Content Curation Versus Content Aggregation

3 Ways Content Curation Trumps Content Aggregation

Content Curation Versus Content AggregationContent curation versus content aggregation is a challenge many marketers face due to limited budgets and their prospects’ insatiable need for content.

As a marketer, it’s useful to have both content curation and content aggregation capabilities in your content marketing toolbox.

Content curation is a subset of content aggregation. Not all content aggregation is content curation. Content Aggregation Versus Aggregation

Content curation versus original content

  • Content curation always includes some original content. It may just be commentary and the headline.
  • Content curation can be entirely original such as a roundup post.
  • By contrast, content aggregation is NOT original content.

Content Curation

Business goals: Content curation versus content aggregation

  • Content curation provides more business power because it establishes thought leadership in a specific niche. This positioning is key to your brand and/or business.
  • Content aggregation supplements your content offering by providing more information on your specific niche. It’s core value to your brand is limited because it lacks original commentary. 

Content curation goes deeper than content aggregation to help sow the seeds for your brand development and long-term value. 

5 Major content marketing cycle steps compared

COntent Curation Versus Content Aggregation

Content Curation

Content Aggregation

Uses editorial expertise to select content. Discovers content from different sources.
Enhance other people’s content (aka OPC) with commentary. Culls best content.
Compose original headlines. Classify information into pre-establish order.
Distinguish content to attract attention. Organize results systematically based on product, company and/or brand.
Publish content on regular schedule. Publish information when available.
Source: ©2014 Heidi Cohen – Content.Curation.Marketing


5 Main steps to content curation:

  1. Use editorial expertise. Become a trustworthy filter and thought leader on a specific topic. Condense information into a few key nuggets.
  2. Enhance other people’s content with unique commentary. Augment the chosen information context for your specific audience. Add to their knowledge and provide additional value.
  3. Compose headlines to pull readers in. Headlines are particularly important for content curation since it’s one of your information’s few points of distinction.
  4. Distinguish your content to attract attention. Structure information to encourage readership and sharing. Integrate your 360° brand into the content. Outline and highlight key points. Include images to add visual appeal.
  5. Publish content on regular schedule. Create an editorial calendar to help build a following since readers know when to expect your information.

5 Main steps to content aggregation:

  1. Discover content from different sources. Often machine selected, information is chosen from an assortment of resources based on established criteria generally in the form of one or more keywords or phrases.
  2. Cull best content after deleting low quality information and promotions. Eliminate information that’s missing attribution and/or links.
  3. Classify information into a pre-establish order such as a list or other method of grouping content.
  4. Organize results systematically based on product, company or brand using an easy schema such as publication date or author’s last name.
  5. Publish information on one or more platforms when available. No additional commentary is needed.

At its core the biggest difference between content curation and aggregation is the human touch.

3 Major difference between content curation and content aggregation

The 3 major differences between content curation and content aggregation are:

  1. Addition of an editorial point of view. Don’t just recast someone else’s ideas. Add something new.
  2. A new title. Not sure what to write? Tap into a winning headline.
  3. Added commentary. This is what makes your content curation original.

Benefits of content curation versus content aggregation

The 3 benefits of content curation are:

  1. Content curation attracts people to your thought leadership. Content curation distinguishes you from others in your niche.
  2. Content curation enhances your brand. Content curation packages your curated information to set it apart from the competition.
  3. Content curation supports search. Content curation augments other people’s content by adding original commentary, a new title and linking to quality information. This is based on findings by Bruce ClayContent Curation and Search Chart - Bruce Clay

The 3 benefits of content aggregation are:

  1. Content aggregation keeps costs low. It collects other people’s content, often through automation. It doesn’t add any original information or commentary.
  2. Content aggregation offers diverse voices on a topic. This means that you’re not just shouting me, me, me.
  3. Content aggregation supplies more content. It fills the need for information but it lacks your branding and voice.


  • Content curation requires resources to transform content into your own. While these are less resources than original content, they’re more than just aggregation.
  • Content aggregation loses the content’s original context. Even more important, its content quality may vary significantly.

3 Actionable Content Curation Tips

While both content curation and content aggregation can help fill your editorial calendar, content curation provides 3 additional benefits that set it apart from the rest of your content marketing offering.

  1. Content curation can consist totally of original content. By curating your content or that of influencers or customers, you can create new content. Lee Odden’s conference ebooks are a prime example.
  2. Content curation involves indexing your own content through a content audit. This provides institutional memory for your content enabling you to easily find, retrieve and use it when and where it’s appropriate. At its heart, it’s the power that Joe Pulizzi describes in Content Marketing Institute’s new content curator job.
  3. Content curation enhances the value of your existing content to extend its useful life. Since you can find it, you can repurpose or repost it.

(BTW–In case you still need convincing, here’s how to make the business case for content curation.)

The bottom line is that, while every content marketer’s toolbox should include both content curation and content aggregation, effective use of content curation positions you as a thought leader while leveraging the power of your existing content.

Have you used either content curation or content aggregation? How did it perform for you?

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen



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