Content Curation

Is Content Curation the End or the Beginning of your Marketing Strategy?

At Content Marketing World last week, there was a lot of talk centered around content creation and curation , which are often presented as the two basic paths any content marketer can pursue. The mere fact that these are often positioned as mutually exclusive choices (Google “curation vs. creation” and see what I mean) highlights the fact that the prevailing wisdom amongst many content marketers is that these are two distinct “strategies” to achieve the same goals. 

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Really good content curation is very difficult. This great piece makes the case that it is at least as hard and creative as writing original blog articles. With so much content out there, having an “eye” to discover the best and the writing ability to create a narrative or story for your audience is a real skill.

I think that after working on curation for a while, you gain some experience writing regularly.  Even if it just a short reaction to each piece, you are starting to express yourself on a regular basis.  Its only natural then to write a little longer discussion on some of your curated items that really peak your interest.  After a few of these, it is not a long step to write some of your own content, maybe a review of some of the best articles and how they affect your industry or niche.

This slow expansion and regular writing eventually leads to a turning point for most of us.  We can continue to focus on curation, and try to get even better at it.  Or we can start to focus on creating more of our own content, and continue with curation as a part of our process.

I think most people will find that writing their own content becomes a little easier than being a really good curator.  Its easier to begin communicating your own ideas and opinions.  Its really hard to weave a story out of a lot of different content.

If you go down the path of beginning to write more of your own content, curation doesn’t just stop.  You should keep up the discipline of reviewing the articles and content from MyCurator on a regular basis.  You will find that keeping up with this content will provide inspiration and new ideas for your own writing.  And continuing to highlight the best of the web in your field demonstrates your authority as someone who is focused on bringing value to your clients or subscribers.  As this article points out, you may not be the top curator, in the sense of a museum curator, but you may be a curation docent:

I think being an excellent content curator is every bit as creative and demanding as being an excellent content creator, and that’s why there are comparatively few of either. Still, there is also value in being what I would call a content docent—not quite a curator in the sense of crafting a cohesive narrative, but they at least know the layout of the museum, and the provenance of the various artifacts.


To be an effective content docent is to know the landscape of the content you are sharing—to understand what existing work a piece of content supercedes, or borrows from, and which works push the field forward. Increasingly, this will require the content docent to specialize more and more, as the tonnage of content grows. And the learned skill (through pattern recognition) that both the content curator and the content docent must share is the ability to discriminate. This is not a bad word, when it comes to content. The opposite is to be indiscriminate, and that’s no service to your audience.