In the run up to this holiday season, my thoughts gravitated to the increasingly important role of curation in virtually all forms of audience engagement. Why? Because, spread as we are between so many cacophonous pleas, we all face an abundance of choice that far exceeds our capacity to discern what is—and what isn’t—worthy of our attention.
In this always-on age of information overload, our synapses yearn for some relief.
For many, this relief comes from the discriminating curators who act as intelligent filters across a veritable Sargasso Sea of information, a fire hose of flotsam and jetsam. We count on these curators to help turn the patternless din into a more sensible, more tractable patchwork.
Of course, this has direct implications for the content marketer who is often caught between the philosophical debate of creation or curation.
Here, the former relate to the words of Picasso who advised that it’s only the masters who matter. Those who create—not the disciples—are most interesting in life. (These, it’s worth mentioning, are convenient ideals coming from this master of all masters).
Writer Henry Miller thought otherwise, suggesting that you should “Develop interest in life as you see it; in people, things, literature, music—the world is so rich, simply throbbing with rich treasures, beautiful souls and interesting people. Forget yourself.”
It reminds me of a panel I moderated last year where Extreme Networks CMO Vala Afshar advised content marketers to “be interested, not interesting.” Wise words, then and now (although, for the record, I believe that the answer here is closer to and than or: creation and curation. I’m sure Vala agrees, as he’s a exceptional practioner of both).
Of course, curation isn’t just for the content marketer. The principles of curation are behind every effective personalization strategy and retail experience. Here, the goal is to carefully filter offers and experiences through the lens of the customer, helping them to find relevance in an increasingly overwhelming universe of choice.
What does this all mean for the digital marketer? Becoming a discriminating curator will help you distinguish your voice, values and storylines from competing pleas for audience attention. It will help your brand become a beacon in this ever-amplified age of plenty.