Through channels such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and more, we’ve all, to some extent, become content curators. That is, we find, collect and share web and digital content with others with similar interests. But content curation is gaining popularity as part of an integrated marketing strategy for businesses as well—so much so that it is the cover story on the January/February issue of Communication World, published by the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC).
The issue features the use of content curation by companies and organizations. Although the act is similar to that of individuals, curation for business can be defined as identifying and collecting the most valuable, useful and credible content, filtering it and sharing it with your audience—or other people who are interested in that content. The issue contains compelling articles by marketing and communication professionals Shel Holtz, principal of Holtz Communication + Technology; Rohit Bhargava, senior vice president of Global Digital Strategy at Ogilvy; and an opinion piece by Ann Handley, chief content officer of MarketingProfs and co-author of Content Rules. How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, Ebooks, Webinars (and More) That Engage Customers and Ignite Your Business.
To have major thought leaders in communication weigh in on this means, it’s an important topic for communication professionals. As Ann Handley put it, “Content curation isn’t necessarily anything new….But [it] is emerging as a specialty of its own.”
That being said, the key takeaways about content curation for me were:
1. Content curation can be a strong component of an organization’s content strategy.
Handley says that by finding, filtering, and sharing the timeliest, most relevant and most stimulating content, curation can help to establish an organization as authority and thought leader, and as a resource to its audience. Holtz says, “Every organization needs to start thinking like a publisher and every company must become a media company.” He adds that whether your efforts are just underway or your efforts are more mature, the benefits you’ll earn from content curation are too great to put it off.
2. Companies that decide to curate content must competently filter material they identify.
According to Holtz, due to the rise of user-generated content and the ease of video production, blogging, Facebook and other channels, finding the right mix of material you need to stay focused is a growing challenge. In response to this, companies will need to be discerning in the content that they curate and share. This means really digging for credible content that your audience not only finds engaging and relevant, but will also encourage sharing and discussion.
3. Organizations that curate content will face three core issues: ownership, control and credibility.
Does a company take ownership of content curated from multiple sources? If the content the organization shares strays from your brand messaging, will it put the organization at risk? Will readers assume the act of curation itself will present a biased point of view and lack credibility? Bhargava says that brands must manage these issues, using curation to deliver more meaningful content to their audiences in ways that won’t cause ownership issues, yet still add value to the brand while being authentic enough to win the trust of audiences. Success will depend on choosing the right model of curation.
I’ll blog more in upcoming weeks about content curation, models of curation and strategy, but want to hear from you. Is your organization using content curation? If so, are you following a model or have a strategy you’d like to share?
Photo credit: Social Media by Sean MacEntee via Flickr