Real estate is arguably one the most competitive markets on the web when it comes to driving traffic and engaging prospective buyers. With IDX listings pushing the same properties to hundreds of websites, marketers have to think outside the box to differentiate their site from the Zillows and Trulias of the web.
Creating real estate focused content that can not only rank well in search results, but build trust with visitors and drive them to convert is a tall order for marketing professionals.
We asked a network of real estate SEO professionals, brokers, agents, and writers about the daily challenges they face with content creation and found some striking similarities.
1.Writers don’t know the local area
“I’ve worked with many real estate companies for their content/SEO efforts and one of the biggest challenges is finding the information necessary to put together an informational post. Real estate content tends to be about the local area and there usually isn’t much information online about specific communities or areas.
The fix to this becomes the need to hire someone locally to create the content that is familiar with the area or is willing to do the legwork to do very manual offline research. While it certainly can help you stand out, interviewing schools and visiting with local gated communities doesn’t always create the shortest turn around time on content creation.“
“Getting real estate content has been pretty hit and miss. The thing is, it’s empirically hyper local by nature—so, the quirks and the ‘vibe’ of a neighborhood or demographic are something that get lost on writers that aren’t local.
Sure, they can write about the most expensive condo buildings, the best school districts, market appreciation—that’s all public data. What isn’t public; things like which rooftop pool has the best summer social life, or which neighborhood is quiet during the day but lively in the evenings—and that’s the type of hyper-local product knowledge that sparks a connection with the readers and drives an inbound lead.“
2. Redundant Topics & Recycled Ideas
“The balance between developing broad, evergreen content that risks being too general or creating cutting-edge text that needs to be completely rewritten ever few months is a constant struggle. Just like the homes themselves, trends and paradigms for real estate are always changing. Must-haves today will be a faux pas tomorrow.
If we want to position ourselves competently, let alone as thought leaders, there’s only a small window to make that impression. A potential buyer who comes to our site and reads clearly out-of-date content is turned off immediately. That said, refreshing content to be current on the regular basis it requires is a massive undertaking of time and resources.
It has to be a balance… some content cannot be out of date, and some can get away with. When determining this, you have to ask yourself whether this content must be current, or if it would only be nice to be current.“
“I think the hardest part is finding the topics to write, since the viable keywords that can be expanded into valuable, relevant content in real estate niche is fairly limited compared to other niches I’ve written in. So, the research/curation process can be tedious.
This is further complicated when the client wanted to emphasize sales above all else (and so I’ll need to write sales-focused content), which is not that difficult, per se, but it will often result in a spammy, hard-selling content that is not valuable to the potential audience (which will be counterproductive to the sales goal in the first place).
Explaining to the client that real estate content marketing should be about providing information and establishing credibility can be hard, since most real-estate agents and brokers are focused on short-term gains instead of long term, sustainable results, while hard-selling content is generally not very effective nowadays. “
Steve Kurniawan—Nine Peaks Media
“When it comes to creating real estate content, the biggest obstacle is finding new real estate topics that will generate traffic for your website. Every real estate website or blog will cover the same topics: open house ideas, tips to promote your business, whether certain tools are worth it or not, etc.
If you want to scale your website’s traffic, you have to scale your content as well. This can be quite difficult when you work within a niche like real estate, where there seems to be a limit to the amount of high-volume keywords and topics. The challenge is to find content areas that are scalable, while also making sure they bring in the kind of traffic you want.“
3. Knowing the ins and outs of real estate
“The biggest challenge I’ve run into with real estate businesses as it relates to content creation is finding someone with the expertise (industry and local market) who has the time and skillset to write great content. As such, I’ve found that a collaborative approach between myself (the “SEO guy”), the real estate expert, and a freelance writer (ideally a past or current resident of the primary local market) works best.
Typically, I’ll provide the topic and general direction to the writer, the writer will get the high-level insight from the real estate expert and turn it into an informative, user-friendly piece of content, and I’ll make the necessary on-page optimizations before we publish.“
“Buyers looking for rural real estate and ranches are looking for very different things than suburban property buyers. When someone is buying an acreage lot or farm they want to know about utility access, availability of power, amount of livestock it can support, and zoning. Generalized content doesn’t resonate.“
John Hayter—Land Broker MLS
“My biggest challenge when making content is tying personal experience into the article. Many of my writers are amazing researchers, but it’s hard for them to write an article that hits home with an audience of real estate professionals without being real estate experts themselves.“
“Even the most experienced SEOs can become frustrated when it comes to creating content for clients, especially if it’s not in your niche market. When it comes to writing content for real estate clients, the biggest challenge for me is finding the right terminology that will resonate with the audience. Content writers are more generalists, so it takes time to learn about the industry to create pages that are not only engaging for the client and audience but also politically correct in their niche of real estate.“
Dominique Martinez—Tandem Interactive
“Writing content that goes into heavy detail with the necessary and relevant jargon can be tricky. While most property topics sound like an easy target, the deeper you go, the more complicated it actually gets. With this in mind, talking about mortgages, laws, and contracts can leave a lot to be desired unless you’re interested in that. However, the challenges are half the fun and in doing so much research you’re able to take on the knowledge that you’d otherwise never have.”
4. Finding The Right Author
“Hiring a consistent writer that understands your style and goals is not easy. Once you have one, you have to hang onto them at all costs. Be patient. Roll with the punches. If you care deeply about what you are writing, then you have to be the editor for your writer(s) as well. That is time-consuming and not always fun, especially if you are not an editor by nature.
I sell real estate, so at times I wonder what I am doing managing and editing writers?!“
“Our challenge in coming up with new ideas is finding topics that are the triple crown: high search volume, low competition, and strong buyer intent. Once we have those (2 out of 3 ain’t bad), we have to make the decision to keep it high-quality (which is time consuming), or outsource it, but it is difficult to find someone who both knows about real estate and is also a good storyteller. My advice is to invest the time to find someone great and then harvest that relationship. Then always revisit your content like a crime scene and keep asking yourself, what can I add, and what have I not answered?“
Jeff Howell—Lease Ref
“The biggest challenge with getting real estate content written is finding quality copywriters who think outside of the box and can come up with not just ‘average’ content which is just good enough, but come up with GREAT content that will be shared, generate links, and boost yourself as an authority in your neighborhood. There are many real estate writers out there who write generic articles, but those typically won’t go too far. It takes a knowledgeable and creative writer to really come up with content that will take your SEO to the next level!“
How To Overcome These Challenges
With some many local and national sites all competing for the same organic spots, it’s worth taking a different approach.
Rather than writing hundreds of words around “homes for sale in [city name]” focus on what buyers in the area care about. Find out what draws buyers to your area and focus on creating useful content that truly brings value to the readers.
Staying close to home with your writers can sometimes be a hassle, but it’s well worth the search. You wouldn’t want a vacation tour guide who wasn’t actually from the area, would you? Check out local writing groups and college programs to build an army of “boots on the ground” writers.
Avoid the common content themes that every real estate site hits on. Everyone has a content on the difference between and FHA, VA, and conventional loan or how to write an offer letter. Spend some time using tools like Google Trends and Google News to find hot and emerging topics.
Creating good content is never an easy task, but it’s well worth the effort in the long run to drive prospective buyers and sellers into your site. Need a little help in the process? Verblio has a network of thousands of writers across the United States, many with backgrounds in real estate who are ready to help amplify your content plans.