Curation – 4 common client questions

Tony Hallett

Tony Hallett

Managing Director

October 8, 2013 1:40 pm

Curation is increasingly talked about as integral to content marketing. Less and less often we have to suggest using it to clients. But that doesn’t mean there is 100% comprehension or uptake.

Here are perhaps the most common blockers. (Though they’re not really blockers at all.)

1. Don’t we have to pay for using someone else’s content?
Plagiarism and copyright are important. (They’re also downright fascinating but then we would say that.) We’re not advocating wholesale lifting of content from other sources. That is possible, legally, either through prior agreement from an owner or through services from the likes of Newscred.

But there is also something called fair use (less so, legally speaking, in the UK). In principal, it means linking and properly attributing – eg from quotations – is OK. But don’t take the piss.
Recycled off site 2Answer: Link, attribute and don’t take what you shouldn’t. Done well, curation should benefit the original content source as much as you and the audience, meaning it’s what certain types call a win-win-win.

2. Should I mention my competitors?
Dunno – how confident are you? Traditional marketing says don’t mention them. Some traditional marketing says sure, mention them – to say your washing powder gets whites much whiter.

Today, we’d say have the chops to give credit where it’s due. Build on others’ efforts, especially research and opinions. Don’t be shy to disagree either, in a respectful way.

Curating links from a competitor – or more likely a range of competitors – can really position you above the rest of your industry. Who wouldn’t want to trust a company like that?

3. Will curation hurt my SEO (search engine optimisation)?
If done properly, some SEO specialists will say it actually helps. Linking out – at least not at stupid scale, for little reason – is part of most good content sites. As such Google and others will look for evidence of useful linking. Increasingly so, in fact.

4. Aren’t we just taking traffic away from our site?
We hear this surprisingly often. You may well be taking people away. But first, the idea of locking people into your site is sooo 2003.

What is the average time spent on your site? Or typical page turn? (Bonus: Don’t know the answers to these questions? Get on IM terms to the product or tech person who does.) While everyone wants loyal eyeballs, this won’t happen by you not linking to great content.

And here’s another angle. Curation isn’t just about platforms you own 100% such as your corporate website or newsletters. A lot of curation takes place on the LinkedIns and Facebooks of this world. In fact, many such businesses have grown using millions of individuals who are only too happy to curate content for their friends or colleagues.

You’re promising something even better – curation by a bona fide expert (person or company).

Embrace it.

Bonus link (this is curation in action, folks):
Twenty Content Curation Tools for Your Inbound and Content Marketing Strategy [Bruno Gebarski]

And this offshoot of the Washington Post is basing its business on being an uber-curator

Ezra Klein’s Wonky Spin on Aggregation [Digiday]
*Photo copyright Collective Content (UK) Lt, 2013

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