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Why Content Curation May Not Be Right For You

This is it.


Content curation is going to solve all of the content problems.

I hate to break it to you, but content curation solving your content marketing problems is as mythical as the actual holy grail itself.

I know. There’s no “easy” way to build thought leadership and credibility, especially now that anyone can create content with a few prompts into an AI bot.

But that doesn’t mean there aren’t tools and strategies to make the task easier, and that’s what we try to help with here at UpContent. 

Curated content is great for organizations that want to ensure that their prospects, current customers, or clients are equipped with the knowledge they need about the problems they seek to address and the solutions being offered.

It can help widen your and your audience’s perspectives on how they should approach finding a solution and, thereby, better understanding how you can solve it.

But that doesn’t mean a content curation strategy is right for everyone.

We have helped hundreds of companies and the teams within them curate content for their audiences for more than five years, and we have found (as with most things) that the approach to leveraging curation as part of your strategy is critical in its likelihood of success. 

In this article, we’ll summarize five approaches to curation that rarely succeed and what it takes to make content curation work for you.

#1: The Short-Cut Person

This person is trying to find some sort of silver bullet so you don’t have to create all of your own content anymore.

This person is looking for a pool of content that automatically brings in high traffic, quality leads, and all the revenue.

In reality, whatever content you share with this mindset probably adds to the digital noise we are all plagued with.

There is no outright replacement for created content. No matter how you create your content mix, a successful content marketing strategy must include content creation. 

Perhaps even more important when you do add curated content to your strategy is to ensure you don’t fall into the trap of purely aggregating. 

Content curation is the process of choosing relevant, high-value content that will help your readers while demonstrating that you are continuing to educate yourself and keep tabs on the pulse of your industry. 

People will remember who shared the content more than the publisher, so if you’re ensuring you’re only sharing good content, whether it’s your original or curated, people will continue to turn to you as a resource.

But this thought leadership status doesn’t just come overnight; it takes time, consistency, and strategy.

#2: Impulse Industries

Let’s say I want to buy a new lamp.

Most of the time, I don’t need to go and read a bunch of curated content about lamps; I can go and look at lamps, get a recommendation from a friend, and decide which one I like.

I’ll read reviews of the lamp, but I won’t read some articles about the history of lamps as that doesn’t help me choose a lamp.

I already know I love lamps.

I know I need a lamp. I searched for a lamp, and I’m trying to find an e-commerce site that can sell me a lamp. End of the customer journey.

So what we call “impulse industries” are usually e-commerce companies that generate more impulse buying.

These are going to usually be B2C companies that are selling products at a lower price point that don’t need much consideration, education, or knowledge beyond reviews for your buyers to make a purchase.

There is an exception, though, lifestyle brands. 

If you’re trying to develop your brand by sharing about a cause you care a lot about, i.e., sustainability, nature, giving back, etc., these are great topics to curate content around. 

#3: Website Prison Guard

You know those websites you visit and when you try to leave, there is pop up after pop-up asking if you’re really ready to go, offering you a discount if you make a purchase now, asking you to subscribe for email updates, and still don’t let you out of the website?

The Labyrinth website peeps.

These are people who don’t believe a prospect should go anywhere else; stay on your site until they buy your product.

The idea of sending someone away from your site to read an article you curated either makes them curl up in terror or isn’t even an option in their mind.

Sharing third-party content will require you to let someone else share their thoughts, expertise, and opinions, and that isn’t something every brand is willing to let happen.

#4: Insecure Advertiser

The insecure advertiser is a close relative to the website prison guard, but they are more scared of a prospect seeing something about a competitor.

“I can’t share something from a third-party site because what if they see a competitor ad? Then they’ll learn that there’s a competitor or another option beyond just me to provide that service.”

Curated content is probably not a good fit if you’re that insecure about your solution when side by side with a competitor. 

Research consistently shows that the more educated your buyer is when making the decision, the more satisfied they will be with their choice, and the more likely they will be to refer others. 

No one likes that realization after their purchase that there was another option they didn’t consider. 

Help your prospects avoid this by guiding their decision process rather than forcing them through your funnel. 

#5: Old School Marketer

Last but not least, our classic marketing friends.

These people are probably in the camp of “If it was good enough to create, I would have created it myself.”

Solely focusing on created content to fuel inbound marketing and not diversifying your content is traditional in marketing strategies now.

You have probably built your company’s brand with your awesome content, so why would you share someone else’s content when yours has worked in the past?

Content curation in an old-school marketing strategy is gonna fit as well as a square peg in a round hole. 

So if you think you’re the only one who can create good content for your audience, then content curation won’t work for you - but please take the time to assess whether that statement is really true.

The common thread among these

The common thread we have seen amongst people that content curation hasn’t been a good fit is that they don’t want anyone else talking for them. 

Whether you don’t feel like you have control over the messaging, if someone might learn about a competitor, or if it’s just not something with your branding on it, curated content isn’t the best solution for your digital marketing efforts. 

But the reality is that in 2023 (and beyond), it’s not feasible to be the only voice someone hears - and today’s customers demand hearing from others before making their decision. 

People have access to infinite information on the internet from devices they hold in their hands for more hours than not. 

You're fighting a losing battle if you’re trying to keep people away from the information.

That’s where utilizing a strategy like content curation comes in: instead of fighting the current of information, flow with it, and direct it to support your goals best. 

Next Steps To Making Content Curation The Right Choice For You

Instead of asking your prospects to go and find the information they need themselves, you can implement a content curation strategy that shows you’re happy to help them find the information for them and deliver it to them in an easy and organized way.

Content curation is effective when done well, but it will never be a silver bullet where you push a few buttons, pay a few dollars, and BOOM, everybody loves you.

But the peeps that content curation fits best are organizations that believe in the need for their customers to be fully aware of the options out there to make the best decision for themselves.

^^^That’s where curation can be extremely powerful, significantly cost-effective, and highly scalable.

If you’re one of those people, we would love to learn more about how you’d like to leverage third-party content in your strategy!

Or, if you’d like to learn more about how content curation can help you become the credible thought leader you want to be, check out some of these other articles!