Scott Schang is a branch manager at Broadview Mortgage’s Katella team in Orange, Calif. His approach to marketing has been to develop niche opportunities within specific demographics of online homebuyers. Schang’s expertise includes WordPress, content marketing, and online lead generation and conversion. Reach him at Scotts@BroadviewMortgage.com. Visit FindMyWayHome.com for more information.
Creating Conversation-Starting Content
You only need about three hours each month to create compelling content that will generate real SEO returns for your business.
July 8, 2013
The role that your Web site plays in your marketing strategy is to augment, amplify, and automate conversations about real estate.
Many of your online readers will land on your site because you sent them there, either through advertising, flyers, Craigslist, pay-per-click, or just conversations on the street where you collect an e-mail address and shoot over more information about what you were just talking about.
But have you made plans to generate other paths to your online content? It could take as little as six to eight months of consistent, local, timely, and relevant content creation for your Web site marketing to start generating unpaid, organic, search-driven traffic through search engine optimization. But the best news is that you have to devote only a couple of hours each month to get the ball rolling.
Here is a simple “blogging blueprint” that focuses on three conversation-starting topics. It should take you no more than three hours a month to expertly create a conversation around these topics.
Blog Topic No. 1: Market Reports
Time Investment: 2 Hours
Whether you are trying to attract buyers or sellers, both will want to have a conversation about market conditions. This should be relatively easy. After all, if you’re an active agent you probably have a conversation about market conditions on an almost daily basis.
The foundation for this blog post can be as simple as a comparative market analysis, a tidbit from the National Association of REALTORS®' research department, or a REALTORS® Property Resource analysis. The key is to present economic conditions or other data that you use to create and deliver an accurate assessment of the current state of the market in your community.
Prepare your market report as if you were intending to deliver it to the biggest potential buyer or seller of your life. It is truly that important; treat it as such. The time you invest in this one topic should be reflected in the end product. Take your time, do your research, and produce the market report of your life.
Invest two hours once a month. Is that so hard? No, it’s not.
Blog Topic No. 2: Curated Content
Time Investment: 30 Minutes
Curated content requires that you take timely and relevant articles that others have published and add your local perspective.
Using well-written and timely content as a launchpad for your own point of view is a powerful way for you to show your local expertise and experience in matters relevant to your target reader.
Best Practices for Curating Content:
- Your commentary about the story should make up no less than 30 percent of the total word count of the blog post. For example, if you are writing a 600-word story, you should sandwich the curated material between at least 150 of your own words.
- Sandwich the content between your introduction to the story and the wrap-up of the story, reinforcing why this story is valuable to your reader.
- But remember: Club sandwiches are delicious for a reason. Instead of simply writing an intro and closing, consider weaving your commentary in and around the curated content to dive deeper into why this story is important to your local community. It takes a little more time, but building on varying sections of content from curated sources by adding layers of your own perspective throughout the story pays off in rich content. Just make sure that your thoughts are visually distinct from the curated content.
- Choose topics based on your readership.
- If your target clients are buyers, curating information about loans and mortgage qualification is a great way for you to brush up on the ever-changing lending markets while at the same time providing more value to your readers.
- If you target sellers, look for content about home values, low-investment strategies for getting the highest price for your home, avoiding packing and moving nightmares, and so on.
Blog Topic No. 3: Local Events & Activities
Time Investment: 30 Minutes
This is a powerful yet simple way to create trust and exposure as both a local expert and advocate for your community. Foster contacts in community politics, public schools, and local charities. Use your site as a platform to drive awareness of and exposure for things you are passionate about. It should take you no longer than 30 minutes a month to find one event, activity, or cause that you can stand behind.
This content is not about real estate; it’s not supposed to be. There are no calls to action in this content (unless it’s to a link to sign up for an event or get more information about a cause or activity).
In our office, we aggressively support several organizations and post the events and activities that they use to build awareness and raise money for their nonprofit causes. We use press releases and our online influence to build awareness and promote these causes. Here is an example of how we create a win-win environment for both our company and the causes we support.
If your experience turns out anything like ours, this small time commitment will grow as the rewards of your community outreach efforts spread through your office and your community. There’s something incredibly powerful about adopting this kind of pay-it-forward program in your office.
Keep the Conversation Going
Imagine the conversations you’re able to start with this small time investment. Because you’ve documented all of this content on your Web site, your knowledge and experience are now reference material for potential homeowners and homebuyers.
Let’s say someone you’ve just met asks, “How’s the market?” You can now roll out a brief summary of what you’ve just studied and documented, and offer to e-mail them a link to your in-depth analysis of last month’s activity. Once you built it, you will start to find all kinds of opportunities to talk about what you’ve just learned.