Seriously? Admit You Curate or Cut Bait!
Before I dive into the topic, I need to clear a few things up:
- I’ve had this article on hold, partially written, for several weeks. I actually started writing it soon after recording a podcast session with Cendrine Marrouat of Social Media Slant. The topic discussed on the podcast was, cannily enough, content curation.
- I chose to publish an article on dissenting opinions as a lead-in to this article, in order to make a point. I can dissagree with an article, an idea, an opinion, without hating on a person or group. I can actually completely respect and trust someone and still, occasionally, disagree with them.
- It will appear that an article published by Carol Lynn Rivera of Web.Search.Social was an impetus for a rant. But, as stated above, I’ve had this topic in mind for a while. It would be ludicrous, however, for me to say that Carol Lynn’s article does not factor into my own publish. It does, indeed.
- My writing style is fairly combative, snarky and often meant to make people laugh, mostly at my antics and language, while also getting them to think. I felt no compunction to change my writing style before publishing this article.
So, the short and quick of it? I can disagree with Carol Lynn on this specific topic and still think she’s spot on 99.99% of the time. I can still share her articles, comment on her blog posts, and engage in conversations with her on Twitter and Google+.
And, because Carol Lynn is a savvy marketer that knows the value of duscussion and dissenting views, she won’t immediately call me a dick, a jerk, an a**hole, or any other derogatory name. She may absolutely call me snarky, though!
That being cleared up, we can dive into the topic.
C’mon … Seriously? You “Don’t” Curate Content?
Content curation has become the love to hate topic of note lately. Possibly closely followed by the whole content shock conundrum.
Part of the problem, as pointed out passionately and pointedly by my respected peer and lovely friend, Cendrine Marrouat, is the lack of a one size fits all definition for content curation. People can, and do, curate content in a variety of ways. Maybe they just don’t know it yet?
I’m Going To Share Content, But Not Curate It!
Say what? I’ve seen this argument a few times and it always leaves me scratching my head in exasperation.
Do you seek out the content of others because you can’t possibly create enough content to satisfy the needs of your audience? Yes? You curate content!
Curating isn’t something people in tweed jackets do as they sit amidst the dusty books in their library. You don’t have to share the articles you read and find worthy on Scoop.it or share them with paper.li to be a curator. But if you do, that’s groovy,too!
Do you seek out smartly written, savvy articles to add to your Buffer account? Articles that will be shared in a timely fashion via Twitter, Google+, maybe even Linkedin? Yes? You curate content.
Why Waste Time Researching & Reading?
One argument against content curation states that it’s silly to spend soooooooo much time reading and researching the content of others when you could be creating that content yourself.
I’m sorry, but are you both all knowing and all powerful? Omniscient and omnipotent? You can write on any subject under the sun without having to do any research, without having to reference any resources? Nope! I call bullshit!
If you create content without ever looking to your peers, your competitors and your betters (that’s right, you’re not the BESTEST at ALL BUSINESS) then the content you create is often going to be CRAP.
You’re not an expert on/at EVERYTHING. No one is. Curating and then referencing well written, helpful content means you care enough to educate yourself on topics that you think your audience might find interesting and helpful.
I Am Marketer, Hear Me Toot (My Own Horn)
Meet Joe Schmoe. Joe is THE marketer. It’s all about him and what he knows and shares. Everything he tweets is coupled with one of the following hashtags:
Joe Schmoe is a self important shmuck. There’s nothing inherently wrong with sharing your own content. You worked hard to create it, of course you want to get the maximum shares out of it.
But when you constantly hashtag your own content with #IKnowBest add-ons, especially that content which has long passed its expiration date for relevance or usefulness, you show your following that you’re not interested in sharing content with value. You’re sharing how much you value your own content. Do you see the difference?
Content Curation Isn’t Helping Your Customers
Or Landing You Leads …
It’s not? Color me shocked, because I absolutely take to Google to research the topics on which I am not an expert. Why? Because, once again – say it OUT LOUD with me, I’m not a flipping expert at everything!
