- Content marketing can generate free online exposure and improve your website's visibility in search results.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could cut down on advertising and spend more time actually engaging with potential homebuyers and sellers?
Marketing experts in real estate and other industries are increasingly using content marketing to win more customers.
A new marketing standard
Content marketing has become the new standard for engaging with consumers online. Real estate influencers and marketing gurus such as Seth Price, Neil Patel, Justin Kerby and Jordan Sheltgen agree that content marketing forms the core of any digital marketing strategy and is far more effective than conventional advertising.
Think of content marketing as a strategy for:
- Promoting your real estate expertise
- Adding value to your engagements with potential homebuyers and sellers
- Generating referrals
What is content marketing?
The internet is driven by digital content. Every website has content — and a continual need to update that content with something new and interesting. YouTube needs video content. Spotify needs music. Amazon needs products. Zillow needs real estate listings.
Get the picture?
Everything included on your website is content, too. The pages with your business information (Home, About, Contact, Testimonials, etc.) are called evergreen or static content. This is because the content on these pages hardly ever changes.
Then there’s dynamic content — your calendar, comments, property listings, banner ads — that is constantly changing.
And finally, there’s unique content that you can create to attract an audience and build a mailing list of prospects. Customized content that speaks to your target audience is the most effective lead generation tool you can use — ever. And it costs a heck of a lot less than advertising.
Content marketing is the art of using web content to attract the attention of your target audience to your website. Your end goal is to get website visitors to take some sort of an action.
How does content marketing work?
Content marketing is all about creating unique content that’s useful, free and helpful for prospective homeowners. Your content (blog article, podcast, video tutorial) becomes a helpful resource for real estate information, instead of an advertising platform to showcase new listings.
By consistently creating and sharing free online content that demonstrates your real estate knowledge and expertise, you’ll gain free exposure and build an audience. As you cultivate your audience of opt-in subscribers, you’ll gain valuable marketing insight into their needs, which will make you more effective at helping them.
The trust and authority you earn through your consistency and engagement will earn you referrals that would never have reached you through a bench flyer, radio campaign or print ad.
Why content marketing works for real estate
Conventional advertising is expensive. And advertising your real estate expertise doesn’t sell homes. People don’t come to you because of the bench ad they saw. They come to you because they trust you will guide them in the biggest financial decision of their life.
Most people are not fond of advertising. Over 198 million use ad blockers, and the number is growing. People are increasingly wary of advertising, and they’re getting better at either ignoring it or avoiding it. They prefer to research products and services for themselves.
Content marketing empowers you, the agent or broker, to cultivate relationships and build trust with prospects, rather than advertise to them.
They become loyal online subscribers, followers, viewers or listeners because your content empowers them. They engage with you because your content is relevant and resonates with them.
Types of content formats
There are a number of different digital mediums for producing amazing, high-quality content. The best format is the one that speaks to your natural abilities.
Are you highly photogenic and comfortable in front of a camera? Perhaps a YouTube channel would be ideal.
Do you read a lot and enjoy writing? A blog might be better for you.
Real estate professionals can experiment with different types of content to figure out what they prefer:
- Blog posts or articles
- Video tutorials
Creating great content matters
Great content is the key to effective content marketing. Your content should be customized for your unique audience and focused on the needs and interests of prospective homeowners in your target market.
To create custom content that resonates with your prospects, you need a clear understanding of your goals and insights into your prospects.
5 things to consider when creating customized content
1. What information do my clients need?
Consider thoroughly, and write a list of your clients’ needs, interests and pain points. Write articles that are focused on answering a specific question, then offer a solution.
If clients routinely seem confused about mortgage rules, write a detailed article explaining them. What other subjects could you help potential homebuyers understand better? Follow other real estate-related websites for topic ideas.
2. What are my goals?
Be specific. Do you want to find first-time homebuyers, condo resellers, retirees looking to downgrade?
By defining a specific goal, you can measure the effectiveness of your content. If your goal is to attract first-time buyers, for example, you should create content that addresses issues of interest to first-time buyers.
3. What content format should I use?
Once you’ve defined a specific goal, you’ll need to choose a content format that will engage your audience.
Remember, the content should appeal to your target audience in a format it prefers. If your prospects are educated homebuyers who prefer reading a blog article, a blog should be your priority.
If your prospects are on-the-go millennials looking for a condo to buy, a series of video tutorials about the current condo market might be more appropriate.
4. What tools or resources do I need?
You might not have all the expertise required to produce a polished blog article or YouTube video that attracts potential homebuyers or sellers. You may need to source an experienced SEO writer or a videographer with experience producing real estate videos.
If you plan on producing the content yourself, you’ll need to find the right tools (software) for publishing and promoting your content. Consider your budget and available time before committing to a content strategy.
5. How often should I post?
Publishing your content consistently will help you build a healthy mailing list. It will help you rank higher with search engines as well, as they become more familiar with your content.
If you’re publishing more frequently than other agents and brokers in your target market, you’ll attract more prospects.
Many real estate professionals underestimate the time it takes to create a blog article, an e-book or video tutorial.
Consult with professional blog writers, videographers or others who specialize in the medium you’d like to work with. The people doing it every day are best qualified to tell you how long it takes as well as how you can be more efficient.
The point is, once you start publishing content, consistency will be crucial to building a following of subscribers. If you publish blog articles sporadically, it will be difficult to grow your audience.
Publish too often, and you’ll annoy your prospects — who will then unfollow you.
What topics are great for real estate?
Prospective homebuyers and sellers typically begin their search for an agent or home by researching the housing market online. They seek out content that is informative and relevant to their community of interest.
The real estate market is constantly changing. Information about mortgages, average home prices and neighborhood real estate statistics are some of the key points of interest for your prospects.
By providing this information in varied ways, you’ll establish yourself as the real estate expert for your target market or region.
You can also entertain your audience with more lighthearted content that’s still relevant.
Are there community events you could write about? Could you interview local celebrities and business owners who live in your target neighborhood? Maybe you discover a service or product you’d like to endorse — share it with others!
Regardless of the content, your goal is to provide prospects with insight into your expertise as well as your personality or brand.
Do you like being silly? Are you more buttoned-down and serious? Maybe you have an unusual hobby that exposes you to interesting people and places.
Use your content to create a distinct voice that conveys your brand as well as your real estate skills.
Don’t be afraid to share personal anecdotes that are relevant. The more personalized your content is, the more genuine and sincere your content will feel to the audience.
Content marketing can reduce your ad spend and drive more valuable referrals your way. Creating customized content that appeals to your target market will generate online exposure for your real estate expertise and establish you as a local authority.
Search engines will rank you above your competitors in search results because you offer more content. The more consistent you are, the more successful you’ll be at building your subscriber list.
As you continue to publish helpful, free content about the housing market and your brand, you’ll earn valuable referrals. A comprehensive content strategy will help you strategically grow your audience.
Eventually, you can reduce your ad spend as your organic traffic increases. More people will find you through keyword searching on Google than through paid advertising, and more referrals will come through your subscriber list.
So get out there, experiment with different kinds of content, and start building your real estate audience!
Grant Findlay-Shirras is the CEO of Parkbench.com and the Local Leader Real Estate Marketing System. Follow Grant on Instagram and Twitter@GrantFSofficial.