Mackenzie | April 24, 2018 | Content Marketing
How to Create a Content Calendar that Sells Homes
If you're a real estate developer or home builder, you know that any marketing strategy you use has to be time-efficient. You need to fill homes and sell lots quickly to see quality returns on your investment.
If you've been considering content marketing as a part of your digital marketing strategy, but aren't sure if it's an effective use of your time, we hear you.
It's not always easy to write blog posts regularly, get them posted, and then promote them. That said, content marketing is one of the most cost-effective ways to get eyes on your site. All it really takes is time.
But, if like many housing developers, you're a little short on time, know that you can still have the best of both worlds by creating a content calendar.
A content calendar is exactly what it sounds like. A calendar that helps you organize your thoughts, and create a regular blog posting schedule that can help keep you on track.
Here's a content calendar template to give you a better idea of what we're talking about:
Content calendars help take some of the work out of creating a regular blog posting schedule by outlining the topic, description, and keyword for each upcoming post. You can see that this content calendar goes the extra mile by outlining the pillar page and buyer persona that each post will be tailored to.
This helps ensure a solid content marketing strategy that will rank well, in addition to providing the information your ideal home buyer is looking for. New to pillar pages?
Check out Topic Clusters: The Future of Content Marketing
New to buyer personas? Head to this Step-by-Step-Guide to Developing your Buyer Personas.
Here at Evenbound, we work with real estate developers and home builders regularly. Every single client we've worked with has seen significant results from all of our marketing efforts, but specifically tied to our content calendar and content marketing strategy.
You don't have to take my word for it though. Check out this case study for real data.
We regularly develop content calendars for our real estate retainer clients. We outline exactly what it is we're going to write about and when, and then we give the calendar to the client for approval.
That way, once it comes back approved, all we have to do is write the posts for the next six months to a year. There's no guesswork or question about what we're doing, and when it needs to go out.
Content calendars outline the topic, description, and keyword for each month's upcoming posts, as well as the buyer persona and pillar page that each blog post will be written to support.
A content calendar is a great solution for busy home developers. It allows you to stick to a schedule, and it makes it easy to hand off the blog writing to whoever has a little extra time that month. Since the topics are already created, any decent writer can write the blog.
But how do you develop a content calendar that draws in qualified leads?
Let's get into it.
Here are 5 steps to developing a content calendar that sells lots, and fills homes.
This goes back to that ideal buyer we're always talking about. Who do you want to sell homes to?
Are you developing a community that's largely centered around seniors?
Are you building homes for young, growing families?
It's important to pinpoint who your target buyer is before you start developing your content because the age range and general lifestyle of that buyer will influence the types of content that you put out.
After you've identified your specific target buyer, it's time to start creating content, or at least topics to write about that speak to your buyer.
The best way to develop a content marketing strategy that helps your development rank well online, and answer the questions your buyer personas have, is to write in topic clusters.
If you don't have pillar pages already, here's how you start.
Identify three or four categories to center your content calendar around.
For example, one of our developer clients is working on filling a sustainable mountain living community near Asheville, NC.
Our content calendar revolves around three major topics: things to do in Asheville, homeownership, and lifestyle topics that focus on the activities that their target buyers most enjoy.
Each of these topics has a pillar page — a long-form piece of content, either a blog or a webpage, that covers that topic in depth. For example, a blog or page called "The Complete Guide to Moving to Asheville: What To Eat, What to Do, and What to See" would be a great pillar page.
Any blog we write that's about things to do in Asheville will link to that pillar page.
As we write more content, and as it gains more traction with search engines, that pillar page will start to rank higher and gain more authority, helping that client reach more qualified leads.
By segmenting our content calendar into topic clusters, we're able to reach the client's target buyer in more than one way and rank for keywords in all of those categories.
When you develop your content calendar around pillar pages like this, you'll be able to appeal to the sense of place your development offers, draw in potential buyers who like to do activities that other residents like to do, as well as targeting the thing that's most relevant to your development — homeownership.
Once you've decided on a few key topics or pillar pages to develop content around, it's time to actually start writing your content calendar.
Here are a few questions to help you think about great content to include in your content calendar.
By filling your content calendar with a range of topics that answer these questions, you'll have a number of different, interesting blogs that will work to draw new people to your site.
By writing content about your area, you get the added bonus of identifying your location for both search engines and consumers, making it more likely that you'll pop up in local search results.
Remember that your content strategy is never about you.
Rather, it should be a resource for your target buyers.
You want them to love the content you're putting out so much that they subscribe and never miss a post. The only way to do that is to create content they care about, which isn't going to be monthly updates on how the development of your community is going.
While creating the topics is definitely the hardest part of any content calendar, don't just stop when you have the right number of ideas.
A content calendar should also include a keyword, title for the post, and description of what you meant when you came up with the topic.
Every single post you put in your content calendar must be tied to a keyword.
I get it, keyword research is hard. And sure, it can be pretty time-consuming.
But, that's why you're creating your real estate content calendar now! To save yourself time in the future.
Use a free tool like WMS Everywhere, Infinite Suggest, Google Keyword Planner, or Ubersuggest to search for keywords that are:
Your keyword research can also help you when you get stuck coming up with new topic ideas. Look for quality, relevant keywords, and allow those to drive a few of the topics you come up with.
To save yourself extra time, consider adding your call-to-action into your real estate content calendar, too.
This is often a tedious part to write at the bottom of your blog post. It talks about how great your community is, and where people can find you if they're interested in one of your homes. Add that right into your content calendar now, and you won't have to worry about it later.
Once you've got the calendar fully filled out, create a publishing schedule. Put a date on each post, both to give yourself a deadline, and to make sure you don't have any long gaps between posts.
With a posting date, it'll be clear when you need to start writing, and you'll have something holding you accountable to get that content out into the world.
When your content calendar has a posting schedule, topics for every month, descriptions, keywords, titles, and CTAs, you're done!
Well, done with the content calendar at least. You'll still have to write the posts themselves if you're looking to draw in those qualified buyers, but you won't have to worry in the future about deciding what to write, and getting it out in a timely fashion. With a schedule and plenty of topics already set to go, writing a blog post is easy.
Content calendars are a seriously handy tool for any real estate developer short on time. If you want to create one, but still aren't sure what to write about, or how to go about getting started, get in touch. We're sort of content calendar experts, and would love to help you optimize your content marketing strategy for success.
To see how we've helped other real estate developers boost revenue and sell homes, check out the case study below:
At Evenbound, we're all about helping our clients grow. We use inbound and outbound marketing strategies to deliver you the qualified traffic and leads you need for serious growth. And we have a lot of fun doing it.
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