I get asked the question all the time…”why in the world would you share information on something that has worked so well for you just so others can copy it?” There was a time when I asked myself that exact question…and I continued to learn over and over again what the reality is when it comes to a lot of business people out there. Most are excellent at taking advice and few are good at taking action. Pretty blunt? You bet it is.
So if you are not ready for a real clear, step-by-step plan to boost your marketing…no big deal. I am a big believer in the abundance mentality and have no fear of creating competition. I am excellent at what I do and I have an incredible group of people around me, so fear of competition is long gone. I do however want to help as many people as possible out perform and stretch beyond even what they thought they could accomplish. If you are serious about crating great content for marketing, then read through this plan and start sharing your success stories at the bottom!
Where to Start Your Real Estate Marketing Plan
You know, there are two thought processes on where to start each article. One says you never insult any potential readers. The other says weed out the doers from the viewers and get down to business. I mean no offense, but this is an actual plan that anyone can use today to produce content and start getting it out.
Read online forums where real investors are talking about issues that concern them. You can quickly get through the topics that you have no expertise or interest in and narrow your choices for creating great content. Find a topic that you have some knowledge about and jump in the middle of the conversation. Spend some time talking to other investors and getting to know what interests them on the topic. Get a view of the topic from all sides and by all means listen! Pay attention to what other investors are saying.
You should be able to find two things in the online forums. You should find a topic that matters to other investors. You should be able to find a topic that matters to you. Don’t even bother trying to put out great content on topics that mean nothing to you. The problem with that approach is that the content will have no drive, no push for the reader, no soul. It has to evoke an action from the reader if you want your marketing to have a real impact.
Step Two: Creating Great Content
Now that you have your topic, it is time to get down to creating really great content. How do you do that? Well, you start with being both informative and engaging. It is hard to do and even the best at it still sometimes fall flat. The key is that you want readers to find a reason to keep reading or keep listening or keep watching. You want your readers to decide that giving you their time is worth it.
I love using video for a lot of my marketing content. I believe it gives the viewer a sense of who I really am. I am not just some guy that flipped a couple of deals and decided he was going to start sharing his “knowledge”. Video helps me to do that. If you enjoy speaking in front of other people or have that knack for shaking hands and building relationships quickly, then I would consider shooting a video.
Using Video In Step Two
Video does not have to be expensive. In fact, any digital camera that shoots video will work just fine. I shoot my video on a Canon Rebel today although there was a time when I used nothing more than a flip cam. I wrote an article for the Bigger Pockets Blog a couple of months back that goes into greater detail about using video for your marketing if you want to dig a little deeper.
As far as the content goes on the video, I would suggest that you make some notes for your first video. It might be a video on “4 Ways To Build A Buyers List” or “How To Rent A House In Half The Time” or “The Best Real Estate Tips For San Antonio” or even “My Biggest Mistakes As An Investor And How To Avoid Them”. Each of these are big topics on forums because real estate investors, especially those just getting started or who are looking to evolve into other areas, are always looking for ideas and “how to’s” from other real estate investors. The trick is, you have to actually know what you are talking about. So don’t think you can pull a fast one and throw something together quick. You have to put some thought into your topic. This is not “fake it until you make it”. Try that with video marketing and you will find yourself facing a long road back to credibility.
Make your notes on what you want to talk about. Just a few key points that you want to make sure you discuss. I would recommend that you shoot the video in a way that makes you feel the most comfortable. Behind a table, in front of a table, standing up, leaning on a tree…you get my point. Where are you the most comfortable talking. I personally use my hands a lot when I am talking so sitting behind a table would never work. So choose your location, prepare your notes (do not read from them when videoing!), set up your camera and hit record.
I suggest keeping the video between 20 minutes and 30 minutes, but there is nothing wrong with throwing out a five minute video. The most important thing starting off is that you have a good topic and a great grasp of what you are going to say on the topic.
Not Using Video in Step Two
If you are not as big on using video and want to try some other techniques for content creation, I suggest you get a recording device. Most computers today come with microphones and speakers and there are a lot of programs that will record you right into a file on your computer. I prefer Camtasia because it not only records what I am saying but it will also record my computer screen. Here is why that is important to me when creating content. I can pull up on my screen data, websites, forum conversations, notes I may have made for myself and view all of this while I am talking.
I’m sure some of you are wondering when do I get to the good old fashioned Word Doc where you sit down and punch out a report. You are doing it as we speak! This is how you put out a great written report. You record it!
You are recording yourself as you explain to the recording device your topic. You have your notes and your sources right there in front of you and you are going through your key points on your topic. You are talking as if you have a full audience right there in front of you and giving them a full report. Be detailed and be specific. Use the phrases like “step one…” or “the first way…” or “this is how…”. These phrases will become important because they will later become headings for you report.
When you complete your recording, Camtasia will save a file on your computer with your video. This is when you can start having some real fun with your content. It is time to bring in some experts.
Step Three: Prepare Your Content
Step three is where we prepare to get something really good into the hands of others and hopefully, help them remember who it was that gave it to them! If you are using video, this is where you upload that video to an editor. That may sound complicated, but since YouTube has a built in editor, depending on how willing you are to learn something new, it is not complicated at all. The key is to make sure your video contained killer content and you showed you were genuinely trying to put something high quality out there for your audience.
