What will fill your marketing editorial calendar in the months ahead? It can be daunting to lay out writing assignments for your marketing efforts, but it does not have to be. With a bit of forethought and planning, you can tap into writing inspiration on a regular basis.
Focus your real estate newsletter writing.
Your first step should always be to consider your audience. To really craft meaningful lead-generating content, you need to focus on your target market. The goal is to keep your readers’ needs in mind while also keeping your business growth goals in mind when writing marketing content.
What are your goals?
Map out a hierarchy of what is most important to building you pipeline.
Are you trying to build up specialty areas, such as vacation properties or retirement properties?
Looking to generate more new opportunities overall?
Seeking to improve client retention and nurture existing relationships?
Want to stand out in a competitive marketplace?
Growing a base of referral sources?
Lead generating content has a pain/gain approach. It is important to consider your goals when you begin building lead-generating content. Your articles should provide a path toward solving a pain point so readers naturally follow that path to seek out your services.
Think about how your services could tie into an article and offer an obvious connection back to you for help. Focus on providing just enough relevant advice to give your prospects the confidence that you are the expert source who can address their real estate needs.
The next natural step for your readers should be to connect with your firm to solve their needs.
When you have key articles focused on generating new opportunities and leads integrated into your strategies, be sure you’re setting lead alerts so you can follow up on new warm prospects.
What should you write?
Inspiration can originate partly from preparation and partly from borrowing existing ideas. It’s always good to have a stockpile of starting-point themes to fall back on when writer’s block inevitably strikes.
“Inspired” Ideas for Your Next Article
Q&A – Or “Dear Abby” Approach
This vs. That Strategy Comparison
All of the ideas here could come from a single interview with a client. If you sat down and interviewed a client for just 30 minutes, you could get all the information you needed to create five articles with each of the above approaches. If you did this with just several clients, you could stagger that content out and have a full calendar of meaningful content for a year.
More Ideas to Inspire Creative Content:
Trending Topics Following Current Events
Common Mistakes and How To Avoid Them
Spotlight Your Team Members
Feature Events and Philanthropic Involvement
Don’t forget to invite a bit of the human element into your content marketing to help readers develop brand loyalty and keep your audience engaged. People stories for fun, and features focused on your staff members’ pets, babies and activities can be a delightful addition to your marketing.
Fun Topics to Consider:
A dog day at the office
Match the staff member with the baby photo
Birth announcements – tiny tee shirts with your brand logo on new babies
Take Your Child to Work Day
Holiday or seasonal themes
Office family picnic highlights
“Where’s Waldo” theme following staff members on vacation snapping a photo at a noteworthy spot with your company mascot
When does timing impact my writing?
You should be following deadlines and seasonal trends to develop an annual content calendar for your firm. Take note of holidays and changing seasons to inject timely, fun themes into your writing. Incorporate these strategies to keep your content marketing fresh and engaging.
During an interview with ATTOM™ Data Solutions for their June edition of the Housing News Report, Barry Friedman, CEO at HomeActions, explained the different forms of lead-generating content in real estate marketing. Some content is created to provide information for the reader. While this type of content may not explicitly promote a brand, its intention is to stimulate interest in the brand’s products or services. There is also actionable content designed to trigger a response from a consumer, indicating a warm lead. Paired with an interactive neighborhood data feature called Neighborhood360, actionable, lead-generating content is designed to both help the consumer learn more about a desired area and produce a high-quality lead for a real estate professional.
Barry J. Friedman, CEO of HomeActions, LLC
1. What is your elevator pitch for HomeActions?
HomeActions is a cloud-based platform designed to help agents communicate more effectively with their sphere of influence: their clients, prospects and referral sources. We try to get agents connected to a potential customer as early into the buying cycle as possible, before the customer has decided to buy or sell. And we do that primarily through content marketing.
We provide the content in the newsletters, and we’ve developed unique systems to tell when a client or prospect has put their toe in the water, meaning they are ready for a real estate transaction.
