Curation adds value. Marketing does not add value.
Many content curation startups, and many of the people using curation tools will probably not like what I have written in this article, but I have a hard time behaving as if I couldn’t see a cardboard façade that’s been sold for a real destination.
Content Curation has been hijacked and has been sold as a cheap and easy solution for content marketers plagued by the growing problem of getting greater attention from their readers and therefore of how to produce more quality content within tighter and tighter time constraints.
The façade is the promotion of the idea that by “adopting” content curation tools and “techniques” (like picking, selecting and showcasing “best of content” to others) you can actually rapidly gain the same benefits and rewards that true, highly reputable curators and experts in any field have conquered after years of hard work.
Worse yet, if you confront content marketers with the idea that what they are encouraging people to do, does in fact create more “noise” and confusion than we already have, content marketers will counter with statistical data demonstrating that this “curation strategy” does indeed pay off and also within relative short times.
What these people miss to see is that you can’t really fake what makes a great curator great. You can pick and post lots of stuff, you can share and report to all the channels you want, but the ability and patience to truly vet, verify, unearth and illustrate why something is of value, is just another thing. And anyone who has eyes and time to check, can easily see that.
Once the early curation fad is gone, and once there are millions more people reposting stuff they haven’t even read, those who will have patiently spent this time to truly gather, vet, collect, organize, contextualize and illustrate unique documents, information and resources, will instantly become the go-to reference points in their information niche.
Morale of the story: You can reach the top on mountain Everest step by step as much as someone else can get there by helicopter. Both of you see the same view and stand on the same ground, apparently, but what you can bring back and share with others is immensely greater than what the other guy can.
Content curation startups and content marketers promoting the use of content curation should highlight, model and exemplify what true, value-adding curation is and guide their adopters to create more value rather than more, shortly lived, noise.
Content marketing can only benefit from content curation, once it realizes that curation is not a technique that can be adopted or an add-on. Content curation requires a true interest on the part of the curator to uncover, highlight and contextualize high value resources that would otherwise go unnoticed or unappreciated. Otherwise he is wasting not only his time and ours, but also diluting, often forever, his reputation as a trustable source.
Reading time: 8′
Suggested readings: Content Curation Guide