As CEO and entrepreneur of my own marketing business for real estate agents, I’ve seen first-hand how effective a neighborhood website is at generating leads and traffic. With the right content, you don’t have to chase prospects or referrals because they find you!
A neighborhood website that offers readers in-depth information regarding local businesses, services, events, and organizations, accomplishes 3 key things for you:
- A) Gives you exclusive exposure with a captive audience of local residents.
- B) Establishes you as the local expert on the community and…
- C) Expands your sphere of influence locally to drive word-of-mouth referrals
If content marketing is a new concept for you, coming up with content ideas may be a challenge because it requires you to think like a reader as well as a buyer or seller. Readers and viewers want a story; buyers want information. How can you fulfill both to create content your audience will find valuable and want to share?
Whether your content is consumed as a document or a visual, on a desktop or a mobile screen, it needs to communicate a story that solves a problem for your readers and makes them feel better about themselves. What story are you sharing?
Your content also needs to be unique enough to compete online with other offerings. Copying and pasting original content from other sources to your own website can earn you penalties from search engines, not to mention possible litigation from copyright owners.
Fortunately, there is a diverse range of content ideas or ‘stories’ agents can produce for a relatively low cost. With a consistent commitment and dedicated time to the task, you can produce a regular schedule of free local content.
Focus on these 4 kinds of content, and you’ll never run out of content ideas for your neighborhood website again:
4 Types of Neighborhood Website Content
1.) Community Culture: Activities and events local residents enjoy
Are there local events that draw families together? Is the community very observant of religious holidays, or particularly proud of its history? Use your website to raise awareness about these activities by covering them in more detail than local competitors. Contact associations that sponsor local community events and offer to provide them with exposure. Tell your neighborhood’s story.
2.) Social Initiatives: Issues or topics local residents meet to discuss
Are there issues or topics that local residents have in common such as garbage disposal, eco-solutions, employment, crime, or parenting? Write a list of the topics you hear frequently discussed in your conversations with residents.
3.) Informational Topics: Skills or services local residents are searching online
Garbage removal, pet care, pest control, home security systems, garage door repair: these are just some topic ideas for a blog or video. When you share this information, turn it into a story that tells local residents how, where, who, when, what, and why. Add personal details about the experts, professionals, and business owners you interview to humanize your story.
4.) Educational Topics: Things local residents want to learn
Create content that shows local homeowners how to do things, using local businesses and experts to demonstrate how it’s done.
Driving lessons, recipes, makeup tips, pet care advice, small business accounting, home repairs, fashion, local writing workshops: homeowners and renters in your farm are searching these topics every day online.
With that in mind, here are 5 simple content ideas any agent can create and share online to win more prospects:
5 Neighborhood Website Content Ideas for Real Estate Agents
Content Idea #1: Lists of Local Businesses
Market research by Hubspot suggests that 77% of internet readers spend their time reading blogs. On average, businesses that blog regularly generate 55% more visitors.
That’s great news for agents because you can write blog articles on local businesses in your geographic farm for literally the cost of a coffee! For 3 -4 hours of research and writing, you’ll have online content that generates monthly traffic for you month after month. And you own it!
Anyone searching for a local landscaping service likely owns a property they want to enhance. If they’re researching the topic, and they live in your target market, they might discover your article, which will lead them to your neighborhood website where they can become subscribers.
Research the business owner, reviews, as well as their offering of services. Visit the website for each and evaluate what they offer, as well as their presentation. What will your prospects think when they visit the website? Do you feel confident in recommending them?
Include the business address and telephone number or email address in your article. Adding a link to the website should be done using anchor text. This will prevent readers from simply clicking on the link, and keep them reading your article longer.
Your contact information should be the LAST thing the reader sees, at the end of the article. Aim for a length of 1000 – 1500 words if you want to make the first page of local search results.
And don’t forget to add a call to action that urges readers to subscribe to your newsletter!
Content Idea #2: How To Videos
Hubspot released some very interesting video marketing insights recently. A personalized video has a higher retention rate of 37% than non-personalized video content. The shorter the video, the higher your retention rate. More than half of all videos published online in 2016 were less than 2 minutes in length.
Videotape local business owners and professionals demonstrating their expertise – baking, auto repair, gardening, artwork, yoga, exercise routines, setting up a home office – the possibilities are endless. To personalize your video, make sure to ask the business owner or expert personal details that reveal insights about their personality.
Partner with a local video editor or producer to ensure your creations are polished, as well as consistent. Once your videos reach 10,000 views +, you can monetize your Youtube channel.
Content Idea #3: Testimonials
Do you have any clients you’ve helped in the past who wouldn’t mind being interviewed? Choose clients who faced a unique challenge that you helped them overcome. Perhaps you helped them with a difficult relocation. You may have converted an FSBO into a happy client by selling their home in record time.
Maybe you helped a large family that needed a multigenerational home to accommodate an aging parent and you went the extra mile. Single out a specific topic that would make the testimonial newsworthy – don’t just make it about you.
When you title the testimonial, think of a title that users would find appealing: How I Sold A Home in Less Than 2 Months, or How To Find A Multigenerational Home in Local X. Include the name of your geographic farm if you’re targeting prospective local sellers.
If you videotape homeowners you’ve helped in the past about their experience with you. Be sure to make it worth their while with a kind gesture or gift.
Content Idea #4: Slideshow Videos
Create a slideshow video that explains mortgaging and financing terms buyers and sellers need to know. Your video can be brief – 2 – 3mn, in length, which will make them highly shareable online.
Offer a free home valuation or CMA to anyone who subscribes to your newsletter as a result of seeing your Slideshow. Add each lead to your CRM and continue to cultivate your relationship through your newsletter.
Adobe Spark, Slideshare, and Lumen5 are just some of the web-based solutions for creating professional slides. They’re designed for agents of all skill levels, and enable users to add video, text, music, images, and a logo in minutes. Editing features also allow you to crop, zoom, pan, and many other ways to enhance your slides.
Pinterest and Instagram are two great platforms that focus on visual content exclusively. For each slide, you post on these channels, include a link to your blog or website, with a call to action inviting viewers to subscribe.
Content Idea #5: Convert A Video Interview Into A Podcast
According to Edison market research, the podcast audience is growing steadily. Monthly viewing has been growing an impressive 21% -24% year over year. If you have the time, resources, and inclination, a podcast series could help you attract a loyal audience of local homeowners who regard you as the local expert.
You could, for instance, interview your mortgage lender sharing valuable closing cost tips for new home buyers. Convert the video into a podcast and then offer the podcast as a free download available on your website.
When you post the video to your Youtube channel, include a link to the podcast and alert viewers that they can either watch the video or listen to it as a free podcast during their commute. The title of your video should include keywords your audience would use, such as mortgage tips, real estate investment tips, or home seller tips.
Finally, be sure to track the number of downloads and subscribers for insights into your audience. Pay attention to topics that generate higher levels of interest, and listen to other successful podcasts for ideas to improve your own.
Summary: How to create an effective neighborhood website
Providing detailed local information through your neighborhood website is a valuable service you can offer local residents to generate interest from prospective buyers and sellers.
Create unique content by trying diverse types, from podcasts to slides, and everything in between.
Leverage relationships with local experts, professionals, and business owners to create content that educates and empowers your audience to become better.
Do these things, and you’ll establish yourself as the local expert in your geographic farm. Your sphere of influence will grow exponentially, generating qualified referral business for you long after you hit ‘publish’ on your blog or website.