Many business and brands reach out to us and ask, “What is the best mix of content on our social media channels?” It’s a question that’s been asked a number of times before and will be continued to be asked as platforms grow, change, ebb, and flow.
The truth is, there is no ‘one-size fits all’ – you need to focus on figuring out what works best for you and your business, keeping in mind that the game-plan and tactics you come up with all may need to be changed by next month.
There’s always the debate on utilizing created vs. curated content within the digital marketing space. Sure, many may argue for one or the other, but the reality is that you need both! And even beyond the created/curated conversation, you must make sure that you’re putting a solid mix of content out on your accounts, publishing a mix of images, infographs, customer reviews, and so much more! Remember too – it’s not what you want to put out, but what your audience and community want to see (and, in turn, engage with!).
We’ve heard content creators and designers state that curating is simply lazy or unoriginal, while those who lean toward curation feel that their chosen practice can save a business time and money while still maintaining their brand’s look and feel. All told, both practices have positives and negatives. The key to having the most successful content marketing possible is simply knowing when, where, and how to seamlessly blend the two.
We’ve just passed Easter, but don’t put all of your content in one basket!
Choosing created or curated content over the other might get you positive returns for some time, but at any given point things could change and then what you thought was a great content strategy could suddenly turn sour very quickly. Diversify the content you’re pushing forward. Many references will say to put out 80% curated and 20% created, but we feel that this is old thinking. While you could certainly aim for that range as a benchmark, we see that 70/30 and even 60/40 are not only sufficient, but allow your brand to really speak to, and connect with, your audience.
Remember that created and curated content both serve very different purposes.
So what’s the Difference?
Created content is original content that is written or produced by your company and lives on your website, blog, YouTube channel, etc. When you create your own content, you own it. Every piece of content you create represents your company’s unique expertise, products, services, insights, and opinions. Created content should be images, video, and descriptions of products and services, quote cards of testimonials, images of customers of past and present, and behind-the-scenes content, and so much more!
On the other hand, curated content is content from external sources outside of your company that you share with your audience on your website, blog, or social media channels. It should be relevant and useful to your target audience and demonstrate that you recognize the value that other companies bring to your industry or areas of interest. Curated content should help to solidify your place as industry leaders, by sharing the forefront of news and information in your space. Much like someone will Google a major search term to find news and information, you want them to come to your platforms as their place on social media to get such information.
Another way to compare the two is like this: content creation is self-promoting, while content curation is cross-promoting.
The Benefits of Created and Curated Content
Both types have their advantages and tend to work better in certain situations. Created content mostly drives organic search and is a major key to lead generation. Content curation is perfect for building relationships and showing that you’re an expert in your field. Other benefits are:
- Created Content
Demonstrates your position as a thought leader
Showcases your unique voice, opinions, skills, and knowledge
Boosts your credibility
Cultivates deeper relationships with your existing audience
- Curated Content
Builds new relationships
Provides your audience with alternative views and resources
A look at the data…
As another reminder, content creation and content curation both have their advantages, each rendering different results. Convince & Convert reports that posts that link to external sites get 33% more clicks than posts that link to company-owned sites. However, posts that link to company websites have a higher click-to-conversion rate (54%) than those that link to external sites. What’s more is that companies that focus more heavily on content curation link 75% or more of their social media posts to external (3rd party) sites. On the other hand, content creators in the study link about 50% of their posts to their own website. Those that fall more in the middle—neither creator nor curator—link to 3rd party sites 50-75% of the time. The group that performed the best was this middle group as they utilize created and curated content more equally and, in turn, fare much better. Although they receive 20% fewer clicks than those in the curators group, they yield 10 times more conversions, more clicks and a slightly higher conversion rate than the creators.
How your business or brand approaches content marketing must depend on what you’re looking to achieve, be it brand awareness, SEO, optimal social engagement, or more conversions. When developing your social media marketing strategy, knowing the differences and utility of both curated and created content will allow you make the right decision of what to use at the right time.
((Many thanks to Mary Hayes of The Search Agency for her ‘Which One is Better’ input, as the data shared was derived from her article)).