I ain’t no guru! (and neither is Carol Lynn)
I had a meeting yesterday with a potential client interested in expanding their online presence and using that presence to recruit new talent. New real estate talent.
Go Creative Go has designed, implemented and managed real estate websites and digital marketing campaigns, but always with the intent to showcase listings and neighborhood benefits. Never with the focus on recruiting.
So, to prep for this meeting and to show this client I’m as knowledgeable as I can be about the subject of using digital marketing for real estate agent recruiting, I chose to look to the experts. I sough out, read and collected (curated) the BEST content on the subject.
I DID NOT INSIST on only sharing my own content. Why not? I’ve never needed to create it. I don’t have any.
Could I have created it? Yes, but there wasn’t a need. It was there for me to read and for me to share.
FYI, I landed the client even though I shared two articles written by competitors.
Curate Because It’s Already Been Said & Said Well!
Why do we feel we must reinvent the wheel? If someone with a sound grasp and understanding of the topic has already written the article, what’s wrong with reading it, asking questions if the author is available for it, and storing it for future use or sharing?
There’s nothing wrong with that.
There will be times when I can research a topic and manage to create my own fairly compelling content on said topic. But there will also be times when creating valuable content on a topic will simply be beyond my capability. I can’t become an expert at certain things with a quick Google search and and three article reads.
Some areas of expertise require years of study, practical training and much mentorship. In those instances it’s much smarter to seek out the smarts shared by those who are actually the smartest!
Curating Is About MORE Than The Content!
Curating is about connections, peer review and the potential for collaboration. I’ve stated this on many occasions.
When I share the content of my peers, I’m not doing it out of some ridiculous and unrealistic idea of reciprocity. The reciprocity share has never had any real value.
Where then is the actual value? In the connections made, the conversations had, the possibility of building a real relationship that will allow for sharing ideas and maybe even collaborating on projects.
I would not be who I am today without curating and sharing some fantastic content, which allowed me to connect with some great people.
So Put Up Or Shut Up!
Is Sharing Completely Different Than Curating?
Some would say yes. You don’t have to curate to share content. I disagree. You don’t share articles, videos or infographics that you haven’t read, viewed, deemed worthy and valuable do you? Of course not!
And I don’t disagree because I’m a dick or because I live to rant. Here are my reasons:
- Every time I record and subsequently publish a podcast interview, I’m curating content. That’s right. Curating! Without researching and reaching out to my guest on THEIR expertise, there’d be no means for me to create that “unique” content I’m calling my own.
- Every time I ask my readers to tell me what they want to read about, I’m curating content. Those ideas are NOT my own, even though I’m using them to create content to be delivered from the digital real estate I own.
- Every time I take the time to read an article, deem it worthy of sharing, and add it to either my bookmarks or Buffer for later sharing, I’m curating content.
Decide one way or the other! If curation is such a waste of time, and the smart and sensible way to market yourself and your brand centers on creating and sharing content that resides only on your digital real estate, that’s fine. Share only your own content if it suits your style and your business model. Some bigger brands do that quite well!
But don’t call me out as stupid, silly or lacking sense for curating if you engage in activities that, when looked at under the light of the many meanings of curation, as there’s no one size fits all definition, show you’re ACTUALLY, by some definitions, engaging in curating content.
Have At It!
I expect some reaction to this. There will be some agreement and there’s sure to be some disagreement.
But I do know that we can have a discussion, no matter our opinions, without devolving into name calling (and Joe Schmoe was just a writing tool, people, you know that darned good and well).
I look forward to some chatter, some discussion and even some smart, but sassy, snark.
And yes, I realize the fish in my photo shows a lure, not bait, but the only bait photos I could find were large piles of worms. Not really what I wanted to go with here, as I’m not trying to open a can of worms. Get it?!?!