By Susan McKittrick published February 15, 2012

Content Curation

A poorly understood content marketing tactic could be your most powerful community-building tool

We hear a lot about content curation these days. Some call it a top trend for 2012 and a must-see new technology for marketers. Others say it’s a fad that can’t hold a candle to creation of original content. Take a few minutes to understand what it is and the ways it fits into content marketing strategy. Then make your own decision about its role in your company.

A content curator assembles a quality collection of third-party and original content that is of keen interest to a particular audience, selects the best content for presentation, adds commentary valuable to the audience and publishes to the audience’s preferred channels. Content curation tools use technology to facilitate these steps.

Marketers use content curation to establish a reputation as a trusted resource in a particular area, to build an audience (that eventually buys) above the funnel, and to foster interaction with a community of people who share specific interests. At a tactical level content curation also draws organic search traffic, provides fodder for nurture campaigns and informs marketers so they can intelligently participate in online conversations.

Using content curation to build the trust of a target audience.

You will find a good example of content curation in action at Curators of this website draw on top quality content created by others combined with their own original content to present, “digital marketing insight for CMOs.”  They feature “need to know” and “recommended for you” content along with selected other articles and news items of interest. After less than two years, the site draws 100,000 views a month and distributes its newsletter to 11,000 subscribers.  Adobe, the brand behind the curation, demonstrates through the site that it “gets” digital marketing. It is building trust with an audience important to their success.

What tools do I need to become a content curator?

In its simplest form, content curation can be done with a Twitter account. You find timely, relevant content, add your two cents and tweet the introduction and link. However, using Twitter for curation will drain the time of already overburdened marketers and fail to deliver a customer experience that successfully builds the trust that retains a target audience.

An enterprise content curation tool will:

  • Help you find the best content
  • Make it fast and easy to select items and add commentary
  • Provide flexibility in presentation and distribution of curated content
  • Support the information consumer’s experience, through personalization
    and navigation
  • Report data marketers need to improve execution, demonstrate value and gain customer insight

Some of the enterprise content curation tools you’ll want to consider are shown below.  Each presents a different set of functionality tradeoffs so it is worthwhile to take a look at each of them to explore your own needs fully.

Find out more about content curation platforms from Susan McKittrick and Patricia Seybold Group.

Author: Susan McKittrick

Sue McKittrick, an analyst with Patricia Seybold Group, specializes in the technologies, processes and metrics that help B2B companies attract and retain profitable customers. She is expert in development of content strategies that draw customers’ interest and content implementation through curation platforms, social media and nurturing programs. You can follow her on Twitter @ssmck.

Other posts by Susan McKittrick

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  • kevanhuston

    I would like to see enterprise class curation tools add publishing workflow functionality … tasks like delegation and editorial review.  Large content publishing operations have fairly sophisticated workflows; features that reflect this means the curation tool is adapted to your cpub workflow, rather than having to modify workflows to fit the tool (rather than streamline or optimize your process).

  • Dave Cole

    Not sure how to suggest our product without coming across as pitchy, but what the hell… It might appeal to your readers. We’ve built a social curation platform specifically built for WordPress called Dashter. It features a tool set that allows blog authors to listen for relevant social discussion, curate tweets in to fresh blog posts, cultivate online relationships anchored on site content, and amplify site content through social channels.
    We believe content curation is a powerful tool for original content creators because it can provide point / counterpoint arguments (that can be embedded directly in a post), provide the starting point for developing online social relationships, and help authors / content marketers who are stuck with “bloggers block.” But core to our belief set is that curation shouldn’t be treated as something “different” from original content production. Rather, it can be integrated in to the content production workflow (as @twitter-16194443:disqus noted in his comment). Curation should be reasonably no different than quoting an interviewee in a post like bloggers have done since the beginning. 

    We have some tour videos that demonstrate our curation methodology & other facets of the platform: 

    Thanks for your article & raising the dialogue about curation. My apologies again if this comment is “pitchy!” 

  • Jay Nelson

    Hi Susan – I agree with you – curating content is a very worthwhile investment when trying to build a reputation in a particular vertical.  I wrote a post a while back on my experience with Scoop.It!  I noticed you didn’t include them in your list of curation tools.  Here’s a link to my post to give you a little background on how that tool could be employed for this effort (no, I don’t work for Scoop.It! – just enjoy using their tool).!-A-Case-Study-in-Content-Curation.aspx

    • Tom George

      Hi Jay,

      I was curious since I am a huge fan of what your page was there so I can follow it.