Content strategy and content marketing are two of the most recurrent keywords in the digital marketing ecosystem. It is very common for a company to look for a content writer – often a freelance content writer – to take care of the crafting of effective and compelling stories for the different marketing assets. The real estate industry stands out for its need of an effective content strategy. According to Placester, 90% of real estate buyers start their search for a new property online. Whilst it is plenty of blog post ideas about the importance of content for real estate, we felt there is something missing: an holistic analysis of the different elements of a content strategy for real estate, and – most importantly – the “why” and the “how” that can guarantee a great result. That’s why we interviewed Elizabeth, an independent professional of the Bekudo network, with an extensive experience in content writing for real estate.
- A content strategy for real estate
- Good content for real estate listings
- Buying a house is an emotional decision
- ROI of content strategy for real estate
- The ideal content mix for real estate
- The importance of hyper-local content
- Why writing content for real estate is interesting for content writers
Elizabeth, you worked with some of the most important real estate companies in North America, such as RE/MAX, as well as with small and medium real estate offices. Why do you think a proper content strategy is essential for real estate companies?
Real estate, perhaps more than any other business, is highly localized. Content should reflect that to capture searches not only about buying and selling houses generally, but also about local attractions, schools, restaurants and entertainment as people scout out an area to see if they’d like to live there. A great strategy will provide really useful information to home buyers and sellers, but that content might not just be about real estate itself. It’s important to step out of your real estate agent mind and climb into the mind of your clients to think about what they need.
Real Estate is a complex business. It involves listings, case studies, brand awareness. Which are the areas that should be prioritized when it comes to the creation of quality content?
I think that too often the listings get short shrift. It’s not enough just to type up a generic paragraph that starts with the words “location, location, location.” The listings are going to be your most-read pieces of content, so they should be professional, detailed, and contain absolutely no spelling errors, typos, or my pet peeves: all caps sections and multiple exclamation points. This isn’t a place where it should look like you’re texting to a friend. Hiring a writer for listings can make a huge difference in the overall quality of the product and help real estate professionals maintain a consistent voice for their brand.
You presented to Bekudo a case study that you worked on about a residential waterfront project. You combined a journalistic tone with a “romance” taste. Can you elaborate on the importance of this combination for a successful content for a real estate case study?
“Romance” copy is a big deal when it comes to real estate. Buying a house is an emotional decision, and people want to be able to picture themselves living there. Listings, as well as blog content about the local neighborhood, should tell a story with the reader as the main character. That story is about them living in this great new house in this wonderful location, so great writing will help paint that picture. The romance is between the person and the property, but your content should provide the spark that ignites that relationship.
Which were the main benefit and the return of investment for this type of content?
The benefits of a great listing are obvious, but I think a really solid blog is also important, especially for local, independent real estate offices. if you brand yourself as an authority on a particular area and build your blog around local events and things to do — with a strong social media strategy to boost —you can become a go-to source of information on the area where you work. That’s adding value and brand recognition for the long term, and when it comes time for all those people to shop for real estate, they’re likely to remember you as a trusted voice.
The text is just one component of a content strategy for real estate. Images are often essential for this industry. Based on your experience, what is the perfect media mix for a great content strategy?
Everything you post anywhere online needs a photo, and the best picture should be first. On a listing, that almost always means leading with a great exterior photo; for blog posts or other content, it should be a local photo and not generic stock images. If at all possible, a floor plan diagram should be part of the listing as well. You need lots of pictures in a listing, but a blog post can have just one. In that case, the quality and relevance of the photo matter more than quantity.
It is plenty of blog posts sharing real estate content ideas. Which are the essential stories that need to be told by a content writer with an expertise in the real estate industry?
I’m a big fan of a hyper-local content strategy for real estate. There are so many blog posts about general realty issues like home inspections, financing, and the steps for closing. This is all important information that you should include on your website, blog, and as a handout for easy reference for your clients, but it’s really hard to compete in Google rankings for searches about these global topics. Where you can really shine is by being an expert on real estate in your area, whether that means posting about the latest market conditions in the county, writing about some recently sold comps, or focusing on why people would want to move there by providing up-to-the-minute information on local restaurant openings, festivals or even the latest school play. The really essential stories are the ones about the community and why people would like to live there — content that people won’t find anywhere else.
What is the greatest benefit that your real estate clients told you they got from your work?
Professional, polished listings. It’s easy to get stuck in a descriptive rut when you look at houses all day long. Real estate agents are always delighted to have a fresh eye describe a house and its main features/benefits. There’s a lot of value in sending these pieces to a writer so you aren’t struggling with finding the right words and proofreading your work when you could be working with clients instead.
What is that you like the most when working as a content writer for real estate companies?
I really love architecture and interior design, so writing about houses — particularly historic ones — is one of my great pleasures. I also enjoy writing how-to pieces and personal finance advice, so tutorials about mortgages and other nuts-and-bolts issues are a natural fit for me.
Elizabeth is a professional content writer and she is part of the Bekudo network of independent professionals. If you are interested in working with a content writer like Elizabeth, or with a team of freelancers managed by Bekudo, you can contact Bekudo today.