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Publishing multiple pieces of content weekly is the cornerstone of an effective inbound marketing program. Yet maintaining a consistent stream of content can be a challenge. Many marketers are looking for alternatives to generating original content. Curated content is one approach marketers are exploring. Marketers are often debating whether their organization should be considering curated versus original content.
Curated content is content that is gathered from other online sources and republished by another company. Curated content is generally thought of in terms of blogs and articles. Original content has more benefits than curated content, but curated content can generally offer speed and ease to market. The optimal approach is to strike a balance between curated and original content rather than focusing on one or the other.
Curated Content: Content Publishing Volume
Curated content can be posted more easily and quickly than original content. Curated content providers allow marketers to access a range of articles and hand-select those that fit their marketing needs. The curated content platforms generally use search technology or algorithms to help marketers find appropriate content. Most platforms allow marketers to add perspective and context, such as an initial paragraph that provides the company’s point of view.
The biggest benefit of curated content versus original content is that it allows marketers to generate a volume of content. Curated content can help support a steady stream of consistency in social media posting. For those with lean budgets, curated content makes it easy to touch upon a variety of information without having to invest the time in the research and development of unique original content. It also allows marketers to access and publish content when the company lacks internal subject matter expertise.
Where curated content doesn’t work as well as original content is in meeting SEO goals and generating traffic to a company’s website. The original source tends to have more search authority, since curated content is being republished. Curated content also requires attribution to the original source, so it isn’t doing as much to develop a company’s thought leadership; it’s more of halo effect or borrowed equity. For this reason, curated content tends to be inferior at generating sustainable, ongoing web traffic versus original content.
Original Content: Valuable, Unique and Long-Lasting
Original content is preferred for most inbound marketing programs because it drives search engine results. Original content establishes the publishing brand or company as an authority, and (when appropriately developed) the content gains value as time goes on, through links, sharing and discussion. Many marketers shy away from original content because it requires an initial investment of both time and money, but original content has sustainable benefits largely derived from its SEO nature.
In addition, original content allows your company to demonstrate its thought leadership and subject matter expertise. When a curated article is republished by a company, the end user still views the author and originating source. So while this content can produce engagement, it doesn’t necessarily allow your organization to demonstrate its authority in an area. Since original content is created by your company, it’s also easier to repurpose into a variety of formats. Repackaging the core content from a series of blog articles into a gated, downloadable lead generation ebook allows content to be utilized across multiple stages of the funnel.
Most importantly, original content has a 54% greater chance of a click to conversion than curated content. Thus, original content is more likely to actually produce revenue than curated content.
Though it’s proven that curated content is effective at driving sharing and engagement, it also has a relatively shorter lifespan when compared to original content. Shared content has a lifespan of 2.8 hours to 7.4 hours, depending on social media platform. Original content, on the other hand, can be developed to be “evergreen,” with usefulness for many years. Additionally, original content will develop its own page authority the more often it is discussed and linked, and will continue to grow in value.
Goal alignment is ultimately the best way to determine whether curated versus original content is most appropriate for an organization. Both original-only and curated-only content can be problematic for a marketer. An original-only inbound marketing program may be more challenging to maintain, while a curated-only website may be light in actual substance. In general, inbound marketing programs work best when there is a balance, focusing on developing valuable original content with some complimentary curated content. For example, some argue that a 3-to-1 ratio is optimal for original content to curated content.
Marketing campaigns aren’t always about the same goals. Some marketers are focused primarily on category education, and these marketers are the ones who will benefit the most from curation. Other marketers are focused on driving website traffic, engagement and sales. These marketers are the ones who will benefit most from original content creation. Before marketers can decide on the appropriate blend between curated versus original content, they must first decide on their goals for their content marketing campaign. Aligning the goals to the ratio of curated content to original content enables marketers develop the optimal strategy.