Content is King. It’s a marketing buzzword phrase that you’ve probably heard more than once. Perhaps a little overused, yes, but it’s an approach that has yet to be mastered in the world of multifamily and apartment marketing.
Let’s go through this scenario to show you why. Say a new job has you planning a move. The first thing you might do is Google where you want to live. If you’re moving to Dallas, your search might come up like this:
The neighborhoods are listed up top, and clicking into them leads to a search of those neighborhoods, but there are two noteworthy things here. For one, you’ll notice that articles that come up for this search are largely superficial. Mostly, they are lists with stereotypes about the neighborhood and maybe a blurb, but certainly not enough helpful information to make an informed decision about your move. Second, none of the articles come from multifamily properties. Surely as a resident, a multifamily property should be the prime expert on their location. This is a huge missed opportunity.
What Do You Mean By ‘Content’ Exactly?
When we talk about content, we’re simply talking about information. In this case, content is any form of online information that you provide: blog posts, infographics, photo galleries, interactive maps, social media messages, aggregated articles, etc. The most important thing about content is that when it’s done right, it doesn’t focus on you. It focuses on your customers. Great content delivers to your prospective renters the exact information they needed, when and where they needed it. So in the example above, a Dallas neighborhood guide would have been a good piece of content. If some sort of thoughtful resource popped up when we Googled “Dallas neighborhoods,” any one of the couple hundred multifamily properties in Dallas could have provided that … but they didn’t.
The Why and How Content Works for Multifamily
According to the Harvard Business Journal, “we are…in the midst of a historic transformation for brands and companies everywhere — and it centers on content.” The reason we create helpful content is so that we can be found. We create helpful content to establish ourselves as a resource. Multifamily properties can create helpful content to do all these things and to jumpstart relationships with prospective renters.
A while back, Mike Whaling drove home this point in a blog post on Multifamily Insiders. He gave us another scenario where there was a need for information (in this case, a prospective renter had reached out on social media looking for some general information about properties) and the company’s online content fell short. He suggested a number of ways the company could have filled his need — incorporating map-based search into their website, creating detailed neighborhood pages, optimizing blogs or landing pages for the words people are searching for…
Let’s take a look at some steps in the right direction: a new property website for Fiori on Vitruvian Park. In planning the content for their website, Fiori asked themselves, “What might our prospective renters want to know beyond pricing and availability? What would help them in their information search?”
Here we see a list of nearby attractions for food, fitness, music, and events — things that provide a stranger (like me) with a snapshot of the neighborhood. Give Google a little time to index this page, add in some keywords for SEO (search engine optimization), and BOOM: Fiori is my resource for Dallas neighborhoods. They are the ones providing the information for a move and they are the ones someone will most likely to start with as they begin to navigate the complex landscape of Dallas apartments.
Creating Content That Caters to Your Renters
You see, for every example about moving, there are a thousand more. And multifamily properties need to begin to anticipate the needs of prospective renters and create content that caters to them.
If your target market is families with young children, then perhaps you create a map of Dallas parks and show their relation to your properties. If you’re targeting Millennials, maybe you could hold a weekly Twitter chat for anyone who’s thinking about moving to Dallas — an opportunity to answer any of the questions they may have. The solutions are endless, but it all begins with understanding the problem. What kind of information do your prospective renters need and how can you provide it for them? How can you establish yourself as a resource and a point of contact?
Bottom line: There’s a need for great content, and you can fill it.