Chapter 4: Curating vs. Creating Content
Curating vs. Creating ContentSometimes business owners stress themselves out about creating the content to use for marketing that the process becomes overly laborious and challenging. You don’t actually have to create every piece of content you use. There is so much information out there that you can still provide value by wading through it and sharing the most beneficial nuggets of knowledge with your audience.
This is called curating content. It still allows you to display your expertise because you are highlighting information that is the most valuable, accurate and beneficial to your customers. It’s important that you keep in mind that curating content also involves time and effort and can take just as much time as creating content when you’re new to it.
There are pros and cons to both curating and creating content. Both work well and can help increase sales and exposure for your business. However, it’s necessary to weigh the options before making a choice.
Curating Content The root of curating content involves taking pieces of media created by someone else and sharing it with your audience. This can be very beneficial when done properly. The main thing to make sure you do is give proper credit to the original creator of the content you’re sharing. If you don’t do that, you will be plagiarizing the content, not curating it. Think of curating content like gathering information for a research paper. You present the ideas that have been shared by someone else but you give them credit through footnotes, endnotes or a bibliography.
You can provide valuable information to your audience When you share well-curated content, it is still very beneficial to your audience. You are the expert and you know what information will have the most impact. You are also identifying the information that is most important.
You can save money on creation costs Curated content has already been created. You are simply finding the information that’s available and plucking out what you want to use. This can help when you don’t have a budget to create content.
You can save time Creating content takes time. If you are using curated content, you save the creation time and can use that time to do something else.
You can position yourself or your company as a tastemaker When people begin to rely on you to share valuable information with them, they begin to consider you a tastemaker. You showcase your expertise by becoming known for identifying what information is important and should be read and or used. This can really help if you want to position yourself as an expert in a specific industry. There is a lot of value in curating content but I caution you to not lean on it too heavily or not take the time to find content that is truly beneficial and will support the branding efforts of your business. There are content curation specialists who will tout the benefits of it without mentioning the challenges. Don’t dive into the content curating arena without taking time to consider all sides of it.
You have to be careful to verify the information you share You can’t assume that the content you’re sharing is accurate. Remember that whatever content you curate is a reflection of your brand once you share it. Even if you give proper credit to the original creator of the content (which should always happen); you still take responsibility for sharing the information. If one of your customers complains or finds fault in content that you’ve shared, you will have to answer for it. You have to be aware of this and make sure you are confident in the accuracy of the information you’re sharing.
It takes time to curate content well While it may not take as much time to curate content as it does to create it, you can’t do it haphazardly or in a hurry. You are using this content as a way to benefit your brand and that must be remembered at all times. This means you have to take the time to really research the content you’ll be sharing. Even if you didn’t create it yourself, you should be able to share it with same level of confidence.
You are providing a platform for whoever created the content By sharing content created by someone else, you are effectively providing that person or organization with a platform. This can benefit you but it can also send your customers to another organization which could be a potential competitor. You have to choose the source of your content carefully to make sure it’s a brand you don’t mind promoting and isn’t a direct competitor.
Curating content can be very valuable and a great way to provide information without having to create it yourself. The keys to good content curation are research, moderation and insight.
Research It’s imperative that you research the content you want to share before you share it. Don’t just read it over and make your decision from that point. Take the time to check the sources given and research the creator of the piece of content. Make sure you aren’t unknowingly supporting a company that isn’t aligned with your branding.
Moderation There should be a balance in the amount of curated content you share. Don’t become a content curation factory, only known for sharing information created by other organizations. When you do that, you become more of an aggregator and less a curator. You should look for ways to create your own content as well. It’s important that you create your unique voice while you’re sharing the insights of others.
Insight While you are curating content and sharing it, you also need to include your own perspective. It’s never a good idea to simply share a link to a piece of content. Include your thoughts about the content and why you are sharing it. Doing this shows that you’ve taken the time to really read and digest the information you’re sharing. This also helps you to include your own voice while demonstrating why this piece of content supports your brand.
If you’re going to incorporate curated content into your content marketing strategy, you must treat it as an extension of your brand just like you would content that you’ve created in house. That may seem like an easier route to go once you consider the pros and cons of curating content. However, there are also pros and cons to creating content.
When you want to share content, you may decide that you’d rather create it yourself. This is definitely a viable way to go but there are considerations that must be made before you move forward.
