What is content curation? How does it differ from content creation? Here’s a look at what each offers social media managers and digital agencies.

The Content Creation versus Content Curation debate has been around a while. But what are they and which one is best for your brand? In this article, we’re looking at the latest stats, techniques, and the brands making it happen.

But first, let’s be clear on content creation vs Content Curation.

The definition of content creation is the process of creating your own content from scratch and marketing it to your followers or subscribers.
The definition of content curation is the process of gathering existing information like blogs, social media posts, or, ebooks written by other people or brands and sharing it with your brand’s followers.

Now, let’s look at content creation vs content curation in terms of the pros and cons. Choosing your strategy will depend on your own social media KPIs and these will be unique to each brand.

Pros for Creating Content
Generates leads

If you are creating content like an ebook or whitepaper as a lead magnet for your landing page, your content needs to be original. A total of 76% of buyers are willing to share their information in exchange for white papers; ebooks took second place with 63%.

Already approved

If you are working in a strictly regulated industry like finance, then you need to be careful in what you publish on your site and social media channels. Created content is written and approved in house and therefore safer. (We will talk about that in a moment!)

Drives traffic

Google loves original content especially if it’s useful and SEO-friendly. 76% of marketers said that organic traffic is the key metric they use to measure the success of their content. Better content can drive traffic to a blog by up to 2,000%.


If you write the content, then it’s going to be reflective of your brand and brand voice. It takes between 5-7 impressions to start creating brand awareness, so consistency is key. Sharing other people’s content is inconsistent or could help your followers form a bond with someone else!

Original content helps you become a thought leader

By creating your own content, you’re becoming a thought leader that others want to follow. That makes your brand aspirational and highly desirable to customers. For example, iconic thought leaders like Sallie Krawcheck of Ellevest set a high bar through years of consistent effort. That means authoring articles, answering questions, and adding value. (After all, 65% of content consumers stated that they prefer content from prominent industry influencers.)

social media content example

Reasons Against Creating Social Content

This is the biggest negative of creating content. The average time taken to write a blog post is now nearly 4 hours. That’s because blogs are now 53% longer than they were in 2014 and require matching graphics, GIFs, and SEO to be effective. Additionally, competition is tough, and writers must now research hard and write skilfully to outrank other sites.

what is content curation and blog post writing time

what is content curation and length of typical blog post

Creating content is costly 

Great content isn’t cheap. Whether you’re paying an inhouse writer or outsourcing, you will need to budget for a well-researched, original piece of content. This price will rise if your sector is highly specialized (finance, legal, medical, pharmaceutical, etc).

Pros for Curating Content
Saves time

If you have multiple social media channels to populate, webpages to work on, and perhaps a few press releases, then curation is awesome. Some 19% of bloggers spend six hours or more writing a blog. I don’t know any writers working in corporations who have time for that.

Presents a wider knowledge

Your brand can’t be the expert on everything … but with content curation, it can seem like it is.

But be careful to select content from reputable sources. Interestingly, it may end up being your brand that inadvertently takes the credit because many social users who share a headline, image, and link don’t actually open the link to read the content or see the original source.

Increases your reach 

Leading fintech app Revolut often links to news stories about its products. This is great for brand awareness, increasing reach, and reinforcing trust.

As another example, Barclays Bank uses it to showcase City Rising Stars 2020 awards.

Draws on micro-influencer strength

Forget the Kardashians. Micro-influencers create both trust and credibility for your brand. 92% of consumers perceive micro-influencers as more believable and credible. This makes for receptive audiences. 94% of consumers consider micro-influencers to be more knowledgeable than macro-influencers/celebrities.

Agorapulse does a great job of this by inviting micro-influencers to take part in interviews, discussions, and panel debates. I really enjoyed this Social Media Lab Live episode with Scott Ayres and Troy Sandidge.

Builds an active community  

Lately, I’m obsessed with chef Jamie Oliver’s marketing. He’s all about sharing recipes, giving credit to creators, and building an online community. Check out his Ministry of Food.

Doing this drives traffic, increases brand awareness, and promotes diversity.

Jamie also stays on brand while he helps local charities, sharing voices and supporting international food and wellness initiatives.

Fun social content fact: Almost 90% of B2B marketers say that repurposing existing content is more effective than producing new content in terms of time, costs, and results.

find out why teams love managing their social with agorapulse

Reasons Against Curating Content
Loss of traffic 

When you share a link to someone else’s site, you’re sending your traffic to a piece of real estate that you don’t own. If that site has products or services like yours, or hosts advertising for brands that have them, then you could be losing business too. To maximize traffic, marketers should post at least 16 blog posts a month to their own site. This strategy nets 3.5 times more response than posting less than 4 times a month.

Loss of trust 

Make sure that you fully trust your sources.

If you link to untrustworthy sources, your audience will stop trusting you and there have been numerous cases of brands sharing things they shouldn’t.

