Content Creation Plays Key Role in Establishing Thought Leadership

branded content
Content curation
is one of the new trends in communications, as any marketing and communication expert will tell you, and it turns out that content is greatly perceived as an effective way of establishing thought leadership, as a new study shows.

One of the biggest challenges is to actually provide interesting content in a world where there is too much information and where often we see articles with bombastic titles that turn out to be lacking great content.

Content curation services provider Curata carried out a survey in March 2012 reaching out to more than 400 US marketers and agencies that sold to B2B and B2C companies. The findings are not surprising, I’d say, as 95% of the respondents said they had curated content over the past six months. Almost anyone shares a link, a blog post, articles and interesting things with existing and potential customers and six months isn’t a short period.

The main objectives of content creation identified in the poll might be surprising for some, as 85% of respondents consider its main goal is to establish thought leadership. The second objective for content creation is elevate brand visibility and buzz, as 80% of the people responded, while boost SEO came in as third objective, with only 65% of the mentions.

Also interesting are the content marketing challenges, as having the time to create original content was ranked first, as the most challenging, with 75% of the mentions, closely followed by the actual creation of original content, with 73% of the answers. Finding high quality content, allocating stuff to do it and the difficulties in measuring results are other important challenges for marketers.

Social media are heavily used to share content – in fact 76% of marketers said they used a social network as the main channel for content distribution – but sharing is not enough, as curation is necessary in order to keep consumers engaged.

I could say that the findings of this poll confirm the current trend and marketers’ empiric observations. Content is necessary, but engagement is at least as important. Finding great content however and having the time to create and share it are real challenges for anyone involved in communication industry. However, high quality content delivered to customers leads to positioning as an expert, as a leader and draws consumers.


  1. Dr Liz Alexander says

    Have to say I wholeheartedly agree with Craig (not surprising, perhaps, since he and I are co-authoring a forthcoming book on thought leadership). And here’s another thing to consider:

    These kinds of polls reported by services providers tend to be suspicious at best, since many support whatever topical slant or latest buzzword the provider wishes to promote at the time. “Thought leadership” is such a hot button these days that it doesn’t surprise me that they would want to link the concept of content curation to that. And if the items are worded in a particular way (such as “Is one of the main reasons why you engage in content curation to establish your thought leadership?”) then it’s not surprising these results followed.

    In my view, content curation is to thought leadership what a clippings service is to a investigative article — one merely collects material thought up by someone else, the other concerns doing the actual thinking.

    • says

      Content curation is a main trend right now and the poll shows the importance of content creation and content curation. In the end, it’s all about perceptions, and the results are showing exactly that: how content creation is perceived by the people working in the industry. However, keep in mind that no one – nor Curata, nor I – say in the articles that content curation and content creation are the only things that lead to establish thought leadership.

      • Dr Liz Alexander says

        Point taken, Violeta-Loredana. However, if — as reported — “85% of respondents consider its main goal is to establish thought leadership” then it still begs the question: Why do so many people think that curating content — which Macmillan defines online as: “the act of sorting through the vast amounts of content on the web and presenting it in a coherent way, organized around a specific topic(s)” – in any way, shape or form establishes their thought leadership!

        • says

          That’s the respondends opinion/perception and I cannot answer in their names. At most, those involved in thought leadership could realize there is a perception problem and take some actions, perhaps to educate people, if the perception is not correct. But I cannot answer in someone else’s name – I only presented the results of that poll.

  2. Craig Badings says

    Violeta while I know you are basing your article on the Curata research unfortunately I would have to dispute any finding that says content curation establishes thought leadership.

    If Curata can give me an example of one recognised thought leader who got there by curating content alone I will change my views but I certainly haven’t found one. Those people who are perceived as thought leaders who may have curated content (Dan Pink and Malcolm Gladwell come to mind) have gone on to add their own new, unique insights that have challenged people’s paradigms.

    So content curation can play a pivotal role in helping someone or a company arrive at a thought leadership position. It can also play an important role in helping assimilate content that supports that thought leadership position. But thought leadership by its very nature means providing new insights and content curation on its own doesn’t fall into that bucket.

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