Once the video is uploaded to YouTube, you now have a platform that you can embed on your site and on a page specifically designed just for your video. You now have a page on your site that should be titled the same as your video, a video placed on YouTube and the next step will be to begin telling people about your killer video. However, if you recorded content for a written report, you need to do one more thing.
I love the website Speechpad. It is simple to use and very cost effective for having videos, recordings, Webinars, etc… transcribed into written format. You can even choose which format you want the content to be converted. I prefer to have mine converted into a text format that I can then copy and paste into a Pages document (yes, I am a Mac user). If I thought out my recording in advance, I have already divided my content up with phrases such as “the next step” or “step two” or “my next suggestion”. The transcriber breaks the content into natural paragraphs and will also provide headings to sections if you presented the content that way.
That is very important because once I have brought my content over to a Pages file, the next important thing is to start setting the appearance of the information. I would suggest that you make it look appealing with out over-doing the artistry of it. Do not use crazy, hard to read fonts just because they are “unique”. There is a reason they are unique…you can’t read them! Set up a consistent pattern of colors and fonts throughout your document.
When you have the content and are positive that it reads the way you want it to read (you will probably have to edit it a bit), then you are ready to insert images. I choose to use real pictures as much as possible and also love to use text boxes to break up the monotony of the content. I’m not as big a fan of hokey images and I would rather use my own pictures if possible instead of using someone else’s pics that I find on line. If you do use someone else’s pictures, make sure that you provide a link in your doc to their site or at the very least, site the page you found the picture at the end of your document.
Now that you have added pictures, text boxes and any other finishing touches, make sure that you put plenty of opportunities throughout your content for your readers to reach you. Include email opportunities. Include your phone number and website or blog. Just make sure they know that you are accessible and available for them to speak to. Just as with the video, you want to create a landing page on your website, sharing the title of you content, for you to drive eyeballs to.
Step Four: Attracting Viewers and Readers
You have your content. Either you have filmed a video or you have prepared a great written document or a white paper if you want to call it that. Now it is time to prepare to drive traffic back to your content. This is a key step to making sure that you get not just the eyeballs but that you get the right eyeballs. That requires advertising.
You need to decide where and when you are going to drive traffic back to your site. You can use Google Adwords, you can use PPC traffic through any of the other browser services, you can run ads on LinkedIn, Facebook and any number of other locations, but you also want to make sure you are getting the traffic you are looking for. IF you are driving just local traffic and trying to establish yourself as a local expert in real estate, I would stick to Google Adwords. If you are seeking a specific segment of your profession, LinkedIn may be best. If you are looking for real estate investors, there is no better site to place ads than BiggerPockets. That is my opinion only, but it comes from 4 years of experience on the site.
I know when I am driving traffic on that site, I am getting the highly qualified eyeballs that I specifically am looking for. Once you know exactly where you want you traffic (remembering that you do not have to just choose one), then you need to get banner ads made for those sites. I love this step because it is so easy and so cheap. Unless you just love learning new things like PhotoShop, I would suggest you check out Fiverr.com. This site is incredible and whomever thought this site up, I would say they are a commerce genius! Trust me. Go to Fiverr.com and before you even start bounding around and trying to figure it out, just go to the upper right hand corner and type in “banner ads”. What you will get from Fiverr.com is a list of people who are willing to design a banner ad for you for $5. You use PayPal to transact with them and after you have paid $5, you send a message on the site to the person you hired where they ask you for some details. Usually within 24 hours, you will have your banner ad back from the designer.
I love using sites like this because they do all of the heavy lifting for $5. I have not always loved the final product that comes through from the designer, but they have already done the hardest part in designing the banner ad. Usually, I am just adding tweaks and copying the ad to create a new version and then I have two ads to test. The bottom line is that I can get the ad done quickly and cheaply and when I find someone who does a good job, I can continue to hire them going forward and the more work I give them, the faster they work. This site is great!
Step Five: Build Your Reputation
Get your ads out there and get-to building a reputation! I am a big believer in education marketing. I love talking and meeting with people and have shared a ton of tips, ideas, experiences and any knowledge that I may have gathered through the years many, many times over. That abundance mentality has really paid off as today there are a lot of people that point back to me as someone that helped them when they first got started and recommend me to others. Why does that happen? Great content.
I have taken the time through the years to develop and then re-purpose content over and over and constantly looking to do something even better next time. I am a big believer that if I am creating really good, educational content, then I can take that content and continue to develop it, make it look different, add new tips and updated data and continue to use that content to drive the qualified leads I am looking for. (Hint: send your video to Speechpad and let them turn it into a written White Paper). In that case, you will constantly have new and great content to use to drive traffic back to you!
That is what I call Marketing Magic because it is so easy to create and then re-create and re-purpose over and over again. For a couple of hundred dollars you can have an ad, a piece of marketing content and a place to run some ads and all for a relatively small amount of your time.
I often tell people that I am not an expert, but I am experienced and my experience has taught me that this is the easiest way to create really good content that builds you up. I would love for you to share your ideas, thoughts, successes as a marketer below and even share your own favorite sites…