Digital media has emboldened many brands to consider themselves publishers. After all, American Express has credibility on financial matters and Coke has a network 36 million Facebook fans. Who needs publishers to serve as intermediaries?
The problem is publishing is a lot harder than it looks, or rather it’s a lot harder to do it with the consistency, day after day, that’s needed to build a long-term audience. That’s leading some brands to hook onto the idea that their role lies more in the curation of content.
Curation is the vogue digital term for the ability to not only aggregate and distribute carefully selected information, but also to provide a unique voice on top of the original pieces of information. In the age of Twitter and Facebook, it seems like all the world is curators now. Brands want in on the action.
Brands are trying to establish themselves as trusted sources of information. Hop onto Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr, and you’ll see brands that gather up articles from all sorts of publications and push them out to their followers. For example, look at IBM’s Tumblr, A Smarter Planet, which is a stream of curated content focused on areas of Big Blue’s core competencies. Or there’s American Express’ Open Forum Tumblr (yes, Tumblr is apparently a good platform for curation) that has cultivated a business community online by providing relevant tools and information to help business owners succeed.
“If a brand is an expert in a certain topic, their reputation might make them a credible source of information,” said Neil Chase, svp of editing and publishing at Federated Media. “But if a company that makes toasters gives health advice, they might not be credible. If they’re sending out recipes, that’s a reason to trust them.”
Via Heiko Idensen