As search engines give less consideration to keywords and more to social media and user context, content continues to dominate conversations about online marketing.  Even the best researched keywords can’t stand up to the effectiveness of well-crafted and useful content. With Google’s release of it’s Algorithm update in 2013, known as Hummingbird, search results will focus more on ranking based on natural sounding terms, not just keywords.
Despite the calls for content to play a central role in every marketing mix, few brands or organizations can effectively fill the role of publisher.  With shrinking budgets and a lack of in house expertise, content creation can be a difficult task for even the most seasoned marketers. However, with traditional marketing failing to engage online audiences, and search engines being fine tuned to fully understand natural sounding user queries, content will need to play an increasingly larger role in your marketing mix. Including content in your strategy will be necessary, leaving it out risks eroding awareness levels and damaging your overall brand and market position.

You don’t need to become a publisher to share content

Fortunately, there are methods to share relevant and useful content, known as curating.  Curating is a powerful marketing tool for finding and sharing content that matters to your fans. (Learn more about curating, here  Curating is the practice of finding, organizing, and sharing relevant content which is targeted to your audience. More specifically, curating is organizing content around a specific subject. The use for this in social media and content marketing cannot be underestimated. this results in great content in multiple formats, ready for sharing with fans.  The space between creation and curating can be thought of as the “Curating to Creating Spectrum.” Where your brand or organization belong in this spectrum will depend on many factors, such as your audience, available resources (human, financial etc.), brand position, type of industry, acceptance by upper management of the need for a content strategy, and more.
Learn more about content marketing in this article by the Content Marketing Institute.
Curating has many benefits and can be a great asset to any content marketing plan, even when resources for creation are available.  Curating and sharing great content is an effective way to connect and engage with thought leaders in your industry, and prove to your audience that you are up to date with the latest industry trends and news sources.  Audiences will not accept content from any source; it must be well crafted, well researched, and come from a credible source, with the expectation that the author will be a subject matter expert. Trust and thought leadership will continue to be a powerful force in 2014. Always ensure you have thoroughly researched your source(s).

Multimedia and a multifaceted approach

Creating your own content will always tell a powerful story about your brand or organization, and can be mixed with curated content when needed.  Further, online publishing allows for content to be created in nearly any media, including:

Content of any type acts as an extension of your brand and influences consumer behavior, pushing leads and prospects further along in the sales cycle and closer to conversion.

Your overall approach to content marketing will ultimately depend on your position within the content – creation spectrum.  While taking a position close to the “creating” end of the spectrum may seem to be a goal for many, it is important to remember one of the core principles of content marketing: audiences want to be informed and given something useful.  Whether you have created or curated (while giving references to the original creator), sharing and having a conversation about something great with your audience, is what truly matters.