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Curation for Real Estate

You’ve likely heard the word curation. But maybe you aren’t entirely sure what it is, or how you can use it in your business? Why do it? How do you make money from curation at a local level in the real estate vertical?

What is Curation?

In my mind, at it’s very basic form, curation is the process of narrowing some collection of “things” into some collection of “things that mean something”. Digital curation is, by and large, narrowing down links.

Why and How?

Curation is needed because, quite simply, there is too much crap on the web and not enough time in the day for everyone to wade through it and find and consume the quality information relevant to them. Why is the web littered with junk? A couple reasons. For starters, every single person on the web is essentially a publisher due to the growth in user generated content. Additionally, the cost to push out crap content is so low that marketers and SEO geeks will keep doing it until it doesn’t have a positive ROI (not likely to happen anytime soon).

Want a few examples of curation done well on a local level? Jim Duncan sharing a tax rate increase in Fluvanna is an example of hyper local curation at its finest. As is Heather Elias covering the news of the Creighton Farms Clubhouse Opening. Same with Marisa Ormando sharing news that relocating & rebuilding schools is part of a new Issaquah bond.

I don’t want to get into the real nitty gritty of EXACTLY how to curate (largely because there is no ONE way to do it), but it’s certainly more than OKAY to link out to outside sources. In fact, a massive part of curation should be linking out – not just filtering through your own content. Think about it — who would you trust more and view as a credible source of information?

  1. A person who answers all your local questions on Twitter with a self serving link regardless of where the best answer is actually located online?
  2. A person who answers your local questions with a link to the best answer from anywhere on the web — and 75% of those links are NOT located on their own site?

Person 2 by a mile, right?

One other point I wanted to make. Remember that concept that the only unique thing you have is you? Well, great, because it rings true with respect to curation — and likely always will. If you are a huge basketball fan — mix in links to great (not bad or average) articles about the NBA and march madness. History buff? Share a few historical thought pieces. For the book worms, share book recommendations. You get the point. At the end of the day, your stream should be a reflection of your true self — unless you are a robot in real life with only a single interest.

How to Monetize?

I asked Chris Smith what content curation really boils down to, and he responded with:

on the web it’s akin to attention. So curation done well equals an audience.

It’s obvious you need an audience to make money (if no audience, who will buy your goods or services?).

Curation is ONE way to build an audience. It’s not the only way, though it is the only method we are discussing in this post.

For all intents and purposes, Geek Estate’s audience was built over the last 4 years by curating the best real estate technology news, analysis, and advice from around the web. You can of course correct me if I’m wrong, but the audience here (aka you) values that curation. It means you don’t have to filter through all the useless tools (read: shiny objects) and misguided/unproven online marketing advice floating around the web, and instead only read about the products and strategies relevant to you.

If you are a real estate agent or broker, your target audience is of course slightly different than Geek Estate’s, but the goal of curation remains constant — become known as a trusted expert by your target audience. You can use curation to build an audience of local home owners, buyers, and sellers by providing ONLY the best content from your geographic area of expertise. Find a way to save them valuable time by sharing ONLY news relevant to them.

At the end of the day, the most important thing to remember about curation is that it’s not about you. And it’s not about making a sale right this second. It is about delivering GREAT content consistently over and extended period of time. Curation is about building long term credibility, establishing real relationships, and earning your place as your audience’s go-to source for anything related to real estate. The money will come later.

To summarize my thoughts on the subject of curation…

  • FACT: Everyone is now a publisher.
  • FACT: Many SUCK at creating quality content.
  • FACT: There is too much, for lack of a better word, shit on the web as a result.
  • FACT: I don’t have time to filter through the shit myself and find the valuable/insightful/interesting content.
  • FACT: I value people who curate content in very specific niches for me.
  • FACT: The people that curate content in areas I’m interested in earn my trust over time, and are much more likely to earn my business if I need goods/services they provide.

Now, go start curating :)

Related reading & watching:

TEDx Grand Rapids Video – Steve Rosenbaum – Innovate: Curation!

