Value-Add Inbound Content for Brand Positioning in the Real Estate Industry

What does your brand represent?

A brand embodies your values and attitudes toward your product and customers – and your prospects’ perceptions.

Your approach to marketing positions your brand as a provider of knowledge, value, and solutions – and has a direct bearing on your ability to attract and convert prospects to clients.

Let’s get into the ‘whys’ and ‘hows’ of improving your brand position through compelling inbound content for your marketing channels in the real estate industry.

Why Inbound Content for the Real Estate Industry?

While there are many ways to connect with your target market, inbound marketing is the most effective and does the most to support your credibility – and generate value.

If your brand were real property, inbound marketing and thought leadership would be your value-add strategies to enhance amenities, optimize expenses, and drive NOI.

Traditional outbound methods such as broadcast, print, cold email, and pay-per-click (conventional by current inbound best practices) may get your message to the public; however, they don’t provide your ideal prospects with substance. Outbound marketing provides linear (and often diminishing returns), while inbound strategies are logarithmic in generating increasing returns.

Inbound strategies bring the leads to you and uniquely position you as a credible provider. Outbound strategies convey neediness that doesn’t command the respect of prospects and doesn’t prompt them to contact you in appreciation of your insights.

For lean marketers (I’m not talking about your figure) – which is everyone in the current market – inbound content marketing is far less expensive. Though a sophisticated, credible piece of content, such as a whitepaper or contributor article, may require time and expense, it provides a one-time expenditure with continuous and increasing returns (with consistent promotion to your web and social channels supported by video).

Effective Real Estate Brand Positioning via TL

The essence of effective brand positioning is thought leadership (TL) via the inbound channels your prospects frequent.

‘Thought Leadership’ is an oft bandied about catchword; however, it’s an aptly named strategy that builds brand value and status through the most valuable asset – knowledge. TL also projects authenticity and transparency – 94% of consumers are loyal to companies with transparent practices, and 91% prefer authentic brands.

While many perceive competition as intense in the real estate and related industries, it’s relatively straightforward to differentiate yourself through TL and inbound content marketing. Surprisingly, the majority of firms are not utilizing these tools or implementing them consistently.

Your competitors may have similar products, services, and solutions that are viable substitutes for your offering; however, they don’t have your unique personal and collective knowledge. Besides, competing firms are likely not leveraging their insights as effectively as you are or will.

Knowledge, above innovative features and benefits, is your intrinsic differentiator and driver of value in a competitive marketplace. Incidentally, 75% of decision-makers attribute their final choice to sign with a company based on the substance of the vendor’s TL, while 70% determine your ability to deliver primarily based on your insights.

Inbound Content Opportunities

What are the most effective inbound content strategies for real estate executives and their enterprises?

The key to effective content that appeals to prospects and investors is offering answers and solutions to the questions and dilemmas they are facing.

For instance, if you’re offering a SaaS solution to help commercial property owners and asset managers track and interpret large volumes of contract data across a portfolio, you can provide content that answers questions such as:

  • How does it simplify operations?
  • How will it help me provide enhanced value to my clients?
  • How does it reduce expenses?
  • How is the software implemented?
  • What type of equipment do I need?
  • Does the service run entirely in the cloud?
  • Are there self-hosting options for greater security and control?
  • Is the solution sustainable in economic, operational, and environmental terms?

Knowing that prospects are seeking answers, what are the best opportunities to connect with high-level prospects – decision-makers – in the real estate industry?

The most popular and highest-value content forms include:

  • Podcast
  • Blog posts
  • Contributor articles
  • Whitepapers
  • Informative and inspiring social videos
  • Live streaming video on LinkedIn, FB, and Instagram

 

These inbound content forms yield not only leads directly, but also additional media opportunities, including invites for guest/contributor spots on podcasts, blogs, and high domain authority (DA) industry publications.

What are the best channels to distribute your inbound content?

  • Your corporate website
  • LinkedIn (B2B)
  • Facebook and Instagram (B2C)
  • Podcast platforms
  • YouTube, Vimeo
  • High DA publications (Forbes, VentureBeat, Inc, Entrepreneur, etc.)

 

How do you leverage these channels to generate leads?

  • Supporting your content with video
  • Tagging of people, companies, and groups
  • Sharing to groups and pages
  • Partnering with competitors and affiliated firms
  • Paid or ‘boosted’ posts

 

Putting it into Action

How do you get started?

