What is content marketing?
Is it a blog post? Is it social media posts? Is it a video?
It can potentially be all of those things. But what’s more important than the medium is the message.
There’s not been a real estate conference, that I’ve been to at least, in the last few years that content marketing hasn’t been talked about in one way or another. And a lot of people believe that content marketing is essentially about “just get out there, create videos, blogs, podcasts, whatever your medium of choice and talk about anything, talk about market updates, or what recent sales in the area, or how local infrastructure project is going to impact on property prices”.
Information about the property market, or providing general real estate advice, is really important for people who are in the market to buy or sell real estate right now. But is it really interesting, informative, engaging and relevant to people who are not in the market to buy or sell right now?
That is ultimately where the power of content marketing really kicks in, is when we’re educating and informing people well before they need an agent so that when they do need an agent, you are that trusted authority that they come to, and there’s no competition.
But if every other agent in your market is creating the same real estate related content (and they are!), whether it’s a market update video or blog articles about the property market and infrastructure projects, are you really standing out?
Content marketing is NOT new
In 1889, two brothers, Ándre and Édouard, started a tyre company in France. Back then, there were only about 2200 cars in France as the government had yet to establish an extensive road system, and gasoline had to be purchased at select pharmacies.
Ándre and Édouard were determined to turn vehicles from a novelty that took drivers to a Sunday picnic into a viable mode of transportation over long distances. They decided to create a series of guide books that catalogued hotels, mechanics and gasoline vendors throughout France.
They even went as far as to put up home-made road signs to assist travellers. As their tyre company grew, so did their guide. They launched country-specific editions throughout Europe that became popular enough to compel the brothers to start charging for the booklets in 1920.
By the late 1920’s, fine-dining had become popular so Ándre and Édouard’s set up a team of inspectors who would anonymously visit restaurants and rate them on a 3-category basis. In 1926, Ándre and Édouard’s guide expanded to the industry that would eventually make them famous – fine dining. Five years later, a three-star system was introduced.
You see, Ándre and Édouard’s last name is Michelin. As in Michelin Tyres. And yes, they are the founders of arguably the most prestigious and coveted restaurant award anywhere in the world – the Michelin Star rating system.
Today, Michelin Stars are awarded sparingly to a small number of restaurants of outstanding quality. Being crowned with 3 Michelin Stars is also now closely linked with the chefs of those establishments, which is why you sometimes hear a chef being referred to as a “Michelin Star Chef”.
Now 127 years old, Michelin tyres are the world’s second-largest tyre manufacturer and they have more than 120,000 employees with an estimated profit of $1.5 billion per annum.
Although the Michelin brothers sold tyres at the end of the day, they looked for ways to add value to their consumers outside of the products and services they sold. Their goal was to build an audience of people who loved their content so much, that their products would sell themselves.
Does this work in real estate?
You bet it does. In fact, there are many real estate agents today who are following Michelin’s lead when it comes to content marketing and positioning themselves as someone’s agent well before they need one.
Take Jason Boon, Richardson & Wrench Potts Point/Elizabeth Bay, as just one outstanding example.
Jason’s “Local Stories” shine the light on the people, businesses and local topics that people in the area care deeply about. Every Thursday morning, Jason’s latest article hits his website and is distributed to his email subscribers, LinkedIn connections, Facebook followers and locals via a Facebook Ad – drawing over 15,000 visitors to his website every month to read his latest stories.
Jason still maintains the prospecting, listing and selling activities that make him one of the most sought after agents in the area, but on top of all that is his connection with the community through his content marketing efforts that generate a steady stream of new listing leads and referrals every month that his traditional prospecting activities do not.
Listen to Jason explain what impact content marketing has had on his business.
Metropolitan, regional… content marketing works everywhere.
SHE opened her business during a mining downturn so it’s no surprise real estate agent Lindy Harris credits persistence and communication to her success. Consistently recognised in the REB Top 50 Women in Real Estate, Lindy also has a swag of other awards and accolades to her name including taking to the stage at AREC in 2018.
It’s been a big 15 years for the mother-of-two since she started as an agent in Singleton, a small country town 197km northwest of Sydney, in 2012.
“Everyone thought I was crazy and I probably was at the time. I was concerned and frightened of the journey ahead (but) I wanted to open and to do it my way.”
After years of success with traditional marketing and prospecting strategies, more and more competition and companies with larger marketing budgets started to impact on Lindy’s brand awareness. So instead of trying to compete on the same playing field with the same message, Lindy turned to content marketing to have a different conversation with the community.
Starting in July 2019, with the help of a copywriter, Lindy started creating stories about the people, businesses and local history, and then publishing these stories on her website at the same time every week.
Once on her website, a series of promotions put the article into the ‘digital letterboxes’ of people in the local community.
Asked what impact this weekly article has had on her business, Lindy first makes the point “I am constantly stopped in the street by locals who tell me how much they loved a particular article about someone I’ve profiled on my website”.
On the topic of brand awareness online, Lindy’s website traffic has skyrocketed and remains consistent each and every week:
Does content marketing replace traditional advertising or prospecting?
Absolutely not. You’re a salesperson at the end of the day.
But here’s the thing… people don’t buy or sell real estate every day – especially right now – but a significant amount of advertising in real estate assumes that people do.
Content marketing is not always the obvious choice for real estate agents and, in many ways, it goes against the grain of how marketing has been taught in real estate for a really long time.
The case study above is a great example of how content marketing can give you a distinct long-term advantage over your competitors and keep you front-of-mind when they (or someone they know) are thinking of selling.
“Content marketing is the only marketing left” – Seth Godin
Instead of just writing blogs about real estate and just creating market update videos etc, create content about the people, the businesses, the stories that are going on in their local market. Tell those stories on your website and social media channels and you will engage with people on a completely different level.
The power in this strategy is that you are communicating with your clients and prospects without selling and when they are thinking of an agent, even though they haven’t reached out to you at any point until then, your content has inspired them to reach out to you when they’re ready.
And that is, ultimately, what content marketing is all about.
Need some help getting started?
We create, publish and promote hyper-local content (just like the examples in this article) for some of Australia’s leading agents and most prominent brands and provide ongoing training, analytics and advice. We also run content marketing workshops to inspire and motivate agents and teams to implement an effective digital marketing strategy. Request a copy of our content marketing services guide today.