Curating Content for Your Real Estate Website
By Sandra Manzanares
About Inbound Marketing
If you’ve started a content marketing process, you may have begun to experience its benefits, like generating traffic to your website, gathering leads and improving your search engine ranking. By now, statistics prove that content marketing is valuable for your business: It costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates about three times as many leads.
But you’ve probably experienced one of the biggest challenges: Finding the time, energy, creativity, or budget to consistently develop quality original content. The average real estate agent has a lot to worry about, so it’s understandable to feel a little overwhelmed at the idea of producing original content consistently. This is where content curation can be a tremendous help.
While it’s essential that you continue to create quality original content for your website to establish thought leadership for your customers, as well as search engine optimization, curated content is a viable way to fill the cracks of your editorial calendar when you’re short on creativity or struggling to keep up with your publishing schedule.
What is content curation?
Content curation is the process of hand-picking content created by outside sources for redistribution on your website or social media (unlike aggregation, which is simply publishing an automated feed of content from other sources). Because you carefully select them, curated pieces of content are consistent with the other content on your site and relevant to your readers. And, where aggregation is often just a simple regurgitation of the original post, content curation often involves using the source in context with some original commentary and effective sourcing.
In the image below, you’ll see an example of good content curation in action:
The blog, The Content Strategist, curated a piece based on a report from another source, Buffer. The writer of the article made the post her own by adding in her own specific takeaways from the study.
Providing this kind of informative commentary allows the writer to develop talking points around the data and position herself as a thought leader on the topic.
Below are tips on how to curate content for your real estate website.
The Benefits of Content Curation
It allows you to meet your content goals.
Whatever roadblocks you experience with your content marketing — finding enough time to spend on your content, having a small budget to pay content creators, lacking quality resources, or inexperience in writing — content curation allows you to quickly and simply integrate great, informative pieces into your real estate marketing strategy. You’re able to offer your readers value with expert content, minus some of the heavy lifting. And it may even inspire you to create related original posts.
It offers outside expertise.
Having expert perspectives mixed into your content strategy allows your reader to see that you offer informative content in an unbiased way: You’re arming them with the best information they need to make informed decisions, regardless of the creator. Many readers respect this approach because it lets them see you as a resource instead of a “selling” professional. This trust is what converts a lead into a customer.
It can enhance readership and rank.
Adding outside expertise puts you on the radar of the original content creator who may link to or redistribute your post. Your SEO will also expose your content to new readers who are searching for quality topical content. As you establish backlinks to your content, optimize your new content, and distribute a more steady stream of content to readers, your readership and rank can experience growth.
How to Source Content
Identify your personas.
The first thing to remember is that any and all content serves the purpose of providing value to your readers. If you haven’t done so yet, pin down your market and the specific customer personas you’re targeting. This will help you hone in on the types of content that will be most helpful to your readers and will help you avoid reposting a bunch of irrelevant curated pieces.
“Know or listen to those who know.”
— Baltasar Gracian
When you consider value, think about not only what will get your readers to click, but what content will help educate leads and what types of content will give customers the confidence to move through the sales funnel.
Pick from your favorites.
At this stage you probably have some favorite sources to read for industry news and general business tips and guides. Rather than just using that for your own general knowledge, find ways to turn these articles, industry reports, ebooks, and infographics into content that your readers would enjoy.
Use tech to help.
There are various tools that will send industry or topical information right to you. A particular topic you find intriguing? Set up a Google Alert. Those favorite sources you just pinpointed? Sign up for their RSS feeds or email newsletters. More of an app fiend? There are a host of great apps like Feedly and Flipboard that customize information for you based on your specifications, while others like Evernote and Pocket help you store information for later use.
Use social media.
Whether it’s Twitter or Pinterest, there are conversations happening constantly across all social media channels that can help you discover what your readers care about. Search topics and hashtags to find relevant content, or take a peek at some of your customers’ social accounts (if you have access to them) and see who they’re talking to and what they’re talking about.
Set aside curation time.
Curating content should be as strategic a process as creating original content. You need to be spending time each day to source information. This ensures that the content you’re distributing is timely — which will help with SEO and reader interest — and that you have time to locate the best content. If you’re serious about curated content, start with 30 minutes at least a few times a week and work up to a daily schedule.
How to Share Curated Content the “Right Way”
There is such a thing as online etiquette. Uncredited reposts of content look unprofessional and can get you on the wrong side of a content creator you admire. To avoid looking like a thief, give attribution to the original creator by citing the name of the original source along with a link to the direct piece of content. If it’s visual content, like a photo, add a ‘credit’ or ‘source’ caption, and make sure to alter the ‘Alt text’ field and image name. And if it’s an infographic, add the embed link provided by the source so that their live link still lives on when reposted to your site. The creators will appreciate the referral traffic and you’ll immediately get on their radar (and you might make a new blog connection).
