The Real Estate Content Goldmine

Real estate content is a marketing goldmine. But those closest to it seem unable to pick up a shovel.

Let me explain.

HGTV reaches nearly 100 million households with dozens of shows featuring people buying property, selling property, improving property or renting property. This is not all “celebrity cribs” crap, either. A lot of it involves ordinary people and ordinary homes.

They’ve even unearthed some of the most compelling personalities in real estate. They make great content too.

Curbed, which started out as a photo-rich blog about New York real estate, is now a successful national media site that gathers an audience by mining real estate content. Features like a “House of the Day” e-newsletter and post after post filled with real estate photos (some of which are extracted from other media sites built on top of real estate content!) are the foundation of this business.

And then there’s Zillow. They rock at this sort of thing. Their sweet spot seems to be celebrity real estate, a genre I believe to be a sign of some sort of coming cultural apocalypse. But that’s just me. The bottom line is they create this stuff because it works.

My email box turns up these Zillow subject lines over the past few months:

No Turkeys Here! See Celebrity Kitchens

See the Places Tech Titans Call “Home”

But also:

Sold! A Look Back at 2010’s Most Expensive Real Estate Sales

Boo! See the Top 10 Haunted Homes in the U.S.

These emails create engagement. Even I opened the last two. Pulled from the real estate content goldmine, they practically write themselves.

What are you sitting on?

You see where I’m going with this: The people who create real estate content in the first place, and in some cases own it, sit idle while others exploit its value.

They stand to lose mind share, consumer engagement and, ultimately, relevance.

The answer does not lie in attacking companies like those I mention above. The answer is to get your act together and start leveraging the content that sits at your feet.

Where’s your “Cool kitchens of Houston” e-newsletter? Your “Best deals in San Diego blog?” Your “Boston Backyards” tumblr site? How about a section on your home page called “Palaces of Dallas” where the user is invited to view the most expensive homes on the market?

Right now you’re like a New York City department store with no windows, a Sushi place without the little plastic food in the window.

Hiding your goods from the marketplace. Failing to use their power to engage.

If you’re a brokerage of any size, you have tons of content to play with. You have access to an IDX feed. And, I would imagine, a camera.

There’s no excuse. No, not even MLS rules.

We have argued before that every real estate brokerage and brand should think of itself as a media company. That’s not easy, of course. But it’s necessary.

Because this much is clear: the real estate industry can’t absorb too many more missed opportunities.