Archive for the ‘Goals’ Category

Do you have a Content Strategy?

Website “content” has shifted from being not as important as the website design to now front and center for digital marketing. So what does having a “Content Strategy” mean for your website and how can you use it?
Engage Through Conversation
Brands now seem to be attracted to the latest format or platform (“There’s an app for that”, anyone?) whereas a few years ago brands wanted nothing more than to have something of theirs go “viral”. But content shouldn’t be overlooked: great content creates conversations, conversations help you engage with people, and in this Social Media World, engaging with people is the only hope for brands to survive.

So while forming a “Content Strategy” can be difficult due to differences and individual factors, here’s a more streamlined 10-step process for you to check out.
1. Principles

Setting principles for your personal brand is a pretty basic branding idea: having these established will allow for discussion to take place centered around your authenticity, humility, and transparency. Now’s also the time to define your “client-engagement” policy. Set some principles. Doing so allow the brand to have a healthy and robust discussion around authenticity, transparency, and humility, as well as an opportunity to define the engagement policy. You need to be aware that brands cannot control when conversations end, so brands must make a continual investment in this ongoing endeavor.

2. Business Objectives
So…why are you doing this? State your objectives and link them to metrics where you can set targets and define a budget.
3. Brand Purpose

Here you delve a bit more into what your brand stands for within its “substance”. Focus on the topics that are important to you, and identify your position on certain subjects. What is your point of view? What’s your story? What’s your purpose? And most importantly, why should people care about you and your brand?

The best brands often identify an “ideal”, which can be an interesting direction to go into: for example, Fanta believes the world would be better if we grew up less and played more. How can you apply this thinking to your real estate brand? What would you like to see? This is a great way to give your brand a purpose and give you something to anchor your future content to – and remember to continuously back up your brand ideal with evidence!


4. Content Value
(Social Currency)

This “social currency” determines what value that your content delivers directly to people. The direct value of content can be broken down into four types:

- Entertainment value. Currently, advertising has taken a huge focus on this type of content value “currency”. People like to be entertained, and ideas that can be parodied spurs much conversation.

- Knowledge value. Business to business knowledge provides much content value within select industries.

- Monetary value. Actual monetary value can be applied through PR via promotions and competitions.

- Utility value. Phone apps and the latest in real estate website features fall into this category, and with the increase in intuitive real estate websites, apps may be a viable option to look into.
5. Sources
So who will produce all this great content for you? If you are a brokerage, you may have more choices than you may realize.

- Your Agents can be an effective choice for content creation. The US online shoe retailer Zappos.com encourages all staff to use Twitter and adds a competitive element: a leaderboard that ranks Zappos staff according to their Twitter following.
- Industry Peers by simply sign-posting people to relevant, interesting stuff: this goes for websites for both brokers and real estate agents.
- User-generated content (UGC), crowdsourcing, and co-creation is pretty self-explanatory and can also be a viable option.

6. Spaces
Whats the distribution strategy for your content?

- Brand media: your real estate website, email, and events (i.e., open houses?)

- Earned media: influencer networks, communities, or the media
- Paid media: I think we can guess how to get this.

strategy
It’s important to control the balance of these spaces, and experiential and social spaces work really well together. Another aspect of consideration is the question of social destination: not a lot of brands can pull this off. If you don’t have enough support, it may be difficult to get this going – and you’ll be spending on generating useless traffic. It may be more beneficial to your brand to get involved with communities that already exist, so do your research!

7. Formats
Formats that are appropriate to use include pictures, blog posts, videos, presentations, tweets, or Facebook. You can also repurpose your content into different formats:  if you have an upcoming open house, use the same topic in a series of  blog posts, announcement on your Facebook, Tweet it, and maybe make a video out of the Open House itself to throw up on YouTube. Make sure that your content is in a format for people to easily share!

8. Schedule
Conversations aren’t campaigns: they can’t be turned off. You should have a consistent content schedule (i.e., blog 2x per week) and keep it rolling. Take into account ad hoc and reactive content to what is going on around you to your pre-planning. Setting up a schedule will also ensure a constant stream of content. Be creative: experiment with different content and build on peaks of interest with similar material.
9. Social Agents
You’ll need someone to manage your brand outposts. Someone needs to be responsible for managing your brand outposts and managing your conversations. They should also be able to build relationships, redirect questions and suggestions, and ultimately be responsible for your social brand. This “person” can be a team of real estate agents for your brokerage, an intern, all agents, on an outsourced real estate SEO company.

