I've read quite a bit lately about the suggestion that marketers become content curators in lieu of developing content of their own. If you have a strategy for integrating this content with your storyline this can be effective. However, in my opinion, too much reliance on other people's content can diminish your prospects' preference for your company as a solution provider.
People go through a process when deciding whether or not to engage:
First, the content has to catch their attention.
Second, they need to be interested enough to digest the ideas.
Third, they need to be motivated to do something.
So, here's my quandary with Curated Content. If it's not yours, who will they be motivated to engage with?
I'm not saying all 3rd party content won't work to advance your relationship with prospects and customers. In fact, there's a big difference between curated content and 3rd party content.
Curated content means gathering content on subject matter you think your audience will find interesting from around the web.
3rd party content can be content that helps to build your company's credibility because you play a part in its development. Your company also likely paid the expert (cash, exposure, etc.) to produce it and guided the topic to ensure it relates to and supports the story your company is sharing with your audience.
Curated content – even if on subjects your audience cares about – has no relation to your company. Actually, if someone else is actually telling your story as their own, then I'd suggest you've got a differentiation issue.
It's been proposed that curated content will allow you to publish content more frequently, thus drawing higher traffic levels to your website or community site. I agree with that.
But what's the reason the traffic flows to you?
Is it because they're looking for information and they just happen to like the stuff other people are writing that shows up in your feed?
Or is it because they're interested in learning more about your expertise and how you can help them solve a business problem?
I'm not saying you need to rule out using curated content. What I am saying is to make sure that the balance between curated content and your content is weighted heavily in your favor.
Using curated content occasionally to support your company's ideas can give them more validity when done strategically. Using curated content instead of producing your own can disappoint if you're counting on it to drive vendor preference.
On the bright side, those other content producers you're helping out will really appreciate your support.
Just something to think about. What do you think?
Updated 3/20/10: Since this topic is of high interest, there's another interesting discussion going on over at the Genius.com blog that you may be interested in about this subject – including a video clip of Steve Rosenbaum speaking at SXSW.