Content curation has the dubious distinction of being misunderstood, misrepresented, and a poorly discovered topic among marketers these days. Few companies fully investigate what content curation is and how it can help build a brand and a business, especially where multiple locations, stakeholders and jurisdictions come into play.
As a starting definition, content curation is a form of content marketing and distribution where a publisher – such a master franchise or association – editorially creates or compiles content appropriate for their specific niche, segment or category, targeted to a specific audience then customizes or embellishes that content by adding localized content customization, opinions and expertise unique to that specific business and geographic location. That customized content delivers unique value to the target audience who consumes it after it’s published.
Curation not duplication.
Curation is significantly different than straight duplication and the systemic aggregation and syndication of content and links that has been popular in the recent past -- editorially-selected, enhanced, and added value. Well-executed content curation isn’t just a regurgitation of content that was already published but rather a localized and customized article or story. The locally branded human element of content curation is what makes curated content compelling and valuable as branding, marketing and connecting.
The unique place content curation plays in Franchises, Associations and Multi-Site Business is in the overall brand and businesses' (semi) closed model; meaning that typically a franchise, for example, is in the business of promoting its own content and unique offerings. As a result content created and curated for this purpose is going to be for this purpose alone.
Powering both marketing and branding at operational scale.
One of the biggest challenges for business operations at all sizes is time and attention – especially where brand and marketing are not central to that businesses' core competency; and it often is not. Every minute saved in content creation is a huge boost to their productivity and marketing effort. But adding the power to localize their messaging boosts their local branding efforts exponentially because not only do they now have content ready made for their offering, but they can customize as much or as little as they need which is a significantly easier task. Now your brand, speed to market, and localization have an unheard of boost.
Curation works as a powerful marketing tool. Don't be fooled by marketing hype.
It's interesting the misinformation around this concept. The fear some marketing professionals will push goes like this : if content is in any way duplicated from another source, then the search engines will penalize you. It's easy to understand the angst around this – search engines have a reputation for intelligently siphoning-off content that is merely an automated replica of something else, purely for the game-playing of aggregated-content bulk marketing. Intelligently is the key word, however. Since Google's algorithm upgrades going back even as far as Panda in 2011, however, the fear is well overplayed. Panda, and its decendents since then have targetted the concept of scraper automation and content farms – the very concepts that curation solves.
Time and again it has been proven that a legitimate digital property (read : website attached to a real business) is seen by search engines as a viable business that should be treated as such; the result? A top notch organic search result placement with the very content those aforementioned marketing people were so scared about.
In short; done properly, curated content is rewarded both by search engines and your business model. We've researched and experienced the results repeatedly. This places both the intelligence of search engines into a correct new light, as well as the business, marketing and operational strategy of content curation on the whole as a serious tool for businesses looking to maximize value for their members, franchisees and regional stakeholders.