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Curation vs Creation – Will Curation Overshadow Your Own Unique Content? by Scott Scanlon

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Curation vs Creation– is it a epic battle or the perfect combination for a content marketer?

First, let’s consider the source (us), you can probably guess where we will come down on this argument, after all we’ve built a WordPress curation platform, but I tried to give this question a fair shake.

In addition, we use examples from our own curation efforts, not to push you to those platforms but it’s what we know best, and we’ve made it a mission to understand the art of curation.

Why Would Curation Be Worthwhile When You Consistently Create Unique Content?

First up, you’ll never have all the ideas in your market or niche. So when you add the strategy of content curation then your market (let’s say the people in your market) have greater potential to discover you with ideas and concepts they care about.

For instance, this curated post of an infographic has created tons of email opt-ins and actual conversions for our product. This short info-graphic is something I don’t think we would have ever created or even wanted to create. But I found it interesting and informative and knew a large part of our audience would get it.

With this example (and others I could cite) I would find it hard to argue that you shouldn’t consider adding curation… even if you created your own info-graphics. As an aside, I’ve never really liked info-graphics but here in the next few weeks we  have a few coming out… I’ll let you know how they perform.

The Appetizer for Your Main Course

There’s an argument I’ve heard (and I apologize for not knowing the exact source) it says curation is like an appetizer and your unique content is the main course.

For instance, let’s say you include curated content within a blog where for every original post you’ve curated 3 pieces of short form curation. Now imagine someone who visits your site via a curated article that they found it really informative.

What if as they scan over your site they see the popular posts sidebar widget (these convert well for us). Most likely the content listed there is going to be unique content (or you’ve set it up that way). So this visitor came in with curation (appetizer) and they eventually got to your original content (the meal).

Usually your curated content acts as a “teaser” bringing people to your site. Once there they look around a bit and discover your other curations and unique content.

Ah, But There’s Something More Powerful You Can Do

A four star restaurant isn’t known for its appetizers its known for its world-class meals, your content strategy should be the same. The curations that you serve should highlight the points and perspectives you take in your own unique content. These inline links convert like crazy:

The Inline Call to Action converts like crazy

How do you do this? By adding commentary and linking to your own unique content when it’s highly relevant. Like I said before these types of links convert really well (also another post and video to come).

Here’s another content curation strategy to employ…

You should be curating your own content. That’s right, not only should you be curating content from your market but you should curate your unique content.

Here’s why this makes sense. Let’s say your curating the top thought leaders and ideas in your market. Now throw your own content in the mix. Suddenly your content is on the same level as leaders and other top ideas in your market.

If you’ve heard the saying, “you are the company you keep”– well this is true in the content game as well. What better way to gain authority than to be on the same platform as the greats in your market?

* one note here, this only really makes sense if you’re curating on a separate platform from your original content. You also should curate out to other tools and platforms.

When Will Curation Overshadow Your Unique Content?

When your content sucks. When your content has no heart. When your content doesn’t have a unique perspective and parrots everything else or everyone else in the market. Then it’s just part of the noise. I’ve found even bad writing with a bite converts better than polished writing with zero heart.

Let’s say someone visits your curated platform and they begin scrolling down your main page. As they scan they see headlines and images, they slowly digest and decide if they want to click further. If the content you’ve created has no unique perspective or doesn’t create unique interest then it’s just as likely to get passed over.

The goal is to have your content stick out and be so enticing that when compared to the other curated pieces it creates more clicks than anything else.

But you might say…

“I can’t write or my content isn’t there yet…”

Okay, I get it, your unique content isn’t next level stuff or your simply not creating content. There is hope.

A strange thing will happen the more you curate content. You’ll start to recognize good content from bad, you’ll start to see trends in your market, and as most curators discover they get flashes of great content ideas. Curation creates a seeding ground and a feedback loop for great content ideas.

If you can’t or don’t think you can write the answer is simple– write anyway, writing is something that improves the more you do it.

When Would Curation Be Pointless?

This is usually a market specific answer and one that I will answer in more detail in a post next week. At this time I don’t want to give too much away as I’m still formulating the idea but there are times and things you simply would never want to curate (at least that’s the argument I’ll make). Sorry to tease this (it was originally part of this post but it came in over 1,000 words itself so I broke it off into a unique post).

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valuable unique content image courtesy of 10ch


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