Content Creation vs. Content Curation: Why Your Small Business Should Be Doing Both

We’ve all heard the famous phrase  “Content is King” and it’s true. Content marketing is one of the most valuable things a brand can do for itself, but sometimes we assume creating new content has to drive our content marketing strategies.

Content continues to be a cornerstone of successful marketing, but the amount of content users are expecting can be overwhelming to small businesses, especially if business owners assume they have to create all of it themselves.

While a good amount of content should absolutely be created by your brand, you can take advantage of relevant third-party content that already exists. This tactic is called content curation. Curating content can save time, builds meaningful relationships and involves your brand in relevant conversations.

Content curation sounds awesome, right? Right! Let’s get down to the strategy behind how to curate content.


Content Creation vs. Content Curation

To grow your small business, strategic content marketing is crucial. There are all sorts of content types — we want to dig into the difference between creating your own content and curating third-party content that aligns with your brand.

Content creation is when a brand identifies a new topic to address, then creates and distributes that content to their audience. Curating content, on the other hand, is the process of compiling, organizing and sharing information to your brand’s audience strategically from third-party sources. Content curation incorporates your brand in a larger conversation, applauds great content that aligns with your values, saves time and, of course, builds relationships with thought leaders or potential partners in your market.


Why you should create content for your small business.

Creating content is a big part of your strategy and it shows creative and your brand’s personality and voice. Here are the awesome advantages of content creation.

  • Content creation allows you to stick to your brand’s own voice, opinions and personality.
  • The material is always on-brand and relevant to your brand and marketing strategy.
  • Creating content positions your brand as a thought leader.
  • Created content that links to your website drives traffic and generates leads.

Keep in mind that it’s not always possible to keep up with the frequency of content creation. It takes quite a bit of time and can be stressful to try and cram in loads of content creation, that’s why it’s necessary to incorporate content curation into your strategy too.


Why curated content should be included in your strategy.

Curating content seems much simpler than creating it. Let’s take a peek at all the reasons you should be curating content.

  • As a small business owner, you’ve probably got your hands full — curation saves time.
  • Curation dominates clicks. Posts linking to third-party sites actually generate 33% more clicks than posts linking to your own site.
  • Curating content builds relationships with other audiences and other brands.
  • It allows you to capitalize on trends and keep your audience (and your brand) in the loop on hot topics.
  • Use curation to learn from others and allow others to learn from content you’ve created too.
  • If you share well-curated, share-worthy content, you can position your brand as a thought leader too. When you do this, your audience will know all content you share is credible and worth their time.

When curating content there are a couple things to be mindful of. First, you don’t own the content, so respect that it’s not yours. Second, keep in mind that you’re sharing someone else’s voice, opinions and expertise instead of your own. This isn’t necessarily a harmful thing for your brand, just be aware that balance of curation and creation is crucial for getting your own personality out to your audience too.


Incorporating Curation and Creation — Finding the Balance

Knowing how to curate content and how to create it shouldn’t compete against one another, they should complete each other. Find a healthy balance between the two to get the most out of your content marketing strategy.

  • A good balance drives conversation and engagement from people outside of your audience.
  • A balanced strategy includes you in other conversations and can drive those audiences back to you and the content you’ve created yourself.
  • Creating new content on every occasion takes up time and is a lot of work — balance is key.

If sharing content daily or every other day is part of your marketing strategy, initiate your new strategy by creating content 40% of the time and curating content 60% of the time. Try this ratio out and then analyze your numbers. Depending on how well your created versus curated content is performing with your audience, adjust your strategy from there.


How to Curate Content For Your Next Content Strategy

Now that you know you should be curating content in addition to creating it, here are some tips to actually make it happen.

  • Make sure the source you’re curating content from is reputable — do your research. You’ll want your audience to trust you as well as the source you’re sharing from.
  • Choose content that lines up with your brand’s values.
    • Ex. Curate a customer’s photo or video on social media that has your product in it or shares something awesome about your brand.
    • Ex. Share content about an event you’ll be attending from a local partner that’s hosting it.
    • Ex. Share a link to a fundraiser or non-profit that aligns with your brand’s values … just be sure to explain it’s meaningful to your company.
  • You can (and should) express your brand’s opinions when curating content. Doing so creates a balance between the original source’s stance and yours, and makes your stance clear if you don’t 100% agree on everything in the content.
  • Always give credit to the source where you curated content from by incorporating a backlink.
  • Share content that doesn’t directly compete with your products or services. You want to be part of a relevant conversation, but you want to stay away from freely marketing someone else’s product or service to your audience.
  • Be aware of what your audience likes to see. What created content performs well with your audience? If it’s video, curate video content. If your audience is a sucker for concentrated blogs, curate similar types of content.

Where to Find Content Worth Curating

Okay, so where do you find content that’s worth it? — that’s the real question. The internet is jam-packed with content … good, bad, ugly, we’ve seen it all.

Here are some awesome resources to help you find the good stuff:

Feedly: As one of the more popular content resources, Feedly compiles categories of content from different sources and customizes feeds for its users. You’re able to search for relevant topics, sort articles that you’re interested in and share from there.

Buzzsumo: Similar to Feedly, Buzzsumo is full of content resources with categories and feeds. What makes Buzzsumo different is that it allows you to see how often an article is shared across different channels. This helps avoid over-sharing the same exact content as everyone else.

Google Alerts: Google will send you alerts and keep you informed on the latest content that the search engine finds is relevant to you (based on topics you’ve searched or been interested in before).

Email lists. If you find a source that often posts share-worthy content relevant to your brand, sign up for their email list. Stay up-to-date on the latest content they’ve created or curated.

Your customers: Engage in a conversation between your brand and your audience. If a customer produced great content about your product, service or brand, share it!


In Need of Some Content Help?

Bareknuckle’s writing team creates original content that communicates your brand’s personality and voice across any channel you can think up, and strategically ties in curated content too.

Buy us a beer and let’s see if we’re a good match.