Content curation is the new sexy buzzword on the block.  It’s popping up all over the place with the recent fervour around pinterest firmly securing it as a skillset or a capability that may need further consideration. I imagine the origins of content curation lies with librarians, gallery directors and editors, but it is now permeating into the language of marketers, and corporate communicators. I would suggest that those engaged in change communication would benefit from a better understanding.

Content curation is defined as the act of discovering, gathering, and presenting digital content that surrounds specific subject matter. This month, Communication World has a feature on the topic. One of the featured authors Rohit Bhargava in 2009 defined a Content Curator as:

Some-one whose job it is not to create more content, but to make sense of all the content that others are creating. To find the best and most relevant content and bring it forward.

The first article “A matter of substance” by Shel Holz, looks at the rise of a content strategy, what to curate and how to curate. The second, “How curation could save the internet (and your brand) by Bhargava, identifies five basic models for how content curation efforts can be structured.

How do these concepts apply to change management?

Why should change communicators be paying attention?

Well on one recent engagement, the in-house comms advisor suggested that communicating the changes to all of the identified stakeholders would be very hard. They all used varying custom communications outlets; it would require a fragmented approach.  I didn’t disagree… if you assumed that the change communicator’s role is to feed information to the various audiences in a medium that is preferred.

But what if the change communicator put on the hat of the content curator?

Change communication would then involve a content strategy. Making the information about the changes easily searchable, shareable, categorised, and findable.  A daily or weekly digest, which made it easy for all of the stakeholders to find what they would like.

If the underlying organisational systems support and promote multi media content, then it should not be too difficult.

First steps?

Determining what to curate  – what content currently exists, or would be easy to generate around the change to be implemented? What are the sources that could be used? (YouTube, newsletter, intranet, SharePoint, industry articles, online news, company website, employee blogs.

Do you need an enterprise approach to content curation?

One of the first things change and communication professionals do when we enter organisations going through change is to establish a change radar or calendar. Map the competing projects, initiatives, changes being introduced that may negatively impact our ability to share information.

Depending on how large and complex the organisation is the role of content curator in change may need to be an enterprise role – one that has oversight of all the changes coming through so that the organising taxonomy makes sense.  An employee receiving 12 different aggregation emails will be just as overloaded as the employee receiving the fragmented yet tailored pieces of information.

Bhargava’s five models provide further value if applied to change management

1)   Aggregation – curating the most relevant information about a particular change in a single location

2)   Distillation – pulling out the most simple and important messages within the change agenda

3)   Elevation – curating by identifying a larger trend or insights from smaller daily musings (eg the “small wins & snowball “ approach of change)

4)   Mashups – unique, curated juxtapositions where content is merged to create a new point of view (fabulous way of embedding culture change and supporting behaviour change or highlighting the gap analysis)

5)   Chronology – brings together historical information to show an evolving understanding (the change journey?)

I’m not suggesting that change communicators throw out their repertoire of tools, tactics, tried and true. But perhaps, thinking like a content curator might yield a different outcome? What do you think? Share your thoughts…




Dr Jen Frahm – Author of Conversations of Change: A guide to implementing workplace change.


  1. Julieanne says:

    Very interesting concept. I think this is useful tool for managing many messages for different stakeholders. In particular I think you’re right that moving forward stakeholders want information that is easily searchable and presented in a manner they can skim read.

  2. mm Jen says:

    Thanks Julieanne, I guess the trick is how to create the “easily searchable” — we’re good at the skim read component, but getting the organisation to embrace enterprise systems that enable curation may be another matter! Appreciate your thoughts

  3. Marc Kuypers says:

    Great concept. But how to curate the content that stakeholders themselves are creating together during the course of the change that they are involved in?

    • mm Jen Frahm says:

      Hi Mark – I would think that’s where a seeded hashtag comes in. If they are asked to tag their posts / or post content online on the ESN you should be able to curate that way.

Leave a Reply