The prevalence of social media, the ease of information sharing, and the ability to connect with target audiences has led to the rise of content marketing, a relatively new genre in the marketing mix.
The term “content marketing” was coined in 1996, and rose to prominence when Red Bull started creating films and videos about the extreme sports they sponsored.
Content marketing can be complex or simple. At its core, it allows original content to tell a story and create connections with customers via social media sharing, advertising or sharing through CRM platforms.
Many real estate agents, brands and companies have complex content marketing programs with the size, scope and resources to succeed. But where does that leave the agents who don’t have those resources?
I recently met up with Daniel Damesek, a successful agent with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Westfield, NJ. Dan has been doing his “What’s Good” video blog for three years now, and has built a loyal following in his hometown and beyond.
David Siroty: What is ‘What’s Good’?
Daniel Damesek: I owned restaurants for many years, both in New York City and in Westfield where we moved a few years ago. It is a really hard business, and the time and energy demands were off the charts.
I wanted something new and always thought about sales because of my personality. I kept hearing about the flexibility of real estate and decided to go all in. But I missed my food side, [so I] created a video blog about area food.
Your videos are not about high-end restaurants.
I have two boys, Jaden (15) and Drew (12). The video project was a way for us to do something fun together. We wanted to concentrate on ice cream, hamburger places, casual restaurants and even stores like Trader Joes.
The boys obviously wanted to feature the places they like, where everyday people go.
Did you start your videos to generate real estate leads?
Nope. I never realized my three passions — family, food and now real estate — could intermingle. My early videos did not even mention I was in real estate.
My friends who saw the videos started to repeat the catchphrase I used: “You know what’s good?” Soon other people started to recognize me as the “What’s Good” guy and I thought maybe, just maybe, there was a way. So we started slowly and put in opening shots of downtown [and] the logo of Coldwell Banker, and [I] called myself the Westfield-Centric Realtor.
I still do the videos more for fun with the boys, but I have gotten listings now because people associate me with real estate. It’s becoming a real marketing tool for me.
How do you get your videos out?
Jaden uses his phone to record and edits with iMovie. He then posts it on Vimeo, and we put it on our Westfield-Centric Realtor blog. We post them on Facebook and it goes from there. Along with my videos, I also use Facebook to share regular real estate content from “Keeping Matters Current.”
What has been amazing is that my clients want to talk about the videos, and they now call me for restaurant selections. I want to start tying the places we feature more into the overall offerings of the community, and subtlety include more real estate-type content.
I want to improve the blog as destination and end with a stronger call to action. I can then start to boost the posts through a targeted Facebook advertising program.
Your videos are not sophisticated and show your personality. Is that okay?
I am who I am. We live in an age when our lives are an open book. I embrace that. I can never hide the where-did-you-grow-up side of me and the way I talk fast. In my entire career — and restaurant — work is just like real estate. Personality and likability matter. Authenticity matters.
As for the quality of the videos, I think the fact that they are not slick makes them more fun. I have had a lot of other agents ask me about the videos. They are not Spielberg productions, but they are working as a business tool far beyond what I would have ever [thought].
I can now go to the next step, but it will always be about me and the boys having fun.
Your wife Jill recently passed away, and you took some time off from the videos. Was it hard to return to them?
Losing Jill is obviously awful for me and the boys, our friends and family. It’s heartbreaking on so many levels.
Jaden and Drew wanted to keep going. The first one we did was to honor Jill and thank our incredible community for all they have done to help us through it.
We focused on double-fried chicken wings from a relatively new place in town. Man, they were spicy but so good! It was another step in our grieving process and the reception to being back with “What’s Good” has been incredible.
What advice would you have for other agents in the content marketing space?
Our clients want to know us, trust and value us. It goes way beyond a transaction. Social media allows us to connect so easily with them. Yes, we have to be skilled on the real estate side, but they have so many agents to choose from.
I don’t think we should be afraid of who we are, and [we should] bring in our passions outside of our job.
Real estate is one of the few professions where it is so important for people to know what our job is. But we can’t bang them over the head with it. That’s why these videos seem to be well received.
I get to share what I love, and now I can do even more to utilize the videos as a marketing tool.
The videos also show that we can include our families in our work. Jaden enjoys being behind the camera and editing. He has tech skills I don’t. I’m not afraid to utilize him.
My boys have also become marketers themselves because they share the videos on their channels and their friends show their parents. They have made me the “What’s Good” guy.
I am a full-time agent and I don’t profess to be a great marketer. Probably like a lot of us. But I’m learning and seeing how my passions can intersect and help in my business.
David Siroty is the former vice president of North American public relations for Coldwell Banker and the founder of Imagine Productions, an integrated communication and content marketing firm. You can follow him on Twitter.