It’s no secret that content is key for establishing your presence online. Online content builds your brand’s reputation, augments your SEO efforts and costs nearly 65 percent less to create than traditional marketing content. It’s also one of the simplest ways for customers to get to know your brand–statistics show that nearly 80 percent of consumers prefer to familiarise themselves with your brands via articles and videos than through ads.
Data supports the need for online content, so if your business is lacking in the content space it’s time to change!
When you’re first plotting out your content strategy, you might feel overwhelmed by the variety of approaches you’ll find to successful content marketing. Don’t get scared off–whether you’re churning out articles multiple times a week or just a few times per month, consistency and quality matter most. If you get into a rhythm of writing four awesome blog posts each month and then you suddenly stop, your audience will notice, and they may turn elsewhere.
If consistently creating content is a struggle for you, you might want to explore content curation. Let’s quickly talk about the difference between these two approaches:
- Content creation is the process of making original articles, videos, podcasts and other kinds of media. Original content is informed by your own experiences and creativity and doesn’t contain elements borrowed directly from other sources.
- Content curation refers to gathering relevant, existing information from other sources and sharing it with your followers for their knowledge and benefit.
Some brands solely create content, other brands solely curate content, and many brands blend the two strategies. What’s right for your brand depends on your goals and the time and resources that you have to put toward your marketing efforts. Do you have plenty of time on your hands to churn out original content, or is your time very limited? Do you have a knack for finding interesting content on the web that your followers love? Are you good at keeping up with trends and creating articles and videos that sync with what your followers are looking for? Your content strategy will vary a lot depending on your answers to these questions.
If you’re asking yourself which approach is better, the answer isn’t clear cut. There are pros and cons to both strategies.
The Content Creation Approach
Taking the content creation path might be right for you if you have a talent for crafting good content or you have a skilled team that can assist in the process. There are a couple of things to consider if you’re thinking about taking the content creation approach to your online marketing efforts:
- As mentioned earlier, you have to be consistent. Even if you create several killer how-to guides that get lots of views in a short period, you can’t rely on those pieces to carry you to the finish line–you have to continue putting out information that adds value for your followers.
- You need to have a unique voice that draws in new followers and helps you retain current ones. It isn’t enough to wrap dull content in pretty packaging; you need to have an exciting hook!
- Your time is your most valuable and limited resource, and this strategy will take a lot of it, especially at first while you’re crafting your overall content goals.
The content creation approach gives you the chance to outshine your competition by offering the best and most in-depth information to your audience. Original content can be branded, meaning you can put your call to action, your logo/colors and your voice on everything that you create. If you have great content that’s inadvertently driving people to purchase a product or service that you don’t offer, you’re potentially missing out on a great opportunity.
Additionally, having your content may be a must depending on the industry you’re in. If you accidentally curate incorrect information in a heavily regulated industry like finance or real estate, you expose yourself to risk if any of your followers hold you accountable for the false information. When you create your content, you are solely responsible and can do all of your own fact-checking.
Lastly, creating your content gives you free rein to shamelessly promote your brand–readers won’t be surprised when you make a plug for your product in your content and combined with your unique branding and voice, original content can be a powerful driver of sales.
With so much information floating around on the internet it’s imperative to bring something different to the table if you want to stand out. For example, if your niche is cat owners, your first thought might be to create a cat care guide. This is a basic, useful guide, but the chances are that it’s been done thousand times over–so how do you differentiate yourself? When in doubt try niching down even further to generate unique ideas. Niching down further may turn your general cat care guide into a how-to manual for elderly cat care or a crash course in kitten training. Do beware that niching down further can pose problems if your content gets too granular. Choose topics that are narrow enough to be interesting, but broad enough to apply to many people.
One of the biggest drawbacks to the content creation approach is the substantial time and energy investment. Hours go into creating and maintaining a content calendar, brainstorming new topics to cover, organising content in a way that appeals to viewers and promoting and repurposing existing content. It’s a full-time job that demands skill and attention to detail. If you’re already managing most aspects of your business, you might burn yourself out by adding content creator to your list of responsibilities. Carefully consider your current duties before diving into this role.
The Content Curation Approach
Are you good at hunting down the most interesting and relevant information in your industry? Do you get a kick out of condensing lengthy, dull pieces into concise and informative tidbits of wisdom for your readers? Do you want to present all kinds of different information to your audience? If so, you might be a superstar content curator. There are a few things to keep in mind if you’re primarily curating content:
- Be sure to cite all sources carefully and to fact check as needed. You don’t want to risk sharing incorrect information with your audience!
- Relationship building is a key component of content curation. Becoming part of your industry’s “in” crowd will help you get exclusive access to content for your brand and will help you build legitimacy as a thought leader.
- Although content curation is less time intensive that content creation, it still takes effort to gather the best information for your audience–it isn’t an easy way out!
The biggest benefit of focusing on content curation is the relationships that you’ll build by reaching out to thought leaders in your industry. In some cases, content curation is as simple as sharing an interesting article or video from someone else, but the process can be much more sophisticated than that. For example, let’s say that you run a financial consulting firm for small business owners. To stay connected with your followers you send out a weekly email with the latest news and trends about small business accounting. You could spend a couple of hours each week browsing the web for your curated content, or you could put effort into building industry relationships so that the relevant content starts coming to you. Relationships can lead to so many opportunities–speaking engagements, content swaps, partnerships, and special events are just a few examples!
Curating content also helps you build a broad knowledge base. You may not have time to write articles on all the topics that apply to your audience, but other people out there have already done that job for you–curating content allows you to build a robust collection of resources for your followers.
The biggest challenge with content curation is the lack of creative control. When you curate content, you can’t easily put your stamp on it or jump in with your call to action. Curated content can still bring in qualified leads that ultimately convert to sales, but you’ll need a strong strategy that keeps your brand at the forefront of reader’s minds, even as they’re consuming curated content.
Fact checking and potential liability are other obstacles that arise with content curation. False information can spread like wildfire on the internet, and you don’t want to find yourself in hot water for advocating something that isn’t true–you might indirectly open yourself up to liability if you aren’t careful.
Content Creation and Curation: A Balanced Approach
Many businesses choose to blend content creation and curation for a balanced online presence. The combination of the two allows followers to get familiar with your business while still getting outside perspectives through curated pieces. Original content pushes you up higher in SEO rankings and curated items open the door for new relationships and opportunities. Above all, your time isn’t completely consumed by writing, editing or recording, and you can use those additional hours to pursue other activities that add value.
Whether you focus solely on content creation, content curation or a mix of the two, remember that the overall goal is to generate leads–if qualified leads are coming to you because of your content strategy, you’re following the right track!
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