A Home Builder’s Guide to Hiring a Content Strategist
Do you want a smart marketing strategy to reach online home shoppers without breaking the bank? Content marketing is one of the most cost-effective ways for home builders to reach home buyers online.
But content marketing is about more that writing a clever social media post. It’s about attracting traffic to your website, turning visitors into web leads, and turning web leads into appointments. Content is the online version of an in-person sales presentation. It builds trust with buyers and achieves the business goal of selling more homes. Most of all, it’s about achieving this at a lower cost than traditional marketing methods such as offline marketing or paid search advertising.
So what does all this cost? Content has become the wild west of the web with no real pricing standard. Almost anyone can put up a website and call themselves a writer today. One writer may charge $10 per blog post and another may charge $500. But writing content and content strategy are not the same. Content writing is the hammer. Content strategy is the blueprint.
Here are 9 questions to ask before you hire a content partner:
- Are they industry-specific? There are nuances to writing for the homebuilding industry compared to other industries or even other types of real estate. You may pay less for a content partner with no homebuilding industry experience but the trade off is that you will spend a lot more time training that writer about your business. An industry-specific writer will already know the language and that will save you rounds of tedious revisions.
- Do they have broad industry experience? Writing content for single-family home neighborhoods is different than writing for a design build firm or a resort developer. A content team with experience in your product type, and in your market, will have expertise to make your content sound like everyone else in your market. A team with broad experience in multiple product types and markets will have expertise and creative new ideas to create a fresh and distinctive voice for your company.
- Does their content convert? A writer’s job is accomplished when you approve a blog post. A content strategist’s job is accomplished when you meet your sales goals. Does your content team have proven results? Focus on the return on investment of your content strategy instead of the price. A $4,000 digital content strategy that increases leads 230% is a lot less expensive than a $1,500 content plan that generates no traffic or leads.
- Do they understand the sales funnel? Writing content for the top of the funnel is different than writing for the middle or bottom of the funnel. Your content team has to understand how to do both. One community may need to focus on building an email list for a Grand Opening while another may need to close out a few remaining spec homes. A content team has to understand the questions, problems, and motivations of buyers at different stages of the sales funnel.
- Do they understand your personas, and can they write for different types of buyers? Writing content for a first-time buyer audience is different than the buyer of a luxury high-rise or a buyer in a 55+ community. Each persona requires content with different words, different features and benefits, and different ways of writing an effective call-to-action. A content team has to understand what motivates your buyers and write content that connects.
- Does your content team understand your brand? You don’t sell a Mercedes convertible with the same copy you use to sell a Ford F150. Content lives on the web for a long time. Find a content team that understands your brand, how to communicate your company values, and how to translate those values into content that attracts the right buyers for the homes you sell.
- Do they understand each digital platform? The person who writes your brochure copy is probably not the best person to write web copy. It’s like asking your plumber to frame a house. Same overall goal, completely different job. Writing for the web requires a different skills set and knowledge about how people find and read online. A good content strategist will understand how to optimize each form of digital media (blog, email, social, press release, web copy). They will also know how each platform works together to create a complete content strategy.
- Can They Tell a Story Visually? With sites like Houzz, Pinterest and Instagram digital media is more visual than ever. Strong visuals increase social sharing and SEO and that increases the return on investment for every piece of content you publish. Is your content team just a group of writers, or are they skilled in both written and visual communication?
- Do I want to read what they write? Of course, good writing skills are important. If you are not interesting in the content your team is writing then it probably won’t be interesting for home buyers.
An experienced content partner is as important to the success of your business as an experienced sales person. Your content team is your online sales team. Use this checklist to find the right content partner to help you attract, nurture, and convert more home buyers online.
Need a content strategy team to take your business to the next level? Contact us for a free initial consultation.