These strategies can be overwhelming to consider, but taking the first step is simple:

  1. Create an outline of your ideal prospects’ demographic and psychographic profile, needs, desires, and the questions they’re asking.
  2. Research what channels and platforms they’re most active on and engage with them to understand their questions and language.
  3. Create a content map of all the insights you can share and leverage this to create topic ideas – incorporate SEO research for relevance.
  4. Start writing consistent content or enlist the help of content professionals.
  5. Publish your content, support with video and imagery, and engage with your audience to build your following.

Have more questions? Please leave a comment or contact us directly.

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You can attribute it to many things: tightening environmental regulations, social change, and consumer tastes, but one thing is certain – business and consumer prospects want to see environmentally and socially-conscious messages.

But it goes beyond environmental concerns. Sustainability is about human health, social progress, and the physical and financial prosperity of all stakeholders to the industry and community.

Getting to the Heart of Sustainability in Commercial Real Estate

How can we succinctly describe ‘Sustainability?’ Is it about being ‘green?’

Yes. However, it’s a complex topic that merits a lifetime of devotion and study.

The heart of sustainability is the 3Ps or ‘triple bottom line:’

People, Planet, and Prosperity.

Human progress and innovation in these three respects improve our odds of maintaining a green planet and eliminating conflict due to economic and social strife.

Wasteful and negligent business, investment, and construction practices pollute the environment, contribute to disease, repress social progress, and restrict communities economically.

To illustrate further, let’s look at an example of considerations in sustainability specific to commercial real estate, asset management, property management, and workplace development:

 

Aspect of Sustainability
Components
Human Health
  • Quality healthcare
  • Excellent education
  • Indoor air quality (IAQ)
  • Water quality
  • Indoor environmental quality (IEQ)
  • Thermal comfort
  • Natural views
  • Ergonomics
  • Functionality (productivity)
  • Daylighting
  • Walkability
  • Transportation
  • Open space
Environmental Health
  • Reduced material consumption (3Rs)
  • Regionally-sourced materials (limits transportation waste and pollution)
  • Efficient water use
  • Reducing the carbon footprint
  • Native and adaptive vegetation
  • Protection of waterways, lakes, oceans, and aquifers
  • Stormwater runoff mitigation
  • Leveraging emerging green technologies
  • Reducing solar heat gain and island effect
  • Brown and greyfield remediation
Economic Health
  • Durable construction materials and methods
  • Use of local labor
  • Energy efficiency and reduced operating expenses
  • Minimized liability for sick building syndrome (SBS)
  • Quality education for a skilled and adaptable workforce
  • Efficient and ergonomic design for productivity
  • Quality public transportation and infrastructure
  • Designs and operations that appeal to incoming industry and capital – regional growth and prosperity

 

These are all interrelated, and synergies exist in benefits across the components of the 3Ps.

Incidentally, these are pertinent topics and elements to incorporate in your thought leadership messaging strategy. This table is a significantly abridged list – you’ll never run short of content ideas when weaving your sustainable brand position.

Got it. So, how do content marketing and thought leadership mesh with these high-level objectives?

Demonstrating Expertise and Commitment to Innovation

Our primary goal in thought leadership is to advance our brands and build trust. The most practical and effective way to accomplish this is through written content.

Every bit of content you distribute – email to editorial – is an opportunity to show that you know your industry, your prospects’ problems, and how to solve them.

Coincidentally, many of your prospects’ and users’ problems are centered around issues of sustainability, regardless of whether identified as such.

Cash flow issues? Tenant Satisfaction?

Both have causes and remedies involving efficiency, comfort, and long-term functional utility.

Incorporating these topics in your press releases and ghostwritten contributor articles shows that your commitment to values and principles is more profound than to economic profit and social status.

As opposed to formal mission and ethics statements that attempt to convey sustainability consciousness, editorial and informative content provide concrete evidence to the audience of your knowledge and dedication to doing the right thing for people, planet, and prosperity.

Furthermore, talking about sustainability in your thought leadership campaigns positions you and your firm as a conscientious innovator in your field.

Carving Out Your Brand Position and Building Social Goodwill

For pragmatists, this is really about brand positioning. Considering that young and older generations alike are becoming more sustainability-conscious, we need to make it a priority for inclusion in our marketing.

