Someone told me the other day that it’s now only seven Mondays till Christmas. Now there’s a scary thought. Best get started on the old present shopping!
Speaking of Christmas, it’s not long now until the endless stream of festive ads and promotions will be pouncing on us from every angle.
The big companies know what they’re doing when it comes to content, content, content in the lead-up to the festive period, whether that be through advertising campaigns, viral campaigns, social media campaigns, leaflets, blogs, articles, press releases, etc, etc.
The John Lewis ad has become a bit of an institution in recent years; Sainsbury’s have tried to get in on the tearjerker act too. M & S, Argos, Lidl, Asda, Waitrose, they’ll all be at it over the next few months. They’ll use every trick and pump out as much content as they can in order to sell their products.
Which, in a roundabout way, leads me onto the main topic of this week’s Natter – the importance of content. Not just any old content, but regular, high-quality, engaging content. As an agent, you want to be known as an authority on the industry. You want vendors and landlords to trust that you know what you’re talking about. We see some great opinions in the comment sections of our sites every week. Agents should take these opinions and knowledge and use it to develop their own content strategy.
This can be achieved by regular blog posts and news articles on your website. More and more agent websites now have a section dedicated entirely to blogs/articles. This can range from newsy, topical pieces to blogs offering tips and advice for buyers, sellers, landlords and tenants. Content can be tailored specifically to your main target market (vendors and landlords), or it could be on something more generic. You might even want a piece that reacts to a recent industry event, scandal or news story, to show that you have your finger on the pulse of the property market.
This content can then be shared across social media, which is good for both Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and exposure. Facebook and Twitter are the obvious ones, but LinkedIn and Google+ are other good places to get your content seen by the widest possible audience.
Also, unlike SEO, content has more than one function. It can bring traffic to your website, make you look good and reduce the bounce rate (which means people stay on your site for longer). It can educate, entertain, inform and advise. It can be location specific or nationwide.
When targeting landlords, for example, you might wish to focus on the PRS and the increasing amount of regulation that is being brought in year by year. Landlords will then see you as someone who knows what they’re talking about. If they have a query, they may try and contact you – in other words, content being used as a springboard to talk to people, via social media or directly.
You may have written a blog about recent changes to the Section 21 evictions process or fire safety legislation. A landlord might see it and give you a call, asking for more info. There’s your in.
Articles or blogs can also be used to direct people towards your call to action, whether that be an instant online valuation tool (yes, this is a plug for our ValPal product!) or something else. Content brings you traffic, the valuation tool converts that traffic into more vendor and landlord leads, your agency becomes more profitable. Easy as ABC!
You can also experiment with various formats within the blogs themselves. It’s best to keep house style consistent and use engaging images with any copy you send out, but other than that you can be flexible and varied.
Content doesn’t just mean blogs or articles, either. Social media, too, is filled with the stuff. There might be a 140 word limit on Twitter, but you can still say a lot within those 140 words. And the immediacy of social media means content can be shared instantly, all over the globe.
When it comes to content, there are also a few things you shouldn’t do. Never try and dress up advertorials as something they are not. Advertorial content is fine, but make it clear that’s what it is. If people come to your website expecting a thrilling, informative read only to be met with a product being sold to them instead, they are likely to be left disappointed. In addition, content that is too long or formal probably won’t go down well, neither will content which is badly formatted or lacks any colour, spark or personality. Images, again, can really help bring words to life.
Furthermore, content needs to be relevant, engaging and topical. There is no point in doing a blog about something that happened five months ago. Would-be clients won’t be impressed, they’ll just wonder where you’ve been all this time. Being on the ball and reacting to things as they happen, or shortly after, will really help to enhance your reputation as the go-to authority on all things property.
Carrying on the content theme, here are a couple of our own content writers (we write plenty of our own content, too, practice what we preach and all that).As you can see, they also have very coordinated dress senses.
We also had an office meal out for a very special someone’s birthday…
And our office got its very own “Hoverboard” this week (see video below). The Angels were hovering plenty, trying to become experts at the latest new technology craze.
It’s easier than it looks, once you’ve practised a bit. Unsurprisingly, health & safety aren’t too happy about it!
Until next time…
*Nat Daniels is the Chief Executive Officer of Angels Media, publishers of Estate Agent Today and Letting Agent Today