Five big problems with content curation

problems with content curation

I recently attended a conference where a major financial institution proudly displayed its new automated content curation system.  Basically, their answer to the content marketing dilemma every company is facing is to use an outside company to skim off the best financial-services content around the web and present it on their site as a value-added customer service.

On the surface, this seems like a very elegant solution. I mean, why spend the time and money to create original content when you can curate unlimited content from the web and present it as your own customer portal?  An intoxicating idea.

This is a popular trend but it is also problematic because it flies in the face of other marketing considerations …

1) Why should I trust you with my news? 

If I really am interested in this subject matter, there are thousands of other places I can get the same thing. The fact that this company is curating the content makes me inherently distrustful that it is going to be complete and unbiased information.

2) Whose problem are you solving?

Why is this company uniquely qualified to curate this content?  They’re not. In fact they are out-sourcing the task to an algorithm. They don’t bring any special  value to the task so they’re not really solving MY content needs. They’re solving THEIR need to put something out there and check the content marketing box or maybe enhance their SEO status, but are they addressing a customer need?

3)  One size does not fit all

The company serves consumers, retail institutions and other banks. Those are threes distinct customer segments with wildly different content needs. Yet there is only one news feed. How is one content stream going to address the information needs of all three market segments in a meaningful way?

4) It’s all about customization

Taking it down to an individual level, one of the big mega-trends is customization.  We want it our way. Even the idea that something CAN be customized is more appealing than one product that is supposed to be for everybody.  I want to tweak and filter my personal news stream, not just accept what somebody else thinks is important.

5) Human or machine?

This company was turning over its content marketing to a company who had developed a software program to curate the content. At that point, content is not king, it is a commodity.  There is no value-add. Further, trusting your consumer messaging to a machine is probably a problem waiting to happen.

While these observations came to mind in my conversation with the banking executive, these concerns are probably relevant for anybody considering a content curation strategy.

Now, there are certainly very legitimate uses for content curation when it is coming from a true trusted authority and its really helping customers navigate through an overwhelming amount of information.

But before jumping on the content curation bandwagon, take a step back and look at what you are really trying to accomplish. What are the possible risks versus benefits of creating (and controlling) what is showing up in your company’s content stream?

What are your thoughts on the plusses and minuses of content curation?

Image: Gushing fire hydrant by Joseph Robertson

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