7 tips and other terrible ideas

Somewhere along the way from the first days of blogging to today, content marketing in real estate settled into a formula and never really broke free.

You know what I’m talking about…

7 Tips for Winterizing Your Home

The Best Places for Ice Cream on a Hot Atlanta Day

Q2 Market Report 

Etc.

There’s a formula here.

I get that formulas often derive from things that have worked. But it’s time to rethink this one. It’s been well over a decade. And the web is now filled with millions of cubic yards of content marketing landfill like this.

Many parts of this old content marketing strategy were created with SEO in mind. But that’s not how real estate works for most agents and brokers these days.

Real estate, I’ve been told, is a relationship business. The best in the business work on cultivating relationships, not juicing SEO. I hate to break it to you, but there’s not some mystical home seller somewhere in Des Moines desperately seeking out ways to winterize her home before coincidentally needing a Realtor to list it too… today!

So when I hear how business is actually developed, and then the same team or company shows me their blog full of articles like above, my head spins around a few times in utter confusion.

Do you send your mom articles like this?

No?

Then why are you using it in your professional marketing? 

Not only does it serve no purpose, but it distracts you and your team from creating something that could provide so much more value to your people and position you as the only person they’d ever even think about working with.

It astounds me that this still passes as content marketing in 2021. And it makes me sad to think there are people sitting in marketing departments across the country whose task is to spin up these articles day in and day out. I come across freelancers in copywriting groups I belong to who are giving themselves ulcers selling this crap for fractions of pennies to the word.

Please make it stop.

It’s time to freeze what you’re doing and rethink your entire content marketing strategy.

At least, do the math. Look at your analytics. Talk to your customers. Calculate the hours spent and the opportunity cost of spending these hours that take you from something else — because nothing’s free.

What is the purpose of this content? If your answer is SEO, then be realistic in analyzing whether these efforts have resulted in actual business. If so, great. If not, proceed with the next question. (I’m willing to bet my right arm that you’re not getting magical SEO juice from these efforts. I’m willing to bet my left arm that SEO as far as content marketing in real estate is concerned is a million times less relevant than you think it is.)

What could you be telling prospects that could better reflect your unique value and positioning? What is your thing — your process, your approach, your knowledge, whatever — the thing that you’re known for or want to be known for?

What do prospects always ask you?

Are there things new clients always get wrong?

Where do you want to build authority?

You see where I’m going with this.

Content is an amazing tool that can be really effective. We built the 1000watt brand on solid, thoughtful, unique content. But not everyone has to do it. If you’re just copying a formula given to you years ago or by your web development team or social media person, then you’re probably doing it wrong. If you don’t like doing it, then don’t.

My personal (and professional) bias is that all content should be for the sole purpose of authority building. It’s your best bet for getting the most out of the extraordinary effort it takes to get content right. 

It’s too easy for people to Google and find “information”-based articles like 7 tips, etc., in literally hundreds of thousands of other places online. I’m here to tell you there is zero benefit to you in spending time on content marketing like that. It places you in a sea of sameness with no real voice. And it’s counterintuitive to the power and purpose of content.

Set yourself up with a content marketing strategy that builds authority, not a library of articles everyone else is writing.