Content Crooks, Curators, and Creators: The Importance of Originality

October 5, 2015

If you’re a fan of Instagram or pop culture think pieces, you’ve probably heard about the recent controversy surrounding Instagram celebrity Josh Ostrovsky, more commonly known as The Fat Jewish. Here’s a quick synopsis for those who may have missed, forgotten, or willfully ignored this issue: Ostrovsky runs a popular Instagram account under the handle @TheFatJewish that features funny memes, screenshots, and images from all crevices of the Internet. The controversy stems from Ostrovsky blatantly using the original content of others without providing any accreditation to the creator.  

The controversy surrounding Ostrovsky serves as a useful parable for all content marketers. Back in 1996, a really smart and successful tech guy stated that “content is king,” and decades later he still proves to be correct. All content, however, is not created or treated equally. 

In striving to generate high-quality, valuable, and unique content (the holy trinity of content), content marketers tend to fall into two categories: curators and creators. Don’t worry – as long as you don't make the same errors as Ostrovsky, you won't be a content crook. 

Who is a Content Curator? 

In the realm of content marketing a curator does not generate completely new and original content but instead finds and assembles an appealing selection of content from various sources in one location. 

First, picture your favorite art gallery, with its thoughtfully curated collection of paintings and pictures from across the world. Now, instead of a gallery with art on its wall, it’s a company with pins on its Pinterest board. The Mona Lisa is to the Louvre as these dogs with duck boots are to L.L.Bean. 

What are Curators Good for? 

Although curators do not create unique content – they are not the true originators of the content they feature – they can still provide value in content marketing. 

Curators should only collect and present content that is high-quality and valuable, satisfying two of the three content holy trinity criteria. Companies can provide a one-stop shop of useful, informative, or entertaining information specifically tailored to what interests their core customer bases. 

This is exactly what many of your favorite Pinterest and Tumblr accounts aim to achieve: just visit Disney’s Tumblr or Mashable’s Pinterest for examples of content curation done right. Clothing brand Free People even created its own space for content curated from customers, by customers, for customers with FP Me. 

So, where did Ostrovsky go wrong in his curator role? You’ve heard it time and time again from everyone from your grade school English teachers to your college professors: cite your sources. 

The difference between a joke curator and a joke crook is simply giving credit where credit is due. Content curation can be very successful if done appropriately and wisely. Just remember: if you liked (and reposted) it then you should have put a source on it.   

Who is a Content Creator? 

The marketing landscape is also chock-full of content creators. These content marketers are the only and true original creators of the content they post, guaranteeing that this content is at the very least unique.   

Successful execution of the final two facets of the holy trinity of content marketing – ensuring that the content is also high-quality and valuable – is a great responsibility that lies firmly in the hands of the content creator. 

Five hundred irrelevant new blog posts that are less well-written and interesting than your middle school book reports are near useless, and may even do more harm than good to your company. On the other hand, two extraordinary articles that are high-quality, well-written, pertinent, and poignant can do wonders for your blog, traffic, brand, and even conversions. 

For this reason, before you even put pen to paper (or, more likely, fingers to keyboard), it’s incredibly important to thoroughly understand for whom you’re creating content, and what benefit they will receive from this content. 

Who are Successful Content Creators? 

The best content creators have a firm grasp on the identities of their customer bases and proceed to make content with their wants and needs always in mind. 

If you have a question or curiosity about any digital marketing topic, Hubspot’s blog already has a few answers readily available for you in multiple mediums – such as articles, infographics, and eBooks. 

Red Bulletin, a digital and print magazine created by Red Bull that highlights the kind of action-packed adventures that pair well with an energy drink company, could stand on its on with its impressive journalism and National Geographic-level photography. 

Callaway Golf’s YouTube channel helps golfers perfect their strokes while solidifying themselves as an industry leader (and – hey – maybe when it’s time to update the contents of your golf bag you’ll reach straight for the Callaway clubs). 

To Curate or to Create, That is the Question 

In the journey to high-quality, valuable, and unique content, there’s no right answer or formula that guarantees content marketing success. Every content marketer needs to evaluate their company, consumers, and capabilities to determine whether content curation, content creation, or both best suits their needs. 

To curate or create – that is the question. The answer: either. Or both. But don't be a crook, because when that old rich dude said that content is king he wasn’t messing around. If you’re interested in content creation services, learn more here. 

All I ask is that you heed the allegory of The Fat Jewish and the stern words of every educator you’ve ever had: ALWAYS site your sources. 

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Do you have any favorite content creators and/or curators? Any idea why dogs love L.L. Bean boots so much? Tweet us @Perfect_Search or shoot us an email at info@perfectsearchmedia.com

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