Content marketing is one of the best ways of growing your audience – and consequently your business. So, it’s no surprise that, last year in the US, successful marketers devoted 40% of their budgets to their content strategies.
A content marketing strategy is about providing regular, high-quality content … for free. The most commonly-used content marketing tool is the humble blog – but it takes in a range of other media too, from video to podcasts or infographics.
If you’re an estate agent, who’s not yet using content marketing to engage your audiences, you should think about putting a strategy in place.
Not sure where to start? Read on as we answer 11 most common questions about launching a content marketing strategy.
If you haven’t done much in the way of content marketing before, you need a plan. Your aim is to develop high quality content that people will read and share, making your business visible, trusted and authoritative. This means no rushing off to generate reams of blogs on random subjects. Instead:
The key to a successful content marketing strategy is having a good, forward-looking editorial planner or calendar, that is checked and updated daily and includes deadlines you will stick to.
You don’t need a fancy programme to construct your planner – a simple spreadsheet will do. Then you need to populate it with subjects which targets your audiences. You’ll need to brainstorm content ideas, but there are plenty of tools out there to help you generate them.
Look to link some of your blogs to topical events, whether seasons, holidays or news stories. But many of your blog ideas will be ‘evergreens’ – topics so central to the estate agency business that they need to be used again and again, albeit with different hooks or angles.
TIP: The video above is a short snippet from our Content Engine Mini Course. If you want to learn how to write better articles....
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Buying, selling and renting homes is a complex, stressful and expensive business, involving your customers in a process that’s likely to keep them awake at night. Think of content marketing ideas, which will help them through this tricky time. You need to list the ‘pain points’ which impact on your particular audience – if it’s new landlords, how they stay on the right side of every-changing legislation or make sure their rent is paid, for example. If it’s parents looking to buy in your neighbourhood, what do they need to know about local schools?
By posting authoritative content to your website, you will be seen as an expert in your arena, meaning people are more likely to trust you and sign up.
Many business owners are hesitant about sharing valuable information freely, rather than holding onto it for paying customers.
It is possible that a vendor might study your carefully crafted blog about staging a home to sell, only to register with an online agency.
On the other hand, many more potential clients will read this great content and be impressed by the knowledge you’re happy to offer for free. This means they are likely to have you at front of mind when they come to seek valuations – they might share the content with others too.
SEO is a means of making your website rank highly in search engine results. Content marketing can exist outside the realms of search engine results – because it relies on people sharing your valuable content across different platforms.
However, good, authoritative content that answers search queries and has people visiting and linking to your site will get you noticed by Google and improve your SEO ranking. In this respect, SEO can work in tandem with a solid content marketing strategy.
Where content marketing is about growing your audience, email marketing is about forming a deeper bond. Building your audience with a strong content marketing strategy will not necessarily mean sales – you need to convert those readers into paying customers, and that’s where your email marketing campaign comes in.
People who enjoy the free content on your blog are more likely to sign up to your email newsletter, which is a great place to pitch specific offers.
(Related: Find out how we can help your business through email marketing)
The two disciplines really can work together well, so your PR team or agency needs to be part of your content marketing strategy. PR is about building and maintaining relationships for your business with the media, other stakeholders and influencers but it relies on having good stories to tell and expert spokespeople available. (read more about the benefits of PR marketing)
Your quality content may be useful to PRs looking to place stories and secure interviews – which in turn can boost your authority and the search ranking of your website.
Demand for video has grown significantly over the past five years. Research has shown that video in an email can increase open rates by a fifth and on a landing page, increase conversion by as much as 80%. From demos to expert interviews, video can enhance the appeal of your content and is definitely worth building into your strategy.
Branded content, or branded entertainment as it’s sometimes known, is paid content as part of a partnership between a brand and the media.
Traditionally it is paid for content in a newspaper or magazine (what used to be called advertorial), but today it’s as likely to be a creative video that showcases the brand for social sharing, often in an entertaining way.
It’s largely about pushing out the brand profile, unlike content marketing, which is concerned with creating valuable content that solves the pain points of the target audience.
Marketing is often most successful when the audience can do more than simply consume content. It won’t be appropriate for every part of your strategy, but interactive content marketing takes the process to another level of engagement.
Things like quizzes, competitions, polls and live events can elicit an emotional response from your customers and bring them on board with the brand, as well as providing valuable data. Interactive content marketing needs to be handled carefully though, created with your audience in mind and not overused.
You need to analyse everything you put out there, so you know what works and what doesn’t and how different pieces of content play with your different audiences.
Digital marketing evaluation is a huge area but things you should be monitoring include leads, lead quality and conversion rate as well as web and social media traffic, page ranking and engagement.
For estate agents, content marketing is about creating good quality, engaging content that people will want to share. It’s about building trust in your agency so people will think of you first whether they’re looking to buy, sell, rent or let a property.
To do it well, you need a properly planned strategy in place.
This is easily done, just be methodical in your approach and always have your audience in mind.
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"Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action."
Content marketing works best when it's focused on giving value. If people look for your content or miss it if you stop producing it, then you know your content marketing is done well.
Content marketing spans numerous channels, including web, email, social networking, and video.
Video is one of the most powerful, efficient and effective means of distributing your message. If you use channels such as YouTube or Vimeo to distribute your video messaging, your messages will easily be shared across numerous social networks.
A successful content marketing strategy means it’s supporting your marketing and business goals.
Everyone working on content marketing needs to know the core KPIs for measuring the marketing effectiveness of your content. Whether or not they’re directly involved with your content analytics, it’s critical that content creators understand how their work impacts overarching company goals.