Curation

The Difference Between Curation & Simply Collecting

Many brands believe they know how to curate content and that they do a great job of it, when in reality they’re simply collecting information. Hundreds to thousands of new content pieces are available at our fingertips every day, and instead of using a keen eye to examine and sift through what information is really beneficial and relatable to their target audience, collectors just gather as much of that information as they can.

Many brands believe they know how to curate content and that they do a great job of it, when in reality they’re simply collecting information. Hundreds to thousands of new content pieces are available at our fingertips every day, and instead of using a keen eye to examine and sift through what information is really beneficial and relatable to their target audience, collectors just gather as much of that information as they can.

Collecting vs. Curating

library collect books. Museums curate artifacts

A librarian collects numerous books, and while there is some organization to the collection, it’s not aimed to meet one certain need or target one specific audience. It’s a broad collection meant to meet multiple needs of all types and ages of readers.

On the other hand, curation is a narrowed process. A curator purposefully gathers and organizes information, and then adds their unique perspective on the information, to better tell a story, highlight an issue or answer a question that relates directly to their audience. Curators look for high-quality content, find it and make sense of it for their audience, which takes much more time, attention and focus to do than simply collecting information you think looks good or could be valuable to your audience.

Since collecting doesn’t require taking time to inspect the loads of information thrown in front of your eyes, it means you also don’t weed out the unnecessary and unimportant information. You end up giving your audience nice-to-have information, instead of the need-to-have information you should be giving them. Collecting is adding, while curating is subtracting.

You collect things for yourself, for your own gain and use, but you curate for others. You take the time to find useful, relatable information and add in your unique insights. Give your audience helpful information they need and want and add value with your insight.

Purpose and Value of Curation

The purpose of curation isn’t to put out an overload of information for your audience, hoping and crossing your fingers they read it. Yes, you want them to read it, but more importantly you want your content curation efforts to spark interaction with your audience and lead to good conversations about the information you provided.

You get these results when you put the necessary time and effort into curating. It’s a daily process of gathering and organizing information, keeping the top-notch stuff and weeding out the stuff that doesn’t make the cut. Curation also prompts you to ask the right questions that then give you the answers and solutions you need that’ll help set you apart from your competitors. When curating, ask yourself these 4 “why” questions:

  • Why am I reading this?
  • Why is this important?
  • Why would our readers care to see or know this?
  • Why would our audience and brand benefit from this?

Digging deeper and asking yourself these questions with every piece of content you come across helps you understand the meaning of it all and properly approach your curation process. Curation means you choose to narrow down the information and data your organization receives and/or that you find every day. It gives more observation and a greater understanding that in turn creates more reactions and insight.

Curating isn’t just about what you gather; it’s about making sense of what you gather and presenting it in a way your audience completely understands the message. Content curation, according to Beth Kanter, is a 3-part process: seek, sense and share.

blog-curation-3-step-process

First, you must find, or seek, the information. Once you find the information, then you have to make sense of it. You have to combine the curated content with your insights in a way that your audience can understand it and find it interesting and useful. Lastly, you have to share your curated content. This content is for your audience, so make sure you share it in a way they’ll easily find, digest and apply it.

Curating is not only beneficial to your audience; it’s beneficial to you and your brand. Being a content curator helps you stay better informed about your industry and be more effective at what you do. Content curation also helps establish your company as the go-to authoritative figure in your industry and/or with a specific topic or issue you present.

Sean Carton says there are 9 ways to make curation work for you, the curator, and for your brand. A few of those ways you should keep in mind at all times are remembering people matter, knowing curation is a commitment, focusing on a niche topic and recognizing that what you leave out is just as important as what you keep. Another way to make curation work is using the right curation tool to help you find and organize your efforts.

Collecting is gathering loads of information that’s in a way organized but isn’t meant to target one specific audience. Curating is also gathering information, but this process focuses on the quality of the information, reflects the curator and brand and meets the needs and desires of your target audience. It identifies your company’s goals, short and long term, while also considering the goals of your target audience. Curation is what you want to do and what you should be doing.