Recently, the New York Times announced it was adding curated content to its homepage. "What we hope [curating third-party content] will do is give readers a reason to come to our homepage more often and stay there," stated editor-at-large Marcus Mabry.
Curating contest is a progressive step for a traditional publisher but not an isolated one. With the launch of FirstFT, the Financial Times is also making its own move toward curated content. "We're trying to become a neutral judge and offer the big stories of the day, whether they're coming from us or elsewhere on the Web," Andrew Jack, its newly appointed head of aggregation and editor of curated content, told Digiday. "Nobody has a monopoly [on the news]."
The traditional publishers' embrace of curated content signals a seismic shift in consumer expectations of information. We're in a new era of information, where savvy audiences are seeking context along with content. They want more than a story—they want to understand the various ways in which a story is being told. That means even the most exemplary editorial coverage only becomes comprehensive when it's packaged with additional perspective.
Still, there are those companies with a knee-jerk reaction to curated content that say it doesn't offer the same value as original content. (This is surprising when "curation" is so widely respected in other arenas. That is to say, should the curator of the Guggenheim be held responsible for the creation of each exhibit? Would the organizers of Cannes take responsibility for the production of all of its entries?)
Content producers—be they traditional publishers, digital outlets, or the many brands that are tapping into the benefits of content marketing—need to understand that today, curation brings tremendous value to the growth of a business.
Curation is thought leadership
One common misconception is that thought leadership is exclusively the domain of original content. As the New York Times' and FirstFT's moves underscore, the process of employing one's expertise to identify the best and most meaningful selections of a much broader set is an undeniable demonstration of expertise. And that opportunity runs across the full spectrum of content. That is, if you're business converts homes to solar energy, then you should be the go-to resource on that subject. Curation offers the opportunity not just to participate in the conversation but own and shape it.
Curation is a service