The slow win

Few brands in real estate are truly committed to content marketing beyond the listing – and for good reason. It’s hard and it’s expensive.

Unlike some of the quick wins afforded to brokers these days, content takes time to develop. It’s more of a slow build-up to a winning game day.

It is doable, though. Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, a 1000WATT client, has stepped up to the content plate not once but twice in the last couple of years – first with the Beta Brokerage Project, and more recently with Idea Shed, which launched in December.

I’ll get into the details and implications below. But first, BH&GRE’s President and CEO Sherry Chris deserves some recognition. Content marketing is something that only works if C-level execs truly get it and are willing to go all-in on an idea. Sherry has proven to be a leader here.

What is content marketing in 2015?

We’ve moved far beyond the corporate blog, fill-in-the-blank games on Twitter and Facebook and hashtagged pics on Instagram.

Content marketing done right now takes a much larger seat at the marketing table. It directly supports big initiatives like thought leadership, relationship building, and brand authority and messaging. But it’s not always easy to pull off and not always easy to measure.

Many in Sherry’s position would have balked at the uncertainty of a project like Beta Brokerage, for instance, which profiles small brokerage up-and-comers – potential competitors! – in markets across the U.S. But it has paid off in spades.

It’s been fun to see Beta Brokerage grow from a dozen or so company profiles when it first launched in 2010 to a lively community of like-minded brokers who meet at industry conferences and in Google Hangouts. A big part of its success has been Sherry and team’s commitment to continuously cultivate this community by seeking out new faces, stirring conversation and staying connected to brokers.

Others may have been unconvinced of the value of a project like Idea Shed, whose purpose is tied to hard-to-measure results like reputation and industry brand affinity.

With Idea Shed, BH&GRE dares to share. It’s an open forum for anyone in real estate to contribute and discuss ideas for improving how real estate is bought and sold or how a real estate business operates.

No major real estate brand has ever done anything like this. Rather than aggressively promote the BH&GRE brand, Idea Shed is about something entirely different: creating a place where ideas can flow freely.

Idea Shed is still in its infancy. But with time and commitment we expect to see a lot more ideas and discussions take place there this year.

What’ll it be?

In 2014, we learned that even President Obama gets content marketing. We learned from Arby’s that quick responses to current events can help brands get their content in context and lead to unexpected things.  

But even while the content opportunity continues to get shoved in our faces, it remains elusive for a lot of real estate companies.

Take a cue from Sherry and team and think big. Your next content initiative is likely outside your company blog and Facebook page. It’s almost certainly something none of us has ever seen before.

The road ahead of you is wide open.