To create or curate: is that the question?

I’ve had a few discussions in which marketing professionals will muse, “Shouldn’t we just curate content?”  As a professional content creator, I’m biased.  Don’t you want to provide your readers with original material?  Don’t you want to own the work and establish yourself as a thought leader?  Don’t you want other brands to curate your content?   But truthfully, it’s not an all-or-nothing game, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t encourage my clients to distribute relevant articles, infographics and videos created by others.  Curating saves time and allows you to leverage the clout and expertise of other subject matter experts.  (Check out a great infographic on the subject from Uberflip here.)  A robust and effective content strategy includes both curated and original materials.

But a common misconception is that curation is easier than creation.  According to a recent study by Curata, a content curation software (so yes, they’re as unbiased about curation as I am about creation), brands struggle with curation, too.  They underestimate the work and strategy needed.  Who’s finding this content?  Where are they getting it?  Where are they distributing it, and how often?  Who’s handling reader responses?  Have you created an editorial calendar, or are you simply posting whenever something you deem relevant passes your desk?

Fifty-nine percent of U.S. marketers plan to spend more on content marketing in 2014 than they have in the past, according to Curata’s survey, and 39 percent want to increase spending on curated content.  Hats off to good intentions, but my message to those brands launching curation strategies for the first time — do not underestimate the resources and planning needed.  Your curation strategy won’t last long, or be effective, if you fail to establish clear guidelines and processes for its execution.

By Jacqueline Lisk

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