Should you be curating as well as creating? That’s a question we’ve been asking many consulting firms recently when we’ve been talking to them about thought leadership. In our view, if you want to be the go-to destination for the finance director (for example), then you need to do more than just push your own content: you need to understand the concept, and the value, of curating content for specific target audiences. That doesn’t mean pushing your own view on topics into the background, but it absolutely does mean bringing together content from other relevant sources. We’re not suggesting you start promoting your competitors’ material (we guess we’d lose most of you at that point if we did) but there’s likely to be plenty of material out there from other sources that’s relevant to whatever topic you’re discussing, and becoming a curator holds with it the possibility of promoting your firm from being a single voice in the discussion, to being the main destination for anyone who want to read, watch or listen to anything about it.
However, despite our repeated suggestion, we’d yet to see curation in practice so imagine our excitement when we were pointed to Business Value Exchange. This site, funded by HP, targets the CIO with a range of articles many of which are written by outside writers. According to our source, “The idea is to get HP out of its hardware box and onto CIOs’ radars as a generator of business value.” The site is appealing to view, hosts a number of interesting articles and videos and was shortlisted for the 2014 British Media Awards ‘Commercial Campaign of the year’. Our only criticism is that the occasional article and the case studies do feel like an overt sales pitch and may deter CIOs from returning to the site.
For any consulting firm out there, there is plenty to learn from, in particular the clear target audience and the appealing magazine-style. However, we’d also suggest a tweak. Rather than asking external writers to write for the site (which could suggest you don’t know about this topic yourself), we would go for a mix of material written by internal experts and material which has been published elsewhere (on which you can comment). When external writers are invited in, they need to have a viewpoint that couldn’t come from a consultant – so, for example, a CIO would make a great contributor.