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For years, there’s been an ongoing debate surrounding created vs. curated content within the digital marketing arena. Many have argued that one is better than the other, with creators criticizing curators and vice versa.

Some die hard creators believe that curators are just lazy and unoriginal, while advocates of curation feel that creation is a waste of time and money. The truth is, both practices have their benefits and their pitfalls. The secret to truly successful content marketing is knowing when and how to blend the two together.

Don’t put all your Content in One Basket

If you think about it, it’s really just common sense. If you went to a financial advisor for advice on how to invest your money, do you think they’d tell you to put all your money in one particular stock or would they tell you to diversify? It’s the same with content. Choosing one type over the other might get you positive returns for a while, but at any given point things could change and what you thought was a solid content strategy could suddenly crash and burn right before your very eyes.

More importantly, created and curated content both serve very different purposes. If you limit yourself to just one, you’re missing out on a number of valuable opportunities. If you look at it this way, would you still opt for one over the other? Hopefully not.=

What’s the Difference between Created and Curated?

So what exactly qualifies as created content and how do we define curated content? Created content is original content that is written or produced by your company and lives on your website, blog, YouTube channel, etc. When you create your own content, you own it. Every piece of content you create represents your company’s unique expertise, products, services, insights, and opinions.

Conversely, curated content is content from external sources outside of your company that you share with your audience on your website, blog, or social media channels. It should be relevant and useful to your target audience and demonstrate that you recognize the value that other companies bring to your industry or areas of interest.

Another way to compare the two is like this: content creation is self-promoting, while content curation is cross-promoting.

The Benefits of Created and Curated Content

Both types of content have their advantages and tend to work better in certain situations. Overall, created content drives organic search and therefore, key to lead generation. Content curation is great for building relationships and showing that you’re a team player within the industry that you serve. But that’s not all! Each has additional benefits, including:

Created Content

  • Demonstrates your position as a thought leader
  • Showcases your unique voice, opinions, skills, and knowledge
  • Boosts your credibility
  • Cultivates deeper relationships with your existing audience

Curated Content

  • Cost efficient
  • Time efficient
  • Builds new relationships
  • Provides your audience with alternative views and resources

How Created and Curated Content Stack Up

Again, content creation and content curation both have their advantages and each renders different results. So to truly understand the value of each, it helps to compare them side-by-side. First, let’s look at the data. According to research by Convince & Convert, social marketing posts that link to external sites get 33% more clicks than posts that link to company-owned sites. However, posts that link to company websites have a higher click-to-conversion rate (54%) than those that link to external sites. I don’t know about you, but most companies I know aren’t just after clicks or conversions. They want both. So how can that best be achieved?

Let’s look at more data! Companies that focus more heavily on content curation creation link 75% or more of their social media posts to external (3rd party) sites. On the other hand, content creators in the study link about 50% of their posts to their own website. Those that fall more in the middle—neither creator nor curator—link to 3rd party sites 50-75% of the time. Guess which group performed best? Hint: the answer is in the curated content shared below…

chart

It’s no surprise that the ‘balanced’ group, those who utilize created and curated content more equally, fare much better. Although they receive 20% fewer clicks than those in the curators group, they yield 10 times more conversions, more clicks and a slightly higher conversion rate than the creators.

Key Takeaways

While the data shows that the ideal balance of created to curated content should be anywhere between 25/75 to 50/50, this formula might not apply to all companies or campaigns. Ideally, how you approach content marketing must depend on what you’re hoping to achieve, whether that be greater brand awareness, higher search rankings, optimal social engagement, or more conversions. Knowing the differences and usefulness of each type of content will help you make the right decision when developing your next content strategy.

Mary Hayes is a Manager in Earned Media at The Search Agency, where she’s worked for 10 years. She has prior experience in SEM, print and email marketing, publishing and advertising. Mary is passionate about her two children, working smart and making a positive impact in everything she does.

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