The New Rules of Content Creation & Curation

Yesterday I had the opportunity of being a guest on #RTB on the Radio. Many of you may be familiar with this crew, but if you’re not you’re really missing out! Really! So jump in and join the conversation. Michael McClure, Todd Waller, and Maya Paveza are hitting the #RTB nail on the head with each and every guest on their show, as well as just by being their uber-professional selves out there in the Lead by example folks, woohoo!

I told them this already, but I’ll put it in writing again. I could have spent all day chatting about life, liberty and the pursuit of professionalism. But we all have day jobs (some of us more than one) so we had to keep it to an hour. Anyway, as our conversation unfolded the topic of the noise and particularly signal to noise ratio was raised (thank you Marc Davison). Anyway, we had so much to talk about yesterday, that we didn’t have much time to dive into this issue. And lately, it’s all I can think about. So I thought I’d ring out a few of my own thoughts here.

The REAL Issue as I See It

Real estate professionals are being mis-advised. Broadcasting what you THINK may be relevant information again and again, without pre-screening the source and considering the context is a waste of your time. Sure you might get “a hit” or heck, even a lead. But it won’t work consistently and it won’t be successful over the long haul.

So, while some “experts” may be leading you down their automated paths or filling you up with hope of launching a comprehensive social media marketing plan in 5, 10 or 12 days…my advice is “think for yourself”. There are no quick fixes with social media, it takes work and it takes drive, just like with any successful marketing or business plan. Most importantly, it begins with content. The tools and strategies for sharing good content with your sphere can be learned. But, creating and sharing good content takes skill.

So, what’s next?

Identify, Recognize, & Organize

Identify your role in obtaining good, relevant content. Are you a content creator a content curator? Or perhaps you’re both.

A content creator is someone who identifies the “needs” within their audience and seeks to help by creating original and highly relevant content. This content is most often in the form of articles, videos, or a mixture of media shared usually via your own blog, as well as on social outposts.

A content curator is someone who sifts through the Web to find and deliver the most relevant content for their intended audience. Sort of a Hunter-Gatherer 2.0! I know many of you might be saying, “Yeah, yeah…I’ve been doing this for awhile!?” And it’s true, we have! We share links to helpful media in our tweets, status updates and even within our blog posts. But a thoughtful content curator is more than just a broadcaster of good info. It’s someone who understands their brand and their audience well enough to identify the relevancy of the content, as well as the best context for sharing.

Recognize the sources that deliver consistently rockin’ content. You probably have your favorite news and resource sites that you visit on a regular basis. If not, you need to recognize both local and national sites that can assist your content delivery efforts. And if you ROCK a niche, be sure to recognize those sites as well. If you’re not sure where to go to find sites based on relevancy…start at Regator and Alltop and search by category or keywords.

Organize your sources in a dashboard or reader format for easy access. Once you’ve recognized the sites that provide highly relevant content, organize them into a personalized news dashboard. Now I’m lucky because I have a “Reggie” and “Reggies” are hard to come by. But my Reggie rocks at splicing and dicing feeds which can be displayed in my own personal resource dashboard. If you don’t have a Reggie, other DIY favorites for content organization include: Alltop, Regator, and Google Reader.

Your Challenge

Balance & Frequency

Balance the type of content you share. The content you share represents you, and your brand. So be sure to really check out what you share with your network. If you share an article, read it first. If you share a video, watch it first. Don’t let fancy titles rule your sharing. And don’t let poor tips and products be a reflection on your brand. Your goal should be to find and share content that REALLY helps your audience?or is REALLY interesting.

Don’t ask me to give you a personal to professional ratio, but I will tell you this much…your consumers don’t gain anything from a constant stream of commentless Foursquare checkins and the same could be said about listing tweets that are not framed in a social context. If it doesn’t add value or create conversation, don’t share it! Local market trends and charts, interesting events, homeowner tips, niche resources, those add value! And yes, I know that my son changing his spelling test grade doesn’t add value, but it surely creates conversation.

Moderate your frequency level and improve your quality of life. For those of us that love our spouse, and enjoy spending time with our kids, family, and friends…this is for you! I know I’m not the only one who feels that their attention has been diverted far too many times by the compelling feeling to tweet, post, snap, and share on a regular basis. The feeling is important, you need to be motivated to deliver consistency with social media. That being said, I’m far more concerned with delivering better quality content than quantity. And so should you if your strategy is to become your network’s trusted advisor.

And in order to do that, you need to listen, share, and respond. I see a lot of sharing out there…but far less listening and responding. Social media is about creating opportunities to engage with others. So rather than auto-posting 20 articles a day…try scheduling 3-5 REALLY GOOD shares and then focus on listening and responding, as well as interacting with others’ shared content.

Now I have much more to say on this topic but I gotta run. I’m off to get a mani-pedi with my munchkin! But if you have any thoughts or ideas about content creation and curation, I’d love to hear them!

About NikNik

Nicole Nicolay "@nik_nik" is Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer at Agent Evolution, and author of "WordPress for Real Estate: From Static to Standout". Her passion is educating real estate professionals on how to generate business by integrating both new and traditional channels of marketing. She is also co-founder and editor of, where she's been blogging about real estate technology since 2005. Nicole was named one of the 100 Most Influential Leaders in Real Estate for 2010, Top 10 Most Fearless Women Online & in Social Media for 2011, and 2012's Top 30 Women in Social Media in the world.