Evolve Beyond Curation: Add Context, Lead Your Category

Many brands (and people) have fallen into a routine of aggregating / curating their category as the extent of their social participation. They use tools and / or team members to scan the day’s news and re-share it as micro content usually comprised of a link and a headline.

This is fine way for companies to start out in the social web. They usually don’t realize it involves going deeper. But you have to move beyond it if you want to get to outcomes from social or become a truly definitive leader in your category.

The truth is we’re saturated with curators.

And, many of them aren’t really even necessary and just contribute to the noise. Despite the social web quickly turning to micro content created by singular people, the individual is still not able to predict better than crowds. Without diversity, aggregation and incentives in place, single users as curators (with some distinct examples like Guy Kawasaki and Louis Gray) are not as good at surfacing what’s interesting as algorithms and filters powered by the crowd. Reddit or Stumble’s popular sections in most categories are far more interesting than most Twitter streams. They’re all signal, no noise. Sadly most marketers still ignore this and don’t even look at how crowds are deciding.

The point I wanted to make today is curation is just the beginning of using social channels. The most mature brands leveraging social aren’t just curating, they’ve become media companies and are building a community external of the noise of real-time. They go beyond curation: they add context, commentary, opinion and ultimately become leaders.

Brands serious about owning their category online need to evolve beyond curation, and fast. I personally find myself opting out of many feeds and unsubscribing from sites who simply curate the same content I’m already getting another way. I’ve had conversations with many others who feel the same.

We don’t need more curators. We need more leaders.

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