When I began writing professionally people would ask me, “what kind of writing do you do?” Although I still get that question, more and more I’m likely to be asked “what kind of content do you produce?”
In many ways it’s the same question, except for the word ‘produce.’ And that may turn out to be the critical difference. Right now I’m writing; when the editor hits the publish button on this post it will be ‘produced.’
It’s produced because it will appear to you on a webpage which is part of the whole interactive, digital medium we call the web or the internet.
Something created for the interactive digital medium of the web or net is actually, it turns out, a pretty good definition of ‘content.’
Content isn’t just writing, although that’s probably the preponderance of it these days. Photos, videos, words that are recorded and available for others to hear – called podcasts – are all ways content gets produced.
I still consider myself a writer, but I’m now also a content producer. When you write something for your website you are producing content. When you take pictures that the MLS uses you’ve produced content. If you do a video, or a podcast or whatever the next big thing will be, you’re producing content.
Chances are when you entered the real estate business you had no intention of also becoming a writer or a content producer. However as more and more people look for homes on the web, and seek information about buying and selling there, producing content for your website becomes ever more important. Here’s why:
It’s the content on your site that helps the search engines index your site so potential buyers and sellers can find you.
Search engines are in the business of helping people find what they want to find on the web – it helps them sell advertising which is how they make their income. Keywords and key phrases are still the best way a search engine can find your site. Keywords and phrases can be attached to photos, videos and podcasts as well as worked into articles.
These days every agent and broker that has a website also has a feed from the local multiple listing service. Original, evergreen content is one of the best ways to help the search engines find your site – it’s how your site is differentiated from the rest.
‘Original,’ of course means something you’ve created (or hired someone to create) that’s not a copy of something else. If you take a picture of a home and I do, chances are the photos will be different simply because we stood in a different place at a different time of day. If you and I write an article on the same topic, each article will be original unless one of us copies the other. The same is true for podcasts and videos.
If you, as so many people think that anything that is on the web is free to use, you’re wrong. It’s all owned or copyrighted by someone unless there’s a specific indication that it’s in the public domain, like the picture here which has a Creative Commons license.
When you write or produce something you automatically have the copyright to it unless you deliberately license it in some other way. It’s your original.
‘Evergreen’ is a term that means the content won’t get outdated soon. Unlike a listing, which has an expiration date, or an article featuring this year’s Grammy winners, ‘evergreen’ articles are more general. That is, you could write an article about the listing process, or how to sell a listing, or about the Grammy awards and each would be evergreen if it didn’t include a specific property or winner.
You want evergreen content on your website so when, for example, a client asks google for a listing agent in your town, your article on listing agents might very well come to the top, or close.
That’s what all the fuss about content is about.
Feel free to ask me questions about content in comments – I’ll do my best to answer them.
Before Anne Wayman became a writer she sold real estate in Southern California. She worked with her father who learned the business from his father. Not surprisingly she learned a few things along the way. Since then, she has been freelance writing for over 30 years – she is a grandmother, loves cats and writes about a wide variety of topics including real estate.