I am a professional online marketer by day and a writer/content producer by night. Every day, clients, potential clients, and others on private message boards ask me how they can create content for their own websites that resonates with their users. Many claim, “Well, I work in a boring industry. There’s nothing interesting to write about!”
I actually received an unsolicited email recently with the following title: “Is SEO applicable to real estate websites?”
My first reaction was, “Yes, of course it is!” but then I realized that for some marketers, industries like real estate seem drab and boring. “It’s just architecture,” they say. “Houses are just somewhere that people live.”
Nothing could be further from the truth. Actually, I would argue that real estate is a very interesting niche to create content in, and even more than that, to create content that meets the needs of your personas (aka your site’s visitors and potential buyers) in places that are not just your own website.
One of my freelance clients is Marin Real Estate. The majority of my work with them has been to create content that they can use to educate their audience and improve their SEO rankings.
The owners of the website have done a good job of publishing high-quality material on their blog for a few years now, but they needed to “think outside the box” to create additional content to meet the needs of their customers and present themselves as thought leaders (which they legitimately are).
Whether you are marketing real estate, or any other product or service, there are four types of sites I recommend you focus on as you expand your content creation.
For SEO purposes, businesses would often use links in their profile on posts to build links back to their website, as you could specify the anchor text that you wanted to use in order to rank for your desired terms. However, excessive use of these kinds of links are now being targeted by Google, with their recent Google Penguin algorithm update.
A great way to still use sites like the ones above, as well as Trulia and Zillow, is by contributing quality articles to their burgeoning online communities. Trulia actually allows you to have your own blog on its website, where you can contribute articles and earn a following from other community members — which, ultimately, can build your brand as a real estate agent and thought leader amongst your peers (who could conceivably refer local business to you).
Consumers want a real estate agent who understands aesthetics and who will show them beautiful homes that they would be proud to own.
To connect with these potential clients, find websites such as HomeDesigning or Curbed.com that talk about beautiful homes. By building relationships with the people who write on these websites, you may be able to get some of your most beautiful homes featured here, which not only will get you a link back to your site, but will also start branding you as a realtor who cares about beauty.
We recently got a post accepted about James Hetfield’s home, which is now for sale in Marin County. Pictures like the one above set your post apart.
Real estate marketing websites
When the real estate market went bust in 2008, many realtors took to the internet to learn how to market their listings. To capitalize on this trend, communities have emerged like RealEstateCommunities, where real estate agents can share their collective knowledge and learn from one another how to better market their listings.
If you are into marketing your real estate, why not share your knowledge? While you may think it is counterintuitive to write for other realtors instead of potential clients (as this post discusses), doing so is actually an investment in your future and your brand, helping you position yourself as someone who is knowledgeable and trustworthy.
After all, even when you teach people how to do something, they are much more likely to pay you to do it than to do it themselves.
If you work in the luxury market, you may be surprised that the best kind of luxury websites to target for relationships, content placement, and links are luxury travel sites and celebrity homes sites.
Become a guest writer for sites like the luxury section of Travel and LeisureCelebrityHouses.org and HookedOnHouses. Simply being able to say on your own website that you write for Travel and Leisure builds your own brand through links.
Don’t forget that you are creating all of this content to drive people back to your website, so you need to publish content that keeps users engaged and encourages them to sign up to hear about future opportunities and homes that appear on the market.
To do this, use an email capture on your individual house listings or articles so that interested parties can sign up to hear more information or to be notified when you post new related listings. If you are on WordPress, you can use a plug-in like Constant Contact or Mailchimp to collect these email addresses.
If you’re involved on social media, seek to build an engaged audience by interacting in local Twitter chats. Another smart way to build your audience is to put your social media accounts on your business cards, housing listings, etc.
Remember, 90 percent of the content you share should be non-promotional, so that when your 10 percent of promotional material comes along, people are more likely to be receptive. This guideline also holds true for the articles that you publish on your website. If you share exciting new listings that have just entered the market, also try to add value to your audience by providing design or landscaping tips, real estate news, financial happenings in the real estate market, and other information that your potential clients would like to know.
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