We’ve found that content comes in different forms. There is just information, just designed to provide information, not to elicit a response. Then there is trigger content. We start all trigger articles out with “is this your situation?”. If this is not their situation, they are probably not going to read it. No matter what we say afterward, if someone clicks on that article in my mind it is a warm lead — someone you would want to go in your pipeline.
Another key type of content we use in our newsletters is an interactive article. There is special technology associated with it. What this is about is how do you build your pipeline so that eventually people come out of your pipeline and become clients?
I started a previous company called BizActions which was sold to Thomson Reuters in 2012. From 2012 I really got into HomeActions wanting to build it up. We think we are the largest in the real estate space delivering about 3.5 million newsletters every two weeks on behalf of our 5,000 Realtor clients. We help those clients put together their database. We learned you can’t have content marketing without a database. We de-dupe it and cleanse it to make sure the email addresses are as clean as possible.
2. How is HomeActions utilizing ATTOM Data Solutions?
Our interactive articles are what uses ATTOM data. It’s basically a know-yourneighborhood type of article. Or if you are looking for real estate, check out the neighborhood first. When they click that article, we provide some content about why this information is important. Then we ask for their name and phone number.
We ask “why are you interested in this content?”. You wouldn’t think people would answer that but they do. These are purpose questions, and there are six purpose questions. They check off the ones that apply. When they hit submit, we then go to ATTOM’s servers and grab that property and we deliver a URL to them that gives them all the property and neighborhood information.
We’ve kept certain things in and kept certain things out. We don’t include crime statistics. We used to include AVM (Automated Valuation Model) in there but we took that out and we made AVM a separate article. Some Realtors like the AVM component because if someone is looking for the value of a property that is a heck of lead.
We then deliver that neighborhood data to the client. And they are always happy about. They often check it for several properties. Then we send it over to the Realtor with the reason why they are looking for the information. Mr. Smith is looking to buy a house. That’s a heck of a warm lead.
3. How is the marketplace responding to HomeActions products/services?
Realtors are happy with having that type of local information. I would say that it has gone over well with the Realtors.
We kept on getting more and more interest in this information, and how we managed the information. We figured out a way to take your data and make it work in a lead generation environment.
We just came out with a new feature where you can add advertisements to your newsletter and there is a shared revenue component so you can share the revenue from that. We do all the work. We are sending out about 7 million newsletters every month. Let’s build the template of our newsletter in such a way where we can embed unobtrusive advertising, share the money with the Realtor, and that way we can make money off all these contacts. We already have 100-plus Realtors signed up.
4. Why did HomeActions decide to use ATTOM Data Solutions?
There were a few companies that had the data so it wasn’t like ATTOM was the only one. But I like the way they presented the data, and there was some flexibility so I could add some things and subtract some things. And the people were nice. I didn’t know if I could afford this. I didn’t know if people would like it or not. So we were able to start out with flexible pricing. That worked out really well for me because I could gauge whether my clients were interested or not, and we kept on getting more and more penetration. Then we decided to integrate into our overall product. And that’s when I went back to negotiate a fixed-price contract. And that is working out well.
5. What has been your experience with the data delivery?
We have had no problem. Maybe one little problem where the data was not updated promptly, but we got that fixed quickly.
6. What has been your experience with the data quality?
I’ve had no problem with data delivery or data quality with the exception that ATTOM hasn’t built an API that allows me to send information on Realtors so that when you present the neighborhood data you present it as branded with that Realtor. We haven’t been able to do that in an eloquent way.
7. What has been your experience with customer service?
Customer service has been fine. People have been very nice.
ATTOM Data Solutions is a leading provider of publicly recorded tax, deed, mortgage and foreclosure data along with proprietary neighborhood and parcel-level risk data for more than 155 million U.S. properties.
As published in the June 2018 issue of the Housing News Report Newsletter.