Imagine you’re at a dinner party and you’re near two friends who should probably know each other. Instead of providing a proper introduction, you stand by and just watch them and hope they hit it off. A little awkward, no? Curated content works the same way. Once you have a strong piece of content from another source, think about how you’ll interject yourself into it. How will you make that introduction that will translate the content’s value to your reader? Remember, your reader already values your opinion. When you introduce outside content, it enriches their relationship with the content and simultaneously makes you look like a genius for showing them this new content and new source.
Integrate the content. Don’t steal.
The point is to get and keep your reader engaged. You’re not trying to pass content off as your own and ultimately you’ll want readers to benefit from the wonderful source as much as you do. It’s really in poor taste to repost an entire post that another source created, attribution or not. It looks like you’ve stolen the content or were too lazy to build context for your reader. Readers can sense this and will respond poorly. Furthermore, duplicating a post in its entirety on your site may hurt your rank in search engines, as they strive to bar plagiarism. To avoid this, show only what is needed to get the point across, and no more. It’s recommended to include medium excerpts (141 to 1,200 characters) because they have a 20% higher click-through rate than small snippets. Use the rest of the space to offer your own insight and provide context for the reader.
How to Make Curated Content Work for You
Establish yourself as an authority with curated content.
Referencing relevant and highly regarded content from reputable sources enhances your reputation in the eyes of your readers. Whether it’s through a brief or long introductory paragraph, intermittent commentary between your curated content, or bulleted recaps of the content before or after, it’s important that your voice is the preeminent voice within the piece and that readers see the curated content as simply a nice extra feature.
Optimize your posts.
You’ll want to choose a new, unique title for your post and optimize your writing within the post as you would your original content. Why? Retitling allows search engines to see your piece as unique (rather than pitting your content as competition with the original source) and optimizing your new title and content is an easy way to gain traction and traffic without having to create a whole new piece of content. Perform some keyword research to find the terms that best align with your subject.
If you’re hoping to keep and increase traffic, while also using your content to nurture leads into customers, it’s important to offer variety. Just like you wouldn’t post original content with the same topic each and every day, you also shouldn’t do it with your curated content. You should have a list of desired topics and a large list of reputable sources so your curated content keeps readers interested. Beyond a variety of topics, consider the different format approaches you can use to introduce content. We’ve mentioned introductory commentary, but you can also integrate curated content as:
- roundup lists or topic pages
- case studies
- best lists
- co-created content (that you write with another thought-leader who also hosts the information)
Use curated content to engage readers with your original content.
It’s important that readers understand how the curated content relates to your larger body of content and your services. Keep readers engaged by connecting your curated posts to your original posts. Link to original content when you reference a relevant topic in your commentary. Then, add calls to action that lead to original pieces of content or to your business offerings. Offer a transition like, “If you think this industry report is great, check out my homeowner’s guide,” with a link.
Use curation sparingly.
Curata, a company specializing in curating software and solutions, recommends that only about 25% of your marketing mix be dedicated to curated content. A higher percentage of curated content may give the impression that you are not a thought leader in your industry, but rather just a redistributor. Maintain your reputation by focusing your commentary and linking your curated posts to your growing original content. Readers will come to expect the bits of industry insight without completely losing their connection to your voice and input in the process.
Ultimately, content should help secure customers. Align your curated content to your specific leads and their needs, and you’ll see a higher level of engagement. Consider your customers’ pain points and what value they need and look for targeted curate content that will help.
The same rules for success that apply to original content also apply to curated content. You must have some distribution strategy. Email (newsletter or personal) is a great way to get your curated content to the masses, and can grow your email list. Social media also adds an extra element: Because your social media “posts” are content within themselves, you can use commentary or questions when you post curated content on these sites. Using hashtags and posting in groups will help get your content found within social media channels, but if you’re really hoping to generate link value, Google+ should be your go-to social channel. Because it’s operated by the search engine behemoth, the engagement your post gets on Google+ has an impact on your ranking. (If you haven’t yet set up your Google My Business page, do so stat.) Services like Buffer and Hootsuite allow you to schedule posts ahead of time or queue them for automated release.
Track your results and restrategize.
Use Google Analytics to assess engagement successes and failures. Find out if your curated content is helping or hurting your engagement levels. Look at the following fields and see how they match up to your original content:
- Average session duration
- Click-through rates (CTR)
- Conversion rates
Once you have a sense of your engagement levels, take this information back to your curation strategy and see where you can add more value.
If you’re hoping to add another element to your content marketing strategy, read our Academy post to learn how to Revamp and Reuse Old Content for New Traffic.
How do you incorporate curated content in your content marketing? Let us know in the comments below!
Published on August 1, 2014
Written by Sandra Manzanares
Writer, editor, and marketing manager with a passion for helping brands enhance their content marketing strategy. I'm a firm believer that creative storytelling is an essential part of the way we communicate. Constantly striving to fill my head with as much creative and analytical information as possible.