Content Curation or Filtration — Which Form of Content Marketing Are You Practicing?

Recently one of my Converse Digital clients, SlideBatch,  a content curation and publication platform, and I had an interesting conversation about the definition of content curation.  After much discussion we came to the conclusion that much of what passes for curation today is actually filtration. This then prompted SlideBatch to launch an interesting Content Curation Project — #CurateDebate.

They’re spending the next year asking leading content marketers to provide their own definition of Content Curation. You can see my answer above but do yourself a favor and go see all of the other #CurateDebate answers too. Really interesting definitions from folks like Amber Naslund, Joe Pulizzi, Tamsen Webster, Andy Crestodina, Gini Dietrich, Dave Cutler, Kerry O’She Gorgone, Tom Webster and more coming in the days and weeks to come.

Today, I want to expand on my remarks to provide a bit more context and hopefully challenge you to consider your own definition of what is (and more importantly isn’t) content curation.

What is Content Curation?

Content curation is the planned, deliberate filtration and re-publication of content within an editorial point-of-view that supports a position you wish to persuade others to believe is correct.

Or if you prefer something a tad simpler and slightly broader, consider Tom Webster’s definition of content curation:

adding value and context to information that by itself does’t necessary have value and context

                       – Tom Webster @webby2001 on Twitter

So what really separates curation from filtration is context — specifically a curator providing the reader the necessary context within which the filtered content should be consumed in order for it to make sense and have value to the reader.

This context is the missing piece of the vast majority of content curation efforts today. Whether this is due to lack of ability on the part of curators is fodder for a different post. But what is clear is that far too many define content curation as little more than finding and sharing relevant content — often times without even reading the content that is shared before sharing.

What is Content Filtration?

The finding and sharing of relevant content is, in my opinion, content filtering versus content curation. Don’t get me wrong, there is value to content filtering. As a reader and consumer of content, there is value to me when you act as a content filtering agent. What I mean by this is that if I want to stay abreast of all things mobile, I have two choices: 1) I can attempt to read everything published about mobile marketing myself or 2) I can simply follow my friend Tim Hayden, a leading mobile thinker and co-author of The Mobile Commerce Revolution.

Because Tim is exclusively focused on mobile, he consumes enormous amounts of mobile content. Some of that content finds its way into his Twitter stream, Facebook profile, and LinkedIn news feed. Thus, if I want to stay abreast of mobile I need only to follow Tim’s updates to be exposed to the cream of the mobile content crop.

The Role of Content Curation in Proving Expertise

However, if Tim was to do nothing more than simply share mobile focused content, he would be missing the true value of content curation as a marketing strategy. While a filtration strategy clearly communicates that Tim probably knows a lot about mobile, it doesn’t really show me if Tim is truly a mobile expert. This is where content curation shines as an efficient digital marketing strategy.

By adding a bit of his own thoughts, commentary, and point of view, Tim can provide context around the content he shares. And it is this context that allows him to leverage content curation as an effective marketing strategy to properly position himself as an authority on all things mobile marketing. Because he places that information into a meaningful context that produces key insights that I can leverage in developing my mobile marketing strategies, his reputation is elevated in my mind from knowledgeable to expert.

The Content Curation Challenge

But it is this providing of context, especially in social media platforms, that presents the greatest challenge. In some platforms like Twitter, with its 140 character limitation, there is precious little space to add context on top of the content you’ve curated and are now sharing. Other platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn, remove the character count limitation, but only allow the highlighting of a single piece of content during each post. (You can include more than one URL in a post but only ONE will be featured in your readers’ news streams)

Therefore, if a mobile marketer like Tim Hayden, really wants to provide context around the content that he is curating, he needs the ability to both share multiple pieces of content and provide his own context in a single, shareable content vessel that works equally well across every platform.

Content Curation & Publication Platforms

Luckily for Tim and content curation marketers everywhere, a number of platforms have sprung up recently — my client SlideBatch amongst them — to make the curation and publication of curated content easier and more effective.

In my next post I will review the various platforms and give you a simple Pros/Cons analysis to help you determine which platform might be right for your content curation efforts.

Like this post? Then to see my curated content feed featuring social selling, content marketing and tourism marketing content.

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About Tom Martin

Tom is 20+ year veteran of the marketing and advertising industry with a penchant for stiff drinks, good debates and digital gadgets that helps digitally challenged companies create innovative and effective digital marketing strategies. He is the founder of Converse Digital , author of The Invisible Sale and a contributing writer for Advertising Age. Tom guides clients through the digital marketing maze and helps companies teach their sales force how to Painlessly Prospect their way to more sales. Connect with him on Google+ or follow him on Twitter or connect with him on LinkedIn.

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