It is not difficult to see why the issue of content creation versus content curation is a contentious one. Should you create your own unique content or just index someone else’s? There is a definite (and fair) knee-jerk reaction against the latter—and that is commendable.
However, would we call an encyclopedia entry or a quote in a research paper theft? It depends on how it is done. In truth, both creation and curation (when approached ethically) have a place in marketing that is beneficial both to the content creator and the consumer. In fact, some current evidence supports the idea that a balance between created and curated content results in overall higher click/conversion rates than either individually.
Created content boasts some serious, obvious advantages. First of all, your audience is likely to trust you more. As we have established, there is an instinctual mistrust of a website that exclusively curates content rather than creating their own. It may come across as the site lacking creativity, or—even worse—being lazy. Furthermore, created content allows a website to cultivate its own voice. Despite several advantages in its own right, curated content to some extent will have a stunted voice. Even if the site curates content with similar views or writing styles, that doesn’t really show your audience who your website is.
Additionally—and perhaps most importantly— created content is your site’s own intellectual property, and that fact can mitigate several potential obstacles in terms of sharing the content.
A huge advantage of content curation is time. You do save a lot of time by curating outside content rather than creating your own from scratch. However, there is actually an even larger advantage: credibility. Any good research paper must cite outside sources—otherwise everything is just your own opinion. Curating content on your site does the same thing for a website that quotes do for a research paper. It establishes that this is not just your opinion. These conclusions are coming from a variety of sources—in some cases from sources that have built up more credibility than your website.
Finally, curation is in demand. Sites like Wikipedia wouldn’t be as popular as they are if it wasn’t. Internet users often don’t want to scour the internet looking for a specific genre of content. A website that makes information even easier find is an important commodity.
In terms of ethical use, curation of content can bolster your website’s credibility rather than undermine it. As is the case with any borrowed content, it is just important to cite your source. When in doubt always give credit, and you will improve the credibility and traffic of both your site, and whoever you borrowed the work from.