Recently, the AP Stylebook updated its guidelines to reflect the evolution of social media: For example, "fan," "friend," and "follow" can all be used both as nouns and as verbs. A decade ago, those words might have sounded completely foreign if used as they are today.

The widespread adoption of the Internet has forever changed the way we communicate as brands, companies, and people. In the age of social media, it's no longer just about communicating; it's also about interacting.

Most marketers are eager to achieve a level of engagement with current and prospective customers, but the majority stop dead in their tracks when they consider this question: Where am I going to find the time to develop all the content necessary to do it?

I am going to let you in on a little secret: Engaging customers online does not have to be difficult. In fact, sharing information with the appropriate group does not need to be daunting or time consuming—if the way information is selected and shared is effective.
Then and Now: From Content Creation to Content Curation

Consider the next step in the evolution of content: curation. At one time it was sufficient to produce and distribute content exclusively to a company's own customers. Marketers would create their own blogs, podcasts, case studies, news stories, whitepapers, and so on.

But a few things have changed:

  1. Everyone is publishing volumes of content, which makes it hard for marketers to rise above the noise while continually producing fresh content.
  2. Customers are not looking at information from just one source—and especially not from just one company.
  3. Customers are increasingly consuming expert and community content as a part of the buy cycle.

In such an environment, content curation has emerged as a new and powerful way for marketers to sift through the flood of content available to customers.

Like the owners of high-end art galleries, marketers must sift through the information from across the Web and "curate" it to ensure that it is relevant to their customer. By doing so, marketers can cost-effectively advance online thought leadership and drive business through new and innovative customer interactions.

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image of Pawan Deshpande

Pawan Deshpande is the founder and CEO of Curata, a leading provider of content marketing software. He is an accomplished entrepreneur, marketer, and technologist.

LinkedIn: Pawan Deshpande