By Rachel Foster published December 17, 2013

Curating Content Or Creating It: Which Drives More B2B Conversions?

b2b conversions of prospectsAsk B2B marketers what their top priority is and they will likely say “getting more leads.” A recent MarketingSherpa report has confirmed this, as 75 to 80 percent of the B2B marketers surveyed stated that generating high-quality leads is their biggest concern. Their second biggest concern is “generating a high volume of leads.”

However, many marketers lose sight of these priorities when they get caught up with the latest tools and trends. It’s particularly easy to get off track when you’re deciding what types of B2B content to produce and share.

For example, someone recently asked me, “When it comes to generating leads, is it more important to create original content or curate other people’s content?

My answer is to do both.

Why original content should be the cornerstone of your content marketing

Original content creation is vital to attracting high-quality leads and turning them into customers. With original B2B content, you can:

  • Align content with specific campaigns and your target audience’s exact needs: This may be difficult to do if you rely on sharing others’ content. 
  • Increase your opt-ins: Yes, curating content can raise your brand awareness and bring more visitors to your website. However, in most cases (unless you get creative, like what was done in the example cited later in this article), you will need original white papers, reports, webcasts, or other original B2B content to get those visitors to complete your opt-in forms. 
  • Improve your SEO: The more original content you create, the more likely your target audience will be to find you when they search for content. With curated content, you have some opportunities to improve your SEO, but most of the SEO benefits will go to the person who created the original content.
  • Engage customers throughout the entire sales cycle: Though curating content can be particularly useful when you are trying to bring early-stage leads to your website, as the sales cycle progresses, you will need more original content to help position your business as a trusted advisor — and the ideal solution for your customers’ problems.
  • You own your media: All the original content you create is yours to use, share, and repurpose as often, and in any format, you’d like, without having to worry about copyrights and attributions.

How curated content can lead to increased conversions

Curating content — i.e., sharing content that others have produced — may seem counterintuitive if you’re looking to draw more qualified leads to your website. After all, much of the content that’s of interest to your target audience will belong to your competitors, and you don’t want to send potential customers to the competition!

However, if done right, content curation can help you increase your opt-in rates and generate more leads.

The first key to successful content curation is understanding that the process involves more than just re-tweeting a good article. You must put your own unique spin on others’ content by commenting on it, or by framing the discussion around the reasons your audience should find the information valuable. This can not only enhance your thought leadership strategy, but can also bring more leads to your content via the comments your content receives.

One of the best examples of content curation that I have seen was a DigitalSherpa webinar called Curating High Conversion Content Without a Single Original Thought. If you look through the slide deck for this webinar, you will see that every piece of information was something the presenter, Adam Japko, curated. Impressive.

Also impressive was how DigitalSherpa used this curated content to get people to opt in to its list and attend a webinar.

Here are a few more ways you can use curated content to increase your B2B conversions:

  • Create a weekly video, podcast, or blog post roundup of the best industry news that you’ve found on the web: Include opt-in forms for your premium content on the web pages where you host these roundups.
  • If you come across a report or study that is relevant to your target audience, write a blog post that highlights some of its key findings: That way, instead of sifting through a massive report, your audience can read your post to get a quick overview of the findings that matter the most to them. Just be sure to link to the report’s landing page and not give away any information that the report’s publisher wants people to pay for.
  • Create a content sharing partnership: When you curate content, you should do so without expecting anything in return from the person whose content you are sharing. However, sometimes it’s a good idea to partner with someone else who goes after your target audience, and agree to curate each other’s content. This can broaden your reach and bring more targeted leads to your website.

Another big benefit of content curation is that it doesn’t take as long as creating original content. This allows you to publish on a more regular basis and stay top-of-mind with your audience.

In summary, while creating original content and curating content are both good tactics that can bring you more leads, you will get the best results if you do both together.

What about you? What are your thoughts on using original and curated content to increase your opt-ins? Please leave your comments below.

Looking for more insights on content curation and other powerful content marketing tactics? Check out our guide to Building the Perfect Content Marketing Mix: Execution Tactics.

