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Curated Content vs UGC: Aren’t They The Same Thing?

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You're looking on your company's social media for any mentions of people using your product or service, and you come across some customers posting about how much they love you. 

So you hit the reshare button! 

Is that curated or user-generated…. Or a little of both? 

While both curated and UGC are relevant, third-party pieces of content, what distinguishes the two comes down to the intent and goals of the content. 

The internet has made it possible for anyone to create, share and distribute information to a global audience, so defining the terms "curated content" and "user-generated content" (UGC) has become increasingly important. 

Here at UpContent, we use both curated and UGC in our content mix, and we have helped hundreds of other individuals and businesses determine if curation is the right ingredient to add to their content mix.

In this article, we're going to define curated content and UGC, discuss both advantages and disadvantages, and which strategy you should implement.

What is Curated Content?

Curated content refers to relevant third-party content that is carefully selected, organized, and presented with the intent of education or thought leadership. 

Sharing content created by experts in your field helps build your credibility as a business and brand by demonstrating that you're not the only one who thinks the way you do.

Curated content can come in many forms, but most commonly, people curate blogs and articles, but you can curate videos, images, and graphics as long as you properly attribute them. 

A good example of curated content would be a camping store that sells high-quality gear, clothing, and camping necessities sharing content created by the National Park Service about great ways to leave no trace while hiking. 

That demonstrates thought leadership and helps build your credibility as a brand much more than if the store had tried to write it themselves.

What is User Generated Content?

On the other hand, user-generated content is created by individuals or a community and reflects a wider range of opinions, experiences, and perspectives.

This type of content can take many forms, including text, images, videos, and audio. UGC reflects a broader range of opinions and experiences, making it a powerful tool for engagement and marketing. 

Continuing with our camp store analogy, some great UGC would be pictures or videos of customers using the gear while in the wild, customers giving their reviews on YouTube, or even hiring an "influencer" to share their thoughts and opinions about your products in hopes of reaching their followers. 

Advantages of Curated Content

One of the most significant advantages of using curated content is deepening the trust with your audience by establishing your credibility using content created by other leaders in your industry.

By being willing to share third-party content, you're demonstrating that you are willing to let someone else be the expert and that you stay on top of industry news and trends.

Another advantage of curated content is the higher level of professionalism and expertise. 

Curated content is often produced by individuals or organizations with specialized knowledge and experience in their field, resulting in a level of professionalism and expertise that is not usually found in UGC.

Advantages of User-Generated Content

User-generated content has several advantages as well. 

Authenticity and real-world perspectives are some of the best advantages.

UGC is created by individuals who use or have used the product or service and have personal perspectives on the topics they are discussing. 

This makes it a valuable source of information for audiences looking for real-world experiences and insights.

Another advantage of UGC is inclusiveness and diversity of experiences and opinions. 

UGC allows for a broader range of perspectives and experiences to be shared and represented, making it a more inclusive source of information.

Finally, UGC can be a powerful tool for marketing and engagement. 

By encouraging users to create and share content, businesses, and brands can build brand loyalty and increase customer engagement.

Disadvantages of Curated Content

If you're exclusively curating content and not adding in a mix of created content, you're cutting off your own voice.

While amplifying what others are saying is a trust builder, it's to help people trust what you are saying.

That means you have to create and share your expertise and use curated content to help support what you're saying.

Another disadvantage of curated content is a lack of genuine and authentic experiences. 

Because curated content is created by a third-party source, it can lack the personal touch and real-world experiences that are found in UGC that you would typically put into your own work.

Disadvantages of User-Generated Content

Despite its advantages, UGC also has several disadvantages. One of the main disadvantages is the lack of quality assurance and control. 

UGC is often created by individuals who may not have the same level of expertise or knowledge as professionals. This can result in unreliable and inconsistent information that is only suitable for some audiences.

You also won't accomplish building credibility as a thought leader with a UGC strategy.

Because there's no credibility there, right? 

Because it's everyday people posting in an everyday format, there needs to be more authority or expertise being presented. 

So just because you're posting pictures of you with your new camping gear in the woods doesn't mean you are the expert on all things camping. 

It just shows me that you're out there, but I need to find out if you have ever camped before!

So Which Should You Choose? Curated or UGC?

UGC is best suited for B2C companies, and curated content is better for B2B companies, but there are plenty of exceptions to that rule.

For example, our camping store we have been talking about! Sharing helpful curated articles about camping, hiking, nature, environmentalism, etc., can help develop your company's brand and build credibility.

Meanwhile, suppose you're a B2B company like us here at UpContent. 

In that case, our employees and partners will share photos working remotely, conferences we attend, and webinars that are pertinent to what we do and tag UpContent in the process, which helps bring personality and life to our SaaS company.

When it comes to choosing which type of content is right for you, you need to determine what your goal is.

What are you trying to achieve with your content? What's most important for you right now? 

Because the easy answer is you should do both, right? 

But it's hard to get quality UGC all the time if you're a smaller company, even harder in the B2B world.

If your goal is for your company or team to look like they know what they're talking about, are aware of what's happening around them, and understand the challenges that your clients or our customers are facing, UGC is not going to solve that But content curation would.

Next Steps To Choosing Curated or User-Generated Content

Both curated content and UGC have advantages and disadvantages, and the choice between them will depend on the content's goals, target audience, and purpose. 

B2B and B2C organizations can leverage curated and user-generated content well, but for somewhat different goals.

While curated content is a reliable and professional source of information, it can lack the authenticity and diversity of perspectives found in UGC. 

On the other hand, UGC can provide real-world perspectives and engagement, but it can also be unreliable and lack a professional presentation.

The best possible answer would be combining a mix of the two to maximize the benefits and minimize the drawbacks to build your credibility and personality as a business or brand.n

If you're interested in using curated content in your social media strategy, sign up for a free 14-day trial of UpContent to easily begin curating content, or you can schedule a call with one of our Content Curation Experts to help find the best path for you.

If you want to learn more about how curated content can increase your thought leadership, check out some of these other articles!

Become a Better Thought Leader in 2023 with Curated Content

Seven Ways To Use Curated Content

Created Content vs. Curated Content: Which One Is Right For You?

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