You know what content marketing is, you know what the content formats are, you know why it all matters to your real estate business. Now you need to figure out HOW to put a content marketing plan into place which will ensure your content is seen and read by your target audiences and performs the ways you want it to.
But where to start? This is a question which has frustrated digital marketers since the creation of digital content marketing – so take comfort in that if you feel overwhelmed thinking of where to start to create your content marketing strategy planning! Your journey to better understanding content marketing planning is about to begin!
The 4 essential components to consider at the outset of any content marketing planning strategy are the following:
•Your Audience: Who is your established audience, and what do you know about them? Who would you like to add to your audience?
•Your Content: What content do you have? What content do you want to make?
•Your Channels: How do you reach your audience? How do you want to reach your audience?
•Your Goals: What are your trying to accomplish?
Imagine these four components of content marketing planning as circles on a Venn diagram; your content plan would be the dark spot in the middle. At all times when deciding on your strategy, you should be asking the questions outlined above, and asking how the strategy will help you reach those goals.
Step 1: Identify Your Goals
Your first step in making your content marketing plan should always be identifying the goals of your content marketing plan. Are you trying to generate sales leads? Attempting to gain more social media followers? Trying to get your content re-published by larger media sources? You need to have firmly in mind what the desired end result of this strategy will be; the more specific, the better! Are you trying to better engage with your audience persona? What IS your audience persona? Read on to the next point!
Step 2: Conduct Audience Research/Planning
The audience is the most crucial part of your content strategy other than the goals. You need to know your audience to create content which will be helpful and valuable to them. To begin, you need to identify your audience persona.
What is your Audience Persona?
Who are the people following you currently, demographically speaking? Are they of a specific age segment, gender or interest group? What draws people to you? This is a great way to get answers to the following questions as you develop a content marketing plan.
1) Who is your Current Audience?
Your current audience is anyone with whom you currently have an established relationship by way of them being a follower on social media, a member of your mailing lists, or someone who currently consumes your digital assets including your website, blogs, etc.
2) Who is your Desired Audience?
This is the group of people who fit your audience persona, are not currently affiliated with you directly, but could be.
Step 3: Conduct Audits
Before you begin planning anything, it’s important to know where you stand presently. You need to conduct a thorough audit of your digital assets to and audiences to understand what you have and where you stand.
By understanding this, you identify the starting point from which all growth is built. It is the establishment of your benchmark. The benchmarking process is referred to auditing, and there are two forms of audits which you will need to conduct to begin your process: social media and website.
The basic elements of a social media audit assess:
•average engagement per post
•social media profile brand consistency
•search engine entries
Ultimately, you’re trying to determine the strengths and weaknesses of your channels as they exist at the time of the audit; your ‘baseline’. You’re also trying to find your gaps and opportunities. Hootsuite has a great social media audit template.
A website audit is also necessary as it helps you identify strengths and weaknesses of your website. What you are trying to determine by conducting a website audit are the following questions.
The basic elements of a website audit assess:
- is all information and content up-to-date?
- are there broken links?
- is the branding consistent?
- is the site user-friendly?
- how does your website rank in a Google search?
For a great website audit tool, check out this link.
The keys to a successful auditing process are being honest in your assessment. You’re establishing your benchmarks and you want to ensure accuracy. If you feel something is poor, then it’s poor and needs to be improved upon; from there you match it up to your goals and design a course of action intended to get that channel in line with the goals you identified at the outset.
Step 4: Pick Your Portfolio
This is a crucial step in content marketing planning. This is where you decide where you want your content to be seen. Your portfolio refers to the channels you decide will be part of your content marketing plan moving forward. Which channels do you want to keep? Are there and you don’t? Any you might like to start? For this, you need to understand each of the social media platforms, their strengths, their weaknesses, their appeals and their functions.
For more information on the platforms, check back in this space over the coming days as we break down the individual social media platforms and discuss their advantages and disadvantages.
Step 5: Create a Content Plan Targeting Home Buyers And Sellers
This is the part of your content marketing plan where you actually decide what content you want to create. You know the formats, and now you have to choose which formats make the most sense for your content plan.
REMEMBER: video content is the ‘it’ content currently, with digital video content performing significantly better than text or picture-based content. If you’re interested in learning more about creating and sharing strong video content, you can check out this helpful article.
For helpful information on how to make compelling and effective video content, you should check out this article.
Step 6: Create a Distribution Plan
You can’t have a content marketing plan without a plan to get your content out there. This is where working smarter is better than working harder!
You need to get yourself social media management software, and there is none better than Hootsuite. You can manage a number of different accounts across all of the most popular social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn – all from one interface. What Hootsuite allows you to do is pre-program your social media drip plan for as far in advance as you want.
Typically, it’s best to do your content for a week so that at month’s end you can evaluate how your content performed, and identify trends
You want to get to know Hootsuite in-depth. Not only can you set your content calendar for the week or month, you can also check all of your platform analytics in one place. This is essential for the next step: your KPI plan.
Step 7: Create a KPI Plan
The most important part of any content marketing plan is having a clear understanding of your goals, and how to measure whether you are achieving them. KPI (Key Performance Indicators) are a set of metrics you identify as essential indicators of whether your stated goals are being fulfilled. Some examples would include:
•post engagement (likes/comments/shares)
While you can check these KPI on the sites individually, Hootsuite’s Analytics tool lets you view all of your account analytics in one place, and presents them in an intuitive, date adjustable and fully downloadable format.
Step 8: Create a Repurposing Plan For Your Real Estate Content Distribution
Lastly, you want to ensure that you get maximum mileage out of your content. That means that you want to repurpose and repackage your content in a few different ways across your different platforms. Repurposing is VITAL to a strong content marketing plan as it allows you to occasionally take breaks from producing new content and let already published content earn some extra attention.
There are 4 main ways to repurpose your content:
1. Turn existing content into visually-appealing slide decks.
2. Turn existing content into video content.
3. Turn existing content into infographics.
4. Reposting existing content strategically on other channels.
Once you repurpose your content, you’ll need to find places to share it aside from your social media channels (though cycling newly repurposed content across your channels is totally fine!). Sites like Medium and Lumen5 give you great ways to give your old content new life and to put said content in front of new eyes.
If you’re sitting there thinking this is a lot of information, you’re right. Developing a content marketing plan for your real estate business is no easy task, and trying to do it based on piecing one together from articles you find on Google is almost impossible. This guide (hopefully) gave you the wireframe over which you will flesh out a content marketing plan which works for your business. Just think of it as walking a path, and these 8 points are steps along the path!
1) Identify your goals!
2) Conduct audience research and planning
3) Conduct audits
4) Pick your portfolio
5) Create your content plan
6) Create a distribution plan
7) Create a KPI plan
8) Create a repurposing plan
Follow these steps and you and your real estate business will be on your way to enjoying all of the benefits of a strong content marketing plan without having to pay a marketing professional or agency!