YouTube Preview Image

PS: This post was inspired by a recent discussion with Jodi Ettenberg, a travel writer currently calling Chiang Mai “home” like me. That is, until her next adventure to Bangkok in about a week.

[Image by IloveSEO]

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About Drew Meyers

Founder of Geek Estate Blog. He is a Travel addict & co-founder of Horizon. Social entrepreneurship & microfinance advocate. Fan of Red Hot Chili Peppers and Kiva.

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  • http://www.Kens411.com Ken Brand

    Nice one!  Thanks.

  • http://fischer-realestate.com/ Greg Fischer

    Read this post and then immediately wrote something for my site. Great job Drew. Great strategy and insight.

    • http://www.drewmeyersinsights.com/ Drew Meyers

      Glad to hear

      This is a GREAT example of curation – http://fischer-realestate.com/events-in-fort-worth-april-edition/

    • http://www.realfx.com/ Tony Gilbert

      Wow… you did the whole month at a time! I can only manage to research enough for weekend events.  Good job… I don’t think most realize how much work goes into creating original content – but it’s well worth the investment. Keep plugging away…

      • http://fischer-realestate.com/ Greg Fischer

        Thanks Tony. And yes, it takes a while. It should get better and easier with time though.

  • http://www.adobegold.com/ Charlie

    Drew, I do content curation for my real estate website as well as some of my other websites. There are some guidelines about curation that really should be shared I feel.
    1. Only copy and paste no more than one or two sentences only from the original article or webpage. And add your own spin on the topic in your own words and include a few sentences from the original article into your curated post.2. Always give proper credit to the source article/website with a link.3. The link text could be just “Source” or more detailed like “Read this article in full here” and give the name of the website.4. Never use the Photo from the article without written permission as you risk Copyright issues, get yourself a good wordpress plugin that will help you find Creative Commons Photos that you can use free.5. Always give proper credit to the photographer.Hope this helps.

  • http://www.couponspicy.com/ Alanc230

    There is, indeed, a great deal of worthless, poorly written content on the web. It makes it a real chore to search for the interesting and worthwhile gems. 

  • http://www.myproperty.ph/ Jillian Cariola

    Great stuff, Drew! Thanks for expounding on content curation. I’m glad you wrote an article about this; I’ve been thinking about doing it for our website as well, so this is really helpful. I’ve never even considered including some links to things that interest me, and not just topics related to my site.

    • http://www.drewmeyersinsights.com/ Drew Meyers

      Would love it if you come back and leave another comment in a month once you’ve played with the concept a bit to let us know how it goes.

      • http://www.myproperty.ph/ Jillian Cariola

        Definitely! I’ll keep you posted.

        • http://ohheyworld.com/ Drew Meyers

          How has the process gone?

  • http://SeattleHome.com Sam DeBord, SeattleHome.com

    Great points on the added authority created by linking out.  We used to be so afraid of the outbound link.  It creates credibility and more awarenes, definitely a net positive.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=745056003 Joe Segal

    As a broker, how do you compell agents to curate content?   I am running up against many objections when I preach this type of thing, mostly “they will click away and i will lose the prospect!”   So frustrating.

    • http://www.drewmeyersinsights.com/ Drew Meyers

      That’s a short term focused view. Anyone that isn’t taking a long term approach to building their business isn’t going to be sold on curating.

  • http://www.njpropertytaxappeal.net/2012/04/28/valueappeals-cheap-alternative/new-jersey-property-tax-appeal/ Peter Jordan

    I have personally found curation a great way to engage readers at a level I was unable to do before. Curating, if done correctly, can tap emotions unreachable with more conventional mediums and create a more intimate relationship with your audience.   

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  • http://homestretchproperties.com Leila Mortaz

    Using several sites to curate content has helped increase our reach to some consumer since our own blog content was too much x’s and o’s vs lifestyle that impacts people’s choice when it comes to real estate

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