Last year, for the first time, content curation and aggregation (38%) outpaced content creation (34%) as the “top investment area” for online marketers.

Why?

Because content curation is big business.

And not just in the world of marketing … but everywhere.

Take, for example, the news.

Late last year, the Observer dramatically proclaimed, “The Homepage is Officially Dead.” As evidence, Jeff Jarvis presented The New York Times’ recent revelation that its homepage has experienced a 50% decrease in traffic since 2011.

Image Credit: Poynter.org

The reason for this decline is clear.

People no longer go to traditional media outlets to get their news. Instead, they go to social media.

According to a report from the Pew Research Center, as much as 63% of Facebook and Twitter users now get their news exclusively from social media. Moreover, as Wired reported, “it’s not just those stereotypical teens or millennials [either]. Users of all genders, ages, races, demographics, education levels, and household incomes claimed they increasingly got their news on Facebook [and Twitter] in 2015 compared to 2013, even as usage of these sites has remained pretty steady overall.”

In a word, curation.

The rise of all things curated has had a dramatic effect on the way people access and consume content from the news to music to movies … even to apps and products.

But what exactly is content curation?

Here’s a good definition:

Content curation allows you to organize highly relevant information from the internet alongside your own content. You are not the only source of information about a given topic, so helping to curate related content is valuable and useful to readers.

Put more simply, on the marketing front, content curation is sharing other people’s solutions … for free.

Both of those ingredients go against the grain of traditional marketing.

So, given the rise of curation let’s take a look at exactly why it’s so vital for your own successful content strategy.

The Case for Content Curation

1. Cost

Between the costs of salaries, tools, agency fees, and design work, content creation doesn’t come easy … or cheap.

And yet the demand for content -- relevant content, valuable content, meaningful content -- remains.

As Pam Didner, Global Content Marketing Specialist, explains, “It's challenging to fill your daily and weekly editorial calendar with only original content. Therefore, content curation can be a great supplemental source.”

But content curation doesn’t just cost less when it comes to money and time.

Perhaps the biggest saving is on energy … especially mental energy. Idea generation is perhaps the most taxing part of creating new content. Curation not only fills your content pipeline, it’s also a powerful source for reverse-engineering or “skyscraping” your own content, instead of inventing it all from scratch.

The key to making the most of your resources (both human and capital) is to to use the 60/40 ratio of curated versus created content. For every four original pieces, curate six from others.

2. Leadership

According to IBM, the world creates 2.5 quintillion bytes of data … everyday.

To put this in perspective, DOMO created the Data Never Sleeps 2.0 infographic:

And all that doesn’t even include the two million new blog posts that are published each day.

With so much data floating around, how do you navigate to the important stuff?

This is precisely why content curation comes in.

People don’t need new information. What they need -- desperately need -- are guides to the information that’s already out there. In other words, thought leadership.

Content curation positions you as just that: a trusted guide who can show others the way, suggest the most relevant pieces of content for their needs, and highlight the takeaways that matter most.

This means your content curation needs to go beyond merely sharing links. Instead, dig into what’s already out there. Collect the best solutions. And guide your audience through the bewildering maze.

3. Traffic

Good content curators know that a skillfully curated piece can drive insane amounts of traffic.

In fact, curated content are undoubtedly some of the best performing content on the web.

Just take this Forbes article for example, which is a curated list of 100 Best Quotes on Leadership that racked up over 3 million views.

Similarly, founder of RazorSocial, Ian Cleary, interviewed a number of influential podcasters for their three favorite tools and put it together in a comprehensive list post. Sharing it on social media, the podcasters tagged each expert who then shared it throughout their own networks. The end result was over 10,000 visits.

Image: Social Media Examiner

Or just consider Vala Afshar, a business leader and “super tweeter” who’s known for consistently pumping out dynamite curated content. His roundup of the Top 100 CIOs on Twitter generated almost 60,000 views.

Early last year, Buffer’s Kevan Lee got “meta” on the content-curation from by creating a curated list of the 20 of the Best Curated Newsletter. The result was close to 3,000 shares and counting.

All these examples lead in perfectly to the next benefit of curation ...

4. Influence

Influencer marketing is the new advertising.

But the million dollar question is: how do I build relationships with influencers, if I don’t have a million dollars to spend?

Not surprisingly, the answer is curated content: by sharing content created by influencers.

Naturally, the key is to you reach out to everyone you’ve curated from and let them know both before and after your content goes live. Compliment them, share the curated resource, ask them for feedback, and build both relationships and communities.

Take it from Jason Quey, who compiled a list of the top 100 SEO Experts along with their links to their articles, best resources, and websites.

His post was not only shared far and wide by the influencers and heavily commented on -- but the post actually a springboard for launching relationships with those influencers. He’s now the growth strategist for Sujan Patel.

I took this same approach when I put together what become hands down my own most popular post of 2015: Top 10 Copywriting Books from the Top 10 Online Copywriters. By reaching out directly to ten of the biggest names in online copywriting, I was able to create not just a list of their favorite books … but their favorite quotes as well.

Even better, when my lead example -- Copyblogger’s Brian Clark -- didn’t respond, I simply used a previous post of his own to generate an authentic response.

5. Value

In the end, here’s what content curation really boils down to.

Because content curation is sharing other people’s solutions for free, it tells your audience that you care more about them -- solving their problems -- then you do about yourself -- selling your products.

In other words, you build trust with your audience when you set aside your ego and share meaningful content that your audience cares about, while at the same time developing a community of supporters around you.

Put all of this effort together and what does it create?

Value.

And value for your audience means value for you.

Eyecarrot -- which primarily markets Binovi, a health practice management software that allows practitioners to manage their patient testing, reporting and outcomes through gamification -- uses multiple hubs to do just that.

In fact, their Learning HQ hub sets aside heavy-handed sales and simply providers its audience with a wealth of other people’s resources all focused on “New hope for learning disabilities and enhancing learning ability.”

Think of it like karma -- good will on the internet. Share content from others and you will reap the benefits of community, influence, trust, and ultimately value.

And just in case that’s too touchy-feely on you, 41% of marketers say that curation has actually increased their amount and quality of sales-ready leads.

Other people’s stuff …

The case for content curation comes down to five key benefits:

  1. Cost

  2. Leadership

  3. Traffic

  4. Influence

  5. Value


The easiest way to begin curating content

When combined, it’s easy to see why content curation now outpaces content creation as the “top investment area” for online marketers.

Are you keeping up?