To Create Or Curate: That Is The Question

When presented with a choice between two options, we’re tempted to think “this or that.” But with creating or curating, the best option is to think “and” instead of “or.”

When you are responsible for educating everyone in your organization, it is helpful to draw upon various mediums of communication to assist with this goal. This raises the question of whether you should be creating new content to get the message out or curating existing content that you deliver to your organization’s readers and viewers.

Content creation, as the name implies, is all about creating original content and then marketing or broadcasting it to staff, followers, or subscribers. It necessitates knowing the topics of interest of your target audience and creating visual or text-based content that would appeal to them. The created content could be disseminated through blogs, ebooks, videos, podcasts, social media, memes, and infographics, to name a few of the available options.

In contrast, content curation is gathering existing and specific information from other external sources that is relevant to a particular topic or need, and then sharing it with your employees or followers of your brand. Sources of information can come via blogs, social media posts, news outlets, associations, and ebooks, all relating to the expertise or subject matter you advocate for.


What’s the best solution for dealing with this create-or-curate conundrum?

You don’t have to burn yourself out trying to generate novel content to meet the editorial or content calendar needs of your organization. Nor are you expected to share informative content from external sources just because it is there.

As a content marketer, you must strategize and carefully plan the content you need around specific topics of interest your organization wants addressed.

According to social media marketing firm Argyle Social, the right answer is a balanced approach between creating and curating. It found that organizations using third-party content between 50 and 75 percent of the time (with the ideal at 40 percent) obtained more clicks and conversions per post than organizations using one method or the other. Posts linking to third-party content generated 33 percent more clicks than posts linking to an organization’s own site.

However, Argyle’s research also shows if you want to drive conversions, the optimal strategy is to create your own content. The reason is because you are taking the reader or viewer to your Website and not to an outside organization. Apparently, posts linking to your organization’s Website have a 54 percent higher click-to-conversion rate than posts linking to external third-party Websites.


Whenever you are dealing with breaking news, it’s easier to draw upon curated content from mainstream media than trying to create your own content on the topic. Utilize the many curation sites and companies to find and share the most relevant stories on specific topics, issues, or areas of interest applicable to employees and customers.

For example, Flipboard is a social news app that scours the news and collects articles personalized to the content parameters you set up. It creates a magazine-like layout for you, which you then can share on your media channels.

BuzzSumo is a tool that finds the most shared content on the Internet around selected topics you feed it. It provides timeframes for when postings were made.

You can set up a corporate Twitter account with Twitter Lists to categorize and organize followers with mutual topic interests and engage and interact with them.

Use Pocket to capture and collect content personalized to your topic interest in one place. This keeps articles and videos from your favorite feeds that you can review and share when applicable.


When creating content, always think about how to get multiple uses from one piece of content. Consider the following:.

  1. Visual Medium: You could create a video recorded piece that will go on your organization’s YouTube channel around a needed topic. It might be a “how-to” content piece or an interview with a leader sharing information on a new product or service. Give this video content to your Communications department and have it help you edit the video and create thumbnail images to preface the video on your YouTube channel and for your Website.
  2. Printed Medium: The next step is to take that same video and have it transcribed in-house or by an external online service such as or a virtual assistant. Use this written content to create a downloadable transcription to accompany the video. Or you can edit it or expand on the content and make it a blog post or article for your Website. You then can embed the video link into the article for people to choose that option.
  3. Audio Medium: Another way to maximize the use of your original content is to create an organizational podcast that can be shared externally. Simply take the video you created and use the audio file from the video. Create a branded voiceover introduction and outroduction and post it to iTunes. Ensure it has visibility on your organization’s intranet site and through communication broadcasts to employees. Again, you can add the link to your audio/podcast version to your blog post or article, giving a wider choice for employees to select.
  4. Social Media: And then there’s social media. From the various media sources you’ve created, have your Communications team search for sound bites and pithy quotes from what was said or written that can be used on social media. Use graphic editing tools such as Canva and go to Unsplash to get free usable images to easily add a visual with your quotes. Then give the URL link back to your Website.

When presented with a choice between two options, we’re tempted to think “this or that.” But with creating or curating, the best option is to think “and” instead of “or.”

Roy Saunderson, MA, CRP, is author of “GIVING the Real Recognition Way” and Chief Learning Officer at Rideau Recognition Solutions. His consulting and learning skills focus on helping companies “give real recognition the right way wherever they are.” For recognition insights, visit: For more information, e-mail him at or visit

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