Content Super Bowl I: Creation takes on Curation

Creating vs. curating. If you work in marketing, or maybe even if you don’t, I’m sure you’ve been a witness to this content debate at one point or another. There are numerous arguments for each side, and ultimately, both are included in any successful content strategy.

The ideal mix between content curation and original content creation is a debate that I often find myself having with my colleagues and industry peers. So, in the spirit of Super Bowl XLVIII this weekend, I decided to ask the experts what they thought in a matchup that I’ve officially dubbed Content Super Bowl I.

~

Jeremy Goldman, Founder, Firebrand Group

Thinking about curated vs. created content is a fascinating topic, as there are serious pros and cons to each. But, in a nutshell:

Curated – 7 points
-Relatively easy to do – at least at the start. 14 points
-There are many affordable tools, such as Scoop.it and Buffer among others, that can help you with your curation. 6 points
-But, curation is hard to master. Since it’s easy to get into (and has an extremely low barrier to entry), many underestimate the time needed to do a great job at curation. -10 points

Created – 10 points
-Since it’s more difficult to do, many brands and individuals decide it’s not worth it to create homegrown content – which means there is less competition for your own created content. 21 points
-Created content can be much more specific to your brand, and thus is more often likely to resonate and help people convert into customers. 14 points
-Creating content can be a great team-building exercise for growing your existing staff. It’s a fun activity, and makes it more likely for your team members to remain engaged. 3 points
-However, creating your own content is much more difficult to do and takes time and effort to master. -21 points
-And, because of the steep learning curve, some may not be willing to put in the time and effort to get into the groove of creating original content. -7 points

Brian Murray, Director of Talent, Likeable Media 

Created Content- The Artist Approach
Pros: Great for branding. You are able to position your brand exactly as you would like. If it is shared by others your message is spread. Can position yourself as a thought leader with original content. Can be seen as exclusive.
Cons: Nobody likes the person that only talks about themselves. Time consuming and many people can be involved. Lots of time and sometimes it won’t work.
Curated Content- The Museum Approach
Pros: People love having their information shared and are more likely to share yours. Quick and easy. People love museums. Builds affinity and engagement. Can be seen as worldly and approachable.
Cons: You must thoroughly check all the information. Rarely is someone recognized as the great sharer of others information.
The winner: a tie. I think this game would end in a tie. I’m a bigger fan of futbol (soccer) than of football (which can end in a tie). The perfect presence is a blend of original and a blend of curated.

 

Tim McDonald, Director of Community, Huffington Post

Curated
Saves time: Touchdown! (6 points)
Connects you with audience of writer: Touchdown! (6 points)
Creativity: Safety. (2 points)
Socially sharable: Field goal. (3 points).
Different types of content: Extra point (1 point)
Total score: 18
Created
Thought leader: Touchdown! (6 points)
Researching content your audience wants: Touchdown! (6 points)
Creativity: Touchdown! (6 points)
Socially sharable: Field goal. (3 points)
Total score: 21 
The winner: Creation.

 

Dennis Shiao, Product and Content Marketing, DNN Corp.

Created: 8 points (two fields goals and a safety): There’s a lot of work involved in creating effective content. Far too many publishers today are running “random plays of content” – large quantities for very little quality. The result? It’s harder and harder to find the end zone. When you do score, it’s going to be multiple possessions on a circuitous path. You need the entire team to contribute: offense (field goals) and defense (safety).

Curated: 8 points (touchdown, followed by two point conversion): Curation gives you a quicker score, in the sense that the “heavy lifting” (defining the concept and doing the writing) has been outsourced to others. But like a curator of museum-quality paintings, there’s a fine art to doing it well. You need a keen understanding of audience needs and you need to make good judgment calls. Additionally, you ought to insert your own thoughts and comments alongside the curated content.

The winner: a tie. With different ways to get there, both end up with the same point value. In short: your content marketing strategy should involve both.

