Content marketing has exploded over the last few years … especially among real estate agents.
The reasons are obvious: content marketing improves your search rankings, increases traffic, builds trust, positions you as an expert, and drives leads to your digital door. We’ll be showing you examples of things you can do as a real estate agent or investor to cut through the clutter online and get in front of your best prospects where they’re seeking you out vs. you annoying them with your marketing.
After all, the old-school ways of marketing as a real estate agent are quickly passing away. According to the National Association of Realtors, fully 88% of all home buyers use the internet to collect information. And for 43%, the internet is their very first step.
Image Credit: NAR
Home buyers of all ages and demographics are seeking help online. And that’s exactly what content marketing does: it helps. It provides your prospects value rather than shouting a marketing message at them.
As my friend Aaron Orendorff — one of Forbes 25 marketers to watch — likes to say,
“Content marketing boils down to sharing real solutions to real problems for real people and doing it for free.”
Unfortunately, simply jumping on the buzzword bandwagon is a recipe for disaster.
For some, real estate content marketing is a mystery.
You know you should be doing it because all the “cool kids” say so. But figuring out how to create content that benefits your bottom line leaves you feeling overwhelmed and outgunned. Where should you start? And how can you compete?
For others, you’ve already jumped in and you’re feeling the drain.
Without the right strategy, creating content is a grind. And it’s even worse when that content doesn’t reap the rich real-estate rewards you were promised.
Whether you’ve tried your hand at content marketing or not … you’re in the right place. Today I want to give you a content marketing strategy you can actually use. How do I know it works? Because this is the same strategy we’ve used here at Carrot.
But that’s not the only reason.
Even more important than our track record is that this is a content marketing strategy built around you … and what you love.
Let’s get started.
Want to get a simplified guide and easy-to-follow
checklist with everything we’re about to cover?
1. Define Your Real Estate Content Marketing Goals (And Get Specific)
Your ultimate goal is no secret: you want to sell more houses.
But this goal is sure to fail because of its lack of substance. In fact, it’s impossible to fail or succeed because there isn’t really any way to measure such a goal. If you sell one house more than last month, you’re supposedly in good shape. But was it content that drove the sale?
The real question is: how do you define measurable goals for content marketing success?
Be as specific as you possibly can. For example, I want to…
- Increase search traffic to my site by 100% in the next 60 days.
- Grow my email list of new leads by 30 subscribers during February.
- Generate 1,000 new Facebook fans by Q3.
- Host digital open houses every month with at least 20 people in attendance.
- Turn 15% of my new email subscribers into active leads with at least two showings each.
Basically, give yourself quotas. But make them realistic.
The more specific your goals, the higher chance that you’ll see them accomplished. Vague goals breed vague results. Specific goals breed tangible wins.
To do this, start with a warts-and-all view of where you currently stand. Answer the following questions.
For your website:
- How many unique monthly visitors do I get?
- How many repeat visitors?
- How many of those visitors view one or more pieces of content?
- What are my most popular pages?
- How many of my visitors take an action (i.e., fill out my contact form)?
- Where are my visitors coming from (search, social, referral, or paid)?
For your email list:
- How many subscribers do I have?
- How many of those subscribers are “active” (i.e., open and click-through rates)?
- What are my most successful emails about?
- How many subscribers have become clients?
- How many clients from my email list have turned into sales?
For your social media:
- How many fans or followers do I have on each network?
- What are my engagement rates on each network?
- What content generates the most engagement?
- What is my ratio of original content to curated content?
- How many visitors is social driving to my site?
- How many of those visitors become leads, clients, and sales?
Once you have a baseline, go back to the “I want to …” examples and formulate two to three measurable goals.
On the inspirational front, check out our recent 5 Mindset Habits For Setting And Achieving Your Real Estate Investing Goals in 2017.
For practical help, it’s hard to find a better resource than Pressly’s “I’m focusing on content marketing to …” one-page infographic.
Under each qualitative category — like “Improve SEO” — they offer at least three metrics to track it — # of monthly unique visitors, # of keywords you rank for, and page rank.
Not to get too “meta,” but your goal with goals are to make them S.M.A.R.T.: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-Based.
Alex Pardo’s advice, from FlipEmpire, is invaluable on this front:
Reverse Engineer Your Goals:
Break them down into quarterly goals
Then break those down into monthly goals
Then break those down into weekly goals
And finally daily goals
There is a host of great tools to track your content marketing goals. Google Analytics for onsite metrics and Moz for SEO are two of our favorites. When it comes to tracking leads and customers, Capterra’s Top Real Estate CRM Software Products offers an unbiased breakdown of the best.
