- A style guide is a handy tool for consistency and scalability.
- Determine how your keyword strategy influences your content creation.
- A deliberate content calendar keeps you on track to accomplish your goals.
Content marketing increased our lead generation, transformed our social media engagement and is the cornerstone of our successful online marketing strategy.
Nearly 600 real estate blog posts later, I’ve learned a few tricks along the way. Here’s how you can easily apply the best practices of professional marketing to create a successful blog for your market.
Determine your SEO and lead gen strategy
We’ve spent the past several years perfecting our content strategy and remaining diligent about our creation. Moreover, our goal from the beginning was always to rank organically in the search results.
When people are googling homes for sale in our area and our local communities, we want to be at the top of the rankings. I like to say we’re the “travel guide of real estate.”
Many real estate blogs tailor their content toward what’s generating buzz in their areas such as events, local hotspots and trending news.
If you’re looking to rank for “real estate in XYZ neighborhood,” you’ll need to write blog posts that are about your intended keyword phrase. Additionally, we implement a topic cluster strategy where every new piece of content links back to the page we want showcased at the top of the search rankings.
It’s entirely possible to write blogs that are relevant to your target markets, that generate leads and are enjoyable to read. However, it’s essential to decide the direction of your blog and what kind of results you’re looking to achieve with your topics.
Design a blog style guide
A style guide will help guide your content and give you more confidence to work with outside writers.
A comprehensive style guide outlines what you expect from the finished product of your blog posts. It covers your audience, what they respond to and how you engage with them as a brand or agent.
Ours contain very detailed notes including an analysis of our target audience, branding guidelines, the position of our company, our tone of voice, the objective of the piece, keywords, what to avoid and general tips.
Staying true to your branding, focusing on your objectives and tailoring your content to your audience is crucial to a successful content strategy.
Create a magnet with visuals
One of the most overlooked elements of blogging is featured images.
Before someone reads all of the great information you’re excited to share, they’ll need to click on your content. Whether your promotion strategy includes social media, email marketing or ads, it’s critical to make your content look as visually appealing as possible.
Think about your Facebook newsfeed. It can be content overload, and you can’t afford to lose your audience because of a less-than-compelling image.
You deserve better than stock images! Catch people’s eyes with authentic photos from your iPhone or gorgeous shots from pro-photographers.
Be mindful to take snapshots with your phone for potential posts, and you can’t beat a twilight home photo or community aerial from your listing photographer.
Tip: This is an excellent time to evaluate any marketing or photo use agreements you have with your photographers.
Try the golden rule of three
One of the worst habits of blogging is the create, promote and forget mindset. Try a “golden rule of three” to multi-purpose your hard work.
Implement at least three ways you can use your post.
The first might be the original promotion to attract new leads and engage your audience. Try re-working the blog in your marketing funnel as part of an email marketing campaign for the second.
Print is still relevant to blogging, and the third repurpose could be a newsletter to your sphere.
Go for extra points by creating videos out of your content, a webinar, in-person presentations and more. Your goal should be to maximize your blogging ROI by overcoming the one-and-done approach.
Align your lead capture strategy
One of the fundaments of content marketing is aligning the correct lead capture to your content and the person reading it.
Before you create your blog post, determine who the piece speaks to, where they might be at in the homebuying or selling journey and what is your most likely way to capture their information.
If you write a blog post titled “The most popular neighborhoods for millennials,” a lead capture that makes sense might be “The ultimate guide for first-time homebuyers in XYZ neighborhood.”
However, it’s often easier to think about your audience and the solution you can offer first.
For example, if your target audience includes homebuyers in a historical area, your blog could be “An inside look into XYZ area’s famous historical homes” with the accompanying lead capture, “10 tips you should know before buying a historic home in XYZ area.”
Plan a smarter content calendar
Crafting 600 blogs would have been a complete waste of time if we hadn’t stuck to a plan geared toward accomplishing our goals.
We stay on track by applying a project management tool, such as asana, to keep track of our content calendar and associated tasks. Determine what piece goes out on which day, which audience are you targeting, if you need to create new lead capture and how the content relates to your overall online strategy.
The more you know about your audience and the content they engage with, the more successful your blog will become. If you stay focused on providing an excellent experience for your readers, you’ll be at the top of the must-read lists in no time.