Exclusively creating custom content can be very effective if you  do it consistently over a long period of time. However, that overall effort isn't always possible for every organization. Even if a company manages to produce 100 percent of their own content marketing materials, it may not always be worth the hefty investment.

Instead, more marketers are turning to content curation. Curation is not simply copying what others have produced. When used effectively, it is sharing and incorporating the thoughts and content of others in a way that is ethical and meaningful. Curated content is distinguished from the original source material because it adds its own value and conclusions. It also makes you look like a thought leader. More on that in a sec.

According to a recent survey by Curata, 95 percent of marketers report that they share another organization's content. Most marketers will tell you that a lot of their new efforts are focused on curating. Here's why.

Develops Thought Leadership

A prominent goal amongst marketers and businesses is to establish themselves as thought leaders in their fields. However, in order to become a thought leader, individuals must first support their claims with other sources. Custom content alone can't support thought leadership.

By consuming and sharing information, organizations position themselves at the forefront of trends that affect their industry. Curation gives organizations the opportunity to collaborate with others. It can help develop relationships that further position them as leaders in their space.

Increases Visibility, Reach, and Engagement

In order to build a strong, engaged audience, organizations must have an abundance of valuable material to pull from. However, over 64 percent of marketers struggle to produce enough quality information to do so.

One of the best ways to increase reach and engagement on social channels is to share relevant or trending posts. These are posts that audiences actively seek out and are more likely to choose to consume. For instance, shared videos are one of the most effective means of curation. Posts that incorporate videos generate 3 times more links than text only.

Ultimately, one of the main reasons you have a content marketing  effort in the first place is so you can help lead the discussion on current trends with your followers and peers. Sharing top stories is a strong way to reach that goal.

Decrease Time and Cost

Producing self-created content is difficult to do without investing significant resources. According to a survey by Marketing Professionals, nearly half of marketers admit that it is hard to procure content and that their organizations do not share enough.

Creating fresh content on a regular basis is a challenge that all organizations are facing. Pulling from existing material helps to alleviate the workload but also helps to identify what target audiences care about.

Boosts Search Engine Optimization

Today, a company's online presence is vital to its overall success. Search engine optimization (SEO) is determined by a number of factors, including a healthy balance of high-quality, shareable curated and custom content on your websites, blogs, social media and other channels. Over 50 percent of respondents in one survey said that curated content increased their search rankings as well as web traffic.

Keep in mind though that curation is usually only effective when managed well. For example, one of the best forms of curation for positive SEO boosts is user-generated content. This includes videos, images, reviews and written material.

Improves Social Media Interactions

The way that brands communicate on social media is different than when they use emails, white papers or other channels. Social media requires more than just one voice. I know some content marketers who follow the "rule of thirds" to optimize post effectiveness. The rule splits content three ways: product and service information or promotion; personal stories, interactions, and brand-building; and shared ideas from other sources.

That last aspect of the rule is highly important because it often involves disseminating highly insightful and valuable content in your area of expertise with zero connection to your brand. This portion is vital, otherwise you come across as a marketing shill who only wants to sell to people. You can fold curation into that segment of the "rule of thirds" quite effectively.

As marketers feel the pressure of producing their own unique content, more are incorporating curated material. Curation allows more organizations to produce high-quality, shareable content while also improving social interactions and eliminating the costs associated with producing original content.