By Joe Pulizzi published March 30, 2011

Content Curation Grows Up, Original Content Still Key

I first heard the term content curation in this post by Rohit Bhargava back in 2009.

Rohit positioned that, as more corporations and individuals create content, the role of the content curator is needed.  Rohit describes this position as:

Someone whose job it is not to create more content, but to make sense of all the content that others are creating. To find the best and most relevant content and bring it forward.

As we fast forward to 2011, content curation techniques are now a key part of content marketing itself.  Actually, it’s always been an important part, but we are just now defining it as content curation.

Content CurationMy friends at HiveFire recently executed a content curation study of 150 marketing executives.  Here’s what they found.

  • Curation establishes thought leadership: 79 percent of content curators listed thought leadership as the primary objective.
  • Curation brings brands and customers together: elevating brand visibility/buzz (76 percent) and lead generation (48 percent) were also top objectives of content curators.
  • Curation lets marketers focus on original masterpieces: The biggest barrier to curation adoption is creating original content; 79 percent of non-curators found this the biggest challenge, while only 67 percent of content curators felt the same—likely due to the time that curation frees to focus on developing original material.
  • Curation has reached critical mass: Over two-thirds (69 percent) of respondents said content curation is more important today than it was a year ago.

So, in order to position ourselves as the trusted thought leaders, we need to act like media companies and curate the best content on the planet in our niche.  BUT, the core of that must be original and compelling content.  After all, we can bring all the content forward we want, but at the end of the day, our content must have a point of view (which means it needs to be owned media).

As you can see below from our B2B Content Marketing Study, the biggest corporate challenges are indeed producing enough engaging content.

Original Content Marketing Challenges

Yes, we are all publishers now, but the evolution from marketing departments to more of a publishing department will still take years for most brands to transform into. When that happens, original and curated content from content curators will need to work in harmony.

Author: Joe Pulizzi

Joe Pulizzi is the Founder of Content Marketing Institute, a UBM company, the leading education and training organization for content marketing, which includes the largest in-person content marketing event in the world, Content Marketing World. Joe is the winner of the 2014 John Caldwell Lifetime Achievement Award from the Content Council. Joe’s the author of five books, including his latest, Killing Marketing. His third book, Epic Content Marketing was named one of “Five Must Read Business Books of 2013” by Fortune Magazine. If you ever see Joe in person, he’ll be wearing orange. Follow him on Twitter @JoePulizzi.

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  • Marcus Sheridan

    Another forward thinking post Joe. I imagine within 2 years a company ‘content curator’ will be as important as any other position found therein. In fact, I can see colleges offering degrees with ‘an emphasis in content curation and creation’, if that makes any sense.

    Good stuff man.


  • Nick Stamoulis

    Content is an important aspect of any marketing strategy. The key is that it needs to be relevant and engaging. When it comes to online marketing Google is now cracking down on bad content, so it’s important to be original.

  • Rohit Bhargava

    Joe – Thanks so much for the mention and for continuing to push the idea of content marketing into the marketplace. It’s thanks to work like yours that more clients and big brands are starting to really pay attention to the value of having great content to make their marketing more meaningful!

  • R. Tom Saxton

    Great article. Shows the next level of content use and where the direction should be. good advice.

  • Isaac

    Great Article. I love how the book Content Rules talks about “Re-imagining” content. It makes a lot of sense that as we curate the best thoughts on a topic, that should spur on some original creativity. People like to know the latest in what’s going on, but they do also appreciate your (or your brands) perspective.

  • Cindy Lavoie

    Joe (and Rohit),
    Thanks for defining and articulating what sounds like the next step in the evolution of content marketing. It certainly makes sense – as original content explodes and companies everywhere catch on to becoming publishers – we’ll be putting a higher value on those who sort and prioritize for their own niche audience. It’s the same role an editor plays in traditional media.

    My only issue is with the word “curator”. It brings a museum to mind, which says ‘historical’ & ‘ancient’ to me, rather than fresh & current.

  • Craig Badings

    Joe you hit the nail on the head when you say “…BUT, the core of that must be original and compelling content.”

    But before you even think about creating or curating your content you first need to:
    1.) Research your target audience – identify the challenges and issues they face in their daily lives/businesses. This is the most important clue to your thought leadership direction.
    2.) Identify what area you want to own in your sector. Where can you develop deep expertise and how can you build on it?
    3.) Scan your competitors – what are they doing in this space? If they own a particular spacer, don’t bother competing rather find a new space and develop content in that area.
    4.) Once you’ve identified the space you want to own it is important to go really deep into that area with evidence based research – opinions are not good enough to inform your content if you truly want to position yourself as a thought leader.
    5.) Set objectives and kpis for your campaign – it needs to be measured so that improvements can be made and it can be recalibrated along the way.
    6) Say something new – if you don’t your supposed thought leadership point of view will realistically only amount to content and there is a lot of content out there. This is about differentiating yourself from your competitors and positioning yourselves as the trusted advisors or ‘go to’ experts in your field.
    7) Idenfity and involve your thought leadership champions – someone has to own this and act as your spokesperson
    8) Leverage and cleverly package your content across every touch point of your target audience and prospects
    9) Make it part of your culture – there are many well known brands out there such as McKinsey, Deloitte, Booz & Companyt who have thought leadership ingrained in their culture and their ROI on it has been fantastic as a result