Producing unique, original, valuable content can provide an individual or business with a distinct competitive advantage.
Great content can be used to establish thought-leadership, educate and entertain and is one of the most effective ways of building a loyal, interested following around a product or brand.
Whilst creating original content will always give you an edge in an increasingly noisy and competitive media landscape, content curation, the act of finding, collecting and showcasing other people’s content, can also be used to build authority and influence around a specific subject area.
Curate with care
On the face of it, curating content would appear considerably easier than creating it yourself and to a large extent that’s true.
However great content curation requires a careful appreciation of the subject matter, content type and the expertise and opinion-leaders that exist within an industry.
Throwing together random, unqualified content of varying degrees of quality isn’t a viable content strategy – it’s a mess! Just like a good art collection or library, effective content curation involves organisation and balance.
Focus on adding value
Great content curation is about filtering information and presenting it to a group of followers in a way that adds value. This involves a good understanding of your audience’s interests, needs and requirements and an awareness of the content that works best for them.
Content curation is also about offering your following a diverse range of content. Don’t just focus on text-orientated blog posts or articles. Consider sharing pictures, infographics and video, too.
By curating and sharing different types of content one can stand out from the crowd by offering something new and fresh.
Key content creation platforms
There is a variety of platforms that can be used to to curate and distribute content. Pretty much any social network, from Facebook to MySpace can be used as a viable content creation platform depending on the type of audience being catered for.
Here are a few platforms that I believe lend themselves very well to content curation:
Although I initially started using Delicious as a bookmarking tool, I soon realised its potential as for curating interesting content from across the web.
One of Twitter’s keys to success (and the main reason why I use it myself) is the ease in which you can re-share other people’s content.
Most of my tweets involve links to other people’s blog posts, pictures or videos as I attempt to position myself both as a thought-leader and as someone who highlights great content to share with my network.
Google+, like Twitter and Delicious, is brilliant for seeking out new, interesting stories. It’s important to not always only rely on the ‘big’ stories circling around the social web.
There’s a tendency sometimes for the same content to get shared around, especially when it originates from the ‘social elite’. As a result there’s often a necessity to curate the curators and manage the content we receive from others which will help us share a diverse range of information with others.
Pinterest, the newest kid on the social media block, has quickly built a massive following due to the simplicity in which anyone can organise and share pictures and video found on the web.
As a virtual pin board it’s incredibly easy to collect, curate and share content you couldn’t normally do on other platforms. This increases the opportunity of finding cool new content which can be then be passed onto to wider networks to give those followers a new perspective, too.
Curation is not a substitute for originality
Content curation is brilliant for determining the information we receive so that it can be filtered and distributed to others, demonstrating our knowledge and expertise in the niche or sector we’re operating in.
However, content curation should be used as part of a wider content strategy that is also heavily focused on original content generation.
Original, value-adding content is the foundation for inbound and social media marketing success, allowing us to build and earn people’s trust by giving them the opportunity to discover great content in a variety of social channels and platforms.