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Content Curators are the True Kings

December 20th, 2011 by

We’ve all heard the expression Content is King.  After all, content is the fuel behind the social media revolution currently sweeping the Web. Close examination of the art world, however, offers a solid case that curation, not content, may in fact be the ruler online.

When it comes to content marketing, developing a content strategy for your company starts by curating your existing content assets, along with researching the assets of the competition.  You roll up all research found using competitive research tools and quickly learn how you stack up with the competition in a number of different ways. Through the content curation process, you learn how much content you need, how frequently you need to publish it and which channels of distribution (social especially) are required to capture organic market share. The skill and savvy of a Content Strategist is equally as important as your Director of Marketing these days. Getting the right content to the right prospects at the right time is the key to content marketing success.

Take a close look at what’s happening in the local art scene and you’ll discover insights on curation that translate over to the latest online trends of content marketing and social media. The big story in the last five years has been the explosive growth in museums.  New institutions, buildings and additions, both public and privately financed, are common in most major cities. And with all this surprising investment has naturally come increased curation firepower to properly fuel the growth.

But as museums take major strides forward, the area’s smaller art centers and galleries have slipped backward, cutting curation funding that delivers inconsistent and often unambitious exhibitions to dwindling fans. Local artists are suffering as a result of the lack of creativity with curation, program development and scheduling. Daring and exciting shows are hard to find. Yet the possibilities for connecting the dots for artistic expression are endless: exploring how technology, development, consumerism, Wall Street, global economy and green living are influencing and affecting us all, and finding expression in unique artistic ways.

The main problem, it seems, is the very definition of curation: Provide a clear, coherent vision for presentation that offers direction and purpose (and attracts visitors and fans in droves). It’s that last part that’s the hardest to achieve for success and failure.

Big budgets with larger museums are attracting curators with great skill and knowledge.  Budget cuts in the smaller galleries force out the talented curators causing disappointment for the dwindling fans. These two forces together are disrupting the health of the entire art ecosystem.

In the content marketing world, there is a different set of challenges for success at this early stage of the revolution. The enemy that is killing quality content is typically the legal department, CFO and/or the performance marketing specialists. They control the purse strings and influence decisions to spend less on content, and more on mass reach for more gain. Content investment gets cut, and Media spending tend to stay the same or go up. More content = more traffic = more revenue, so the logic would flow.

Who will win the content curation war of the web? The race to transform to high-quality publishing is officially on.  It’s time to gather ideas, develop stories and publish quality content that keeps readers (and customers) coming back for more.

Large companies could pony up the investment and seize the opportunity to connect with readers and customers. SalesForce.com (full disclosure, a client of ours at ideaLaunch.com) for example, invests wisely in listening to customers’ wants and needs, and developing stories that inspire action and offer education on hot topics like social media and inbound marketing far removed from the software platform they power on the market.

Small companies are also finding great writers to create the great content that customers want and need. ArtisanTalent.com (full disclosure, another client of ours at WriterAccess.com) for example has been developing great blog posts, well curated and well researched for several years. And they know how to get the ROI they demand for their investment with traffic that has increased 4X in the last year.

In the end, it’s not content that’s king. Instead, it’s the impact that the content has on us long after we pass it by. Great content is hard to create, curate, optimize and distribute. But when it all comes to together, it is THE catalyst that makes your business better. And better than that.

Byron White
Chief Idea Officer
o: 617-227-8800 x 201
c: 617-775-5828
LinkedIn: ByronWhite
Twitter: @ByronWhite

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