Tacoma, Washington, real estate agent Marguerite Giguere knows content marketing.
Her site MoveToTacoma.com, which houses blog posts and podcasts, accounts for 75 percent of her real estate revenue, thanks to the caring-filled rich community content she consistently publishes on it.
If real estate brokers or agents doubt content marketing's efficacy, or don't know quite what the practice is, Giguere's a good person to ask. And so we did.
Her answers below market the latest edition of HageyMedia's "What is content marketing" interview series. See others in the series: New Jersey broker Joe Rand, Seattle agent team leader Kim Colaprete and Seattle broker Sam DeBord.
Giguere's best-performing piece of content of all time is a blog post written by a client.
What is content marketing?
Content marketing is a way of taking all of your knowledge, wisdom and wit and putting it out there to work, to reach people without them having to contact you. Ideally, it attracts the clients you love best.
What content do you frequently produce? (i.e. blog posts, podcasts, videos)
I do about four to five original blog posts per month, 25 or so podcasts per year, and four to five produced videos per year on my website MoveToTacoma.com. I'm hoping to do an entirely new video series starting this fall, but I'm making myself finish 20 more neighborhood pages first!
Who’s your audience?
I write content for people living in Tacoma (The City of Destiny!) and people thinking about moving to Tacoma.
What are your goals? Why do you do it?
MoveToTacoma.com is designed to attract readers who are community-oriented, people who want to know everything about what's happening in Tacoma. I have reached the limit of what I am able to sell as an individual agent (sans nervous breakdown) so MoveToTacoma is designed to show my community that I'm trustworthy and available to matchmake them with a great agent.
This is my way of growing my business without doing the traditional team model and has been successful much faster than I expected. I do my best to help people navigate our dicey rental environment for free.
How do you measure content marketing success (if you do)?
Content marketing success normally takes kind of a while. So there are two phases, right? The first phase is people clicking on your article and then staying on the page long enough to read it.
Google Analytics can tell you if this is happening. Likes when you share your content on Facebook are great, but comments are better. Once people start publicly questioning or disagreeing with you, you know you've really arrived.
Phase two is people actually reaching out to you based on your content. I know a lot of people think this is difficult to track or amorphous, but really it isn't.
"I heard your podcast about the Fircrest Neighborhood and now I want to move there. Can you help me choose an agent?" Or "I read your blog post about the lady that sold her house in Seattle and moved to Tacoma, I want to do this, what are my next steps?" I get emails like these multiple times per week.
What’s content marketing done for you, your business?
The first four years or so I was in the business I was always wondering where deals were going to come from. It all seemed so mysterious. And all the ways people talked about generating a steady stream of clients just seemed so ... douchy.
I learned about “personal marketing” (having a personal brand) from real estate marketing guru Hobbes Herder and then saw Miami agent Inez Hegedus Garcia and prominent real estate agent and Inman News columnist Teresa Boardman on a panel at NAR in 2008 and it all came together in my head.
Like, I realized you can just tell the truth about your business and community and people will find it, read it (or watch it, or listen to it) and decide for themselves if you are the agent for them.
This has been my plan ever since -- working by attracting great (willing!) clients instead of hunting and killing them.
So far in 2016 (through August 9) I've had 25 people reach out via text or contact form on the website to ask about selling their house and 55 people reach out about buying. Twelve of those listings have closed so far, and 43 buyers have closed so far. Based on last year’s numbers, 50 percent of the people who reach out on the website will close escrow within 12 months. Obviously, the selling season is fading, but so far inquiries remain steady.
What’s been your best-performing piece of content?
The most popular piece of content of all time on the MoveToTacoma.com site is a post I didn't even write. My client wrote it for me. In fact, she ASKED to write it for me. It's called, "Why I Sold My House in Seattle and Moved to Tacoma."
It has had more than 10,000 pageviews, and people stayed on the page for an average of five minutes and three seconds, which is actually long enough to read the whole thing. It's been shared a lot, debated a lot and (clearly) read a lot.
So far this year the most popular post is "How to Open a Successful Bar in Tacoma," which is a podcast interview I did with an amazing woman who has opened a successful bar and another successful restaurant in Tacoma. I think a lot of people have this dream, so listening to her story is really inspiring.