Cover image via Bigstock

Author: Rachel Foster

Rachel Foster is a B2B copywriter and CEO of Fresh Perspective Copywriting. She helps her clients improve their response rates, clearly communicate complex messages and generate high-quality leads. Rachel has taught white paper, sell sheet and case study writing for MarketingProfs. She is also one of the Online Marketing Institute’s Top 40+ Digital Strategists in Marketing for 2014. You can connect with Rachel on LinkedIn, follow her on Twitter or check out her B2B marketing blog

Other posts by Rachel Foster

  • JessieCoan

    Great post Rachel. You’re spot on when you mention the balance between curated and created content. Here at Curata, we like to think of curated content as partly created as well. Between the annotation you provide on the curated piece, along with an updated title and images, the curated piece can become more like an original article. As you mention, curated content can help position you as a though leader. Providing the unique 3rd party perspectives drives your prospects to see you as the best source of information. Creating a level of trust and consistency, driving those leads to return again and again to you and your brand to find what they need. I’d like to share a great eBook we produced that include a number of examples of companies using curation successfully for their organizations, The Content Curation Look Book – Thanks!

    • rachelfoster

      Hi Jessie,

      Thank you for leaving a comment! Yes, the benefits of producing original content can seem a bit more obvious than those of curating content. You pointed out some great reasons why people should curate content. I’ll check out the resource, as it’s good to learn by example.


  • ronellsmith

    When it comes to generating leads, being seen as “the” resource for content in your space is an all-important element; the task is best handled by both curation and creation.

    One helps the other, and they both aid the formation of a successful business model.

    Businesses that develop the habit of consistently creating solid, valuable content simultaneously train their “muscles” to be better curators of content as well. Conversely, by pulling together content from disparate sources, content marketers develop the tone of voice needed to become a sought-after resource in their respective area.

    Sadly, we see far more examples of companies being good at one or the other. The goal must be to become good at one and the other.


    • rachelfoster

      Hi Ronell,

      Thank you for leaving a comment! Yes, that’s a great reason why it’s so important to both create original content and curate other’s content. I take Pilates classes, and my instructors always talk about strengthening your core. This is like strengthening your content marketing ‘core’.


  • Carl Friesen

    Curation is particularly important if you’re in a niche market. If you can become the go-to source on your tightly-focused area of concern and expertise, you’ll attract loyalty from other people in that area. You help build a community. Any thoughts on how to search for niche content to curate — keywords, sure, but what else?

  • Jody Pellerin

    Curating the best content can be as time consuming as producing original content. You need to have the time to look at the news and studies to be able to put together the right mix.

    • rachelfoster

      Hi Jody,

      Great point! I think that’s why lots of people would rather create their own content than curate content. There are some tools that make it easier to find relevant content to curate. I’ve included a link to a list of some of them in an earlier comment.


  • ‘TC’ Teresa Clark

    Hey Rachel,

    This is a superb article and I really enjoyed reading it! I completely agree with you that we have to engage our customers throughout the entire sales process through our content. Here is what I like to do when creating content that engages my readers and customers, and potential customers.

    I engage people without making them feel as if they are being sold. Whenever we feel like we are being sold we head to what many call ‘the lizard brain.’ This makes people feel suspicious and responsible for watching for danger and confrontation. Instead we must get people into the buying part of their brains. If we are in buying mode we are more inclined to ask, for instance, “Does this come in my size? ” and stick to the salesperson eagerly. I call this part of my brain ‘my purring kitty.’

    Thanks again for a great read,
    ‘TC’ Teresa Clark

    • rachelfoster

      Hi Teresa,

      Thank you for the comment! It’s so true that people tune out when they sense that you’re trying to sell to them. That’s the magic of content marketing – you can engage customers without coming off as sleazy or pushy.

      I like the ‘lizard brain’ and ‘purring kitty’ expressions. I have a purring kitty on my desk right now. I better pay attention to him before he walks on my keyboard and adds his own ‘comments’ to this post!