We’re all trying to sift through a lot of content in order to find the nuggets that are worthwhile. Some days, this feels like a fulltime job… you just keep searching and searching. And that’s why content curation is a valuable service you can deliver to your audience; if your organization consistently delivers the best content to the audience, regardless of the original source, it will elevate your status in their eyes. For marketers trying to do this, Curata is an important tool. Curata’s software enables organizations to quickly find, curate, share and analyze content on specific issues or topics. The company was founded in Cambridge, Mass. in 2007 by MIT grad Pawan Deshpande.

Here’s our interview with Pawan, conducted via email, in which we discuss the future of marketing, the importance of curation, and how marketers can best help the audience:

Scribewise: What is Curata’s vision of the marketing world?

Pawan Deshpande: ‘We have seen in recent years – as cited from nearly every research firm from Corporate Executive Board to Forrester to SiriusDecisions – that buyers are increasingly serving themselves and relying less on sales.

Take, for example, when you buy a car. In the past, the entire research and education process (figuring out which car you want, determining the specifications of the car) was guided by a salesperson. Now, the process is performed almost entirely by the buyer – prior to the test drive.  During this self-service research process, the content buyers consume is largely (1) online and (2) created by marketing.

We are already seeing a glimpse into the future with the shift of customer acquisition budgets to content marketing budgets. In addition, we are seeing companies move away from solely selling to educating, and being less product/ego-centric to being more consultative.

SW: Where do you think content/marketing/curation is headed?

PD: On the personnel side, we will see content marketing teams emerge as a central role of any marketing department, with a de-emphasis on some of the traditional roles such as product marketing and public relations.

On the technology side, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of content marketing tools available today. It’s a very confusing space for marketers.  Furthermore, most of these tools don’t work together or don’t have overlapping capabilities.  In the future, I see these tools coming together and morphing into platforms rather than remaining as standalone point solutions.

We still have a long way to go, since unfortunately most content marketing these days is done without accountable, scalable or efficient practices.

SW: In your view, where does curation fit in with a content strategy? Is it supplemental? Should it be the driver?

PD: Curation can be the main driver for a content marketing strategy. For example, if we look in the publishing world, popular news sites like the Drudge Report consist purely of curated content.  But as the market gets more competitive, marketers will need to annotate content as well. This will eventually blur the line between curation and creation.

SW: I’m a big believer in Jay Baer’s concept of Youtility… how big a role does curation play in “being helpful” to a brand’s audience?

PD: Good content marketing is about helping to educate or inform your customers. Creating content helps provide your customers with valuable content. Curation helps them find valuable content so they can cut down on the time required to research, find and interpret that content themselves.

SW: Curata is 7 years old – what have been the biggest changes you’ve seen in marketing in that time?

PD: When I started Curata, content marketing was not a term, nor was content curation. Companies were blogging, but the mentality was that you can just write and publish anything (even cookie recipes on a corporate blog), and it would help get traffic and ultimately business.

Many people say that content marketing has been around forever, but in recent years content marketing has grown because it is fundamentally a new way of thinking. Content marketing is still about blogging (among many other content formats), but it also requires empathizing with your audience and focusing on quality and in addition to quantity.

SW: What is the biggest challenge your clients face (both before becoming clients and once they’re working with you)?

PD: The biggest challenge that our customers face prior to working with us is producing sufficient content.  There are several ways to produce content including outsourcing, licensing, syndicating and curating.  With curation, customers are able to reliably publish content on a regular basis without hiring new personnel, paying to license content, or spending a lot of time on it.

Once they are working with us, the biggest challenge is often promoting their content marketing. Even if a company creates great content, people may never find it.  It’s similar to building a paradise resort in the middle of the ocean.  Content aside, you have to market your marketing.

SW: Curata has an active content strategy; what’s worked best – whether strategically or tactically?

PD: We use a framework that I proposed back in 2010 that encompasses both our strategy and tactics. This framework, called the content marketing pyramid, let’s you effectively repurpose content.  We use this for all our content marketing campaigns and it works extremely well.