Mor Zucker, The Denver Ear and the real estate content marketing long play

The Denver-focused community website The Denver Ear attracts approximately 140,000 readers each month.

It’s not a local journalism site, but a content marketing play by Denver real estate agent Mor Zucker. That might not be clear at first glance.

Zucker focuses nearly all of her content on topics other than real estate: a compilation of the city’s best haunted houses, what to do with kids on upcoming weekends, spotlights on local favorites.

The Denver Ear attracts approximately 140,000 visitors each month, according to Zucker

The homepage features a faint glimmer of real estate branding. On mobile, Zucker’s real estate logo shows up at the bottom of the page. On article pages it shines a little brighter, with a call to action at the bottom of each post. (see the image below).

Thanks to Zucker’s original, high-quality content her light touch leads to an average of five buyer clients each month.

Zucker's CTA at the bottom of blog posts.

Zucker's CTA at the bottom of blog posts.

The site accounts for approximately a fifth of Zucker’s revenue, mostly referrals (similar to Giguere -- see her story here). To date, she’s sold over $5 million in sales, more than she did in all of 2015. She’s been an agent for just two years.

But as with all effective content marketing, Zucker’s making serious investments of time and attention for that return.

She spends an hour or two each day, seven days a week, reporting and writing, and religiously posts at least four original pieces each week. Most importantly, she’s passionate about her content.

It’s all part of a long-term plan to leverage the site into a huge lead-generation engine, Zucker said. She’s leaning into the rapidly evolving online real estate space; she’s heeding media luminary Gary Vaynerchuck, to, as he preached at Inman Connect in August, be the digital mayor of her town.

When the industry wakes up in a few years and understands the immense power established, trusted content marketing sites wield, she knows she’ll be ahead, thanks to slowly building her kingdom now.

Zucker’s getting results because of her relentless focus on quality, and the passion she pours into it. The dearth of local journalism allows her to relatively easily present local information found nowhere else, such as a new restaurant opening soon.

Zucker’s strategy

She started her blog six months after launching her agent career, in November 2014.

She wanted to win leads’ attention but knew that people don’t want to read about real estate. Nobody wants to share an inspection-related post, which, in our social media age, would neuter any chance at the runaway wildfire distribution that occurs when a post goes viral.

So she decided to start producing content the community cares about, to stay top of mind with those in her sphere and those who may be in the market for an agent, now or down the road.

She makes a point not to write about real estate-related topics on the blog, though she does sprinkle it in.

One of Zucker’s best-perfomring pieces of content, a Colorado spring to-do list. It generated 35,000 hits on Facebook and 11,000 likes and still gets shared. 

Her site is a super soft real estate sell. There’s a single line identifying herself as an agent on the site’s about page. By selling overtly, she knows she would lose trust with her tribe. The soft sell breeds confidence in her audience.

By delivering quality and building trust, authentically, she wants to get business, as she says, for the right reasons -- because her audience trusts her and appreciates the quality content she provides.

It’s simple. With The Denver Ear, Zucker wants to be the voice for her community. While she grows local expertise and builds her audience, it feeds her more and more business.

For Zucker, unlocking the publisher’s code means understanding media’s currency: relationships. To be successful, content marketers must have sites people like being around, with a spirit of openness and sharing.

Zucker’s mechanics

Zucker gets her content ideas from Facebook posts that gain traction, whether local or more broad. She adapts some of the principles of the broader posts and applies them locally in her blog posts and often sees results.

In this way, she lights on buzzworthy post by reengineering what the crowd has already showed it wants.

Over 3,000 email newsletter subscribers receive The Denver Ear content in a blast Zucker sends every Friday. She boosts some posts on Facebook to audiences she’s not already reaching.

Going niche

Like most successful content marketers, Zucker knows her audience. She tracks it closely using a Facebook pixel, which embeds in her site and pulls in Facebook-powered audience info from those who visit.

From this powerful, free tool, she knows that her core audience is between 24 and 44 years old and is roughly split between male and female.

Within this group, she consciously targets content to two groups: a core group of mothers, and younger millennials.

She chose mothers of young children, because that’s what she is, a mother to young children -- her interests and passions overlap. This fosters trust. “It’s my group,” she said.

It’s a smart thing to do -- nothing’s more attractive and shines through the clouds of content in our lives nowadays better than authenticity and passion -- a content marketer’s most valuable currency.

Zucker targets younger millennials to build trusting relationships that will blossom into business years down the road when they’ll need an agent. “I’m playing the long game,” Zucker said. The directs about a third of her content to this group.

She’s also working to develop content that’s attractive to broader audiences.

Measurement

Zucker constantly measures her content’s performance.

With her Facebook pixel, she can see the type of people who interact with specific posts. This allows her to reach what Facebook calls “look-alike” audiences through advertising.

If readers don’t respond to a certain type of content, she moves away from it. She learned that golf, for example, is a content dud for her audience by tracking her content stats.

Benefits beyond business

Zucker says the site has helped her know her city so much better. “I know things before they happen,” she said. “I’m becoming more of a community expert.

She receives invites to restaurant openings and events. She’s becoming well-known in her city.

“It’s given me extra advantages,” she added, “helping me give clients an experience I couldn’t have done before.” For example, restaurants will pay for her clients’ meal sometimes in exchange for a review on The Denver Ear.

These are deep benefits, but they don’t come easy. The long, high-quality play is necessary. Many agents want a quick fix that gets results right away. They should choose another business model. But those ready to be community insiders with passion about their town, content marketing is a natural fit.