Kick off the fall with Branding and Marketing month at Inman. We’re going deep on agent branding and best practices for spending with Zillow, realtor.com and more. Top marketing executives drop by to share their newest tactics, too. It’s all you need to take your branding and marketing game to the next level.
Jay Thompson is a former brokerage owner who spent over six years working for Zillow Group. He retired in August 2018 but can’t seem to leave the real estate industry behind. His weekly Inman column publishes every Wednesday.
“Content is king.”
That’s been the mantra of content creators forever. Perhaps it’s over-used, perhaps it’s over-simplifying the often arduous task that is content marketing. Nonetheless, “content is king” is a true statement.
Whether your preferred platform for content delivery is a blog, video, social media or a newsletter, you need to deliver good, relevant content on a regular basis. This is not a simple task. Fortunately, the benefits of consistently providing great content makes the effort worth it.
Good content introduces you to potential clients. It builds brand awareness. It codifies your value. It prospects for you 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. It allows you to grow your audience, and your business.
One of the biggest problems agents have with their content marketing is coming up with topics to write about. It can be daunting to sit in front of a blank screen, the keyboard practically calling out to you to write something. Seems there is only so much you can do with real estate market statistics. “What do I write about?” is almost always the first thing a new, or grizzled veteran, blogger asks.
Step 1 in creating content is always identifying your audience. Broadly speaking, the real estate agent’s audience is divided into two segments: buyers and sellers. Let’s take these two audiences one at a time. Here are 99 topics you can use to attract and engage real estate buyers.
Information on your town and local area
1. Interview local politicians: mayor, city council, planning and zoning board.
2. Restaurant reviews
3. School board meeting report
4. City council meeting report
5. Interview school principals and teachers
6. Make a map of local parks and highlight what they provide. With pictures!
7. Discuss the local school activities: sporting events, band performances and competitions, scholastic events
8. Interview the local librarian
9. Calendar of local events
10. Lists of garage sales
11. Golf courses within driving distance
12. Discuss local gyms, cross-fit, and yoga studios
13. Day trips within 50 miles of your city
14. Local activities for your children
15. Local activities for teenagers
16. Local activities for adults
17. Where to find the best cup of coffee
18. Who is hiring in the area
19. Mass transportation availability and coverage
20. Resources for crime rate information
21. Bike paths and trails
22. Commuting times
23. Commercial activity in the area: upcoming stores, restaurants and businesses
24. Best places for breakfast, lunch, and dinner
25. List some doctors and dentists in your town. Include links to their reviews and Facebook pages
26. Do the same for local veterinarians
27. Discuss daycare options in your town
28. Where is the best happy hour
29. Create a list of online resources for people relocating to your area
Your local real estate market
30. Current market snapshot: Number of listings, average sales price and time on market
31. Subdivision overviews, with pictures! Ideally add current listings
32. Listing of the week (get permission of the listing broker if not your listing)
33. Condo development of the week/month. Highlight amenities -with pictures
34. Golf course homes
35. Historic homes
36. Luxury homes
37. Just listed and just solds (get permission)
38. Property taxes: current, historical, and how they are determined
39. How to challenge a property tax assessment
Real estate terminology
40. What is escrow
41. What is due diligence
42. What is title insurance
43. What is the MLS
44. What are closing costs
45. The relevance of Days on Market (DOM)
46. What is a iBuyer
47. All about appraisals
48. What is a Home Owners Association (HOA)
49. What does “as is” really mean
50. What is earnest money
Offers, contingencies and contracts
51. Break down the purchase contract section by section
52. Explain contractual timelines
53. How to make a great offer
54. What are contingencies
55. Seller concessions
56. Dealing with multiple offer situations
57. What is “highest and best”
58. Benefits and pitfalls of waiving inspections
59. Escalation clauses
How real estate works
60. What is a buyer’s agent
61. What is a seller’s agent
62. What is a broker
63. How are commissions distributed
64. What is a Realtor
65. The Realtor Code of Ethics
66. Duties and responsibilities of a buyer’s agent
67. Fiduciary responsibility
68. The home search process
69. Discuss understanding wants vs. needs in a home search
70. Earnest money and down payments
71. Getting the most from your due diligence period
72. What is a pre-qualification
73. What is a pre-approval
74. How does a lender qualify you
75. Current mortgage rates
76. Mortgage rate trends
77. Are rates going to increase
78. Impact of mortgage rates on your monthly payment
79. Adjustable rate mortgages
80. 15-year vs. 30-year mortgages
81. How to find a good lender
82. Local vs. online lenders — pros and cons
83. Interview a mortgage lender
What buyers need to know
84. Tips for first-time homebuyers
85. The best ideas for home improvements
86. All about home warranties
87. Why you shouldn’t fall in love with a listing
88. Renting vs. buying
89. Common mistakes buyers make, and how to avoid them
90. Moving checklist and resources
91. How to get utilities: electric, gas, trash, water
About you and how you operate
92. Highlight your mission statement
93. Highlight your core values
94. Testimonials from past clients
95. Discuss how your experience creates value for your clients
96. Your ideal client
97. What are your hobbies, hopes, dreams
98. What you love about your job
99. What’s your why? Why are you a real estate agent?
There is no shortage of content topics. Many of these could be broken into multiple parts, making room for even more content production.
A few tips for any content you create:
Be positive, don’t bash other agents or businesses. “The Best Place for Breakfast” is much better than “Restaurants to Avoid.” While the latter may seem compelling, it introduces negativity into your content. It also creates potential liability issues.
Where required, get permission. This is especially important if you’re using listings that don’t belong to your brokerage.
Not every piece of content needs to produce a lead. Nothing you write will have universal appeal to everyone. Focus on providing useful information in small bites. It’s OK, good in fact, to inject your personality into your content. People tend to work with people they like, and your content marketing is the best place to get who you are out there. You’re good at your job, and there are many that need your services. Let your content highlight who you are and what you know and the prospects will follow.
Jay Thompson is a real estate veteran and retiree living in the Texas Coastal Bend, as well as the one spinning the wheels at Now Pondering. Follow him on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. He holds an active Arizona broker’s license with eXp Realty. “Retired but not dead,” Jay speaks around the world on many things real estate.