Running A Successful Real Estate Website: Generating Quality Content
Every real estate professional and business owner recognizes the need for quality content and copywriting. It’s integral to everything they do – yes, everything. One of the biggest questions facing these parties today is how much they should invest in their content. Having said that, how high should the quality be? How much should it really cost?
Start By Setting Your Content Goals
It can be confusing to try and pinpoint the optimal blend of quality, quantity, and investment in real estate related content. How do you know if $5 is enough to pay for good content, or if $300 per page is too much?
Truly sales oriented real estate professionals can also feel that they are quite capable of hashing out some text for websites, marketing pieces, and blogs. However, even when they do, and have the time to do it (with no other options that might yield a higher ROI on time), it is always wise to get a second pair of eyes involved. A new perspective from someone that really knows what works can be invaluable. However, before rushing to hire a freelance real estate copywriter, it is smart to define your goals. What do you want them to do for you? What results do you expect? What type of content will get you those results?
The High Cost of Cheap Content
Almost invariably, cheap content will cost you more than you realize. Poor content, or even incorrect content, can actually damage a company’s reputation. Considering the importance of image in the real estate industry, maintaining a good reputation is of the utmost importance. Don’t risk what you have built by hiring a bad copywriter who doesn’t know what they are doing. Getting a good deal and demanding cost effectiveness is smart, and a must, but you need to know where to draw the line. Good content will cost more, but it is worth the exposure it can generate.
This industry has changed so rapidly in such a short amount of time. If you thought the inflation of properties in San Francisco was high, you may be grossly mistaken. The inflation of prices associated with outsourcing and staffing is mind blowing. While there are still low cost virtual assistants (VAs) out there, the economy has changed considerably. Right after the crash, people were desperate for work. Those that had been making seven figures a year and driving six figure cars were lucky just to find any work that would pay minimum wage. Now, the housing market and economy have bounced back and competition for talent has rocketed.
How Much is too Much to Pay for Content?
Obviously, professional journalists writing for the most prestige media outlets can make upwards of $300 per page. Many real estate companies, and especially new startups, can’t afford such an expense. So when does it become too much?
It’s not uncommon for real estate firms to pay upwards of $150 or more per article, as long as they are getting high quality content. The difference is the importance these organizations and professionals put on their content, and the results they expect. If they are going to spend $5,000 on a direct mail campaign, or thousands a month on pay-per-click, they believe it is worth making sure the words are optimized.
With this in mind, some might have to scale back quantity to increase quality. Great content will get results. These results and profits can be used to afford more quantity. Those that go too cheap in the beginning may never get the opportunity to scale. They know the best writers will bring a lot more to the table in value and effective content that actually works, rather than just copying and pasting someone else’ work on their pages.
Fortunately, there is a middle ground. Those needing content should set budgets that they can stick to consistently for the next 3, 6, or 12 months. Build results and then look to scale volume, even if this means doing less in the beginning. In other words; three awesome blog posts are far better than 30 terrible ones.
Finding Balance & Prioritizing Budgets
If you never plan to do any business online, but just need a placeholder website and blog, perhaps it isn’t such a big deal. On the other hand; if you know people will be looking you up online, perhaps content should be a higher priority.
With more real estate agents than available deals in many markets, it has become more important than ever to stand out from the competition. Better content can help you make a name for yourself. If you aren’t sure what that means in dollars, then test it. Recruit a couple of low and high rate real estate writers and conduct some paid testing to see where you get the best combination of value and results.