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Why Content Curation Could be the Best Marketing Idea in 2011


It's widely accepted that creating compelling and relevant content and publishing it on a consistent basis can lead to a bevy of benefits for the digital marketer. Namely, increased traffic, links, SEO authority, leads, thought leadership status and sales growth.

"Content is King," we hear. And creating content is at the center of any inbound marketing plan. SEO you might say begins and ends with content; without it we'd have no reason to search. Blogs and podcasts tell us 2011 is the year of content marketing.

How do marketers deal with the mantra of creating more and more content? ContentWise reports over $47 billion was spent on content curation and publishing in 2009. A new study (published Sept. 2010) by MarketingProfs and Junta42 named, B2B Content Marketing 2010 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends found, among other things:

  • 9 in 10 B2B organizations market with content
  • 51% report they plan to increase spending on content marketing
  • More than a quarter of their marketing budget, on average is spent on content marketing

A blizzard of snow and content!With modern web technologies everyone can be a content creator and publisher. This onslaught of content gives consumers more choices than ever. More, it could be argued than they know what to do with making it increasingly difficult to find the best content for a specific interest or need. We're finding ourselves in content white-out conditions. There's an ever rising amount of it.

For companies who are content creators and publishers, it's getting increasingly more challenging to get found - to rise to the top of search. Not only that, but add to this the flood of activity around content creating and sharing enabled by social media:

"It's a well-known fact that the game has changed forever when it comes to interacting with customers and prospects. While the Internet has proved an invaluable tool for the rapid sharing of information, the deluge of online content driven by new social media channels continues to grow at an ever increasing and relentless pace," writes Pawan Deshpande, CEO of HiveFire in the ebook: Content Curation: Taming the Flood of Online Content.

So, where does that leave us? If content creation, publishing and marketing is so very important (and it is) how can marketers stand out in this blizzard, and how can consumers/information seekers deal with finding the best, most relevant content that meets their needs? Enter Content Curation.

Content Curation Rising

Rohit Bhargava, a highly-regarded global marketing strategist and founding member of the 360 Digital Influence Group at Ogilvy, one of the largest marketing agencies in the world, recently published: 15 Marketing & Social Media Trends to Watch in 2011 on SlideShare. Take note of Trend #5: Rise of Curation.

"One way, suggests Bhargava, "to deal with the vast amount of information out there is through content curation. I wrote back in 2009 about how I felt the Content Curator would be the next big job of the future. In 2010, this started to become a reality as more companies hired people in these types of roles."

I'll explain a bit more about what content curation is, (or at least how I'm beginning to understand it) but think of it as both a tool and a process - something that may involve both technology and humans to pull off. It can be highly effective for harnessing the best information possible across a vast array of sources while adding credible and actionable insights in an impactful and interactive way. As again, Pawan Deshpande points out in the aforementioned ebook:

"Content curation has emerged as a new and powerful tool for B2B marketers, allowing them to easily sift through the flood of content, cost-effectively advance online thought leadership, and drive business through new and innovative customer interactions."

Content Curation Defined

How do you define content curation? There are some interesting perspectives on the definition of content curation from a number of marketers and strategists as assembled by Lee Odden of Top Rank Online Marketing in his post titled Content Marketing: Definitions of Curation & Context. My favorite is from MarketingProf's Chief Content Officer, Ann Handley who puts it this way:

"Content curation is the act of continually identifying, selecting and sharing the best and most relevant online content and other online resources (and by that I mean articles, blog posts, videos, photos, tools, tweets, or whatever) on a specific subject to match the needs of a specific audience."

Now Hiring: Content Curators!

snowman maker and content curatorWhat we need it seems, are curators amidst the blizzard of content. To gather, shape, and put it to use in a much more benefical way. Somewhat like the pair to the left has done amidst the Snowmageddon of 2010 in Minneapolis! You may view, and rightly so I believe, content curation as an emerging category in the overall content marketing game. As such, we may envision any number of roles. Certainly there will be content creators and thought leaders to provide their insights and to advance a particular point of view. They will continue to create original content supplemented with the curated content. And someone will annotate, editorialize, comment on and put into perspective for us what the curated content means. 


