Should you create content or curate content?
Let’s start with what is Content Curation?
The “content” in the cliche “Content is King“, can come from 2 sources – first, your own original content or second, content that is sourced from elsewhere. If the content is coming from outside sources by means of pure algorithmic processes, it’s more appropriately called “Aggregated Content”, where as if the content is structured through a human touch and organized in a topical fashion it would fall into “Curated Content” bucket. Hence, “Content Creation”, “Aggregated Content” as well as “Curated Content” are all cousins to each other.
The process of selecting content from third party sources with goals to organize, present and share those relevant contents (text, images, videos, or any other assets) for your own audience is called Content Curation. Many well known services such as Google News and Digg as well as other various deal sites are examples of websites powered by content curation.
Content Curation Software
There are numerous tools and softwares for Content Curation. The first and foremost is Google Alerts, which is also free. However, the more effective tools require a paid subscription such as Curata, CurationSoft, CurationSuite, among others. There are also specialized tools such as scoop.it or swayy.co for social media content curation.
Value of Content Curation in context of e-Commerce Websites
For any business websites, especially those providing eCommerce for either B2C or B2B, Content Curation should have a focused place in its Content Strategy. Generally speaking, “Content Curation” will help businesses establish themselves as experts or industry leaders in their market by providing relevant content to its own customers. However, this may vary based upon the width and depth of the existing content of the website as well as the maturity of its content. Let’s look at following few scenarios:
- For a brand new micro-site, where there are not that many pages of valuable digital assets, curated content will begin to fill the gap quickly and easily with little resources.
- For a new blog, where there are not enough content creators to meet the demand, curated content will provide relevant and hopefully exciting content for customers.
- In both of above cases, note the website owner was not in position to create unique content, either due to the lack of time, resources or both. Since the content is not original, the value of those in terms of SEO cannot be expected much, while the customer visiting the pages will be presented with relevant content. Hence, we’re in “half loaf is better than no loaf” territory.
- If generating new traffic is your objective, curated content might just not cut it. That’s where your strategy to create content would need to kick-in. Google can easily identify the original vs borrowed content thereby reducing the value of curated content purely from SEO point of view.
- Thus, the best strategy is to 1) CREATE UNIQUE CONTENT by identifying customer needs while 2) CURATE CONTENT to supplement it. This approach would work best for Search Engines as well as visitors to produce the highest ROI. Original content optimized for SEO will generate new traffic, where as curated content will act as the “filler” in-between unique contents.
- Other way to add real value to curated content is to combine multiple curated content by common theme or topics to produce a single digest for your audience, which is called Co-Curation. Certainly, credits due to all sources must be given in all cases.
Content Curation surely has a special place on Content Strategy. If the goal is to generate new traffic, then it’s best to expect Content Curation as an add-on to one’s own unique content generation process. Content Creation has the highest value, which cannot be replaced by Content Curation; however, since something is always better than nothing, content from a 3rd party does help to fill the gap quickly, especially on a new blog or a small sized website(s).
For the rest of the websites, Content Curation should be an extension of Content Creation which will always remain the core of content marketing.