10. Active Listening
It’s not enough to simply produce content, you need to be an active listener with your brand to gauge the reaction to your content. Track the conversations that you start, which ones you want to join, and create a metric to track your progress in regards to your objectives, targets, and budgets.

Questions, thoughts or strong feelings? Feel free to comment with your feedback!

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Normalizing Search Engine Traffic Reporting

We’ve all known about Google Trends for a while. I’ve had a thought about using Google Trends to normalize our search engine optimization campaign reports. Let me explain.

If your campaign is producing 1000 visitors per month in month 1, then 1100 in month 2, then 1200, that’s great. Let’s say that the trend in month 4, 5, 6 then goes 1200, 1150, 1100. Well, that’s not so good, it was going up ~10% per month, now it’s falling about 5% each month. Well, if the site is optimized around a set of target search terms, and then other traffic comes from halo terms, then to assume that the SEO is providing more or less traffic is also to assume that search volume for this family of terms is constant.

If we used Google Trends to normalize, we might find that the number of times a term was searched on fell 15% during those down months. So, the 10%/month upward trend was actually sustained.

google-trends

Another way to look at this is to simply ask, what percentage of potential clicks did you get? If this percentage is trending up, then you’re in good shape. This means you’re taking more market share.

Another way to think of this is the following: Let’s say that you’re doing search engine optimization for a site that sells air conditioners. Let’s further assume that you start the SEO campaign on January 1st. Well, no one is really looking for AC units in January. Then, in April, you start to see an upward traffic trend, it goes higher and higher and peaks in August. Then, by mid September, you’re not seeing any traffic from the search engines. You start Googling around and see your site, but no visitors.

Well, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that people just aren’t buying air conditioners in October. So, you’d pretty much expect to see less traffic. In this case, the best way to judge if the SEO campaign is succeeding is to either look a target terms and catalog placement in search engine results pages, or to normalize your numbers. Take a benchmark at the beginning of the campaign, say a ratio of traffic to searches, then, each month you’d want that ratio to climb. This way, you’ll know if your SEO is working, regardless of market trends.

Jack Conway launches new site on Boston Logic’s Sequoia Platform!

Jack Conway & Co., the largest independently owned real estate firm in Massachusetts, came to Boston Logic in need of a major upgrade to their Web presence and real estate software. Our real estate web design and development teams responded with a best-in-class offering – creating a fresh new design and building it on our Sequoia platform – which recently received a host of substantial upgrades. (Read more about the myriad improvements of Sequoia here). Moving onto the Sequoia Real Estate Website platform gives Jack Conway access to powerful lead management tools and an industry-leading user interface.

conway

The Sequoia platform continues to evolve to meet our customers’ needs. In the last month, we’ve added numerous features which make managing leads and tracking information across multiple offices in a large real estate firm simple and intuitive. All of this is of course in addition to the outstanding features which brought Jack Conway to the Sequoia platform in the first place – features which make it easier than ever to obtain leads and close deals. Integrating lead and content management, IDX property search, interactive user tools, deal tracking, blogging, live chat, and much, much more, the Sequoia platform serves as the foundation for the most advanced real estate websites in the industry.

In 2010 Jack Conway & Co. was once again named the No. 1 independent, privately owned real estate brokerage company in all of Massachusetts by RisMedia. With the Sequoia platform behind their new site, they will undoubtedly benefit from their substantial new ability to generate sales online.

Jack Conway is the largest independently owned real estate firm in Massachusetts, serving communities from the North Shore to Cape Cod.

1 Million fans in 10 days

Just a few days ago, an organization created a challenge. The goal was to get 1,000,000 people to be their fan on Facebook. The results are truly spectacular. How did they do it. It was actually pretty simple. The key was that they gave instructions:

1) Click “Join”
2) Click “Invite People to Join” to the left
3) Invite all your friends.

Here were the results:

Day 1: 987 members.

Exponential Fan Growth!
Exponential Fan Growth!

Day 2: 2,191.
Day 3: 5,175
Day 4: 8,798
Day 5: 17,408
Day 6: 38,852
Day 7: 105,119
Day 8: 202,262
Day 9: 508,726 members!

