The Curation Economy – Abundance to Poignancy

As digital content marketers we are in the throes of two concurrent data revolutions. That of Big Data and secondly, the contextualization of big data. You won’t win customers with Data solely – but when you use that data to contextualize your content you will. What does that mean – it signifies that we have entered the “Curation Economy” – and all you need do is take a look around to see it. From Tumblr to Youtube, Spotify to Soundcloud, the ubiquity of RSS and email campaign customisation, to your Mashables and Mediums – the content-evolution maxim has become – the best content in the best order.

Having to find our goldilocks zone of content optimization means curating your content, and lifting your content from abundance to poignancy as efficiently and intelligently as possible. How do you contextualize your growing volumes of content? If we’re not careful we will witness it pile up around us and see our target audience fail to see the forest through the trees.

The Curation Economy has come into focus across the broad spectrum of desktop and mobile internet, and is set to continue this trend accompanied by an exponential growth of big data.

As content marketing behaviour has morphed to accommodate these changes; seeing the “pull” motion of traditional sales moving towards a “push and test” mode, we find ourselves seeking out our audience, instead of pulling them in with the promise of thrilling content. Ads seek to be (and marketers must be) part of this curated economy of signs. Collectively, the Curation Economy is finding its place in the wider, “sharing eco-system”; with authenticity and recognition arising organically from the interaction and experience of each of its users. Otherwise, both ads and marketers will be left on the outside looking in!

But what it is all about? Steve Rosenbaum (follow him on Twitter) presciently penned 5 apt laws underpinning the Curation Economy back in 2013, all of which still live up to scrutiny.

The Five Laws of the Curation Economy

The First Law: People don’t want more content, they want less. We’re overwhelmed in raw, unfiltered, context-free data. Humans want it to stop.

The Second Law: Curators come in three shapes. There are Curation Experts — people whose background and depth of understanding makes their curatorial choices valid. If you’re looking for medical advice, you want your video viewing curated by a doctor, not a patient. There are Editorial Curators, who manage the voice and the collections of the publications and sites they organize. And there are Passion-Driven Curators, they love their particular area of focus and attention and bring that single-minded focus to every piece of content they touch.

The Third Law: Curation isn’t a hobby, it’s both a profession and a calling. Curators need to be paid to be part of the emerging ecosystem. What’s a fair fee will depend on how critical the curator’s output is in the category. But an economic basis is essential, and inevitable.

The Fourth Law: Curation requires technology and tools to find, filter, and validate content at the speed of the real-time web. Curation can’t simply be a human with a web browser — the mix of man and machine is essential here.

The Fifth Law: Curation within narrow, focused, high-quality categories will emerge to compete with the mass-media copycats who are filling the curation space with lists, cat videos, and meme links.

This is coterminous the rise of Big Data. The day when your Content Curator and your Data Scientist work in one team is fast approaching, and as we’ve mentioned before, many business aren’t ready for this change. The cure for #contentoblivion is content coherence; lifting content into relevance by precise and intelligent organization of your assets. After all, any user is but a click away from your content, and a click away from sending it back into oblivion.

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