• Content marketing is currently one of the most popular forms of marketing, and it's a skill that, once mastered, can be leveraged to generate leads.
  • Content marketing is many pieces of content that collectively contribute to the bigger picture -- the movement.
  • Gaining a full understanding of your audience will allow you to determine their needs and create content that satisfies them.

As a real estate professional, your leads are your lifeline — you depend on them for survival. So you are constantly searching for ways to generate leads in the most effective way possible.

Your search has probably led you to content marketing — currently one of the most popular forms of marketing.

Content marketing seems to have taken over, and rightfully so. When done properly, it is an extremely effective way to not only generate leads but also to maintain connections and build relationships with clients throughout the entire sales cycle.

However, with the rise in popularity of this marketing strategy, the core principles seem to have been lost in translation, which puts its effectiveness at risk.

Yes, content marketing is about generating and distributing content that will ultimately cause your potential customers to act. But you can’t just expect to put content out and have leads magically appear.

Here is how you can effectively leverage your content marketing to fill your pipeline:

1. Create a movement, not a moment.

Content marketing goes far beyond just one moment of releasing your content. It’s many pieces of content that collectively contribute to the bigger picture — the movement.

When creating content, you need to think beyond the topic of one post to the creation of your brand and story. Rand Fishkin of MOZ discussed in a post how the average customer viewed content seven times before requesting a free trial.

Remember the two key factors that generate leads when creating content: SEO (search engine optimization) and readership. By creating a variety of content, you are increasing your SEO, which means the likelihood of appearing in search results will increase.

Additionally, by generating a variety of relevant content, you are creating a following and positioning yourself as a thought leader. When it comes time to make a buying decision, you will be top of mind.

2. Understand your audience.

Now you understand that leveraging content to generate leads goes beyond just one piece of content. However, knowing this won’t do you any good if you don’t understand your audience.

Sometimes when writing, especially with modern day technology, we’re often tucked behind a computer screen, and we can forget that we are writing to an audience with a particular set of needs.

When creating content, whether selling B2B (business to business) or B2C (business to consumer), keep in mind that you are selling to people. Gaining a full understanding of your audience will allow you to determine their needs and create content that satisfies them.

Understanding your audience will allow you to relate to them and create a feeling of trust as well as create relevant content — the most important piece to the content marketing puzzle.

If you’re a real estate agent selling to young professionals in New York City, for example, writing about how to decorate your vacation property in the Hamptons won’t appeal to your clients who are most likely living in a tiny apartment with limited income.

Instead, writing about your first NYC apartment will allow your potential clients to relate to you. And sharing your tips on how to make the most of your 700-square-foot space will provide them with useful information that they can apply to their lives.

3. Drive traffic to your content.

You have carefully studied your audience, created a great piece of relevant content and accepted that this content marketing thing isn’t going to happen overnight. Now what?

This last tip is just as important as the first. The same way you can’t assume that one piece of content will be enough to generate a lead, you can’t assume that releasing your content solely on your blog will be enough to generate the views you want and need.

Remember what Rand Fishkin said? On average, it takes seven content views before a potential customer will request a free trial. Seven views doesn’t mean that the lead went to the website seven different times and searched for the specific blog post.

Instead, the lead was most likely reminded of it through various social channels. Once you create your content, remember to promote it through all of your channels.

This promotion ensures you are hitting your entire target audience, and it will create touch points with your clients and keep you on their mind.

The topic of social channels brings up another important point — quality over quantity. It isn’t a race to see who can get to 500 connections on LinkedIn or 10,000 Twitter followers.

Reaching such large numbers won’t matter if their needs don’t match the solutions you provide. Instead of racing to these seemingly impressive numbers, build a following of people whose needs you meet, and you’ll see more success.

So, if you’re looking to hop on the content marketing train (as you should), remember to gain a full understanding of your audience, produce content that is relevant to the service or product you are offering and drive traffic to your content.

But most importantly, remember that this is a process that takes time and effort.

Kristen MacDonald is the Communications Coordinator at Lone Wolf Real Estate Technologies. You can connect with Kristen on LinkedIn.

Email Kristen MacDonald.

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