Up until a few years ago, a home owner looking to sell their property would invite four to five agents in for an appraisal. They would see this process as a way to interview the different agents before deciding who they were going to use to sell their home.
Fast-track to today’s market and we now find that home owners only invite one to two agents in the door for an appraisal because they have pretty much done all their research online before they have even picked up the phone to get in touch.
They have visited your website and judged you on its quality. They have Googled you, reviewed your personal profile, read articles or blogs you may have written, searched for you on social media, watched videos you have published and perhaps subscribed to your newsletter. In essence, they have screened you online without you even knowing about it.
What this means is that, if you don’t have regular and valuable content being shared across the platforms your home owners are doing their research on, you have no voice, you can’t be found online, and it’s harder for you to get onto the short list of agents who are invited into the living room for an appraisal.
So, what types of content should you create to build your personal brand and drive leads into your funnel?
I’ve found over the years I have been writing real estate content, the most successful is content that adds value with no hard sell is relevant, authoritative, community-centric, educational and, if possible, entertaining.
Here’s a look at some of the different types of content marketing you can chose from to help you with your strategy and planning. While you don’t need to do all of these each month (that would be exhausting), a mix over the year is ideal.
1. Local blog posts
Blogs are the cornerstone of a content marketing strategy. Think about writing articles on the local real estate market, trends, forecasts, what you see is happening. Provide insight and guidance to your community on how to add value to the sales process, case studies on how vendors have maximised their sale price… you get the idea.
If you write consistently and share it on your blog, you will be regarded as a local expert, your home owners will return to your site and you will build trust and authority over time. Importantly, search engines will consider you an authority and rank you higher on their search results page — which is fantastic for your personal brand’s profile.
2. Frequently asked questions
Think about the questions you are asked all the time by your clients and prospects and create a list of FAQs for your area. Google loves these simple content pieces as they directly answer their users’ search queries. But don’t forget to update these regularly, as search engines also love fresh content.
3. How-to articles
As the name suggests, these are articles that provide structured, often step-by-step solutions to problems that home owners have. Think about “how to prepare your apartment or house for sale”, “how to add value to a rental property”, “how to inspect a property for sale”… the list goes on.
These are some of the most powerful for SEO and are articles written in the form of a numbered list. Strangely, if you write a list with an unpredictable number such as 7 or 11 in the title, people are often more inclined to read them.
5. Long-form articles
These are 2,000-plus-word articles written as a definitive resource or “ultimate guide” on a specific topic. Think about writing a complete guide on selling a house in your area. If you then hyperlink this content to other pieces of relevant content on your blog, Google will see that you have a depth of knowledge on the topic and rank you high on the search results page. Readers are often in pursuit of one curated go-to source, and if it is from you, that is gold for your personal brand.
6. E-books, guides, workbooks
These are similar to long-form articles but are what we call “gated content” and require the reader to provide their email address in order to access the download. These are valuable for lead generation and provide you with an opportunity to nurture these leads through the sales funnel. Personally, I love these content pieces and I believe they are a valuable addition to any content marketing strategy.
7. White papers
These are similar to e-books but are more research-based and often include sought-after statistics and market insights. Think about data you can find from the likes of CoreLogic or similar platforms that you may subscribe to. Can you create a white paper on some of the information provided in there on your suburb?
They are also normally only shared once the visitor has given their email address. So, again, great for data capture.
8. Video content
Video content is the current darling of the marketing world. They are a great way to tell your brand story and connect on a more personal level with your community.
When creating videos rather than creating a single stand-alone video, consider creating your content in an episodic format that tells your brand story over time. This format enables your community to build up connections to characters and helps them empathise with the narrative. Having an audience that wants to see what you have to say each month is a powerful way to connect with your locals and drive leads into your sales funnel.
Audio content (podcasts) are on a meteoric rise. Many people prefer to consume content during their daily routines, and audio content allows for this. When filming your videos, consider using the audio content from the video as a podcast — a simple and easy way to create this content.
10. Visual content
Not only does an image tell a thousand words, it also instantly stands out in a sea of text whether placed in a blog post or shared as a social media post. When you have written your blog article, look for some quotes from the article that could be turned into a visual quote, meme or infographic.
11. Email marketing/inbound marketing
This is often the forgotten piece of the content marketing puzzle, but they are critical to helping convert potential clients to a qualified lead. As you know, the property cycle is long, so making sure you are using email and social media to share relevant and timely content with your prospect audience throughout that long cycle, means when it is time to sell, you are their “go-to” agent.
A final word
The agents that get more invitations to conduct property appraisals are the agents who have a strong online presence and who are providing their local community with consistently created, relevant and valuable content. I hope this article has given you some ideas on how you can use content to build your personal brand and to drive leads into your sales funnel.
Sarah Lefebvre is the founder of Localiz and winner of REB’s Marketing Professional of the Year award for 2021.