The Home Builder Guide to Content Curation
Does your home builder content marketing (including social media, blogs, email, videos and website) feel like a party… or a ghost town?
Content marketing is a cost-effective way to cut through the noise of the internet to attract, educate, and influence buyers online. But creating content is only part of the puzzle. A successful home builder online marketing strategy also includes content curation.
Content curation can be an effective tool for home builders to create trust, authority, and increased visibility online. If you’ve never considered content curation as part of your overall home builder online marketing strategy, here’s a guide to understanding what it can do for you:
What is Content Curation?
Content curation is the process of reviewing, collecting, and sharing content from around the web that is 1) consistent with your brand and business objectives, and 2) useful and relevant for your buyers.
Why Should I Consider Content Curation?
You may not have the time, talent, or budget to create an engaging multimedia content platform that includes professional video, infographics, or slideshows to engage online home shoppers. Content curation gives you the ability to leverage other people’s platforms to communicate a message with your audience, and from sources that buyers already trust. This creates a cost-effective tool for communicating with, and receiving valuable feedback from, your online audience of potential home buyers.
What Types of Content are Best for Curation?
The topic, format, and tools that you use to curate content will vary depending on your audience, product, market and business objectives. Test different types of content to discover which formats earn the highest clicks, shares, and comments. Examples of content that home builders can use to connect with potential home buyers include:
- Infographics (Homes Are Selling Like Hotcakes)
- Videos (WSJ: Housing Rebound Grows as Prices Rise Sharply)
- News articles (New York Times: Housing Market Shrugs Off Rise in Rates)
- Blog Posts (FreshHome: What Every First Time Homebuyer Needs to Know)
- Photos (Houzz: Kitchen Backsplash Design Ideas)
- Slideshows (Businessweek: America’s Top 50 Cities)
- Lists (75 Family Activities in Seattle This Summer)
Buyers are most likely to click through to topics that are education based and solve a specific problem. Buyers are less likely to click through on topics that sound like an advertising pitch.
How Does Content Curation Help Me Sell More Homes?
At first, content curation may seem counterproductive. After all, in most cases you will be driving your potential buyers to someone else’s website. However, content curation is a cost-effective tool in your home builder online marketing toolbox that brings several measurable benefits. Benefits include:
Authority: When you serve your buyers as a trusted filter to the massive amounts of content that is posted each day to the web, you earn authority as someone who understands your buyer’s problems and how to solve them. This sets you apart from your competitors who continually post “Look at me” and “buy now” messages. When you curate content that speaks to a specific buyer need (“10 Benefits for Move Up Buyers Now”) versus general news (“National real estate trend is up”), you differentiate yourself online by identifying your buyer’s problems and delivering solutions. How well you achieve this will be measured in likes, shares, comments and clicks.
Credibility: It’s one thing to say that the real estate market is up and you are increasing prices due to construction costs. It carries more weight if your local paper, a national news outlet, or other trusted resource provides the facts and you provide context. For example, you may retweet an article from the Wall Street Journal about housing prices and rates going up with a message about your move-in ready homes and the ability for buyers to lock in today’s prices and rates.
Market Research: Let’s say that interest rates are rising and you want to invest in developing content about what that means for buyers. You’d like to develop content in the form of videos, blog posts, and perhaps an infographic. Developing this content will be expensive for your team in terms of time and money. Content curation gives you an opportunity to earn a higher ROI for your investment by conducting immediate, free market research. By curating and sharing content about rising interest rates you can measure a) how responsive your audience is, and 2) which specific topics earn the highest levels of click through and engagement. Use can then use this data to create content that is laser focused on the hot buttons of your audience.
What Value Does Content Curation Offer to Buyers?
In addition to your business objectives, content curation enables you to better serve the needs of buyers who are researching a new home purchase online. Some benefits for buyers include:
Time: There’s more content on the web than most home shoppers can sift through, and most of it is very low quality. If there are 100 blog posts, videos, and news articles about the real estate market in your area, how do buyers know which one provides the best information and insight? As a content curator, you create value by saving home shoppers something even more important than money. You save them time.
Context: As a successful content curator, you give buyers a personal connection to stories that they might not otherwise connect to. For example, an article about the benefits of energy efficiency might not resonate with buyers. If you share that article with a homeowner testimonial about the $1,000 in energy costs that a family saved during their first year in their new home, that’s context. Context personalizes content.
Influence: Potential home shoppers research a new home purchase online in search of information. When you curate high quality content, you are equipping buyers to make, and defend, a buying decision. Content marketing that centers solely on sales messages (“See our new model, buy our move-in ready home, visit our Grand Opening”) does not provide home shoppers with the information to influence a buying decision. Content curation gives your message more credibility by leveraging trusted third party resources.
What Topics Are Best for Content Curation?
Because content curation serves both your goals and your buyer’s needs, selecting the right topics will be different for each builder, product, audience and market. Here are some examples of home builder content curation topics that meet the objectives of both builders and buyers:
Specific Business Goals: Are you completely sold out of standing inventory, and need to sell homes that will not be completed for another 4 months? You may want content that focuses on the benefits of designing your own home with custom selections. Do you have three standing inventory homes with an unpopular formal living and dining area design? Opt for content that promotes entertaining at home or flexible use rooms.
Lifestyle: Do you build active adult communities with amenities that include golf, tennis, and hiking trails? Share content that promotes the mental and physical health benefits of staying active over 55. Is your primary buyer profile young families? Share neighborhood resources for parents.
Real Estate News: Timely, product relevant, localized information about the real estate market is an important part of educating buyers and creating urgency. Think beyond generalized, national news stories to localized content that is personalized for your target audience. For example, if you are selling to primarily move up buyers, you may want to focus on relevant resale housing trends such as average days on market. For first time buyers, you could focus on local rent versus buy comparisons.
Product USPs: Do you build green homes? Content that promoted the health, financial, or environmental benefits of green living. Do you sell condominiums downtown? Look for content that promotes the benefits of low maintenance living, walkability and nightlife.
Remember, successful content curation is both a) consistent with your brand, and b) relevant to your audience. No matter how cute the video of the laughing baby is or how funny the Facebook joke might be, consider these objectives before sharing it.