It looks like by the end of today they’ll have their 1 million fans. http://www.facebook.com/group.php?v=info&ref=mf&gid=283600686512

Now, this is a group that supports same sex marriage. They produced a huge amount of awareness in just a week and a half. You might have heard about another group, supporting the fight against breast cancer, who encouraged women to post the color of their bra on a particular day. Millions of women were simply posting a color as their status update. Black. White. Blue. The results were incredible.

The other factor here that should not be overlooked is Cause Marketing. Lots of folks are passionate about same sex marriage. Millions of us would love to see a way to cure or prevent beast cancer. If you’re in a for profit enterprise, there are ways to get the same zeal behind your brand. Here are a few ideas:

  1. Work with an organization. Think of how you can be carried along with the cause. RE/MAX is doing some good work with Susan G. Komen for the Cure, just as an example.
  2. Create something that people want to be a part of. It doesn’t have to be a cause. It could be a conversation group. Could be a place where bragging goes on. it could be a trend that people want to be a part of, just make sure your company is associated with whatever you create.
  3. Make it a challenge. These folks said “I bet we can get 1 million fans in 10 days.” And people took this on as a challenge.

Final note: Look at those numbers above. They’re experiencing exponential growth. they started with 1000 people and grew by 2x or 3x every day. Just remember, they started with 1000. Now, I have a few hundred facebook friends and so do most of the folks I know. If this sounds impossible to you, think again.

100 days to SEO greatness

Follow these steps and see more organic traffic in 100 days.

Folks, I’m going to give you a simple formula to achieve more search engine traffic in just 100 days. The formula isn’t hard to write down. You will need to dedicate an hour or two each week in order to execute this plan.

You will also need to have a few things in order to follow these steps. They are:

  1. A decent real estate website
  2. A blog as part of your website ideally in the structure xyz.com/blog (if you have a boston logic website with a blog, you’re all set)
  3. A site with a dynamic site map that updates when you publish a new blog post.
  4. The pages of your site (not just the blog pages) should be somewhat optimized already. H1s, Title and description tags, sufficient paragraph text and a good internal linking structure all help.

Now, this is by no means all you can do before launching the following steps, but it should give you a nice starting point.

So, we’re going to increase your site traffic by producing good blog content. Each week you’re going to blog 2 or 3 times so that you are posting 10 times each month. We’re going to use the following post types:

  • Listing posts – You take on a new listing. Someone in your office takes on a new listing. Or you simply go on a showing. Write a blog post about the home. Here’s an example listing post.
  • Market reports – Write about a present market trend. Prices going up, down, or remaining the same, for example.
  • Guest blogs – Have a friend or co-worker write a post for you.
  • Answering a common question – every day, practically, you answer questions from buyers, sellers, and renters. If you do this by email, which you probably do all the time, you can anonymize and re-use the content. Others have the same questions and this content is fantastic blog fodder.
  • Real Estate news – If there’s an auction announced, a big closing  in the market, a national news story pertaining to real estate, or anything newsworthy, write about it. State some facts and give your thoughts. Here’s some real estate news.

Step 1 – Create 10 to 20 categories in your blog. Give the categories the same names as your keywords. If you’re trying to figure out what keywords to use, search this blog some and you’ll find posts on how to do that.

Step 2 – Set a schedule, put the time into your calendar. Write a check list. Do whatever it takes to make sure you’re going to do the posts.

Here’s what this can look like:

  1. Week 1
    1. Real Estate listing post
    2. Local Market report
    3. Answering a question
  2. Week 2
    1. House listing post
    2. News item
  3. Week 3
    1. Answer a seller’s question
    2. New Listing post
    3. Guest post
  4. Week 4
    1. Home Listing post
    2. Answer a question
  5. Week 5
    1. Real Estate Market report
    2. Realty News item
    3. listing post
  6. Week 6
    1. Answer a home buying question
    2. new listing post
    3. Guest post

I think you get the gist…

When you create a post, make sure it is listed in every category that is even remotely applicable. Tag your posts too, using keywords in the posts that are close to or the same as your category names.

Step 3 – track your progress. Make sure you’re posting 2 – 3 times each week. In the first 100 days, you should post over 30 times. Yes, more than 30 posts. If you want to see an even greater impact on your ranking and traffic, post 3 or 4 times each week. In short, produce content regularly and post it properly.

You will see results.

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