“Content is king” — I’m sure you’ve heard that from a marketing or creative person you’ve worked with somewhere, sometime before.
The phrase has become a cliche in some ways, but here’s the thing with cliches, they’re true for the most part. Good content and a consistent, comprehensive content strategy aren’t going anywhere in any industry, and real estate is no different.
Unfortunately, I’ve seen many real estate agents put content creation and content marketing on the back burner because it doesn’t show immediate (financial) returns.
Compared with closing that sale, meeting that prospective renter or responding to that lead, it absolutely takes more time and effort to build, maintain and scale your own marketing efforts. But if you do it right, your message to the world can become an enormous, self-sustaining and lucrative income stream for your business.
Here’s five steps to put you on the fast track to creating your brand and disseminating it to the world.
1. Develop your value proposition
Before you even get close to posting, sit down, and think deeply about what you want to post (and why).
Develop a list of your differentiators, what content relates to that and what you’d like to represent in your professional brand.
Are you an expert in a certain neighborhood? Do you take amazing photos of listings? Do you always bring your dog to showings? Your brand is unique to you, and you need unique content to develop a loyal audience.
If you’re having trouble thinking of your differentiators, ask friends or peers to tell you what stands out about you for them.
2. Create your content calendar
After you’ve chosen your value propositions, it’s time to get working on what those look and sound like to the outside world. Like I mentioned, agents often get busy, and this can cause content to fall by the wayside. The best way to get around this is to plan, and plan far in advance.
Pick a chunk of time to take images, write copy, record videos and pick platforms, and then populate a calendar two to four weeks in advance — be it in Excel, your email provider or another tracker.
My personal favorite is a free site called Trello, which includes a calendar view, time stamps and color-coding to make it super clear what you’re doing and when.
3. Be consistent with your content
Once you’ve developed your calendar and started to post, you only need to remember one thing: It’s worse to go dead on a platform than to have never been there at all.
Strive for long-term consistency with your content — be realistic with your schedule and the time you can commit to that consistency. Don’t plan to post five times a day if you can’t keep up with it (and know that your audience doesn’t want to hear from you that often anyway).
You can also take a few shortcuts if you’re disseminating content onto multiple platforms, like duplicating from Facebook to Instagram (and vice versa) or purchasing a social media management platform like Hootsuite for maximum growth.
Social media is all about being social. Now that you have some pertinent content and a growing audience, keep those people engaged by responding to comments, answering questions and following the people or accounts that resonate most with you.
Think of content marketing as an inbound-outbound kind of system — you’ve developed a hub of great information that tells people all about you, and other people will have exactly the same thing.
Whether you’re connecting with potential clients or peers in the industry, establish those relationships in the digital space, and maintain them for the most organic reach.
5. Analyze, edit, and keep going
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, make reflection and analysis a concrete part of your marketing strategies. Content should be an iterative process based on what you’re finding success in and what resonates most with your audience.
If you’re hearing great comments about your thought leadership pieces on LinkedIn, keep writing them. If you’re getting tons of likes on your behind-the-scenes of luxury apartments, keep taking those photos.
Utilize that feedback to your advantage, and grow in the direction that provides the best returns for you and your business. Be sure to also check out the data sections that are built into many social platforms, which provide useful KPIs (key performance indicators) like impressions, reach, engagement, best times to post and more.
Staying on top of your professional marketing might not be fast or easy, but at the end of the day, your brand is what’s going to take your career both long and far. Now get out there, and start making that content.
James Rozanski is the director of marketing for REAL New York. Connect with him on LinkedIn.