In her piece republished today by Inman News, Jessica Swesey of 1000watt puts some shine on the newest industry buzzword: content marketing. In other words, taking your brand's story and turning it into action with your audience in a way that mobilizes your brand. This will be no doubt the last time you will hear this phrase. The good news is if your brand carries uniqueness and authenticity with it, the ride won't be entirely uphill.
Jessica says that content marketing is the new black - but a daunting new black.
"But something about the term content can be intimidating. It should be. Creating things your audience looks forward to, enjoys and shares with others is tough, sweat-inducing work."
It is said that when Gloria Vanderbilt visited India in the 1960s, she was impressed by the vibrant shade of pink and declared it a departure from the bold 'black' of New York (some fashion historians would credit Vogue editor Diana Vreeland - but with my straight-to-work-from airport fashions today, I totally digress).
Fifty years later, I maintain that content marketing could be the new black. We just need to make sure it's as classically simple and bold as black.
How to create a real estate content marketing strategy
Ann Handley's new book Content Rules outlines a fantastic strategy for any brand, and rule #1 is to embrace being a publisher. This is where the plan derails for most people - especially when the 'busy' wall goes right up. Says Jessica:
"Think of this: Red Bull is not a publisher. Neither is Whole Foods, Nike or BMW. Yet each of these brands has gone 'all in' with content, resulting in some of the most creative, buzz-worthy marketing out there today."
It's true that most of these brands can pay for content strategists and storytellers. So if you don't have the time to think of yourselves as a publisher, you need to find sustainable and crafty ways to turn existing content into your editorial assistant.
Good content is created with intent. So don't create just to create, or rehash just to rehash.
Here are 5 actionable ways you can do this right now (keeping in mind these should not limit your creativity by any stretch of the imagination, as I'm rattling off the first set that come to mind in this quick post):
- Send e-alerts or postcards to non-prospects on home sales trends in their community so you're top of mind when they want to list their home
- Neighborhood profile pages (Jessica mentions this too)
- Turn neighborhood stats into rich, visually-appealing content as our client Coldwell Banker has done to drive traffic as part of their Best Places campaign
- Go beyond the numbers and build trust by fusing data-driven insights with brand personality and local expertise (as our client Halstead has done)
- Set up a 'look what's open in your area' blast based on local points of interest changes
As one commenter notes, this can pay off. There are a variety of reasons it may take homebuyers many weeks and months to settle on their decision. Getting them at the right time with the right message has become harder than ever. Those that become advisers will win.