Erica Christoffer is a multimedia journalist and contributing editor with REALTOR® Magazine. Connect with her via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Leverage Your Own Video in Your Marketing
It’s time to think beyond home tours. Learn how two women are creatively showcasing their personalities in real estate videos.
February 29, 2016
Back in 2008, Jessica Edwards had zero experience with video. Being a broker-associate with Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage in Wilmington, N.C., she tried shooting a few listings — but she says the footage turned out terribly.
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Then she received a Flip video camera for Christmas. (Remember those super-easy-to-use handheld camcorders?) One day while she tinkered with the camera in her car, Edwards recorded a video blog about scheduling showings and uploaded it to YouTube.
Her first video grabbed the attention of her clients, and since then, Edwards has recorded dozens of videos and gained about 8,300 subscribers to her YouTube channel, with a cumulative 1.1 million views.
At this point in the story, it would be easy to say, “The rest is history.” But the work Edwards put in after that first video is where the real lessons lie.
It wasn’t the novelty of a single video shot in her car that helped Edwards successfully leverage video as a marketing platform; it was the consistency she put into creating videos thereafter.
“You can’t shoot one amazing video and then let six months pass before making another video. It won’t have the same impact,” Edwards says.
First, shooting in the car helped give her videos a uniform feel (it wasn’t quite as popular a location to shoot as it is today). It was also a quiet place where Edwards felt natural talking about real estate to clients.
Edwards doesn’t use a script: “It doesn’t come across with my true personality.” She acknowledges that scripts work for some people, just not for her. Instead, she thinks about her topic and jots down three points she wants to touch on. Mentally, she divides the video into three sections — the beginning, middle, and end — and visualizes what she’ll say in each of those parts.
“We are our own worst critics,” she says. “I could sit there and be critical of my hair or dwell on a word I said wrong, but I try not to.”
Edwards says by allowing herself to make mistakes and approach her videos conversationally, she can usually nail her delivery in one take. “I try to not overanalyze it,” she says.
While a person can produce videos all day long, it doesn’t mean much if no one is watching them. Because Edwards had her current clients in mind when she started shooting her videos, she had a target audience from day one. She leveraged her sphere and shared on all her social channels. She sent links directly to clients and friends. Edwards also leveraged her brokerage to share her videos on their company channels.
While continuing to publish her signature car video blog (she has since moved on from the Flip camera to her iPhone), Edwards has also allowed herself to branch out in video marketing. She now hires out a professional crew to shoot high-end video home tours in which she acts as co-host.
Of course, Edwards cultivates direct leads through her YouTube channel today. But it didn’t start out that way. Her initial goal was to stay top-of-mind with the people she already knows.
“My biggest advice is don’t look for specific results right away. Look at video as a way to stay in touch with clients. Look at video as a way to gather feedback from others around you,” Edwards says. “But it takes time, and you have to stay consistent.”
A Clever Use of Humor
Weird Al Yankovic isn’t the only one leveraging parody videos nowadays. This Internet craze is a way to satirically approach a topic through a creative platform — and it’s become a powerful marketing tool.
Last month, Megan Hill Mitchum with Century 21 Signature Real Estate in Urbandale, Iowa, released a parody of Adele’s song “Hello,” where she sings about some of the relatable pain points of working in real estate.
Over the past four weeks, the video has collected more than 240,000 views. Mitchum didn’t expect such exposure because she initially created it for the Des Moines Area Association of REALTORS®’ Annual Circle of Excellence Banquet to highlight the event sponsors.
“It was under wraps until that event, but the next day I put it on YouTube and it just went crazy,” Mitchum says.
A longtime musician, Mitchum enlisted the help of fellow real estate pros Jennifer Clark and Heather Carey, recorded in a friend’s studio, and hired a local film crew to shoot the video — all for the fun of it. Prior to her parody, Mitchum only used video to communicate with clients or show listings.
“There’s a huge group of people who get the humor of it; they identify with it. And I’ve had a lot of people reach out on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter to say how much they like it,” Mitchum says. People from Orange County to the African nation of Kenya have commented on the video.
But Mitchum has no plans to use this video for prospecting. Instead, she sees her momentary Internet fame as a way to stay connected with her real estate friends and loyal clients. The video leverages her humor and creativity, which those close to her already know and love.
So says Mark Gavin, director of communications at the Iowa Association of REALTORS®: “Another top-notch performance. We knew Megan was very talented. Now the REALTOR® world gets to enjoy her talent and fun sense of humor.”