By this point, content curation is a widely adopted term, but what exactly does it entail? How does it fit into a content marketing strategy, and how effective is it, really?

imagecredit: SimonBlog

In this 2-part series I’ll provide notations on curation — first laying out the case for why it’s a great opportunity for those prepared to do it well, and then providing examples on how to do just that (including our process at OpenView).

Though not really a new concept, with an unprecedented abundance of new content being made available every day, the role of curation is arguably more important than ever. Not only does it provide individuals with a welcome gateway and filtering service, it can also provide significant added value to those who offer that service, as well.

The Case for Curation

In my first post for OpenView, I discussed the importance of connecting directly with your customers in an age when there’s no lack of competitors vying for their attention. One of the best ways to do so is by engaging them with compelling original content geared toward their interests and needs. But for marketers with time and resource constraints, and for companies that perhaps don’t have an effective content marketing strategy in place, content curation can be an easy and efficient way for them to dip their toe into the content marketing pool, and get in the habit of interacting with their customers in ways that are meaningful and rewarding — for both parties involved.

Two Misconceptions: Those Who Can’t Create Curate and You’re the Only Person with Something Original to Say

At its best, content curation is a far cry from what we might refer to as content regurgitation. A simple list of links it’s not. The best curators bring value to their audience by combing through a plethora of content to provide them with the best of the best, providing summaries of that information in order to make it as easily discoverable and digestible as possible. On top of that, they add their own individual take and perspective, utilizing their familiarity with their audience’s interests and needs to establish why the content is relevant and applicable to them.

In that sense, another way to think about content curation is comparing it to networking. Not only can it help members of an audience engage in a larger conversation by connecting them with the latest ideas and innovative leaders in their field, it can also connect them — through comment fields, etc. — with each other.

That means by taking content curation seriously you can provide your target audience with immediate, accessible value. And since one good deed deserves another, in turn, you’ll quickly find that curation can generate internal value for your company, as well.

Curate It, and They Will Come

While pointing visitors to your website elsewhere might seem counterproductive at first, reliably directing them to quality content that both helps and informs them can in fact help to establish your company (and individual employees within your company) as a trusted resource and thought leader in your industry. In other words, it can help build your brand.

And since every curated post provides you with the opportunity to improve your SEO, over time, curation can actually drive more visitors to your company’s website. While they’re visiting, there’s also no reason not to promote and direct them to original content of your own, especially when it ties in to the topic of the article you’re curating. Establishing a template to include links to internally generated “further reading” or “related content” at the bottom of your posts is a good practice that can provide your audience with additional information while also driving traffic to other content on your site.

Curation As Education — It’s a Two-Way Street

Through my own involvement with OpenView’s content curation efforts, I’ve experienced another added benefit of curation, directly — I’ve learned more about the topics I’m connecting our audience to. Since taking over editorial oversight of our Daily Summary Articles, I’ve been exposed to a wide variety of information and strategies pertaining to expansion stage technology companies that I wasn’t familiar with — on topics like lead generation and qualification, recruiting, product design and launch, market aspirations and strategy, and corporate development.

For marketers, curation can be a great way to get up-to-speed on their company’s focus areas, no matter how technical or specialized. It’s also a way of quickly determining key influencers in the industry they should engage with.

Now that you’re sold on the case for curation, the next step is addressing how best to get started or improve on your existing content curation procedure. That’s what I’ll be addressing next week, providing a detailed run-down of our process at OpenView as well as a list of curation tools from around the web.