Millennials – now the largest segment of our population – gravitate to sustainable brands and are willing to pay a premium for associated products and services.

But it’s not limited to millennials; 57% of Baby Boomers self-report that they’re more concerned about protecting the environment now than when they were in their 20s, while 68% indicate they’ve changed their practices concerning environmental preservation.

Community support and social goodwill for your venture are paramount. Whether it’s financing, permitting, or leasing, you’ll need the community on your side:

42% of US and UK consumers consider sustainable materials to be the deciding factor in their purchasing decisions, and a third hold brands responsible for environmental health and change. Additionally, two-thirds put more trust in brands that make a public pledge to sustainability.

Become a Sustainable Brand

Commit to pursuing sustainable practices in your commercial real estate projects – and talk about it publicly on a broad spectrum of media.

If you’re not sure exactly where sustainability fits into your business and how to leverage sustainable strategies to grow your practice through efficiency and goodwill, consult with design and content specialists that have an intimate understanding of the topic and how to relate it effectively to your audience in ways they find accessible and appealing.

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Leveraging Ghost Writing for Real Estate Contributor and Thought Leadership Articles

Recent research by LinkedIn and a team of third-party analysts revealed that 58% of decision-makers attribute their closing decision to the clarity and articulation of a firm’s thought leadership strategy.

Brand positioning requires diligence and consistency, and it’s sometimes hard to know what to write about, how to present it, and where to publish, but for those executives that make the commitment to a thought leadership strategy, the results are tremendous.

SEO-optimized articles written on topics that prospects are actively searching for drive quality organic traffic from search engine results pages (SERPs).

This approach projects your personality and positions you as an expert, commanding the attention of accredited investors, potential partners, clients, and community stakeholders.

Let’s discuss how a thought leadership strategy driven by informative and actionable articles precipitates increasing returns.

 

Sharing Your Knowledge

What is the most valuable commodity in the digital age?

Knowledge.

Knowledge is the intellect’s interpretation of available information and data.

Specialized education and experience as an executive in your industry equip you with the insight to provide valuable information to audiences needing extremely specific types of knowledge.

The most in-demand pieces are articles and blog posts that provide insights from credible experts in focused niches.

How do you most effectively convey this knowledge?

Sensible advice shared where it’s sought.

Dedicated channels exist in every industry:

  • Professional forums.
  • Community and professional/corporate blogs.
  • Print and digital news publications and journals.

Your prospects are searching for answers related to the problems or needs your offerings address. How do you learn what solutions are needed?

The concerns that you identify provide the ideal focus for your answer-based thought leadership strategy.

 

Understanding Your Target Market in the Real Estate Industry

 

identifying real estate industry target market

 

It’s your task as a thought leader to learn what challenges your potential clients and stakeholders are facing. The most efficient way to achieve this is by engaging with them on the social channels they frequent.

Take note of your prospect’s communication styles and the favored means of consuming information – video, infographics, webinars, ebooks, etc. Listen to the kinds of questions they’re asking and what feedback they’re offering on the industry.

Through your writing, you can establish a sense of rapport with your readers. By the time potential clients take the initiative to call you, they’ll feel as though they know you personally. You’ll have fought and won the hardest battle at the outset: earning trust.

As you proceed with your research, keep these in mind:

  • Study observable prospect problems and needs.
  • Pay attention to communication styles and preferences.
  • Consistent content development and posting build readers’ trust and sense of rapport.
  • Focus on providing pertinent answers to specific (long-tail keyword) questions your audience is asking.

 

How to Choose Topics: Keyword Research

 

 

Selecting a topic that appeals to readers and gets the attention of search engines is the most challenging aspect of a thought leadership article strategy.

We want our content to provide valuable information, but that won’t be possible unless our ideal prospects are looking for and can find what we’re offering.

How do we make sure that what we write is something our readers want to hear?

Diligence and cutting-edge keyword research.

Taking a scientific approach to generating content helps you feel more confident about the message you’re sending, and that it will have the intended effect.

Keyword research reveals insights to more fully solve our readers’ problems.

What to consider in your keyword strategy:

  • Focus on providing value according to existing demand for knowledge.
  • Be receptive to insights regarding user search behavior and needs.
  • Develop content that comprehensively addresses prospect needs.
  • Analyze keyword volume trends to predict PPC (pay-per-click) marketing results/costs and minimize CPC (cost per click).
  • Utilize Latent Semantic Index (LSI) keyword suggestions to generate well-rounded body content for your article.

