Content #curation delivers engagement wins in the attention economy and authority economy

This piece was re-purposed from comment wrote on Babra’s blog at The Connected Marketer:

Summary:  What is the value of relevance, regardless of the source?  I would think very high in an attention-rare economy.  If customers can depend on your brand to deliver relevant, daily, access, to the issues that matter to them, most, won’t your brand win the battle for greater, long-lasting attention with customers?

I’ll present my perspective around the issue of identifying quality, insightful content your customers, within the constraints of the “attention economy” and the “authority economy.”

If you believe the concept of the attention economy, then you may believe that attention or engagement is a scarce resource of your customers.  The prospects and customers with whom we communicate have less and less time in which to execute their tasks, while they receive increasingly more and more information, particularly marketing communications from their environment.  In the world of increasing inbound marketing and content marketing, particularly, many B2B companies work hard to deliver “high value” marketing content to customers and prospects.  The race is on “to publish to lead.”  Thus, in a world of equally capable competitors, any company with a sufficient budget can publish quality content to engage customers. 

However, the authority economy is not dead.  It’s still much alive and important to curation, as well.  In the “authority economy” the brand with the highest authority or perception of authority wins in the battle for the rare gem of customer attention.  In Edelman’s 2010 Trust Barometer Study you’ll notice that articles in business magazines and industry reports still rank about 2.5 times more trustworthy than social networking sites and corporate communications.  Thus, when it comes to identifying quality content, where do the prospects of a firm go to hear the authoritative voice of critical issues of their industry?  Most likely they’ll go where they can trust the authority of the publisher and in as little time as possible.  When they get information from this source, they’ll keep coming back to the source that dependably shared trusted, authoritative insights. 

Thus, companies that curate the voices, of authority, around the issues of their customers have a unique opportunity.  Those who curate and share these conversations will receive leadership and authority from their readers.  Companies need to show such authority in order to secure the valuable attention of their customers.  However, you’re only going to believe that such authority can be conveyed, by curation, if you also believe that aggregating relevant content does not reduce the value of the article to the reader.  If aggregating content reduced value to the reader, then HuffPo wouldn’t successfully secure millions of recurring readers to its website, daily. Part of that site’s impact is the authority, as well as relevance, of its bloggers and writers.

I discuss these issues, the nature of curation, influence, and a number of other points, in our eBook: Content Curation: Taming the Flood in B2B Social Media