I read an interesting post the other day by Eric Wittlake, who asks whether curation is compatible with thought leadership. He says: “B2B marketers are looking for a shortcut to thought leadership, but the shortcut many are taking lead (sic) somewhere else completely.” That shortcut is curation, according to Wittlake.
If there’s one thing life has taught me, it’s that there are no shortcuts!
(By the way, I loathe the term thought leader, but we’re pretty much stuck with it.)
Someone who curates content and never produces original content is probably not in the league of thought leaders. But I would hope that if you’re curating knowledge about a particular topic, it’s a subject that you are also passionate about. And if you’re passionate, it’s likely that you’re also creating original content.
For example, I write and podcast about communications, content marketing, content curation, podcasting, and being an independent communicator. In these realms, I produce both original and curated content.
I don’t curate anything in the world of jazz, nanotechnology or marathon running; what I know about these topics would fit in Barbie’s thimble. Since I don’t even aspire to any kind of leadership in any of these fields, I don’t curate these and I don’t create original content either.
Recently I came across this suggestion by Todd Defren: "Follow a 70/30 Rule – 70% of content curated, 30% branded. Why? Because the rest-of-the-world is at least 70% more interesting than your brand; and, promoting external content builds social capital, makes grateful fans of influencers."
I love this because it speaks my truth: I want to curate content from others because there’s a whole universe of people smarter and more interesting than I. Why wouldn’t I want to consume their stuff and share it with others? Quoting another person on the topic of content marketing does not make me less knowledgeable on the subject. In fact, I would argue that it makes me more knowledgeable, because of the synergy that can be sparked by the confluence of ideas.
What do you think? Are curation and thought leadership compatible?