Artem Welker
February 10, 2015

When Content Curation is a Disease, but Not a Cure

Content Curation

In the world where everybody shares something without any added value, we face information pollution, not evolution (C) Artem Welker

It arose as a cure, which could help us not to drown in the Information Ocean. But then it turned to a disease which fuels this ocean, where 27M pieces of content are shared every day. We used curation to find relevant data and boost our content marketing efforts. Now there are some companies which abuse this method, becoming spammers who duplicate information and do not deliver any real value.

When Curation is a disease

Let’s see how users and companies turn this efficient tool into a disease, which just litters the digital landscape.

1)    When you share it without adding value

Content is nothing without context. For this reason it is crucial to add own voice to each piece of content, so it delivers the value and it has a strong identity with you. However, in my experience, most of the SMB and startups just share links. Because it is simple and cheap. Congratulations! You joined the army of clones who share similar stuff.

Another complication is related to content curation tools based on keywords when we are caged by a “filter bubble”. Everyday marketers share the same content, increasing the abyss of information noise.

Result: There is no you. You do not deliver your voice.

2) When you violate right curation proportions

There are different rules regarding the proportion of curated, original and promotional posts. Some people talk about 30/60/10, some prefer 10/4/1. Actually, it is all good. Because the main thing you need to take into account is your strategy where curation is just a piece of the cake but not the whole one.

Yet, if we look at many small businesses or startups, we can notice that they just curate side content but do not produce something of their own. So it does not matter how much you tweet. If you’re just tweeting links, you’re missing out.

Result:  You have no image. You do not build any brand footprint. Nobody will remember your name.

3)    When you ignore most of curation forms

Very few people are able to generate knowledge. Most simply generate information by the secondary replication of facts created before them. As Isaac Newton said: “We all stand on the shoulders of giants.” And there is nothing wrong with that!

If you want to create something, you first need to curate something. But it does not mean that a curated link is a result. It is just a part of your job when you try to make a delicious pie for your clients.

Therefore smart marketers rely on 5 different forms of curation: aggregation, distillation, elevation, mashups and chronology, where links sharing is just one of five cases. If you ignore the others, you just annoy your customers and followers.

Result:  There is no storytelling. There are no long-term relationships.

4)    When you focus on frequency, but not quality

Oversharing is a classic situation with cheap fuel. When it is not expensive to implement something, you lead generation quality vs quantitylose discipline. Hence sometimes I can see twitter accounts which spam other users with tons of posts.

I believe that the main keynote of today content marketing is being about quality, not frequency. If you publish too frequently, you become a spammer, but not a marketer.

Ok, you see the “followers growth”. But in the reality it is a bunch of robots who like you because of your hashtags or keywords, not your brand.

Result:  There is no real communication with real people. There is no customer conversion.

5)    When you focus on second metrics, but not lead generation

We know that in 85% cases, curation is a great way to establish leadership and expertise. And I agree that it plays a great role if you build a community and educate your audience. Nevertheless, quite often it does not help to generate leads when we attach links, as they can lead traffic to other sites. So this is ineffectual for getting traffic and increasing sales.

Ok. It is a pain. But there are other bad news. You not only lose leads. You lose SEO effect!

New Digital is about social. Social reactions is a new form of backlinks for now and then. Every time someone likes or shares your content, it creates a link which leads to your site or product. This way you increase your Google Ranking. The main truth here is, if you just curate links without your own pieces, you create backlinks for other sites, not yours.

Result: There is no traffic to your site. There is no SEO effect.

When Curation is a cure

Curation is like pills. If you know how to use it, it is a cure. And it still works well like aspirin. Here are some rules you should keep to:

1)    Combine different forms of curation (aggregation, distillation, elevation, mashups, chronology);

2)    Add your voice to each curated piece (unique comment, story, additional information);

3)    Add a brand identity (brand elements, images, logo, which allow to leave a brand footprint);

4)    Keep right proportions (30/60/10, or 10/4/1, but never use it as a main strategy);

5)    Use multi-channel curation (curate not only from rss, blogs, but social media pages, groups, accounts, newsletters);

6)    Add relevant links to your site (provide posts with links to related content on your sites, so it works for your SEO).


In the world where everybody shares something without any added value, we face information pollution, not evolution. It is true for social media users and for marketers too.

That is why the time of hopeful experiments is gone. Still, that experimentation will have led to a significant trail of mistakes, which can be great lessons for all of us. Be wise, be result focused. And the most important thing – deliver yourself and do not be a spammer.


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Artem Welker

Artem is a serial entrepreneur focused on Digital Marketing, Media and IT. He launched his first media project Hardwaretech in youth, and it was successfully sold. He was a contributor for a number of IT magazines and sites. In recent years Artem has been involved in 2 own companies - LikeHack Inc. and IdeaParcel. At the same time he provides advisory services, helping startups and companies to succeed in digital landscape. He is a constant speaker at Marketing and IT-conferences, business-incubators and universities.

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