Content Curation’s Role is Shifting: Our 2018 Predictions

January 18, 2018

We do a lot of listening at UpContent. It is a core element of who we are.

Listening to our customers, listening to our partners, and listening to the conversations occurring around us. This listening has resulted in a great deal of internal conversation, and culminated in a reflection of how we approach the task of curating content.

One of our proudest accomplishments as we have worked to provide you a solution that evidences our listening, is our interaction with you, the community of UpContent users. We hope that this sharing our our internal reflections will spark a desire to share your perspective as well.

2018 Content Curation Predictions

Curation is Given a “Seat at the Table”

The concept of curation is certainly not new, but given the exponential increase in digital “noise” and in a customer’s ability to near-subconsciously weed out unauthentic or “salesy” content, curation is undergoing a renaissance of sorts.

Since diving into this problem in early 2015, we have seen our customer’s perspective on content curation evolve:

  • 2015: Curation is an activity used to “fill out the social media posting calendar,”
  • 2016: Curation is an effort taken by different individuals in organizational silos to solve their specific goals (e.g. informing original content, supporting their sales pitch, engaging with their target audience),
  • 2017: Curation is a strategic pillar of their organization’s macro digital marketing, social selling, or professional development strategies requiring collaboration and insight from teammates in multiple departments.

In all cases, the fostering of trust, comfort, and credibility with their desired prospects through the act finding and sharing articles has become an irreplaceable complement to your original content development efforts.

All the Noise, Noise, Noise

In 2010, Andrew Smith posed the thought that the volume of information now at our fingertips will result in overconsumption and, to protect ourselves from this noise, we will rely upon, “trusted people, media, and brands to bring us only the ‘nutritious’ information–and filter out the fat.”

It seems that throughout 2017, Smith’s words have never rung truer. Today’s customer yearns for content to help educate themselves on their current challenges rather than sales collateral that touts features and benefits, but becomes quickly exhausted in their search and, nearly half the time, gives up entirely.

Many marketers and sales professionals have become inundated themselves by the content being produced. As a result, they experience difficulty in discovering content that is relevant, underground, and aligned with their brand messaging, making it no longer effective to curate in a fully manual (or fully automated, for that matter) fashion. This calls for an infusion of both automated and manual activities into the curation workflow in order to see value in these efforts.

Aggregation becomes a blunt tool for both the provider and the consumer

We, as content consumers, are getting smarter. Prior tactics of stuffing a publisher’s RSS feed and sharing each new item presented with the hope of engaging via email, social media, or even on one’s website have long fallen by the wayside. Additionally, the act of purely being a combiner of articles for various sources into a single stream has grown to have an appeal similar to an “all-you-can-eat” buffet. Sure, there is value to be had, but you certainly have to work for it by trudging through the content muck yourself. Yes, these fully automated methods require nearly no time investment, but are often met with a similar level of return.

This is not to say that automation has no place in the curation process–quite the contrary–but it is important (as in all things), to leverage technology where there is a comparative advantage to manual execution. Facilitating the discovery and initial screening of relevant content via technology has proven to be quite effective–and often necessary to make curation possible.

By automating discovery, curators are empowered to dedicate the time needed to bring together articles in such a way that their very combination provides the reader insight into the curator’s expertise and perspective. (Click to Tweet)

Further, by providing this information in such a way, the curator positions themselves as an indispensable resource to those whose interests align and allows for a level of trust and acceptance upon which a lasting relationship can be formed. Forming such a connection with an automated system (even if possible) would rarely translate well to your sales process.

Forecast for 2018: Curation, Creation, and Collaboration Fuse, but don’t Consolidate

As we look ahead to 2018, content curation appears that it will share some of the common threads being experienced by marketing technologies as a whole:

  1. Automation finds its comparative advantage in curation as the use of automated systems will become relegated to only those areas where technology can outperform the “human touch” with regard to impact rather than just speed.
  2. Collaboration and “distributed systems” will become the “theme of the year” as traditional siloes continue to merge–providing a level of comfort and congruence throughout the entirely of the customer’s relationship with the organization.
  3. Marketing technologies will begin to place a higher value in their own specialization and, rather than building duplicative solutions, seek out partners that fill these gaps, allow for the customer workflow to be completed without friction, and further enable the core differentiators of their own solution to be highlighted.

Combined, the achievement of these three predictions removes friction in both the discovery and distribution aspects of curation. The result? Greater resources can be placed in ensuring the curated set of articles convey a unique, and valuable, perspective to the reader and the ability to leverage this perspective across an array of digital mediums (e.g. social media, email, and your website).

How has your/your team’s approach to curated content evolved? What challenges do you see in maximizing the impact of these efforts in 2018?

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