Nick Westergaard

By Nick Westergaard on February 11, 2013

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Content Creation vs. Curation

content marketing

A recent study from MarketingProfs and the Content Marketing Institute on the state of content marketing reported that B2B marketers’ chief concern was producing enough content. This represents a shift, as in previous years the biggest challenge had been creating engaging content. In producing enough content, marketers have two options – content creation or content curation.

While most of focus solely on content creation in the form of blogs, videos, ebooks and the like, there are many advantages to content curation as well. To be clear, when we say curation we mean assembling new content by aggregating or carefully selecting from already existing content sources. Examples include a blog post rounding up the best articles on Twitter’s new Vine app or an email newsletter with the top posts on a particular subject.

With content marketing budgets stretched as thinly as other areas in the marketing department, curation represents a useful alternative regardless of whether or not you’re already creating content. Here are a few considerations to keep in mind as you weigh content creation vs. content curation.

Consider the Industry Landscape

There’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach for content marketing. Only you know your industry, how it’s unique, and what the other players look like. And, of course, what kind of content others are creating.

If your market is mature and saturated with existing content, perhaps there’s an opening for you to create value by identifying the very best of it and delivering it via a curated blog post or email. Or, better yet, a combination of the two. Over time, your brand will become valuable to your audience as the official “wine taster” in your industry because of your discerning palette and selection capabilities.

However, if your market is wide open and lacking thought leadership or niche insights in a particular area, your business can fill that need by creating original content that helps position and brand your expertise.

Consider Internal Resources

What do your own internal resources look like? Do you have budget allocated for content? Another factor in deciding between content creation and content curation are the expenses tied to both options. While it’s true that curation is often a cheaper alternative, it still has costs tied to it including personnel to sift through primary content sources and find attractive items to curate as well as delivery systems such as an email marketing platform and blog development.

However, often times the largest cost associated with content marketing are the resources needed to regularly create original content. As such, curation might be a more viable option. Curation might also be a useful transitional tactic as you test the content marketing waters.

Can’t Decide? Do Both!

Content marketing — like so many things in life — isn’t black or white. You may discover that your brand can utilize a hybrid strategy that includes both original content and curated content from other sources. If time is a scarce commodity, you could create original video content for your blog and curate a weekly article featuring the best of industry news or updates from a particular slice of your market.

An example of this is our business, Brand Driven Digital. We create new content in many forms, including this blog, ebooks, live learning events, and more. However, we also curate content on Facebook and Twitter and soon will be sending out a summary email featuring three big stories in social media and digital marketing that you might have missed. This email series will be aptly titled “3 Things You Might Have Missed” — you can sign up to receive it here.

What About You?

What kind of approach to content marketing do you take? Content creation or curation? In the end, what’s best for you is based on your assessment of your business and the industry you serve.

Photo via Flickr user colinlogan


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Nick Westergaard
Email Brand Driven Digital

is Chief Brand Strategist and founder of Brand Driven Digital, where he helps build better brands online. In addition to his agency work, he teaches social media marketing at the University of Iowa’s Tippie College of Business and is the co-host of The Work Talk Show podcast. More about Nick.