In the early 1700s, Benjamin Franklin issued the Poor Richard’s Almanack—a mixture of seasonal weather forecasts, practical household hints, puzzles, and other amusements—to promote his printing business.
Shortly before the 20th century, John Deere launched the magazine The Furrow, a magazine that helped farmers become more profitable. It was considered the first custom publication and is still in circulation, reaching 1.5 million readers worldwide.
For hundreds of years, marketers have used content to disseminate information about a company’s products or services. The goal has always been the same: build a connection, establish trust with a potential customer, and turn that directly into a sale.
With Benjamin Franklin and John Deere, it was to sell their printing services and tractors—both of whom were quite successful with it.
A lot has changed since then, but so much has stayed the same. Franklin and John Deere (at least in their early days) did not enjoy the luxury of having the Internet and other technology to get the job done, but their content marketing strategy still worked.
Content is (Still) King
In an essay written in 1996, Microsoft founder Bill Gates introduced the (now) ubiquitous phrase, “content is king.” He says, “Content is where I expect much of the real money will be made on the Internet.”
As you would expect, Bill Gates was not wrong.
What Bill didn’t know was that further developments in technology were just around the corner—and these would change the games for small businesses and anyone self-employed.
Podcasting, video, and social media were not only new ways of producing content back then; they also served as major distribution channels.
Given a recently published report by Visual Capitalist, it’s easy to see the potential of having a smart content strategy. Here’s a snapshot of what happens every minute on the Internet:
- Facebook users upload 147,000 photos
- Instagram users post 347,222 stories
- YouTube users upload 500 hours of videos
Bill Gates was a forward-thinker and concluded his essay with, “Those who succeed will propel the Internet forward as a marketplace of ideas, experiences, and products—a marketplace of content.”
Types of Content
Thanks to platforms such as WordPress, Blogger, and TypePad, early examples of content were blogging and writing articles. Back in those days, search engines were the primary source of website visitors.
Much has changed, but the idea of producing content to build trust and connect with customers has not.
Of course, with the evolution of technology that we’ve seen over the years, content producers have grown their toolkits and diversifying the way they convey their message.
Here are four examples of content that, as Dale Carnegie would say, can help you win friends and influence people. (Or in the real estate industry, enable you to capture leads, attract clients, and sell more houses.)
Contrary to popular belief, blogging is not dead. According to Statista, there are more than 4.4 million blog posts published every day. Blog posts (commonly known as articles) are listed in reverse chronological order on a website and typically consists of relevant, current information. Announcements and other newsworthy events fall in this category.
2. Evergreen pages.
This type of content is less time-sensitive and more factual. Just as the name implies, evergreen content stands the test of time and usually requires less updating. Examples of this in real estate would be neighborhood guides, restaurant reviews, overviews on schools and education, and local areas of interest. These are critical elements for agents and teams looking to deploy a hyperlocal content strategy.
While a bit more time-consuming, audio is still a great way to produce content. Podcasts, in particular, have an appeal that other forms of content cannot offer: convenience. Whether it be on the treadmill, laying down in bed, or even in transit to/from work, there is plenty of time to hit the play button and listen. (Agent Engine will soon have a podcast for you to enjoy—hosted by myself and Jay Thompson.)
4. Video: Instagram stories, Facebook lives, virtual tours.
Not only might video be the easiest (and most fun) form of content to produce, but it might also be the most effective. Most mobile phones come packaged with cameras with professional capability. Pair that with social media platforms where most of your potential clients are, and you have the tools you need to build your real estate business. Hit record, share it, and see how powerful video can be.
Why Real Estate Agents Need Content
Content marketing is an essential component of building a business. Long gone are the days of passing out brochures and advertising on shopping carts. It’s just not a great way to spend your time and energy.
The future of real estate marketing is digital. Agents and teams should equip themselves with a professional website, an active social media presence, and leverage the power that technology offers.
Consumers—the ones who make you money—have short attention spans and are looking to engage with people who make it easy to do business with them. To be found, you need to be discoverable.
Whether you are comfortable with it or not, you need to crack open your laptop, dust off your microphone, and have your phone camera-ready.
Your competition is ruthless and fierce, and they are looking to steal buyers and sellers from you. It’s time to invest in your business and show them why their listing should belong to you.