The Value of Content Curation

The Value of Content Curation

When I pitch companies on digital marketing, the questions I get asked a lot are: what is the next big thing? What should we be out in front of online?

My answer? Content Curation.

The web is massive. There are so many places to find information about everything under the sun. Google helps for sure, but even still, wading through all that information can be a daunting task. For example, I am passionate about photography and DSLR gear. Last night I was looking for information on a particular lens so I Googled it. The results were overwhelming. I was given links to reviews, lowest prices, forum links, videos – all of varying quality and knowledge. It took me almost an hour to find exactly what I needed.

Taking that same theme of lenses and DSLRs, let’s take a look at one of my favorite sites, Cinema5D. They don’t create much in the way of original content. Instead, they gather the best stuff from around the web relating to DSLRs and feature it on their website in a reverse chronological blog format. It’s not necessarily a research tool, but it’s where I go daily to get a sense of what’s new and innovative in the world of DSLRs. They also have a great set of forums where members can discuss everything DSLR-related.

There are two strong pillars of the Cinema5D curation model that are important to our discussion. First, Jared Abrams, the face of Cinema5D is seen as a trusted curator. I put more stock in what he says because I’ve seen his track record and the quality of information he provides. Second, their articles and forum threads show up in search often when I’m looking for information on camera equipment. Because I trust the quality of Cinema5D’s work, I’ll almost always click on that result first.

What does this mean for your business?

As digital marketers this model is valuable for a couple of different reasons. There is a tremendous business opportunity here. Let’s take a look at the auto site Bring a Trailer. This site is for enthusiasts looking to purchase hard to find cars. The publisher gathers auto-listings from across the web on eBay, Craigslist and AutoTrader and builds content on his site from that. It’s a one-stop-shop for car geeks looking to purchase vehicles – without having to do all the searching themselves.

I produced this video for eBay Partner Network a few months back that talks specifically about content curation and Bring a Trailer:

Content curation is also a great way to create thought leadership for your company without having to do much actual thought leadership. So many of the companies I work with love the idea of creating a blog, but don’t have the resources in-house to write exclusive content several times per week. Sure, there are content services available, but the quality varies and it costs money.

Let’s look again at Bring a Trailer for a second. Imagine if you were an online auto parts store and were looking to create a relevant industry blog – Bring a Trailer would be the model I would use. The same holds true if I were an online camera store – I’d use Cinema5D as my blog and community model. They are both gathering great content from around the web and presenting it in a trusted way as “their view of the world” – as JJ McCarthy says in the video above. That’s some pretty powerful (and profitable) stuff.

What other examples of content curation have you seen? Have you created a business yourself around this concept? Are you using it to build thought leadership in your field of expertise? I’d love to get your thoughts.