 

SEO Benefits of Thought Leadership in Real Estate

 

 

Though our high-level intention is to shape our prospects’ image of our brand, the pragmatic objective of thought leadership is to generate traffic and conversions.

Ghostwritten contributor and thought leadership articles are the most effective approach to improving your site or profile’s ranking in search results.

Why are thought leadership articles so effective?

A properly optimized article based on thorough keyword research answers specific questions for which your audience is searching.

This article is an example of a topic based on keyword research. The title, headings, and body incorporate keywords based on the highest-ranking phrases for search volume.

For real estate contributor articles published to channels such as Forbes, Business Journal, and Huffington Post, you’ll receive a ‘follow’ backlink – an embedded link that search engines and readers can follow to your sites.

Aside from providing direct referral traffic, search engines will notice the link and crawl it to your website.

All things being equal – having a spectacular website with compelling and professional real estate copywriting – search engines favor keyword-optimized content and sites in results.

Why go with thought leadership for SEO advancement?

  • Contributor articles provide high-quality backlinks generating direct traffic and kudos from search engines for relevance.
  • Search engines and readers appreciate easy-to-read content with limited passive voice, balanced sentence length, clear structure, and varied vocabulary.

 

Posting Frequency and Choosing Publications

 

 

How often should I post contributor articles and thought leadership content?

Depending on your budget and the demand for new content in your field, weekly or monthly (at the least) posting will build momentum and generate results in the near term.

Whereas a blog post on your website might capture a few hundred views initially, contributor articles on high domain authority (DA) websites yield thousands of reads and website clicks in the same timeframe.

Should I post content to my blog, LinkedIn, or third-party publications?

In choosing whether to post content to your website or a third-party media outlet, weigh the potential PR and SEO benefits of each channel against the cost of professionally prepared and well-reasoned content. You’ll want to opt for the best writer you can find if pursuing trending media publications, high-quality traffic, and organic rankings.

Quality content always costs what it’s worth.

A note about budgeting as it relates to marketing, written content, and business strategy: every dollar spent on advertising will generate a measurable return on investment – worthwhile when well executed.

Consider the potential closings, pledges, and dividends when deciding how much to allocate to marketing in relation to R&D, technological infrastructure upgrades, training, and other business activities with a less direct impact on revenue.

To reduce content costs but maintain a daily posting schedule, content curation via tools such as Curata, Scoop.it, and others allow you to provide valuable content to your audience without the pressure of generating it on a daily basis.

Posting and publication guidelines and notes:

  • Posting 1-4 times per month is optimal.
  • Weekly blog postings generate readership and boost rankings.
  • Daily social posts can consist of curated and reshared content.
  • Publish contributor articles at least monthly.
  • Target publications that serve your audience specifically.
  • Targeted campaigns earn the most results per ad dollar.
  • Credible content is worth the cost considering potential ROI.

 

Getting Started with a Ghost Writer for Real Estate

 

Now you’re convinced that thought leadership is a great thing and you’re ready to go for it.

 

How do I get started?

  1. Contact a writer and/or marketing consultant with industry-specific knowledge.
  2. Identify whom you want to target with your message, and the results you envision.
  3. Select publications that serve and are trusted by ideal prospects.
  4. Write articles that meet actual consumer needs, and publication guidelines and standards.
  5. Contact editors in the real estate or business departments.
  6. Reach out to industry associates to negotiate mutual guest blog posting opportunities.
  7. Submit your piece and collaborate with editors on final product.
  8. Generate traffic, improve ranking, and enjoy benefits to reputation.
  9. Stay the course to generate increasing returns with consistency.

 

What do I look for in a real estate copywriter?

  • Industry experience and insight.
  • Industry education, credentials, and designations.
  • Sustainability awareness and knowledge.
  • Flexibility and appropriateness in tone and complexity for B2B or B2C prospect groups.
  • Communication skills and timeliness.
  • Logical and coherent writing.

 

Reach out to and have conversations with specialist writers in your industry niche. Unless you’re marketing a product or service that falls within the realm of general knowledge, hire a real estate copywriter that understands industry best practices, professional communication, and that seamlessly integrates credible content and agile digital marketing strategy.

How has thought leadership benefited your branding strategy?

I welcome your shares, questions, and comments!

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