Content Curation as Thought Leadership

Collecting and re-using content from third parties is emerging as a critical marketing strategy to inform and engage customers and stakeholders.As the amount of information available on the Web and other sources has exploded, marketers have turned to "content curation" as a strategy to demonstrate thought leadership and elevate brand visibility. 

Content curation involves collecting and repurposing for your target audience articles, charts, infographs and images posted online by third parties.

A study of 400 professional marketers conducted in March 2012 by Curata, an online content curation provider, shows 85 percent of marketers believe effective content curation establishes thought leadership and elevates brand visibility and buzz. That is up from 79 percent in 2011, the first year Curata conducted its research.

The idea of gathering and packaging information to fit the needs and tastes of a particular audience is hardly new. That, in effect, is what news outlets have been doing for a long time. Newspapers combine local reporting by their staff with stories and photos produced by other newspapers such as The New York Times or The Washington Post and wire services such as The Associated Press

The Huffington Post goes even further on what news outlets call content aggregation. The digital publication posts an array of editions drawing on contributions from as many as 9,000 bloggers and columnists on topics such as medicine, business and sex.

Marketers increasingly face the daunting challenge of keeping track of and communicating through an expanding number of channels. One way to maintain brand awareness is to provide customers with information of value. However, busy marketers don't have the time to research and write original content. That's where content curation comes into play.

Nearly three-quarters of the marketers surveyed by Curata said they have one or more staff persons dedicated to developing marketing content. But because of time pressures, virtually the same percentage is curating content from third parties. More than half of the marketing respondents said finding quality content relevant to their audiences is becoming an even greater challenge.

Social media, according to the Curata survey, is the preferred channel to locate online content. But marketers also sniff out articles in e-letters and other communications

Just as readers want the news and audiences at comedy clubs want jokes, consumers want — and often need — reliable sources of information. Delivering reliable information can enhance a brand and increase brand loyalty.

The absolute best approach is to produce original content, reflecting your thoughts, philosophies and experiences. The next best idea is to combine your original work with a curated collection of quality, relevant information.

You can create a beast that needs constant feeding. But it is a beast worth having around.

The content curation process gathers information from multiple sources, organizes it to fit the needs of a target audience, then shares it with that audience. (Credit: Curata)