The Biggest Mistake You're Making When It Comes to Content Marketing
I recently had the opportunity to visit with a great group of real estate professionals at Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors’ annual Appreciation Day, along with my friend Stacey Cohen, CEO of Co-Communications and a personal branding pioneer. We were there to discuss brand-based content marketing strategies with real estate agents, brokers, and affiliated entrepreneurs.
Throughout the day, I had the opportunity to talk to many agents and brokers about content, and found what I had long suspected -- there is a huge divide in awareness between those who are focused on their brand and the content that supports it and those who have no idea what content marketing even means or how to use it to effectively promote their businesses.
I was recently talking to an Instagram influencer who said that she has found that while every other major industry sees content as a baseline competency -- something that is essential to their marketing strategy -- most real estate agents, brokers, and companies see content as optional, if indeed they think about it at all. Blogs, bios, social media, graphic elements, video, podcasting -- for most real estate professionals, these are not even on their radar.
I’m not writing today’s post to agents who are not convinced of the need for content, though I have done so in the past. I’m writing to those of you who have been trying to use content to promote your real estate business, but haven’t seen the results that you’re looking for. I want to share with you something that entrepreneurs and small business owners of all types -- and especially many in real estate -- do to undermine their content marketing efforts, and some of the places you should be putting your attention.
The Biggest Mistake Entrepreneurs Make When It Comes to Content
I often have real estate agents and brokers schedule a complimentary initial consultation with me who let me know that they want to find ways to step up their content marketing. At some point, either before we talk or after, I conduct an audit of their online platforms, checking out their website, social media, and other online elements. I have done this for everyone from individual agents just starting out to industry veterans to large state associations.
During the course of the audit, I see many things that are problematic. I almost always see old-fashioned and out-of-date websites. I sometimes see website content that is poorly written or has errors. I generally see at least one social media platform that is still up but has not been updated in months or even years.
I may see a blog that has been abandoned or that contains a few half-hearted posts. I may see a poorly written, generic bio or some canned content from the brokerage. All of these are normal and, in many cases, quick and easy to correct or update.
The thing that I consider the biggest mistake entrepreneurs make when it comes to content is thinking of content in isolation. Separating out blogs, website content, bios, and social media, along with additional non-written content like video or podcasts. Creating content in a vacuum, then doing nothing to promote that content.
Want to write a blog? No one will see it if you don’t promote it. Tweet 100 times a day? If all you’re sharing are links to HGTV, it won’t earn you any new clients. Want people to respond to your Call to Action (CTA)? They need a compelling website to visit and value-added materials in order to understand and respond to your message.
Types and Purposes of Content Marketing Materials
The content you produce should serve a variety of purposes. You should have content in each of the following categories, and the different categories should all relate to and inform each other.
Core content includes that primary messaging that represents you and your brand. It may include some or all of the following:
This can include everything from your home page to your bio to the CTA included on each page of your website. It needs to be up-to-date, both in terms of the content itself and the design of the site.
This should include articles of at least 300 words each which allow you to provide value-added content to your audience. Your blog should NOT be a series of advertisements for your company -- it should provide useful and meaningful information that people want to read.
If you prefer to communicate visually, a YouTube channel is a great way to get your message out there and provide the same value-added information that would otherwise be contained in a blog post. Hire an affordable transcription service to write up your video content and post the transcript as a blog post to double your impact.
Always wanted to be a radio personality? With a podcast, you can quickly and affordably put your message out in a format that many people love. Work with another entrepreneur or professional in your space to create your podcast, or schedule a series of interviews with movers and shakers in your area or in your field. Here, too, you can hire a transcription service to create a written copy for your blog.
Promotional or Distribution Content helps you put your content out into the world and bring eyes and ears back to your core content. It is an extension of your messaging, but it is not the message. It includes:
You can have the most beautiful website or the most interesting blog, video channel, or podcast ever -- if no one knows about it, it has no impact. Social media is an affordable way to share that core content with a broad and growing audience. Choose one or two platforms and update them consistently -- you don’t have to be everywhere at once. Consistency is more important than quantity in this case.
Have a huge email list? It’s doing you no good if you’re not consistently reaching out. A monthly or bi-monthly newsletter promoting your original content lets people know you’re not just working -- you’re having an impact on your professional space. Share your successes, thoughts, and media mentions with your sphere and hear from them more often.
Direct Mail and Paid Advertisements
If you already have a direct mail or advertising strategy in place, give them something interesting to look for when they visit your website or reach out to you. Create value-added content for your advertising so that people don’t just toss it in the recycling bin. And don’t forget to incorporate analytics into your mailers with custom URLs or phone numbers so that you can track the most effective designs and messages.
Leveraged Content is content that goes further than your sphere, subscribers, followers, or fans. It adds impact, either by increasing your audience or increasing the legitimacy of your messaging.
Connect with the big publications in your industry or use HARO to get on the radar of writers and journalists in your field. Leverage their larger audience to draw more searches to your website and social media platforms.
Look for opportunities to guest blog or appear as a guest on a popular podcast that shares the audience you’re trying to reach. You might just find a whole new group of eager fans and followers after a successful and impactful interview.
Want more information on content marketing? I wrote the book on it (Literally).
Along with my friend and colleague Abhi Golhar -- real estate investment guru and nationally syndicated radio personality -- I wrote Content Accelerator. It offers insights on a variety of content marketing platforms and strategies, along with tips on outsourcing. It just dropped on Amazon, and I think you’re going to love it.
Want to talk about how a more robust content marketing plan can help you raise your profile? Reach out to me at calendly.com/writingrealestate and let’s start talking. I’m here to help.