Content Aggregation vs. Content Curation

By: Jake

Every small business owner has felt the time-crunch factor of quality content creation. When the content is good, your followers want more of it; but you can only afford to spend so much time on content creation. How do you get around this dilemma? Easily: not all of the content on your blog needs to be created by you.

As someone who follows the latest news in your industry, you probably have a variety of sources that you go to for the latest news and interesting content. Content aggregation and content curation are two ways to incorporate some of the content you consume into your own online channels, allowing you to give value to your followers without always having to create the content yourself.

The two terms are often conflated, and understandably so, because they involve the same thing: taking outside content and reposting it on your own platform. However, the two concepts have different methodologies. What’s the difference, you ask?

Content aggregation is an automated process, often done by a proprietary platform without your direct involvement. That is, once you select the blog, feed, or website you want to aggregate, all the content from it will show up directly on your own site.

Content curation, on the other hand, incorporates a human element into the equation. You, as the reader, select content that you think your audience would find valuable, from whatever sources you see fit. Then, as you post it on your site, you can add a brief summary or commentary to show your audience why you find it valuable. In one way, you’re reposting outside content, but you’ve also made it your own.

So which one is better – content aggregation or content curation?

Each has strengths and weaknesses and should be used in a particular scenario.

If you tend to cover broader topics on your blog, you might be well served by content aggregation, which can automatically sift through large piles of content to extract ones that match your parameters (topics, keywords, certain authors, etc.). Aggregation, because of its automated nature, is also very efficient time-wise.

Content curation works better with more specific industries, where you need the human tough to accurately distinguish which types of content will be interesting to your readers. It tends to be much more personal, but the downside is that it takes much longer to do than aggregation.

Our advice? Start with content curation. It doesn’t require learning how aggregators work, and you can be sure that everything you share will be relevant to your audience (aka, your aggregator won’t go haywire on your and post the latest Miley Cyrus news to your feed). After you’ve been curating content for a while, if you find yourself always sharing content from a particular source, you can think about aggregating content from it, so that all posts from that source will automatically make it onto your page.

Just be sure to keep an eye on aggregated content and how many users on your site are engaging with it. If your aggregated content isn’t getting any readers, it might be time to rethink your parameters. If, on the other hand, your curated content isn’t getting read, but you’re sure it’s interesting (since you’ve read it yourself), you might want to experiment with how you frame the content to better highlight its relevance to your readers.

About Jake Taylor

Little Jack's resident wordsmith since 2010.

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