Adapting to Your Vertical
We’ve all heard the importance of content when it comes to digital strategy. Through the strength of your writing you can simultaneous attract more visitors and more links as you reach out to others in your niche or industry. But what if the other websites in your niche – your online community – are made up of rather poor candidates? What if your vertical as a whole is regarded as spammy and filled with lower quality targets? When it comes to content and reaching out some areas of the Internet are a bit tougher nut to crack.
Real estate is a good example of this. Personally, I’ve faced more than a few frustrations when working in this niche. Somewhat owing to its highly competitive nature, real estate as an industry has seen a large amount of self-promotion online, either through content that is highly sales oriented or targeted at gaming SEO, particularly in regards to localized search. The lack of quality, non-biased and independent voices in real estate has lead some in the community to wonder where all the real estate bloggers have gone. When looking to implement a link building or content strategy for a company or client in the real estate field, it can be hard to know what paths to pursue.
Matching Voice to Audience
While creating quality content is an ideal to strive for, it is of little value if it’s targeting the wrong audience for your business. I’ve summarized below a few paths to take for content generation and strategy in the real estate/construction space. These content strategies were derived from some of the leading blogs and websites in this vertical.
First, you could go the route of becoming an independent voice and look to provide helpful advice for real estate agents, marketers, home buyers, etc. Big boys like Zillow and Trulia are packed with articles and discussions like these and can provide you with some ideas for your own content and promotion. On the lower end of involvement, post topics might include lists, rankings or interviews, but, if you have the resources, establishing yourself as an authority in this space can prove worthwhile. High end content such as case studies, research and white papers will create natural links and outreach between your site and other professionals in the space.
You could become a source for news and opinion on stories and events in the industry, similar to Inman.com. Topics here can range from financial to individual housing markets. This is a good choice if you are going after professionals in the space. Content doesn’t need to be as time intensive as you are acting more as a reporter than an investigator or expert.
If your target audience is the home buyer, rather than the real estate professional, it may be a better use of time to go after more secondary niches that have larger readerships and community activity. Doing a bit of research and brainstorming you can come up with new ways to make connections between content and communities. For real estate, I like to focus on interior design and home renovation, both niches that have wide readership and social involvement. A good example of a professional application of this content approach can be found on the blog of Ryan Homes, a national home builder. Creating links with sites in these more popular niche’s is going to generally be easier as many of those in this space are amateurs and blog for fun and fame, rather than to meet ROI or lead quotas.
Keeping the Faith with Content
Whether pursuing the basic content strategies I’ve outlined here or going after a more customized approach, it’s important to understand the power and pull of good content. Regardless of what type of activity you want visitors to engage in once they land on your website, it’s going to take something intriguing to pull people in. Beyond advertising, content is the quickest way to accomplish this. Besides being a good read, content should also be able to grab the attention and interest of your desired audience, demonstrate your knowledge on the subject and provide a segway towards the business operations of the website and associated conversion goals (newsletter signup, subscription, purchase, lead generation, etc.).
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The advice I’ve provided here has been specific towards real estate, but can be applied to nearly any online niche. The key is understanding the ongoing discussions in and around your community. Learn from the authoritative voices that already dominate the landscape, and look to adapt their content and content marketing methods to your business model. Yet at the same time, when working to promote a website or brand in a difficult space, like real estate, don’t get weighed down by just focusing on what you have to offer and trying to tell people about it. Take off the blinders and look at what themes and discussions are popular and try to create natural connections back from those topics to your own expertise.