Should You Create, Curate or Circulate?

Courtesy of Fuel Your Blogging

Triggered by a post from David Meerman Scott, I thought about my own experience and asked the following questions:

- How much of what I've created is truly original?

- How much of what I've shared is inspired by others?

- What is the impact of either forms of content?

As I looked through the stuff that I generate online as well as the stuff which I consume, I came to a few conclusions.

First, almost all my blog posts are customised to my unique style of presenting information. While I do share data, charts, perspectives and views liberally from other bloggers (and attribute them, of course), I'm also mindful of speaking in my own voice.

Second, platforms like Facebook, Google Plus, Twitter, and Pinterest are really more useful for sharing than creating. Although photographs are huge in Facebook, written or video content tend to be created on other platforms. Twitter and Google Plus are mostly useful for dissemination more than anything else, while Pinterest works primarily as a pictorial bulletin board.

Third, I don't really see a significant difference in the number of visitors to created as opposed to curated posts. On the contrary, curated posts that ride a particular trend may see a higher visit than original thoughts on digital ink.

Summing these thoughts, there probably exists a continuum of content creation.

On the left hand side, we have the pure creators. These are the content royalists who breathe the rarefied air and is able to utter words of original wisdom.

On the right hand side, we have the pure sharers - folks who simply retweet and share good stuff that they know. This can be represented by the diagram below:

Is there a magic balance between the creation and curation of content?

According to Meerman Scott, nothing beats authentic content. In his own words,

"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."

Unfortunately, the truth is that most of us probably couldn't achieve that holy grail.

This blogger shared that while his ideal is about 70% creation and 30% curation, the reality is probably about 20% creation and 80% curation. He goes on to suggest ways to discipline oneself to create more - setting daily word counts, number of retweets and shares a day, a solid target of one blog post a week, etc.

The plot thickens when it comes to company generated content.

Research from here shows that posts linking to third-party sites generate 33% more clicks than posts linking to owned sites. However, posts that link to one's own website have a 54% higher click-to-conversion rate than posts that link to third-party websites.

If you're looking purely at traffic, perhaps some social sharing and curation would work. However, if you're looking at conversion, nothing beats original content.

Ultimately, my guess is that anybody who wants to be a thought leader in the social universe needs to create original content. However, one shouldn't refrain from sharing other people's content too. After all, the true value of social media lies in encouraging interaction, sharing and reciprocity.

What has your experience been like?

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