Content curation: aggregation with a new name?

Mar. 10th, 2011

Content aggregation has been around as long as the Internet. Then it was the likes of AOL and Excite@Home; now it's Google News, AllTop, and Reddit. But there's another seemingly similar term that's floating around with increasing frequency—content curation. The question that keeps popping up is this: Is curation the same as aggregation, just with a more fashionable name?

The answer is no. Content aggregation, the automatic gathering of links, merely presents content that's related by broad topic, such as business, politics, and sports. However, there's no connection—no theme—tying the individual articles together.

Content curation picks up where aggregation leaves off, requiring human intervention in the form of editorial judgment and organization. Just as a museum curator assembles a collection of artwork based on a theme (such as an artist, a period, etc.), a content curator pulls together related content on a particular topic from a variety of sources to tell a complete story.

There are several benefits to curating content on your company website. By gathering and presenting targeted material, you help establish your company as a thought leader in your industry. As well, you become the go-to source for prospects in the decision-making process. By promoting curated content on your social media platforms, you help drive traffic to your site and further your efforts to create a community of users interested in the industries your products and solutions address.

You can even curate your own content if you're a large company with multiple business units. Pulling together related content on a topic from your various microsites gets you more bang for your content creation buck. At Tendo, this is a best practice we espouse daily: write once, use many. And for highly regulated industries, like financial services, curating content can be a viable alternative when tight restrictions make creating content difficult.

When curating content, make sure to give credit where credit's due and attribute articles, blog posts, videos, etc. to the original creator, if it isn't your company.

Do you currently curate content on your site? Tell us what the benefits have been for your company.

If you're interested in reading more about curation, check out my colleague Linda Leung's post about Pearltrees.com—a social curation tool.

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