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Why you must always make content part of your mix

02/23/2017

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I know there are not a ton of media junkies out there like me. It’s not normal to read five newspapers a day plus devouring ESPN.com, Facebook and Twitter while also scanning more than 40 sections on my Flipboard.

My phone is always on with something to read. And that is before I’ve even hit real estate!

I was always like this. I remember the early days of my career, sitting in a pizza place reading The New York Post and Daily News.

I’d be bummed out when finished. Not with the two slices, but with the papers.

There were no cell phones back then, nor did we have the web. I was all out of media!

But not today. There is no end in sight. And that has created a bit of challenge.

The challenge

All of this news and information blends in, and it gets harder and harder to break through — especially in this overheated political climate, which is overwhelming all of us.

The “attention economy” is a term coined in 1971 by future Nobel Prize winner Herbert Simon. He correctly pointed out that our attention is an economy that cannot be stretched forever.

And with our consumption of media now up to a whopping 10-plus hours a day, according to Nielsen, getting people to listen to us has gotten harder and harder.

Yet when consumers need information, they will accept it, find it and often trust the firm that delivers.

In real estate, that is the brokerage.

What story can you tell — and how can you tell it on a budget?

I know. You are likely sick and tired of seeing the word “content.”

I suggest getting over it because nothing is going to change for a long time.

And that is a good thing. Telling the story about the local real estate markets is critical. And though statistics are great to compare and contrast, we also cannot overlook coverage of our communities, school events and business news that attracts interest and puts us front-and-center with movers and shakers in town.

I spoke to Mark Beal, a public relations professor at Rutgers University, about the challenge real estate brokerages have in creating their own content.

He immediately pointed out that a company can succeed if they have good writers on staff. But even then, content creation — which also includes videos and even podcasting — requires time and effort.

He quickly suggested students be hired at hourly rates. While they wouldn’t likely be able to do the “real estate by the numbers” type posts, they would be great for doing community pieces, agent and consumer features.

It’s a win-win. The students need practical experience, and the creation of a modern-day “clip book” is crucial to their future employment. Their posts can be shared by the agent base — and just like that, a real estate firm is in the “brand journalism” business.

Beal made one big suggestion. When hiring, go through a school’s journalism, English or communication program. They can get the word out and even identify good candidates.

And if your content shows up on my Flipboard real estate feed, I’ll be smiling!

David Siroty is the former vice president of North American public relations for Coldwell Banker and the founder of Imagine Productions, a communications, coaching and training firm. You can follow him on Twitter.

Email David Siroty

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