What is content marketing?
There may be as many answers as practitioners. Its vast scope is tricky to define, an ocean with shifting shores.
To explore this borderless, powerful endeavor and tease out some useable answers, HageyMedia introduces the "What is real estate content marketing?" profile series, which kicks off with the illustrious Joseph Rand.
Rand is managing partner of Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty, a firm with over 800 agents and 23 offices, serving New York City's northern suburbs in upstate New York and northern New Jersey.
In this Q&A series we'll explore content marketing with some of real estate's most notable practitioners, like Rand. Email HageyMedia if you'd like to participate, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Joe Rand braves a horrible storm earlier this year in his best-performing piece of content yet.
Rand answers questions about his firm's content marketing efforts below.
What is content marketing?
My definition would be providing consumers with information that is relevant to their needs, and using that to build brand awareness and attachment.
What content do you produce?
We have a part-time social media manager and writer who provides most of the content, which usually consists of a few blog posts a week and few company Facebook posts per day.
We have plans to get more into video content, but haven’t launched that yet. The content generally focuses on community information, event notices, or real estate news or advice.
Who’s the audience?
For our company sites and pages, it would be the consumer. We’re just trying to maintain brand awareness and association by connecting our brand to the community and real estate generally.
We don’t differentiate the audience demographically or anything like that, although we probably should.
We certainly don’t do it to generate “leads.” We don’t see many people getting actionable inquiries off of content, as opposed to inventory marketing.
It’s really just for brand awareness, and to liven up our website and Facebook page so when people do “vet” the company, they find recent content that shows that we’re on top of things.
How do we measure success?
We don’t have any firm metrics to measure success, other than views and likes, which are modest.
What has it done for our business?
Generally, I feel like you get what you put into it. We don’t put a whole lot into it — a part-time person generating mostly anodyne content for the masses is not going to generate revenue. It’s more like making sure the offices are properly landscaped — you’re just maintaining your brand image.
Best performing piece of content?
We don’t measure it enough to identify what the best content is. The most popular piece we’ve ever put out wasn’t even for the company directly — it was a simple, funny Facebook video rant that I made personally about a silly issue regarding schools closing on a day when we had very little snow.
I got a few thousand viral hits on Facebook for that, which was fine for promoting myself and by extension my company, but had absolutely nothing to do with real estate.
Rand also answered questions about the industry-focused content he creates
How do you view content marketing with respect to your industry-focused content?
I do a lot of writing for industry publications. Sometimes, I get asked to contribute a viewpoint, which I always do because it’s flattering when someone solicits your opinion like that. Other times, I just have ideas that are literally bursting out of me, and I have to share them. Those articles come easier.
Why do you do it?
Part of it is just to contribute to the industry in a small way, to share ideas that I have about how, for example, we can improve the client service experience. And part of it is to raise my profile within the industry, which has small ancillary benefits to my company. At heart, I’m an educator, so I gravitate toward opportunities to try to educate people.
What has it done?
I don’t know that I’ve ever made a dime off the content I provide to third-party providers, or even to my own website. I can’t point to a single deal, or a single recruit, that I secured because of my writing or speaking.
It’s not like my work at local foundations and nonprofits, where I can literally point to clients I’ve gotten and referred out to my agents because of people I met through volunteering.
So if I were to make a recommendation to agents with limited time, I would tell them to make contributions to local groups before industry groups, at least if their main goal is revenue rather than raising their industry profile.
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