Even carefully planned out content curation campaigns have gone horribly wrong. When Adidas launched its #DareToCreate campaign last year, it didn’t anticipate what might go wrong. Adidas planned to generate a virtual shirt with the user’s Twitter handle and message on the back, along with the message “welcome to the squad.” But instead, the user-curated stunt resulted in racist and anti-semitic slurs being tweeted out, seemingly from the main Adidas account.

PR guru Andrew Bloch tweeted: “Adidas’ #DareToCreate campaign provides yet another valuable reminder to brands on why you should never let the internet customize anything.”

The Natural Environment Research Council learned this lesson when it asked the audience to name its new vessel. And the winner is … RRS Boaty McBoatface!

Fun social content fact: Some  31% of consumers believe trustworthiness is the most important aspect of a brand. Plus, 4 in 10 Americans have boycotted a brand they associate with irresponsible behavior.

Copyright issues 

You don’t have to worry about sharing a social media post that includes someone else’s content. However, do not create a blog post or any content that directly rips large amounts of information from the original article unless you have the appropriate permissions or credit the author.

Otherwise, it’s plagiarism.

Always Curate From Credible Sources

Working in the financial services sector with my agency Contentworks, we do use content curation. However, we are careful to curate from credible sources. Retweeting an inaccurate statistic or misleading quote could land your company in hot water with regulators.

What to look out for when you curate content

Credibility. How trustworthy is the source of the curated content? Are they known in your sector for providing reputable and accurate information?
Validation. I understand that content and social media is fast-paced. However, take a second to double-check stats or quotes before you retweet. Has the content creator linked to reputable sources, and can people who are quoted be checked?
Unbiased. It’s important to scan articles for overly biased opinions. For example, far-right or indeed far-left sites may be putting their own spin onto the news. It’s also unprofessional to share overly opinionated pieces on behalf of your brand. Choose sources that stick to facts and stats.
Liability. Depending on your sector, you may still be held accountable for a retweet. For example, your financial brand retweets another account that tells readers Bitcoin will go up in value. If they invest based on what they deem to be your brand’s advice, you could be in trouble. Always check the rules with your compliance and legal team if you’re in a regulated sector.

Content Curation Tip: Be ethical. Respecting the rights of other authors is key to content curation. That means crediting bloggers, thanking authors, adding value to their work, and encouraging readers to acknowledge the author.

Download this free social media calendar packed with ideas and examples!
Favorite Techniques For Content Curation
1. Host a roundup 

Whether it’s a written article or video panel debate, roundups are a great way to curate content and ideas. They also get tons of traction as the roundup panelists will share the content and introduce your brand to thousands of more visitors.

The premise is simple, ask a selection of experts to comment on an idea or question and then feature them in a roundup.

Here’s one we made during the pandemic featuring key forex brokers:

2. Try Paper.Li

This is a social media marketing tool that curates your popular tweets and formulates them in a super handy online newspaper. The free version is basic, so if you’re a social media manager for a brand it’s worth paying the $12.99 a month for the pro edition.

3. Schedule with Agorapulse

Using Agorapulse’s easy content management calendar, you can schedule your evergreen content (or someone else’s) throughout the year. Within the panel, you can choose to repeat content that has performed well, even if it isn’t yours!

4. Gather with Curata 

Curata will help you more effectively gather and use curated content, as well as create content with contributors across your entire team. Curata also has a free ebook on curating like a boss.

5. Create publications with Flipboard 

Flipboard enables you to take curated content and create a mini publication on the topic of your choice. You can share them out afterward and tag other authors. Flipboard’s mission is to advance conversation through important and influential stories that not only keep people informed but also inspire them to engage, learn, and lead.

6. Check your comments

If your blog has audience questions or you get a lot of questions on social media, utilize them. Audience questions are the most valuable and can form the basis of great blogs, videos or AMAs. Moondust Agency’s Marie-Helene uses questions to form the basis of her Linkedin AMA video series:

7. Collect With Feedly

Keeping up with the latest news in your industry, following what experts are saying, and tracking trending content is key. Feedly collects content from your favorite sources and displays it for you to consume effortlessly.

8. Repurpose Content

Written a winning blog post? Repurpose the content into an infographic, video, or GIF. Yes, you can totally curate your own content to save time and money.

9. Tiktok Duets

A TikTok duet is a video that gets placed beside another, so they can be watched simultaneously in the app. It could be a duet, response, or contrast and they can be really entertaining. The Duet is then available to your fans and to the fans of the original video creator therefore greatly amplifying your own content. It’s a great way to do content curation. (Stay posted on the future of TikTok, though!)

10. Use Slideshare’s content curation tools

SlideShare uploads can reach more than 70,000 monthly visitors. Repurpose ebooks and presentations, and give them a fresh lease of life on the platform. You can also clip and share extracts from other people’s Slideshares for your own content curation strategy.

Content Curation Tip 

Use Evernote to create Swipe Files for inspiration. Type notes, add attachments, clip web pages, or record memos in one place. Remember, this is not to copy content but to save great ideas and potentially repurpose them later.

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