Lastly, to save yourself from getting buried in an avalanche of numbers — and lose sight of the real reason you’re marketing content — take a page out of Jay Acunzo playbook. In URR: A Metric to Save Content Marketing from Making More Crap, Jay explains:
“If people are going out of their way to write me an email or leave a thoughtful comment or share the thing but with their own emotional response added … clearly, the thing I made is good. And I can do some serious damage by marketing a thing that is good.
“And thus ‘URR’ [unsolicited response rate] was born.”
Whatever tools you choose: set concrete, measurable goals before you do anything else.
2. Find Your Real Estate Content Marketing Love (And Stoke Your Passions)
From writing to podcasting, webinars to Facebook Live, emails to infographics … the vagueness of the term “content” compounds. For a bit of clarity, The Content Marketing Pyramid offers a quick, bird’s eye view of the options at your disposal:
How do you decide what type of content to produce?
Ask yourself what type of real estate content marketing you want to produce.
If you take nothing else away from this article, let that be it.
Fitting your content marketing method to your own skillset, natural drives, creative flow, and — above all — love is a must for two reasons. First, because if you don’t want to produce the content that you’re producing, you won’t keep producing it. Second, content marketing is about helping people, and if you hate what you’re doing … it’ll show.
What follows is a more detailed list of content options. As you look through them, consider what you like doing, what you are good at doing, and what you could keep doing.
Oh… and don’t be afraid to implement more than one, as we’ll discuss later.
Blogging for Real Estate
If you love to write … then blog.
Tons of platforms exist to get you up and running, from cheap and low-cost builders like Wix, Squarespace, Weebly, Godaddy, LeadPages and others … to high-end custom websites. If you’re trying to decide, take a peek at this video we put together that walks through the options.
Blogging can immediately increase your traffic. Companies who blog 15 times or more per month generate 5 times as much traffic as companies that don’t blog at all.
Image Credit: Hubspot
Additionally, companies who make blog publishing a priority are 13 times more likely to generate a positive ROI.
Don’t be afraid to keep your blog posts short, especially if you’re an inexperienced writer. Keeping it short is far better than losing your reader’s attention. However, blogging guru Neil Patel did some of his own research and found that posts over 1,500 words generated 68% more tweets and 22% more Facebook likes than those that were under.
Just make sure quality isn’t lacking.
Notice at the end of the post mentioned above — The Content Marketing Pyramid For Real Estate: More Results With Less Work — there are two links.
These links prompt the reader to take action and continue along the involvement funnel. Finishing your blogs with some sort of call to action is the best way to turn your readers into leads.
Also check out Conversation Marketing: How to Get More Traffic to Your Real Estate Website Without Paying for It. This post is loaded with practical advice:
- “Go ahead… Google your company name + your city and see what comes up. That’s what your prospects are seeing before they decide to work with you.”
- “The point is obvious: while there are only about 10 corporations in the driver’s seat, each has created distinct brands to actually sell their various goods and services.”
The more tangible and specific your advice and information, the more that your audience is going to engage. Use numbers, charts, practical advice, and creative images to communicate inventively and attractively to your audience.
Podcasting for Real Estate
If you love to talk … then podcast.
Pat Flynn — podcasting extraordinaire — walks through, in detail, how to create and maintain a successful podcast here.
Podcast listening is on the rise culturally. Podcast listening grew 23% between 2015 and 2016.
Image Credit: Convince and Convert
Think people don’t have time to listen to podcasts? It turns out they do. People are listening while they’re on the go: “64% of podcasts are being listened to on a smartphone or tablet.”
The best part? You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on equipment. Here’s what you’ll need:
With these tools, you’ll be off and running. If you have a bigger budget or are an experienced podcaster, consider looking at a Portable XLR Recorder, an Audio Interface, and Pop Filters.
Your podcasts don’t have to be long, and they don’t have to be just you. The most important thing, though, is that you provide useful information to the prospective buyer and link everything back to your social media and website.
iTunes, SoundCloud, Podomatic, and Libsyn are four stellar places to consider hosting your podcasts.
Video for Real Estate
If you love to present … then make videos.
100 million internet users watch online videos every day. And just like podcasting, non-professionals are welcome.