 

As someone who dabbles in both the vetted and culled curated resource and the creative and inspired created content, I see the benefits of both! Here’s my play-by-play of the benefits of each:
Curated Resources – 20 points
-Curated resources are abundant – there’s a whole world of cool stuff out there just waiting for discovery!
-Why re-invent the wheel? When you find and share the genius of others, its saves time from making it yourself and you can still provide awesome, valuable content to your audience.
-Curating from different resources gives my followers a variety of angles and perspectives on any issue or topic. If there’s a pro and a con, I can curate both so that the consumer can see both sides and make their own personal judgement (with or without my guidance).
-Sharing other peoples’ content is good crowdsourcing karma. As my Mom and Dad always told me, “It’s good to share!” Paying it forward is also a generous social media practice.
Created Content – 17 points
-Having control of what you create means that your message is focused and clear.
-The value of your content will be unique and tailored to your niche, market, brand, followers, and professional vision.
-If you’re passionate about a topic, creating your own content gives you more freedom to persuade others of what you believe in.
The winner: Curation. When you’re known for delivering quality content and curated resources – you’re going to be the number one draft pick! Your fan base (followers) will increase and your credibility level will skyrocket. Saving other people time by creating a vetted, carefully curated blog means that you are in touch with your information base and hip to the resource trends. That’s being a curator for the WIN!

 

Curation – 18 points
-When curating content, you get to play with a wider net. Because you’re sifting and sorting through hundreds of articles and then choosing the best, you’re playing on a much larger field. Extra point: 1
-You and your readers get to stay on the cutting edge of the knowledge in your field. Touchdown: 6
-You get to form relationships with other influencers in your field, or connected to your field, which widens your influence and reach. Touchdown: 6
-By selecting only the best articles to curate and writing reviews of them, you are adding a valuable service because you’ve already done all the heavy lifting for your readers. Touchdown & two-point conversion: 8
-In some platforms, you can write your own blog posts on your own website and curate those so you have a nice blend of original and curated content. Field goal: 3
-On some curation platforms, though, you have little direct connection to your readers, so it is harder to know who they are, connect with them, and form relationships. Penalty: -6
Creation – 12 points
-Generating your own content provides you with the ability to write in-depth articles instead of just quick reviews. Field goal: 3
-Unique content generates SEO rankings and traffic benefits to your website. Touchdown & two-point conversion: 8
-Creation allows more opportunities to monetize your content: Touchdown & extra point: 7
-Worth noting, though, is that generating your own content all the time can take more time out of your busy schedule depending on your writing style and abilities. Penalty: -6
The winner: Curation

 

Of course, we’re just having fun discussing a hot topic – it’s clear that finding success requires a healthy mix of creation and curation, but each side certainly has its benefits which are necessary to understand before diving into that content strategy.

About Ally Greer

Ally is Scoop.it's Director of Content & Community. She loves to geek out over anything social, Internet, or tech related. When she isn't working, you'll probably find her running the streets of San Francisco. Follow Ally on Twitter @allygreer.
  • gwynethannejones

    Thanks Ally! I was so honored to be asked to chime in this Super Bowl battle royale!

    A last idea & a couple caveats

    CC Rocks! Making your content Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike will inspire others to share and use your content – it literally gives your content (and brand!) super bionic Interweb legs!

    Curating Caveat: Constantly curating (Scooping or Tweeting) your own stuff looks terribly self-serving…even if you’re an expert, it’s just off-putting! (& this from a snarky girl who’s deeply shallow & ridiculously humble!)

    It’s better and more generous to have a mix of curated resource culls and your own content (blog posts, graphics, pins, etc.) I would cry foul & sideline anyone who is constantly crowing about himself or herself. Tacky.

    Lastly, always, always give attribution and credit when curating! Adding a via @awesomename to the end of any Scoopit or Tweet shows social media integrity & credibility! Remember, it’s good to share but it’s bad form to steal. Happy creating & curating folks!
    Cheers!
    ~Gwyneth Jones
    The Daring Librarian

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  • Karen Dietz

    Thanks Ally! What a fun post. It was fun contributing and many thanks for asking me to participate.

    Curation definitely rocks and should be part of anyone’s content marketing activities. A combo of curation and creation generates business growth. I favor curation but certainly know the value of creation. Go team!

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