What are words worth? A lot more than you think

What are words worth? A lot more than you think

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Karen Hutton

To most agents, words are worth nothing. Zip. Nada.

Words are not part of the equation when getting vendor-paid advertising (VPA) for a new listing. A professional photoshoot is. A floorplan is. Even a video is. But most agents would never tell a vendor that words are worth paying for.

It’s mind-blowing to see an $8,000 full-page newspaper ad with typos in it. It shocks me to the core to see a $6,000 premiere online listing with cut-and-pasted copy. And what a waste to see the headline space so underutilised with same-old, same-old lines like this one, ‘Luxury on the Hill’ (that one’s for a $4 million listing).

Technology is partly to blame for this. It’s so easy to cut and paste bits and pieces of copy that have been used before. "Hey, this house is just like that one I sold six months ago," an agent says to himself, "I’ll just re-use that copy and no-one will know the difference". This happens all the time, even in large agencies that offer so-called professional in-house copy.

The speed of technology is partly to blame too. "Oh, I can’t wait 24 hours for a pro copy writer when I have my images, floorplan, and video ready to go right now… I need to get this up on the net and sell it!"

Like Mel Gibson’s character in Braveheart, William Wallace, said, "Hold… Hold… Hold… "

Because the benefit in holding – for you and your client – is great.

The agents who do hold off and are able to get those laser-targeted words in place reap big rewards: they get more visits and they get higher prices.

Those agents become known in their marketplace for being a cut above the rest.

Those agents recognise that words and pictures combine to create a powerful narrative that taps into buyers’ desires and builds emotion.

The writers to look for are the ones who know how to target copy with a laser focus, the ones who recognise that the blend of images and words has a communicative power that neither possesses on its own.

So what are words worth? They’re worth increased visits to your online listings. They’re worth becoming the agent that stands out in the crowd. They’re worth higher prices. They’re worth gold.

Karen Hutton's mission is to create useful communication products for sales and rental agents that inspire, delight and create a memorable experience for their clients.

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