The Content Curation Process - Below diagram from a recent American Marketing Association webcast presented by HiveFire CEO Pawan Deshpande and joined by Chris Brogan, President, New Marketing Labs on: Content Curation: The Secret to becoming a Thought Leader.

Content Curation Diagram from

"A Content Curator is someone who continually finds, groups, organizes and shares the best and most relevant content on a specific issue online." - Rohit Bhargava

And yes, there are solutions, like HiveFire's Curata that help automate the curation and organization of content that's most relevant and useful to a particular audience. What's more, they provide blogging functionality for creating original content, sharing, visitor engagement and more, all in one platform or destination/microsite. I'll talk more, in upcoming articles about how solutions like Curata have helped companies like Airvana, Verne Global and others leverage content curation technology to boost not only SEO, traffic, leads, inbound PR and keyword rankings but thought leadership as well - in a short amount of time - amidst the flood of industry created content and tight marketing budgets.

While automation can be a key component to success with content curation, so too is human invovlement. Like C.C Chapman and Ann Handley wrote in their book, Content Rules: "You still need a human at the helm."

So, whether we employ a content curator to pull in, shape and help advance the company's voice over a particular subject, or we involve multiple folks, the point is: the content we're creating and curating must mean something to our audience. At the end of the day, we want, no need someone to help us understand what it means, what it means to us and how to best act on it.

Content Curation Marketing: Just Scratching the Surface

You no doubt have questions, opinions, interests, concerns over content curation marketing and what it might mean to your organization and content marketing plan. In the weeks ahead I'll discuss more specifics about the practice and place for content curation. With more about the tools and processes involved and share some case studies, real-world examples of content curation at work driving real business results. I'll help you determine whether content curation is for you, and will make a case for how content curation can be your ticket to becoming a recognized thought leader for advancing your brand or particular business opportunity.

For now, your questions/comments are welcome.



Great overview of curation. Curation is particularly relevant for B2B organizations, because the need for content for marketers is so crucial, and the need for education for customers during the buy cycle is too. 
Here's another person to follow who really gets curation: Steve Rosenbaum. Steve is releasing his book later this year called: "Curation Nation: How to Win in A World Where Consumers are Creators"
Posted @ Wednesday, January 05, 2011 10:39 AM by Pawan Deshpande
Great post. Curation is very much talked about these days - and it deserves it; very interesting to read an articulated business perspective to it. Many thanks! 
I would comment on the otherwise excellent definition: "Content curation is the act of continually identifying, selecting and sharing the best and most relevant online content (...) on a specific subject to match the needs of a specific audience". 
I think the curator indeed selects and shares, but can also "augment" the content by providing a context, a perspective, a summary, a specific light. A value which, ultimately, only a human being can add; even if, indeed, tools and algorithm can help in the process. 
(disc: I'm the president of, a publish-by-curation service)
Posted @ Wednesday, January 05, 2011 10:51 AM by Marc Rougier
@Pawan - Thanks for your emphasis on content curation with B2B organizations. Especially important I feel in advancing thought leadership around a specific topic of interest.  
Also appreciate the mention of Steve and his upcoming book. Sounds like a great topic! 
Posted @ Wednesday, January 05, 2011 12:04 PM by Greg Elwell
@Marc - Great to have your comments here and totally agree with the role the curator can play in augmenting as you say the content - well said! 
I also love the concept and what you're doing with Best wishes for great success! 
Posted @ Wednesday, January 05, 2011 12:16 PM by Greg Elwell
Post is right on target. There are at least ten companies that have entered this space in the last three years...and this doesn't include those that really are "personal curation" tools like blekko,, and many others. For B2B marketers there are a range of incredible options. Will publish an evaluation framework for this area later this month for Patricia Seybold Group.
Posted @ Thursday, January 06, 2011 7:04 AM by Sue McKittrick
@Sue - Thanks for the validation and distinction between personal and business/B2B curation.  
Looking forward to what you'll add to better understanding the options available for doing the work of curation. Greg
Posted @ Thursday, January 06, 2011 9:57 AM by Greg Elwell
Great overview, thank you! I just created an infografic how companies and organisations could benefit from curating content and news. It's designed for our plattform mytweetmag but the process can probably be realized with other tools, too.
Posted @ Tuesday, March 01, 2011 10:21 PM by sebastian
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