5 Content Strategies We Can Learn from Art Curation

Content Marketing and Strategy are about a lot of things including planning, creation, promotion, process, distribution, outreach and measurement.

Creation of content is just one part of the journey, but it’s arguably the hardest and requires constant inspiration. On recent visits to some favorite museums I was reminded of how great content strategies can also come from the curation and organization of content. This is what great museums do well. Sharing numerous, unique ways to view and access the best content can be improved by several processes.

5 Content Strategies We Can Learn from Art Curation

5) Understand and develop perspectives that are important to personas:

  • What is the artistic perspective? Picasso and Baroque were friends and shared and learned from each other. They both explored different aspects of uncertainty and mystery and encouraged each other to push the boundaries of their interpretations.

  • What is the historical perspective? How did the time of an artist impact his art? Henri Matisse’s work was confiscated by the Nazi’s in the 40′s and the great historic events happening around him. His work was impacted by the war and how it fragmented and twisted life perceptions. One of his artistic goals was to “deflect from the problems of the world and to focus on the harmoniousness of art”. Knowing that great efforts were made to return Matisse’s art to its’ rightful owner after the war also gives a glimpse into humanity and how art helps the viewer transcend political differences and even tyranny.

Content Strategies and Art Curation

Knowledge of the artistic, historical, spiritual and emotional impact of the art adds a level of understanding that is hidden without it.

Marketing Example: While creating content for a customer who crafts high-end invitations it seems obvious to write about quality. The quality of the paper and the longevity of the company that creates the paper is helpful, but writing about the fact that the paper company, Neenah Paper, has created the Inaugural Ball Invitations for every presidency for the past 30 years is far more evocative. Curating those invitations into content strategies and a story that highlights quality and craftsmanship makes a visceral and emotional connection with the content.

4) Execute and prioritize taxonomy based on the size of each market segment:

Some museums utilize an application called Art Lens that allows the viewer to find art with an iPad based on:

  • Location (what is near me?)

  • Collections such as Classical, Modern, Renaissance, Cubist

  • Collections by region such as Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Japanese and American

  • Collections by popularity or featured

This feature allows visitors to self select the art/content that is most valuable or interesting to them.

Marketing Example: This is an excellent way to encourage additional consumption of content. If someone is reading your blog post about content processes, sharing links to other related posts increases the likelihood the reader will spend more time on site and, ultimately, may be more interested in your point of view, service or product. Thinking about how personas engage in the funnel helps guide not just the “what” but also “how much” content to develop.

3) Look at the data or content in new and innovative ways:

  • The museum commissioned local hospitals to leverage new XRay technology to better understand the art and see the brushworks textures Claude Monet would have employed as he worked on his famous watercolors.

Marketing Example: Curating multiple perspectives around a topic and aggregating them into one piece of content (video, image, post or infographic) provides a fresh perspective on previously published information. This co-sponsored aggregation of great content by Getty Images and LeanIn.org gives a fresh, solid perspective on an important topic: featuring real, diverse, empowered women. It’s a powerful way to look at images of women driven by a curated collection as well as influenced by the LeanIn initiative.

Getty Images Lean In Collection Content Strategies

2) Share the data or content in different forms:

  • Placards are placed next to the art so viewers can read about it.

  • Apps and even iPads are made available to the viewer so they can listen to curators speak about the art.

  • Videos are available to watch regarding the art and curation perspectives.

  • Art is tagged intensively to allow for search discovery from many perspectives (time periods, artists, collections, subjects, etc).

Marketing Example: If you’ve created a video, transcribe the content in that video into text, turn the concepts from the video into an easily digestible infographic.  Moz does this beautifully in their Whiteboard Friday series.

1) Enable people to search and discover based on their own agendas and even ones they may not have thought of yet:*

  • To encourage interest in children, some museums sponsor child-friendly museum time. They share Scavenger Hunt brochures or Audio Presentations that guide children through activities such as making up stories about some of the people in the paintings by starting a story and encouraging children to select nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs to help craft a story.

Great curation helps curators allow art viewers (and marketers to allow customers) to consume content throughout their customer journey in whichever platform, device or taxonomy they choose.

Marketing Example: For content marketers, providing content on owned Web properties (the brand site or blog) as well as a variety of earned/social channels is key in engaging a brand audience according to each person’s personal preferences. Content strategies should include giving the reader additional opportunities to explore the topic and even the author.

Takeway: Helping our customers in their Search Discovery journey should begin, not necessarily with more content, but with thoughtful curation of the content that already exists.

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