Gary Vaynerchuk has amassed a near cult-like following across social media and built a content empire around short, unpolished videos like this one on his Instagram account:
Similarly, Facebook Live allows you to post share-worthy moments off the cuff. If, for example, you’re constantly giving away tips or “buyer beware” insights on the job, pull out your phone and just start recording.
Zac McHardy, an Australian real estate agent, tried his luck using Facebook live when he hosted a 25 minute Q&A session. He received 5 offers on the property immediately after posting this video.
Alternatively, you can go the whiteboard route like another content genius, Rand Fishkin. The videos are short, packed with takeaways, and always draw big online crowds. How to Create 10x Content is more than just a great example, it’s a powerful supplement to any post on content marketing:
This approach is one of my favorites. In fact, I love it so much, I stole it and created my own Whiteboard Training Video Series:
Of course, before you get excited and sell body parts to afford the highest quality equipment, consider using basic stuff to start out. Phones today have excellent cameras and might be a great place for you to start. Later on, you can consider getting editing software.
In addition to Facebook Live and whiteboard videos, you can start a Youtube Channel where you regularly discuss where to start in the house-buying process, what to look for in a house, and how to get connected with a realtor … i.e., you.
Design for Real Estate
If you love getting crafty and creative … then design.
The National Association of Realtors found that 83% of online buyers found photos very helpful.
Image Credit: NAR
People like to view images — especially in real-estate — more than blocks of text. Thus the rise of the infographic.
Take this infographic with 6 homebuyer tips, as inspiration for your own.
Image Credit: Market Leader
What if you’re not a Photoshop pro?
Vengage, a free infographic maker, allows you to create your own infographics by choosing a template, adding visual stimuli, and then customizing your design. A bit more versatile, Canva makes graphic design easy and allows you to customize everything from infographics to presentations.
You can post these infographics to your social media, your blog, your website, or even make physical copies that will make you instantly stand out.
Slide Decks for Real Estate
If you love organizing … then create slide decks.
Slide decks — whether using PowerPoint, Keynote, Prezi, or Google Slides — are a safe and effective way of producing quality content. And they pack a punch.
Along the same creative vein as design but with a bit more formality, slide decks allow you to get useful information to potential buyers in a compact form. Slideshare, which consistently receives 159 million views a month, is free to use and easy to incorporate.
Inman’s recent 50+ Real Estate Marketing, Business, and Tech Insights from Inman Connect New York 2016 has generated over 46 thousand views:
Even better, this option is perfect for real estate agents who already have a few standard presentations that have been used in group settings or one-on-one with new clients. For example, Tips For First Time Home Buyers is only 11 slides long and visually sparse.
Nonetheless, in the last six months, it has received nearly 400 views on Slideshare alone (that doesn’t include embedded views of the presentation on the company’s own website):
One of the best things, however, about Slideshare is its autocomplete search bar. Start typing and Slideshare fills in your request with the most popular topics:
Image Credit: Slideshare
Questions and Answers for Real Estate
If you love sharing expertise … then answer questions.
This option may be the mother of them all.
Because of the job of a real estate agent — let’s be honest — is primarily to answer people’s questions. You probably spend the vast majority of your day doing this already, so why not carry over your most asked questions into some strategically placed online content?
Even more conveniently, you and I both know that all the questions you get asked from people are … well, the same questions. They might be framed a little differently, but overall, most inquiries are a variation of no more than 20 or so fundamentals.
Incredibly, social media, for Carrot members, is the third best generator of new leads.
Social media is a highly personal mode of communication. And — as I’ve pointed out before — after analyzing over one billion Facebook posts from roughly three million brands, Buzzsumo discovered that questions generate the highest engagement of all content types, even beating images and videos.
The implications of all this leads to one conclusion: why not bring together the kind of work you do on a daily basis with the most popular form of content on social media?
Make a list of the top 20 questions people ask and answer them one by one in whatever format you like.
Whichever method you prefer, that is your content marketing love. Everything should revolve around the type of content you enjoy producing and comes most naturally to you.
And then …
3. Repurpose Your Real Estate Content Marketing Love (And Do It Like Crazy)
What’s better than content marketing?
Content marketing that doesn’t require extra creative juices. Instead of constantly creating new content — which is daunting — repurpose what you’ve already created.
