Content Curation or Content Creation: Which Is Better For Your Business?



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If you have spent any amount of time on social networks, one of the most heated and highly debated topics is “content curation” versus “content creation”. There are pros and cons to each, and some feel passionately about one over the other. There are also those who sit on the fence, and refuse to pick a side. Stand up, fence-sitters! It’s important to have strong opinions on your content strategy, and don’t be afraid to share them with your team. While there’s certainly an argument for both, perhaps it’s time you put your foot down and double-down on one side: “creation” or “curation”.

Let’s establish “content creation” as the process of writing, recording, or publishing your own materials for your audience. And “content curation” is the aggregation of previously written and shared content, to repurpose and share with your audience. So, why might someone choose one over the other?

The Argument for Content Creation

Many marketers and publishers say content creation easily wins, especially when it comes to lead generation and establishing your brand as an authority on your trade. When an individual, or better yet, a potential customer, discovers your content, and relies on your brand for advice, chances are they are looking for your thoughts and your own perspective. This scores a point in the “creation” column. Creating your own content allows you to cater to the needs of your audience, provide value to customers, and set your brand apart from competitors who rely on other sources for content.

Once your audience, and individuals outside that group, realize that you are consistently sharing information created with the consumer in mind, they will want to come back for more, and bring friends along with them. That is, of course, if your content is strong and useful in the first place. And while the world of content marketing might seem large, it is actually rather small to some extent. Many marketers and content creators, especially B2B ones, follow the same leaders, read the same blogs, and receive the same newsletters. Without more content creators joining the web everyday, we would all receive and access the same information online. Play your part in our content ecosystem, and develop your ideas that will hopefully inspire others to follow in your footsteps.

Argument for Content Curation

I’m not sure that people that vote for content curation over creation always have the best of intentions on why they have chosen curation. I think that many times, people will RT and share others’ content in hopes of being recognized by the author, mainly people they look at as “influencers.” I would venture to say that it’s a bit of manipulation on their part – “If I share ___’s writing, maybe they’ll mention or RT my post, and then I’ll get more followers from people that see what!” Don’t misunderstand this – having worked with “influencers” and in “influencer marketing” for more than 15 years, I understand the point and the advantages to sharing and supporting and amplifying other people’s content. If you look at it as a conversation, no one would continue conversing with you if you only talked about yourself and didn’t respond or share their thoughts. Hence, curation does help develop relationships – I acknowledge that. I am simply pointing out that there is a difference and often a disconnect between intentions and actions.

People will often cheer for curation in brand marketing by saying things like, “People don’t like to be sold to. You shouldn’t always send out information solely about your brand.” Marketing friends, if you are only writing about your own product each time you put out original content, you have way bigger issues to take a look at before you worry about a creation vs curation strategy. If you are responsible for your company blog, I am hoping we’re going into this already assuming that you already recognize you can write about whatever you want there – if it is relevant to your audience. For example, I wrote a company blog for a sports drink company for five years. I rarely wrote about the actual beverage. I’d write about new extreme sports that were coming out, or fun races I was hoping to one day be able to run, or fun Q&A sessions of up and coming athletes, so people could get a behind the scenes glimpse into who they were when they weren’t competing.

A benefit of content curation occurs when people see content you are sharing with them and recognize that you are able to have a broader view on topics, above what you, yourself might feel or believe. It shows awareness of industry trends. Here’s the caveat – if you are simply reposting what others have said/written, there’s no relevance to your specific audience. In my opinion, curation solely “works” if you add even a sentence or two as to WHY you are sharing this content.

Content creation is much more time-consuming than content curation. Does that mean that curators are inherently lazy? Perhaps, but not necessarily. The best case scenario would be for you to have the time and resources available to you for content creation, with perhaps a bit of curation sprinkled in to augment your strategy.

If you want to create or curate, it’s not as hard as it may seem to find topics relevant to you. If you are consistent in your social media engagements, you will find a wealth of information from the people in your chosen communities as to what is important to them, what they want to learn more about or simply what’s currently on their minds. Your competitors are also a great source of content – what are THEY talking about? What are THEY sharing? If you have a similar product, your customers are probably also interested in those same topics. Take time to actually read (or at least skim through) the myriad of daily digests and emails and apps that curate content for you. I receive tons of them, and admittedly probably read less than half. I am a big fan of the information curated daily by Sway and the information that can be found on the Buffer blog.

So? Which Is best for you? Your business?

Not to be a fence person, but the honest answer is: it depends. What works for me, might not work for you. You know your audience and goals better than anyone else. What will work best for you is what is best for your audience, community and customer. Remember, you are writing for THEM, not for yourself. Also, in social media and in marketing and in LIFE, things are very rarely black or white. The gray is what makes life so full – curation and creation works much the same way. To come back to the relationship and conversation metaphor, you don’t have to pick one over and pledge allegiance to them solely forever. Find the gray area, and settle down there, with both of them by your side. The best advice I can give you is test each out, try using one more than the other for a week – measure the results. THEN make an educated determination as to what resonates with your audience best.

I urge you to really look at the benefits of both with an honest and open mind, and share your thoughts with me! Tweet me and let’s talk!

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