You have control over the content When you create your own content, you have creative control over what it looks like and how the information is conveyed. This ensures that the finished product is exactly what you want and a proper reflection of your brand.
You are the source and the content will best reflect your knowledge and insight When you create your own content you know that it’s a true reflection of your own level of knowledge and experience. You can speak confidently about it when asked. You can also comfortably defend it if anyone has questions about it.
You own the exclusive rights to your content Any content you create is wholly owned by you and your company. You have the ability to repurpose it anyway you see fit. You don’t have to ask permission or make it a point to give credit to someone else. If a piece of content that you create goes viral, you can take full credit for it and reap all of the benefits.
You can specifically tailor your content to your audience When you curate content, you don’t have the ability to tailor it to your specific audience. You have to represent it as is. When you create your own content, you have the flexibility to make it speak most effectively to your target demographic. This is important because you may have multiple audiences and need to alter your message accordingly. There are some great benefits to creating your own content which is why so many businesses do it. But there are also some cons which must be considered and weighed before beginning to create your own content.
Creating content can be very time consuming When you want to create and share content as a reflection of your business, you should be prepared to put the time into doing it the best way possible. This means you could end up taking a lot of time to make sure your content looks the way you want and communicates your message in the way that best supports your brand.
Creating content can cost money Depending on the type of content you want to create, you could end up having to make a financial investment to do it well. Since any content you create is a direct reflection of your brand, you don’t want to skimp on the quality. Sometimes that quality costs money.
You may be pressured to create content consistently Once you’ve created a piece of content, you may feel pressured to do it again. Some forms of content lend themselves very well to being one off creations that you can use consistently. Other forms of content can put you in a position where you’ll want to create more once you’ve done it successfully. This can lead to an added layer of expectation on top of the other expectations you’re working to meet.
Your piece of content may only reflect one aspect of your business Most businesses are multifaceted with different layers and insights that make up one brand. Effective content should be singularly focused which means you have to choose one aspect of your brand to highlight with it. This means that your content may create the perception that your brand is one sided.
Creating content is a very viable piece of a strong content marketing strategy. The keys to creating good content are preparation, authenticity and thinking conservatively.
The best way to avoid unnecessary costs is to prepare before you begin creating content. It’s necessary to determine the overall scope and vision of your piece of content to see where you may encounter costs or roadblocks. In these instances, it may be best to create a different type of content that will serve the same purpose but for a smaller investment of time, money or both.
The point of creating content is to share your knowledge and voice with your audience. You have to do this authentically in order for it to be beneficial. You don’t want your content to come across as too sales-y or disingenuous. Find your authentic voice before you begin creating content and work to make sure that it’s a common thread in all of your marketing strategies.
3. Thinking conservatively
Some business owners end up spending a lot of time and money creating content because their ideas are really lofty. Sometimes rockets and rainbows are the only way to go but other times you can scale it down some to still get your message across. If you are a big thinker, it’s often important to run your idea past a more conservative thinker to see if there are ways you can make your idea more realistic. That doesn’t mean you have to make your content less effective, but you should be open to making it less showy. While people are impressed by bells and whistles, they stick around for value. Focus on providing value.
When you are creating a content marketing campaign, it’s important to consider all of your options and that includes how you get your content. As with any other element of business, there are pros and cons to deciding whether you want to curate content or create it yourself. It’s best to educate yourself then make an informed decision.
It’s ultimately up to you to decide what will work best. A mix of curated and created content can be most beneficial. It allows you to benefit from both without worrying about the pressure that comes with properly maintaining either. This is yet another reason why taking the time to plan and prepare your content marketing strategy is necessary.
You can sit down and create a map for how you plan to introduce and implement your content. You can decide the best mix of curated and created content and how you will share it for maximum effectiveness. You may want to start with more curated content while you work up to having the time to create your own good, solid content.
Taking the time to research and read through the different type of content will not only provide you with information to share it will also show you the different types of content that already exists. It could give you some inspiration for types of content you can make and the ability to see what works and what doesn’t. While this planning does take time initially, it will save you time in the long run.
One of the reasons business owners spend a lot of time on content and run the risk of becoming overwhelmed or underwhelmed about the benefits, is because they jump in with both feet without preparing in advance. Don’t do that. Even if you don’t think you have the time to stop and focus on crafting a new strategy, it’s worth it if you take the time.You’ll get much more benefit from content marketing if you prepare accordingly