Your content isn’t finished after it’s been posted once. Repurpose it to maximize its viewing potential. The founder of Convince and Convert, Jay Baer, repurposes his five-minute informational videos into everything from podcasts on iTunes to blog content for the Jay Today website. He calls it “atomizing,” and it’s a thing of content beauty:
“I spend five minutes recording a video that becomes:
A video on Youtube
A video on my Facebook page
An iTunes episode
A video iTunes episode
An episode of my own video site, JayToday.TV
A blog post (once per week)
A post on Linkedin
A post on Medium
A G+ post
2 Linkedin shares
Roger Parker gives visual life to this approach in How to Turn 1 Idea Into 2 Months of Content Marketing (and More):
For real estate content, let me show you what I mean.
- Write a blog post. Publish.
- Create 5-10 social media images — using the above tools or WordSwag — with quotes from that blog post. Publish one image every third day with a link back to the post itself.
- Turn that blog post — particularly the subheadings, any data, and its practical tips — along with your social media images into a Slideshare.
- Last, turn your Slideshare into a Youtube video by presenting it or simply talking over it as a Screenflow.
Let’s assume for a moment, though, that you aren’t starting with a blog post. What if you start with a video?
Consider these steps to repurpose your own video content.
- Start with a series of short Q&A videos. Facebook Live is a great tool for this. Record yourself answering just one question each week.
- Compile these short videos into a full-length Youtube video entitled something like, “20 commonly asked questions when buying a home.”
- Take that YouTube video and make a blog post out of its transcript.
- Then, take that blog post and breathe new life into both through social media images and a Slideshare.
We’ll dive more into the magic and power of repurposing soon, but you see the point: it doesn’t matter what your love is, nothing you create should be “one and done.” Repurposing will save you time and supercharge your presence across multiple content types and platforms.
4. Stick to Your Real Estate Content Marketing Schedule (And Post No Matter What)
I have yet to meet a person who doesn’t benefit from deadlines.
As much as we’d like to believe that we don’t need the extra incentive to accomplish our goals, we do.
Deadlines will not only create urgency, they will also help keep your priorities organized.
At Carrot we use Asana, which lets us set and view our content marketing schedule as both an overall calendar as well as detailed lists:
Naturally, there are tons of different templates and tools you can use to create your own:
- The Complete Guide to Choosing a Content Calendar: Tools, Templates, Tips, and More (Buffer)
- A Content Marketer’s Checklist: Editorial Calendar Essentials (Content Marketing Institute)
- How to Build a Content Calendar: Plus a Free Template (Convince & Convert)
Why this focus on getting regimented in your content marketing?
A recent study done by Hubspot found, “Companies that published 16+ blog posts per month got almost 3.5X more traffic than companies that published between 0 – 4 monthly posts.”
Image Credit: Hubspot
When you release a large variety of content, you reach a variety of people. It’s also true that posting regularly builds trust with your readers.
Not only does posting content regularly increase your traffic, it increases your leads. Hubspot also reports, “Companies that published 16+ blog posts per month got about 4.5X more leads than companies that published between 0 – 4 monthly posts.”
Image Credit: Hubspot
It’s important to post content often. The more content you post, the more traffic and leads you’ll generate.
And here’s my last piece of good news … to be successful, you don’t have to do anything quite so amazing. You just have to be consistent.
If all you do is create a Google Sheet with the following columns you’ll be head and shoulders above the rest of the pack:
NOTE: Write down content ideas whenever they come to you. You’ll have periods of time that you get a lot of ideas, and then you’ll have times where running a marathon would seem easier than coming up with another one. In order to post content regularly, it’s important to plan for these seasons of content-block.
You’ll have periods of time that you get a lot of ideas, and then you’ll have times where running a marathon would seem easier than coming up with another one. In order to post content regularly, it’s important to plan for these seasons of content-block.
Think of your schedule as your boss.
You can’t, not, show up for work, right? So don’t just neglect your schedule. We make priorities for what’s important in life. You can make time to post scheduled content. Don’t procrastinate.
If it’s on the calendar, it’s law.
A Content Marketing Strategy for Real Estate Agents You Can Use
The amount of content on the internet is daunting. And the amount of unsuccessful content is depressing.
You’re bound to make mistakes as you start publishing, but don’t think of these as failures, think of them as opportunities to learn.
This is your strategy:
- Define Your Real Estate Content Marketing Goals (And Get Specific)
- Find Your Real Estate Content Marketing Love (And Stoke Your Passions)
- Repurpose Your Real Estate Content Marketing Love (And Do It Like Crazy)
- Stick to Your Real Estate Content Marketing Schedule (And Post No Matter What)
Above all, remember: find your content marketing love and make that approach the cornerstone of everything else.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll be digging deep into each the content marketing loves. Those post will be packed with more how-to tips and TONS of real examples.