Editor’s note: This is the final segment in a three-part series.
If you have trouble finding relevant real estate content for your website, a possible solution is to do a little more of what you already do.
You already look at property, show property and travel around in the neighborhoods you work. You already answer questions that people have about real estate-related topics. Instead of letting those efforts be beneficial for one client, it’s time to document the activity so others can find value in it.
In a previous column I presented the option that takes the least amount of your time on a regular basis (though takes some time up front): Hire it out. Last week I wrote about curation, a technique that takes advantage of the fact that you probably already read and research a lot about your local real estate market.
Four ways to document what you’re already doing
There are a lot of different ways you can document what you’re already doing. But I’m going to cover four of them in this column:
- Text. Write something and post it on your website.
- Video. Shoot some video, edit it and post it on your website.
- Photography. Shoot a photograph and post it on your website.
- Audio. Record some audio and post it on your website.
You can choose to document your activity using any of these media; feel free to mix and match. For those of you who are having a hard time getting started, here’s some advice.
Choose a documentation method based on business objectives
Google, regardless of what you may have read in some blog post somewhere, is blind. It can’t see video or photographs and it can’t hear audio. If the reason you want content on your site is to improve your rankings in search engines like Google, then you will be writing text.
People, however, probably like all the other stuff, too. You can run an A/B test — a test in which you change a single variable to test out which is most effective — if you’re not sure.
Also, if you get good at letting search engines know what your video/photography/audio is by writing text around it, then you can increase your search engine visibility in the blended results: those video and image results that get blended into the standard search engine result pages.
The main thing to remember is that if your business goal includes SEO, then you will want text to be a part of your documentation plan.
Choose a documentation method based on what you like to do
Sometimes — and possibly most of the time — making content for a website can feel like a real chore. If you feel like making content for your website is a total drag, then don’t get hung up in the business objectives thing. Just pick something you like to do.
Chances are, if you like to do something … you’ve already done it. If you’ve never made and edited a video before then don’t make that a requirement for your Web content; pick some other method.
Help real customers with your content
When you’re creating your documentation, avoid the staring-at-the-blank-page problem by keeping a real customer in mind. If you’re lucky, your customers are asking you questions already and then all you have to do is answer them with either a blog post, a short video, a photograph or an audio clip.
You’re already answering questions for your customers, just add a little extra time in documentation and you’re on your way to good content that is directly related to the kinds of questions people have about real estate in your market.
Here are some thoughts and examples:
Text: This one is probably the easiest. Someone, probably a customer, asks you a question via e-mail. If the answer doesn’t revolve around confidential information and is longer than 10 words, make a blog post instead of replying by e-mail. Then, once you’ve published your blog post, send the link to the person who asked the question. You were going to answer them anyway, now you have web content, too.
Video: Dale Chumbley of Vancouver, Wash., is probably the finest example of mixing video production into your everyday work life. Whenever Dale is out showing a house or doing something in town, he makes a point of shooting a short video about something cool within five minutes of where he was going to be anyway. He shoots on his iPhone. He does a quick edit on his iPhone. He uploads it to the Web from his car in the parking lot.
If Dale was super concerned about search-engine optimization (SEO) he’d also write some longer descriptions of the video, but he tends to distribute the video via social media — his strategic use of video doesn’t require significant SEO tweaking.
Photography: At REBlogWorld this year, Garron Selliken of M Realty in Portland, Ore., described how he coaches his agents to take pictures of anything they see that makes them say, "Hmm, that’s interesting," and create a blog post about it. Chances are good that as you look at houses or neighborhoods and so on, you some interesting things.
Note that it isn’t about looking for something mind-blowingly awesome and fantastic, just something that’s merely interesting. Do like Garron’s people do and snap a picture and create a quick blog post. If you care about SEO then you’ll also write a description of the photograph.
Audio: This one is just like text. But if you tend to leave voicemails with answers to questions then maybe you’ll like this better. Instead of leaving a voicemail, record audio and post it as an audio file or a podcast.
If you care about SEO then you can run your audio through one of some of the transcription software options out there. Again, as with the text option, this isn’t smart if there’s confidential or personal information in it — but I bet you can work around that.
I hope this short series has been helpful in getting you to think about solutions to the never-ending content problem. These three methods — hiring, curation and documentation — are solid ways that you can get stuff on your site without becoming a full-time writer.
More importantly, all three of these methods as explained in the columns are focused on the creation of unique, original content that is focused on helping your customers. And finally, the way you use each technique can and should be modified to suit your business goals.
The comments of each column have been fantastic and contained several gems as well, so thanks everyone for sharing your tips and thoughts on this issue. I know it’s an important one because I’m constantly asked about content creation whenever I hang out with my real estate friends and clients. Good luck!