No that long ago, blog writers were the primary curators of content online, and we’d all tune in to see what they’d recommend next. Ads would try to place themselves next to premium content on premium channels, but the connection was loose at best, and readers knew the ads were paying for the placement, so they would still get ignored.
However, as companies realized there was value in being the source of new, interesting and unique content, curation became a viable marketing tactic. Through Twitter, Facebook, and other curation channels, companies would find and share content related to their own products in hopes of attracting the sustained interest of their target market.
Over time, as trust shifted and consumers were more willing to look outside of the traditional sources for new content, additional verticals started to adapt to this trend, including ad networks and daily deal sites.
In the last post I talked about ad networks that have taken on the role of content curator, so this time I’ll give a few examples of daily deals sites that have harnessed the power of content curation.
The first example of this trend is Fab.com. As Sarah Lacy noted recently on PandoDaily, “Fab Isn’t an Ecommerce Company; It’s a Content Company with Sales“.
Part of what makes Fab so successful as a daily deals site is that their users trust Fab to source the best and most unique products, and share those products on a consistent basis. The prices are great, but it’s the great content that keeps the users coming back for more.
The Gilt Groupe believes so strongly in this mix of content and commerce that for the launch of their food site, Gilt Taste, they hired the former Editor-in-Chief of Gourmet magazine, Ruth Reichl, to serve as the editorial advisor. According to Ruth,
I believe that Gilt Taste is the next generation of food media, giving you everything you love about food in one place: ideas, inspiration, recipes, stories, and the ability to buy the best. It’s going to be the food magazine of your dreams. With this site, we’ll be able to create a community where people who love food can come together and share their experiences.
Looking beyond daily deals sites, we see networks like Pinterest tapping into this new trend, and growing substantially as a result. Pinterest allows anyone to curate their own content around specific topics, and others can then subscribe to topics that match their own interests for the latest updates. Brands looking for an easy way to curate content and share it with their audience have quickly adopted the platform, and I’d expect that trend to continue as the Pinterest audience continues to expand. For a look at what some of the first brands to make the jump into content curation through Pinterest are up to, check out Whole Foods Market, Etsy and West Elm.
By becoming the source of curated content, brands can shift some of their energy from push to pull marketing. Instead of constantly pushing out messages through banners spread far and wide, they can pull in their desired audience by sharing content those customers will enjoy, and then retain those customers for long-term interaction with the brand. This gives the brand additional opportunities to develop a deeper relationship with their customers without additional media spend, and puts the focus on a channel that they have much more control over.
Curating content that customers will enjoy does take time, and you can’t be everywhere at once, so brands need to choose channels wisely, but for those that have the personality and the resources it takes, content curation can be a great way to attract and retain an audience that will trust the brand for more than just a one time sale.