Content Curation: A Poor Substitute for Original Content

Posted on September 17th 2012

Content Curation: A Poor Substitute for Original Content

You may have noticed that content curation has grown very quickly as a way for people and organizations to publish on the Web.

Sure, there are some benefits to this effort. But as a strategy for generating attention for yourself or your business, content curation is nowhere near as powerful as generating original content.

Content curation

Unlike writing your own blog post or shooting your own video, content curation simply involves pointing to others' work.

Services like and have sprung up to make it easy for anyone to publish an online magazine by linking to anything on the Web.

Yes, there is value in pointing to others work. But that is the point – it is other people's work, not your own.

Many organizations use guest writers to create content, which in my mind is another form of content curation. Nothing wrong with having a guest blog post now and then, but if you never showcase your own peoples' ideas, I think it is a mistake.

Original Content: The focus a successful marketing

The best way to generate attention is to create original web content including text based information (sites, blogs, a Twitter feed), video content, photographs, infographics, and the like.

You brand yourself as an organization worthy of doing business with. Done well, an added bonus is that the search engines rank the content highly and people are eager to share the content on their social networks.

And hey if you generate some interesting stuff, then the content curators will link to you!! Wouldn't you rather have the links come in?


David Meerman Scott

Marketing strategist, keynote speaker, and bestselling author of 8 books including "The New Rules of Marketing & PR" (now in 25 languages), "Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead" and "Newsjacking".

See Full Profile >


Posted on September 17th 2012 at 3:18AM

The curation concept is so overused that we hardly find the exclusive and exception (read new) nowadays. To some extent, content curation works well for few niches but not really for all. I partially agree with you, David. Thanks for sharing your honest opinion :)

Posted on September 17th 2012 at 3:25PM

I agree with everything in the article except one critical point - content curation is not and should not be about just pointing, without adding any additional value, to other people's work.

The traditional role of a curator (even in the way wikipedia defines it) is to help interpret the work, in addition to simply collecting it. Curators make statements through the body of work they curate. They often add commentary and serve as a guide to the less experienced.

I completely agree that curating content is no substitute for original content. I believe that curating is a healthy part of any content strategy, but it shouldn't be curating "point and shoot" style. A meaningful post that gathers resources, and adds color or opinion or additional expertise alongside them, is a gem.

My final comment: Some of the most beautiful and engaging tumblr feeds I have stumbled across have zero commentary, and the work is not original, either. They are just curators with great taste and an interesting perspective who communicate new viewpoints or ideas through the body of the work they circulate. This is the art of being a curator. It's a difficult art, but in a way, the body of work they pull together almost becomes something original.

I believe we should all be conscious of the value of the content we are creating or redistributing - is this better or different because I said it?

Thanks for the article, I enjoyed it.

Paul Chaney
Posted on September 18th 2012 at 3:14PM

Not that I'm a curation expert, but I have to suggest that blogging - even from a thought leadership perspective - often involves curation. Rarely is a blog post written that does not include a link to and perhaps commentary around another source. That's a form of curation. Even David's post appearing here on SMT is a product of curation.  

I think a best practice is to incorporate both the creation of original content supplemented by curated content -- a list post once per week, for example. 

All I am saying is don't throw the curation baby out with the bathwater. It can be a value add. 

L.E. Hill
Posted on September 20th 2012 at 10:29AM

Said perfectly by George Entwhistle in his first speech as new chief of BBC, "I would say that we’ve taken – joyously – our capacity to present and distribute existing forms of content to their natural limits rather than innovate."