a Twitter list. Twitter lists are incredibly useful tools for increasing your follower count, especially if you’ve been “listed” on several reputable lists. Creating Twitter lists is an easy way to organize content types, and they also prove valuable for sourcing information and content for your next curation project. Robert Scoble, for example, uses Twitter lists to monitor thought leaders thoughts on live events in real time, while he’s sitting comfortably on the couch in his pajamas.

These are just a few of the ways content curation is all around us. Curation tends to get a bad rap because it’s not “original,” but users who really understand curation know that it involves taking existing thoughts and ideas and transforming them into something new and original. Most of the content we read is a blend of creation and curation. It’s curation that drives the conversation on the World Wide Web.

What are some of the ways you’ve used curation to produce content? How have you used curation to analyze an event or monitor topic discussion? Tell us your ideas for using curation as a strategy to stay ahead of your competition.

About the author

Angela Stringfellow