Why Real Estate Agents Should Live By a Content Calendar

2/10/2019

Heat Level: Medium: These tips require some experience.

Bottom Line: Agents and brokers need a content calendar to make social media stress-free (and ensure you're not wasting time and energy).

Do This: Use this plan to build your own calendar and stay on track with your social media goals.

Social media is the #1 thing our agency gets questions about. For real estate agents and brokers, diving into the world of social media can feel like plunging into the deep end with no floaties. Where is the line between swimming gracefully and frantically treading water?

The answer is in the magic of the editorial calendar.

You without an ed cal 
You with an ed cal
 


An editorial calendar - aka a content calendar - is a publishing plan that lets you predetermine what to write, where to post, and what assets (photos, links, videos, graphics) you'll need. Whether you're a broker or an agent, having an editorial calendar has plenty of time-and-energy-saving benefits:

  • Ensures your content is well thought-out and aligned with your goals
  • Helps you stay consistent and prevents "what should I post" panic
  • Gives you a space to practice, workshop, and revise (and spellcheck!)
  • Saves you time and makes you more efficient
  • Shows buyers and sellers you have your stuff together

Unless you enjoy the feeling of panic when you realize you haven't posted in three months, an ed cal will become your best friend. A little bit of pre-work saves a lot of extra work later. Nothing slips through the cracks, nothing catches you by surprise, and you don't have to shoot from the hip. It can also boost the quality of the content you're putting out.

Sound good? Here's how to set up your own content calendar.

Planning Your Editorial Calendar

Determine which platforms you should be on.

There are many different social media platforms - you don't have to be active on all of them. If you're just starting out with your own professional presence, it's fine to start on the platform(s) you're most comfortable with. No shame in that game! If you're a little more well-versed, consider where your audience will be. Here are the 2018 social media usage statistics for the major platforms.

Consider what you can curate versus what you need to write yourself.

Curation means to linking to reputable sources like NAR, Forbes, etc. (not your competitors, obviously). Instead of writing everything from scratch, you can post links to these sources when they have a blog entry, for example, you want your audience to read. Curation is a great time saver and also establishes you as a source of quality information.

If you're feeling feisty, you might want to write your own blog - we highly recommend this for SEO and user experience. Ask your website provider if you can add a blog feature to your website. (ListingManager users can get a blog component added to their site for free.) Writing original content does take more energy and planning, but it positions you as an expert and lets you have full control of the information.

Research competitors, industry leaders, and your own feed.

What makes good content? We have some ideas, but you will have your own perspective. Scroll your own newsfeed. Look at what your competitors and industry leaders do successfully (or poorly). Make notes of what catches your eye and makes you stop scrolling - and plan to do some of that.

Develop 4 content pillars that make sense for your business.

Content pillars are topic areas. Instead of swimming out into open waters, give yourself some guidelines. For agents we recommend starting with: Real Estate News/Tips, Community Updates, Your Personal Perspective, and Your Business (listings, sales, etc.) Having content pillars ensures you hit a variety of topics without saying the same things over and over.

Setting up your Editorial Calendar

Create the document.

Every company, brokerage, and marketer has a different approach. It's usually some kind of spreadsheet that shows what to post, when, and where. Curata has a couple examples of ed cal formats here. Try a few or make your own in Google Docs or Excel. Remember that the simplest approach is almost always the best, at least when starting out.

Pro-tip: if you're collaborating with anyone (even your niece for spellchecking) use Google Docs to make edits much, much easier.

Go to work.

Using your content pillars as guides, start writing out a few blog or social media post ideas. This is your space - there's no right or wrong way to use it. You can write full social media posts, or just make notes about what you could be posting on specific days. Create themes for yourself, like "real estate tip Tuesday" or "new listings Friday."

Remember, this is your sacred workspace. Do whatever helps you visualize what you're planning. Make notes for yourself, color code things, add strikethroughs. Leave placeholders for real-time content like open houses or new listings (you can't prewrite everything). Here's an example of how we do it:


How to Use your Editorial Calendar

Hold yourself accountable.

A plan is no good unless there's action! This isn't something you try for a week and then abandon. Set aside time each month to write the next month's ed cal, revise and create whatever content you'll need.

Schedule your posts.

Now that you have your posts pre-written, you can take advantage of schedulers like Hootsuite or Facebook's native scheduler. In just a few hours, you can have your full month's content lined up and ready to go! (Do keep an eye on these posts to make sure they're still appropriate and relevant before they go live.)

Optimize based on what works.

Your ed cal is a living work of art. Keep adjusting to get the best results and engagement from your audience. You might notice that posting less, more, earlier, later, etc. works best for you. Take that observation and apply it to next month.

Bottom Line

If you take the time to set up your calendar and follow through, you'll be amazed how much easier it is to keep up with social media. You'll never find yourself splashing around asking, "what the heck should I post today?" 

Need help planning your ed cal? Planning is our middle name (that's not true, that would be weird). We set up content calendars for our clients all the time, and we'd be happy to help you with yours.

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Kate Rekrut self-portrait on Mount Washington
Kate Rekrut is the Director of Marketing and Product Development at Joyce, Inc. in Pittsburgh, PA.
Kate's current work with ListingManager bridges the gap between her advertising agency experience and a lifelong passion for HGTV. When she's not skimming the web for new marketing stats, Kate enjoys cooking, crossfit, and dance classes.

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