We all know a long term strategy to developing content is necessary for our sites to become known as authoritative and for us to get leads.
Yet most agents tend to think of content along two lines:
- Quickly conceived short postings about current news and developments in our neighborhoods (this is what most real estate blogs are known for)
- Thoughtful link bait that attracts inbound links from other webmasters and bloggers
But what if we wanted to think longer term about how we developed and released content to our audience? What tool might be useful?
Think Big, Just Like Old Media
For decades, or even centuries, newspapers and magazines have used editorial calendars to plan and organize their content development many months ahead of time. This was, of course, necessary because of the long lead times in producing and distributing printed publications. Even daily newspapers would have most of their stories written days or even weeks ahead of time, but they always left room for any breaking news.
An editorial calendar lays out what you’ll be writing about months in advance. It is used by printed publications to not only plan what will be written, but to help the salespeople sell more targeted advertising far ahead of time.
Making Readers Want to Come Back
Obviously, how you organize your content and what you write about will depend on a lot of things (your niche, your audience, your expertise, etc.), but a good way to get started is to think about some different ways you can give your readers something to look forward to. Again, big media can give us a few ideas:
- Regular Columns or Features
- Annual Guides
- Continuing Series
Lets take a look at each of these.
Regular Columns or Features
These have long been a staple in newspapers, magazines, and even television news for a long time (I think ‘A Few Minutes With Andy Rooney‘ predates the invention of TV itself).
The great thing about a regular column is that if you’re swamped with too much work and you can’t commit to writing it yourself, then you can always outsource it. One thing about regular columns is that you have to commit, at least for a period of time.
If you decide to abandon the idea later on, you need to tell your readers and give them at least some reason why: we’re replacing it with something better, the guest blogger has moved on, I just want to take things in a different direction, etc. To do anything other than this is to cheat your audience, even if it is only a few dozen regular readers.
This is another area where real estate agents have yet to catch on, even though they are uniquely positioned to do so. An annual guide is great for a few reasons. By its very nature, it should be comprehensive and authoritative so it’ll attract a lot of attention and hopefully links from others.
It can also be very newsworthy if it is backed by some well thought-out polls, surveys, and interviews. And, as such, it is excellent press release material. The reason agents are ideally positioned for releasing an annual guide is because they cover areas of interest that a lot of bigger media outlets overlook. No matter your niche or neighborhood, you can probably write a guide about it.
If you have enough imagination, you can release an annual guide a few times a year, covering different topics at different times.
This is probably the best way to bring new readers back, especially if you announce it.
A continuing series should be like acts in a play or chapters of a book. Think story arc. You should leave your readers satisfied with what you’ve given them at the time, but enough of a teaser/cliffhanger that they’ll want to come back.
Planning your content weeks or months in advance allows you to deliver more value to your clients, gives them something to look forward to, and turns the casual visitor into a regular reader. Subscribe to our blog or follow us on Facebook for other ways to boost your blog!