Curation is king? Maybe, if you answer these questions

Tony Hallett

Tony Hallett

Managing Director

August 9, 2012 8:32 am

One of the big trends of the moment – on independent editorial pages as well as in commercial content marketing – is curation. It simply means pulling together useful or entertaining links from elsewhere online for the benefit of your audience. (We are sure curation in museums is actually much harder, for the record.)

You add your own commentary and explain context and distribute them in various ways – email newsletters, social media or plain old website pages are all common.

But it isn’t the smooth ride some would have you think.
Whether you’re providing content services to external clients, as we do, or have an internal client, who wonders what you guys in marketing really get up to, you are likely to face some of the following questions.

We hope that pre-empting these questions helps you make the case for curation as a valuable part of your content mix.

Is it in line with our messaging?
A curated piece or pieces of content might never be exactly in line with the marketing messages of your organisation.

But you are not trying to bash prospects or good, loyal customers over the head with content. You should be helping them, informing them, even entertaining them.

Your curated pieces equally shouldn’t be off-subject (don’t, for example, treat curated pieces as link bait for newsletter subject lines). But you have some latitude and your audience will appreciate you thinking of them more broadly than just how they spend that next £/$/€ with you.

Weighing up several links that you’ve curated, any reader should be able to tell what your business is about.

So now you need to ask those content creators for permission, right?
In a few cases, where a content creator expressly asks you to ask for permission or there is a ‘no share’ instruction, you should follow what they say. But those cases are rare. Mainly you will be taking a headline and link.

The web is built on the link economy and the content creator is only too glad to be getting more exposure, let alone the SEO love that your linking will bring. (Please use any of Collective Content’s blog posts in your now invigorated curation, we might add.)

Won’t our customers consider us lazy?
We doubt anyone got anywhere by curation alone. Curation is best as part of a healthy content marketing mix. Ideally you should be producing original content that aligns with your curated pieces. You should be open to events and use curation to fuel direct marketing and other marketing channels.

And, if done well, curation is just as much work as original content production. Trust us, we speak from experience.

In the spirit of this post, here are a couple of pieces on curation that might provoke some more ideas for you:

*Photo Curation, not Content, is King by Steve Rosenbaum by dullhunk used under Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Generic (CC by 2.5).

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