Kick off the fall with Marketing and Branding 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.
Editor’s note: This article was last updated on Sept. 23, 2021 with example videos and more specifics on Maria Quattrone‘s podcast.
When you’re trying to go big as a real estate team or brokerage, it can be easy to focus only on the usual essentials like lead generation, digital marketing, the day-to-day work of running a team — and just buying and selling homes for your clients!
But a crucial part of growing a real estate brand — which is essential if you’re trying to scale your business — is building trust in your local community while also establishing your voice of authority among your peers in real estate.
During the past year and a half, we’ve been able to do both with one surprising branding tool: a podcast. I know what you’re thinking: “Really? A podcast? How can we compete when everyone already has a podcast?!”
But the truth is, creating a real estate podcast isn’t about being No. 1. It’s more about reaching those two specialty audiences — your local community and your circle of other real estate agents.
I never dreamed we would start a podcast as a marketing and branding tool. But when the pandemic hit hard in Philadelphia, where real estate was inexplicably deemed nonessential for months and the world was shut down, we decided to find new ways to connect to the world. All my networking dinners, happy hours, awards events and nights out for drinks that I had been using to create connections were gone.
We’ve now recorded well over 150 Facebook live events, which we’ve turned into podcasts on dozens of platforms. We’ve worked hard at it, recording every week and as often as three times a week.
The result? We’re about to launch our seventh season and have gone from 15 downloads per day in our first week to over 120 per day with over 1,000 unique downloads — all in less than two years, making us a frontrunner among real estate industry podcasts.
Be the Solution has reached over 10,000 views on Facebook in a 30-day period because we put each episode up live and then keep it on in our feeds for continued viewing.
We’ve not only boosted our name recognition in the holy realm of social media, but we’ve also created a content machine — a platform to regularly showcase who we are in a non-salesy way. We alternate between two types of shows:
- Mega Agent episodes featuring our real estate friends from coast to coast (and even in Canada).
- Business leaders and community organizations in Philly.
This two-pronged strategy makes us approachable to almost anyone who wants to listen in — and it’s working! In the past 18 months, we’ve seen more referrals from our friends on social media, including other agents. And in this business, a word-of-mouth recommendation goes a long way.
We’ve also had referrals from others in the community. When you invite friends to come on your show to share their story, they’re more willing to lend a hand, shoot you a referral or even invite you onto their branding platforms (yes, including podcasts).
If you want to get in the game of creating a podcast to build your brand, there are some tips to make your life easier and your success more profound. Let’s go.
1. Create a theme
This is the very first step — and the most important. You need to figure out what matters to you and your team. Choose a theme you can be passionate about in the long term for your podcast. Figure it out, and then run with it.
We started our podcast — called Be the Solution — because we wanted to offer solutions, not more bad news, during the uncertainty of the pandemic. But the theme we chose goes beyond that.
Be the Solution also speaks to who are as a team: We pride ourselves on being the team of agents who get properties sold after multiple brokerages or other agents have failed. We truly find solutions every day for our clients. When our guests come on the podcast, we talk about how they are “being the solution” in their worlds.
2. Invest in good equipment
Get yourself some decent recording equipment, including the largest ring light you can find, a headset with an external microphone (never use the mic that’s built into your computer) and a webcam that will provide a high resolution image (not the one that comes with your computer).
If you get an old-school radio-station style mic on a tripod, you’ll gain instant credibility. If you can, create a dedicated space for doing the interviews, complete with soundproofing on the walls if you have the space and the marketing budget.
Remember: You can use the equipment and the space for other work as well.
3. Study up!
Research your guest well ahead of time. I know it sounds like common sense, but during your busy day, you’ll have to make it a priority. Find out as much as you can about your guest as far in advance as you can.
This not only shows your guest you care about what they’re doing and are engaged, but it will also lead to a better conversation because you’ll be up to date on your guest’s life. After all, podcasts are ideal for drilling down into specifics, not small talk.
And just in case your guest is a bit nervous or off their game (it happens), be sure to have plenty of topics to cover that relate to their life and business. My favorite tried-and-true topics include themes of perseverance — grit, determination and never giving up.
4. Really listen
Don’t run through a list of questions without stopping to listen. Sure, you want to be organized and prepared, but it’s ideal to let the conversation take shape naturally.
Your follow-up questions should build off what your guest is saying, not a predetermined list. Be curious. React. Listen, and listen again. This will keep the conversation going.
Never talk over guests when they’re speaking. It can be so easy to get excited about a topic — especially as you think of questions you’d love to ask or realize important points you’d love to make. But your job as the host is to listen, not talk.
5. Be consistent
You can’t just record your podcast when the mood strikes. It’s too easy to take a break or take a week (or two) off.
We started our Be the Solution podcast during the pandemic, and we were fully committed to it, no matter what, sometimes recording three times a week. You need a plan, a process and a consistent schedule, and then you need to stick to it. Feed that machine.
6. Promote your podcast
Then, after you’ve done all the work of setting it up and doing the recording, share and reshare your work with e-blasts, social media or your other marketing platforms.
Make a splash! Tag your guests. And don’t be afraid to reshare months or even a year later. In the business of public relations, podcasts are what’s called “owned media.” You built it. You own it! Now, make it work for you.
7. Don’t make it about you
We do a short promo at the front of our Be the Solution podcasts, but it’s just 15 seconds. Other than that, we aren’t self-promotional with the podcast. Remember, the art of the podcast is really less about selling and more about learning, networking and staying plugged into what’s going on in your community and areas outside of your immediate circle. It should be a conversation.
If you can create something that is of real value and content, viewers and listeners will keep coming back because they’ll know you have something that’s compelling and goes far beyond sales pitches.
With Be the Solution, our goal is to connect often enough with people on a human level so they can see us as a trusted source in our local community. We want them to get to know the face behind the listings and a podcast is a great way to do that. Happy recording!