As spring finally started to peek its head through the rainclouds and the property market was looking healthy with, according to data from HMRC 103,870 residential property transactions in February, an increase of 4.5% on January and 6% higher than February 2019, estate agents and property experts everywhere tentatively started to breathe a collective sigh of relief.
Then it happened. COVID-19. A highly contagious disease with the power to affect all our lives and businesses and the ability to decimate not only the property market but our economy as a whole.
Some believe the coronavirus pandemic potentially has the power to contribute to fixing many things that are wrong with the world. Perhaps we will all begin to see different priorities, perhaps we will all be kinder to one another?
But mostly, for many businesses, it is a wake-up call. You are being forced to adapt, but first, you may have discovered the following:
Realisation 1: With the doors to your estate agency firmly closed, your website has become your shop window and is the only way you can let people know you’re still in business.
Realisation 2: Your website through lack of fresh content is languishing close to or at the bottom of the search results so barely visible.
The whole world is online right now, including your target audience, but that doesn’t mean they can see you, and the bottom line is that if you don’t publish new, engaging content on your website, you are unlikely to be visible through this period of lockdown.
Without content, when you reach the other side and attempt to pick up where you left off, it will be too late.
Researching, writing and publishing content is time-consuming
It’s a task often pushed to the bottom of the pile. You might even confess to finding it completely overwhelming and daunting, and that’s just trying to think up new subject matter. The actual writing and editing may be even harder for you to contemplate.
So, first, understand that you’re not alone, and this is not an issue confined to the estate agency industry. Many, many businesses fail to consistently publish new content to their pages after the first few enthusiastic posts because they run out of ideas and enthusiasm.
Publishing informative, relevant, engaging content is vital for the growth of your estate agency
Right now it’s more important than ever to ensure your estate agency is visible so that potential vendors in your locality, those who will be looking to put their homes on the market once we are on the other side, will come to you when the time is right, rather than your competitor.
You have the power to make this happen, simply by publishing consistent content that engages your target audience.
- Keep a friendly tone of voice.
- Write as though you are speaking directly to your reader
- Be compassionate and keep content positive
- Provide helpful and useful information on relevant topics
- Write at least 750 words per piece of content
- Break up your content with bullet points and sub-headings
- Check your spelling and grammar
- Sit down and write. You can edit it later!
- Write about your profits, awards, staff achievements and business data
- Waffle! Keep your sentences short and succinct
- Add long blocks of boring text
- Include jargon. Readers find corporate-speak hard to understand
- Publish content without proofreading it
So, now let’s tackle this issue head-on.
What subjects should you write about?
In the immediate future, this is what you should do:
Add content relating to COVID-19
This shows that you care about your staff, your customers and your local community and go some way to allaying people’s fears and worries. It also advises your target audience that you are still doing business, albeit in a different manner.
Make sure that your local audience knows that you are there for them during these testing times.
You can also provide some compassionate light relief relating to these testing times with other content related to coronavirus that will actually help people through the period.
- Example: Buying and Selling your Home During Coronavirus
- Example: Coronavirus Self-Isolation Ideas
By acknowledging the situation, advising people on what you are doing and then staying in touch, you show yourself and your agency as trustworthy, caring and passionate. These are all qualities that people will remember and act on later.
It’s important that following your topical posts you remain consistent by publishing further content. This is the key.
You cannot post once and run. You must post week after week. Keep showing up. The more you post, the more traction you’ll get and the easier it will be for you to become the go-to expert estate agent in your locality.
So, what type of content should you post in the long-term? To help you, I’ve provided my five go-to blog content ‘topic starters’ for when you’re a little bit stuck and need some inspiration.
1. Write a ‘How to..’ Post
Instruction manuals are boring, are usually written in 17 languages and almost always over-complicate things. This is the reason people don’t like reading them! Instead, most searchers generally figure out ‘how to do things’ by employing the wise words of Google (other search engines are available). This applies not only to instruction manuals but for pretty much everything you need to know.
The internet is the encyclopedia of life – no-one knows how we ever managed without it previously – and is highly likely to be the first port of call for your target audience. So, use this to your advantage and tell your audience exactly how to do whatever it is they are looking to learn!
- Example: How to get more viewings on your property
- Example: How to update your home on a budget
Cater to their lack of knowledge in your niche or industry and provide helpful answers that solve the problem they Googled in the first place.
2. Create an ‘Ultimate Guide to..’
Everyone has to start somewhere, and your target audience is likely to be searching for guides to help them do the very thing that you have expert knowledge about.
- Example: The ultimate guide to moving home
- Example: The ultimate guide to renovating a period property
Just like the ‘how-to’ articles, Google is usually the first place people head to when looking for guidance, and you can provide exactly what they need through your blog or news page, cementing yourself as an expert in the process.
3. Answer Frequently Asked Questions
This is as easy as it sounds. Simply pick one question that your current clients ask regularly and write an entire article answering that question.
Questions are commonly Googled, so you’ll have a massive chance of appearing in the search results and thus attract people to your website via your news or blog page.
- Example: What is the best time of year to sell my house?
- Example: What is the minimum deposit for a mortgage?
In fact, answering relevant questions is a strategy that can also be used on your social media as you can keep posts short and super-informative.
4. Share Industry or Niche Relevant Tips
Home movers are always looking for ‘easy ways to do things’ or in other words, ‘tips’ or ‘hacks’ and this is where you can score really highly in the search results by using your content to reach your target audience.
- Example: Pain-free packing tips
- Example: Lighting tips to help sell your home
Cover these topics and you will provide valuable information directly to the very people who you would like to become your clients. You will appear helpful, knowledgeable and above all interested in connecting with people. Injecting some personality goes a long way.
5. Create Useful Lists
Your audience is busy and so will often scan read. By putting together your content as a list, you will allow them to digest information quickly.
Lists can be created about pretty much anything, as long as the topic is relevant to your target audience.
- Example: 10 ways to prepare your property for viewings
- Example: 7 easy ways to save a deposit for your first home
So, now you have some ideas, you are ready to consistently publish new content on your website. So, here’s the million-dollar question.
If not now, when?
Amanda O’Brien is an experienced content writer and founder of www.contentforestateagents.co.uk providing on-demand, engaging, personalised and location-targeted blog content for busy estate agents.