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The National Association of REALTORS® 2016 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers reports that 95 percent of today’s buyers start their home search process online, compared with only 2 percent in 1995. We all know having an online presence is critical for real estate professionals; however, brokerage websites and agent profiles are so commonplace that potential clients may find it difficult to determine what sets you apart. Connect with more clients by establishing an online content program for your office. Through blog posts, social media channels, e-newsletters and video posts, you can position your brokerage as the go-to source for information about a particular geographic area, niche market, home-buying basics, or a combination of all three.

An online content program allows you to market your services to consumers at all stages of the home-buying process. Those just beginning to consider purchasing a home will look online for information about new cities or neighborhoods. Those who are further along in their journey will benefit from resources about schools and tips for moving. Current homeowners might benefit from information about home maintenance and remodeling projects. Carefully planning your posts is critical to your content program’s success. If you can anticipate the questions buyers are most likely to search for, you can create useful and educational content that will make a true impact with potential clients. Whether they’re looking to buy now or in the future, they’ll associate your business with knowledgeable, helpful service.

While this approach to marketing can be very successful, it does require an ongoing time commitment. Before you begin, carefully consider who should be responsible for creating content and maintaining your online presence. Your agents may be eager for an opportunity to market their own services as well as the brokerage, but may not have room in their busy schedules. Perhaps you have office managers or assistants who are interested in expanding their skills, or maybe you’re interested in hiring someone specifically for the task.

Further streamline the process by deciding on an editorial calendar and scheduling posts ahead of time. Aim for the right mix of topics to appeal to the different facets of your audience. Incorporate a mix of timely local events and seasonal topics with evergreen subjects that maintain popularity throughout the years. Establishing your calendar in advance enables writers to work on posts as their schedules allow, rather than at the last minute.

Finally, keep in mind that your online content program doesn’t have to be solely comprised of original material. Resources like RISMedia’s ACE (Automated Content Engagement) create content and schedule posts automatically. NAR members have access to REALTOR® Content Resource, which provides shareable articles on many aspects of homeownership. You can also share links from sites like www.homebuying.realtor, the Real Estate Buyer’s Agent Council’s consumer-focused site, aimed at helping demystify the buying process while educating readers on the importance of working with an Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR®).

While it takes time and effort to develop a content program, establishing your brokerage’s voice online can result in benefits for years to come. You will connect with clients who value your expertise and insight and look to you as a respected source for their future real estate needs.

Marc D. Gould is vice president, Business Specialties, for NAR and executive director of REBAC. A wholly-owned subsidiary of NAR, The Real Estate Buyer’s Agent Council (REBAC) is the world’s largest association of real estate professionals focusing specifically on representing the real estate buyer. With more than 30,000 active members, REBAC awards the Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR®) designation to REALTORS® who work directly with buyer-clients.

For more information, please visit REBAC.net.

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

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