One of the biggest surprises you may have run into when you got into real estate was the amount of writing involved. Whether it's for marketing your services to buyers and sellers, highlighting your latest listing, or simply to keep in touch with members of your sphere of influence (SOI), good writing skills are of paramount importance for agents and brokers alike.
Whether you are new to real estate or looking for ways to improve your performance, you'll find that developing your expertise at these seven types of writing can go a long way toward helping you grow your business and your impact.
There's a reason that I have written so much about property descriptions over the years. It's one of the tasks that real estate agents struggle with the most and enjoy the least. However, a well-written property description can have a significant impact on the way that you market your latest listing online.
While some real estate agents skip the property description altogether, I think this is a mistake. Although a picture is worth a thousand words, your real estate photos don't always do a good job of indicating updates and upgrades, layout, location, and other aspects of a home that make it special. A good property description, however, can do all that and more.
Here are a few things to keep in mind as you write your property descriptions. Be sure to check out my blog for others:
If you're unsure what to say for a property description, imagine that you are telling a prospective buyer about the home. If someone asked about your newest listing, you wouldn't just say "AC replaced 2018." You'd start with something great, (the WOW factor) then fill them in on other highlights.
If you're looking for a way to organize your property description, consider a narrative that takes them through the property from the driveway into the front door and through the home to the backyard and outdoor spaces.
Whatever you do, don't be tempted to crib a property description from another agent. Just like photos, property descriptions are proprietary and theft can open you up to ethical and licensure violations.
One of the things I'm asked to write most often is a bio. Sometimes it's for a brand new agent, while other times it's for an experienced agent who hasn't updated his or her bio in decades.
Bios are among the most dreaded types of writing for many agents because no one ever seems really pleased with their own bio. Heck, I even outsourced the first draft of my current bio to another writer simply because I felt that it was too hard for me to organize my own thinking.
It really helped to talk about my career with someone else and see what stood out to her. That gave me a better handle on what would be interesting to communicate to others. If you're struggling with your own bio, consider talking it out with someone, then asking them to tell you what they found most interesting or compelling.
Check out some of my writing on the topic of bios at Inman. You'll get lots of good ideas from agents in the industry along with my commentary about what makes their bios work. Then consider how you might want to rework your own bio.
You'll need to create evergreen content for your website that describes the service you provide, the markets you serve, and any other relevant information you want to share. At a minimum, you'll probably want to include a bio and information geared toward buyers and sellers. If you serve a particular niche, it's a good idea to include that information as well.
If you have purchased your website through a service that delivers a ready-made site, be wary of using their in-house content. Often this is generic content that is identical to that of dozens or even hundreds of their other clients. That kind of identical text will destroy your SEO (search engine optimization) and cause you to rank below other agents in your area.
I'll share with you a story of what I experienced during the rewrite of a client's website. The client had purchased the site from one of those aforementioned website farms. The design of the site included dozens of community pages.
The top-level pages were fine, though they were, as I mentioned, generic. However, when you get into the sub-pages where the community information was located, the website builder had simply taken Wikipedia entries, run them through a thesaurus, then copied and pasted the resulting mishmash of information. It didn't read like English even -- just gibberish.
While it's great to have lots of pages on your website, don't get so concerned with page count that you leave the content unfinished or poorly developed. It's better to have a smaller site with content that is rich and meaningful.
If your brokerage provides a website for you, be sure to begin building your own as soon as possible. You don't want to spend time, money, and energy developing content for a site that you don't own. A website is an important foundation for your marketing. You want to be able to take it with you, even if you leave your current brokerage or market.
Core Content (Blogs, Video Scripts, Podcast Flows)
Whether you choose to communicate with your potential audience through blogging, video, or a podcast, you'll need to get comfortable creating content. Well-developed content is a valuable resource that you can use throughout all of your marketing channels. It will build SEO for your website and can be included in your social media and other marketing outreach.
You'll want to have a balance between evergreen content and more timely, changeable content. For example, a market report is content that has a short shelf life but helps to show your expertise and value to buyers and sellers in the short term. On the other hand, a guide to financing or to the buying or selling process may contain evergreen content that will remain current and provide value for many years to come.
Repurposing content is an important way to ensure that everything you create goes further. For example, if you create a video for first-time home buyers, you can have it transcribed, refined, and turned into a blog post. You can take the major points and make them into an infographic or a series of social media posts. Finally, pull each major point out and use it as the basis for new pieces of content.
From postcards and letters to email marketing, social media marketing, and more, you're always advertising something as a real estate agent. Maybe it's your new listing or maybe you're just introducing yourself to a new geographic farm. Either way, it's important to learn how to talk to potential clients in writing, across a variety of platforms.
One thing to remember whenever you are creating marketing materials is that value-added marketing will always outperform a direct sale approach. That means that providing meaningful information -- an idea or insight that helps your audience save money or find what they need -- is more effective than telling them why you're so darn wonderful. In other words, show, don't tell, why people should choose you as their real estate agent.
Another way to think of this was popularized by online marketing guru Gary Vaynerchuk: Jab, jab, jab, Right Hook. It means to give value through the content you provide over and over, then occasionally slip in a sales pitch. By that time, not only will your audience be primed to respond, they won't resent the occasional pitch because of all of the value you've provided previously.
If you're a broker or the head of a team, you may want to connect with the media in your market. If you are looking to expand your reach as an industry leader, you may need to connect with the national media. If you are growing your influence into specific, new markets you may want to connect with media in specific cities. For all of these scenarios, a press release strategy can be valuable.
Whether you're writing your own press releases or having them written by your PR firm or a content writer like me, you'll want to ensure that you are putting time and money into effective targeting strategies. This is often where most of the budget for a press release goes, since a specific, targeted release can cost thousands of dollars.
While that may sound expensive, compare it to a broader release which may make you feel good but may not produce the follow-up that you want from the media. Ideally, a press release should make one or more members of the media reach out to you to report on the information contained in the press release. If you're not getting that type of follow-up, it may be because the audience for your release is not targeted enough.
If you're looking to connect with members of the media without the use of a press release, explore options like HARO (Help a Reporter). This platform allows you to pitch your expertise to members of the media who are coming to the platform with specific stories in the works. Over time, you can develop relationships with media figures that get you featured in real estate or market-related stories with a national audience.
Sometimes, an email or text simply won't do. A handwritten note can be a powerful way to connect (or reconnect) with leads, past clients, and other members of your SOI. From thank you notes to introductions and more, note-writing is a lost art that you can bring back into your business.
Look for beautiful stationery so that you can make an immediate impression, even before they open the envelope. Take time to write neatly and address the envelope as well as writing the note itself. The idea here is to give the recipient the sense that you took time and care to write the note as a personal expression of your regard.
Imagine the impact it could have on your business if you wrote just one thoughtful, sincere thank you note each day. Connect with colleagues, congratulate a friend on an accomplishment, or simply let someone know that they're on your mind. Handwritten notes have a magical ability to make people feel special -- and to make them feel good about you.
Whatever you're looking for, I offer writing services that can help you do more. From blog posts to email and website content to bios and property descriptions, Writing Real Estate is not only my company name -- it's what I love to do each day. Contact me for a consultation or email me at email@example.com and let's talk about how I can be of help as you grow your real estate business.