Content marketing is powerful, but with blogging, article marketing, content curation and more, there are tons of options to consider. How do you know what’s right for your business?

The biggest choice in content marketing is content curation versus content creation. Many successful businesses depend completely on one model or the other, but most use a mix. Why?

Because content curation and content creation have vastly different goals.

Step 1: Determine Your Content Marketing Goals

Computer Video Game ControllerCurating content is all about becoming a trustworthy, reliable resource of high-quality, cutting-edge information that your readers and customers can depend on. You do that by cutting through all the crap online to find and share the very best resources for your readers.

Creating content is about becoming a thought leader and demonstrating your expertise and authority. You do that by creating and delivering the very best resources you can, content so full of value you could almost sell it.

Think about your content marketing goals for a minute. Which content model most closely matches your goals?

Of course every business wants to combine the goals stated above and be perceived as a trustworthy, reliable, expert thought leader ─ and the best businesses are all those things. One of the ways they achieve that is by using the right combination of both content curation and content creation.

So the real question isn’t if you should use one or the other, but how much of each should you incorporate in your content marketing strategy.

Step 2: Fine-Tune the Combination

Proactive And Reactive Keys Show Initiative And ImprovementThe content type that most closely matches your goals will make up the majority of your content marketing. But what is that number ─ straight down the middle? 75%? 90%? How do you know?

Because content curation is the careful collecting of valuable resources in one place, when you curate you are reacting and responding to what others are doing.

On the other hand, when you create original content, you are being proactive and inviting others to see what you’ve created.

Think for a minute: do you want your content marketing to be more responsive or proactive? The answer to that question can help you figure out exactly how much of your content marketing strategy should be devoted to curation and creation.

Some industries are inherently more responsive and reactionary, where the big names in the field focus on newsjacking and trending topics. In these fields, you can use the tendency toward content curation to your advantage, or you can try to stand out from the crowd by using a higher percentage of content creation in your strategy.

The same is true in fields that value proactivity and originality: use it to your advantage or do the opposite of what’s popular to stand out.

Step 3: Match Your Content Mix to Your Channels

The amount of original content, curated content, and other content types you use will vary widely depending on your online marketing channels and goals. This article from IdealWare shows how content marketing mixes might vary from channel to channel.

If you’re having trouble figuring out your content curation vs. content creation mix, here are a few rules of thumb to keep in mind:

  • focus most of your creation efforts on channels you own (e.g., website, blog, etc.)
  • on non-owned channels where creation is necessary (i.e. YouTube), only use the channels that deliver a high ROI on your original content
  • include a high percentage of relationship-building content along with curated and created content on social channels such as Twitter and Facebook

Success Story

Have you found the perfect mix for your content creation strategy, or know someone who has? Please share your experience in the comments to help other small businesses get it right!