Even though “content curation” is not a common phrase, there’s plenty of discussion to be found on the Internet. Heck, even MS Word kept flagging curation as a misspelled word.
Google News, aggregating content via RSS feeds and social bookmarking sites have been around for a while. Bloggers of all stripes have counted on the popularity of “list” posts whenever they’ve run out of fresh ideas for content. So curated content is not something new.
What is content curation?
I searched Wikipedia for information but couldn’t find an exact definition. Instead, I found something on Media Curation, which I thought was close enough:
Media Curation is the emerging trend toward creating media content using a mix of machine and human resources. The practice includes aggregation (gathering) and curation (sorting, categorizing, art directing, and presenting) such that material from multiple sources creates a unique editorial experience for readers/visitors.
Hmmm…not very satisfying. So I Googled “content curation” and lo and behold, it returned 77,600 results. I hit the mother lode!
Steve attended SXSW in Austin earlier this year and was part of a recent discussion that included people from both sides of the creation vs. curation debate. His conclusions were as follows:
- We’re living in an era of content abundance.
- Even prolific creators are going to end up mixing their created content with a mix of curated sources.
- Creators, distributors, aggregators, and curators are all economically essential parts of the value chain.
- Advertisers will embrace trusted ‘places’ over trusted sources — large curated collections will achieve higher CPMs.
Next, I came across a blog post written back in September of 2009 by Rohit Bhargava of Influential Marketing Blog. In his post, Manifesto For The Content Curator: The Next Big Social Media Job Of The Future, he defines a content curator as “someone who continually finds, groups, organizes and shares the best and most relevant content on a specific issue online.” Rohit may be the first person to have coined the term “content curator.”
The final piece of the content curation puzzle was an article by Lee Odden of TopRank Online Marketing blog. In his post, he not only talks about what it is and how B2B marketers are using it, Lee interviewed well-known content and social marketing experts like David Meerman Scott, Brian Solis, Ann Handley, Joe Pulizzi, Paul Gillin and others for their thoughts on this topic.
The quote that made most sense to me was the one from Ann Handlye where she said,
“It can fit into an organization’s content strategy nicely. How? It’s a way for organizations to further their role as a resource to their audience. Sifting through the mountain of web content and finding the tastiest, choicest bits for your readers is a great way to build trust and authority with them, and to become a valuable resource for them on any particular topic. What’s more, for organizations just getting into publishing online — for those just starting a blog, say, or a microsite — curated content can allow them to ramp up quickly, both from an SEO as well as content perspective.”
You can read all the interviews on Lee’s post, Content Marketing: Definitions of Curation & Context.
I think these resources provide a well-rounded view of where things stand today. There is no doubt that content curation is here to stay. Economic reality may be part of the reason but it just may be/become a key component of your content marketing strategy.
In my opinion, the best way forward is to create some original content and mix in a healthy dose of content curation using the best of human skills and automation techniques.
BTW, this post is a working example of content curation. Where do you stand on this debate? Share your thoughts by a leaving a comment.