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New on #AptChat: Multifamily Content Marketing

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Here at Property Management Insider, we keep you apprised of the latest tips and techniques in apartment marketing. A recent Apartment Chat roundtable (#AptChat) had multifamily property managers discussing their approaches to content marketing.

Content marketing for multifamily properties involves two key components

To be successful, content must be relevant and useful to the audience you’re trying to reach (in our industry, that’s residents and prospects). It’s quality over quantity. Gone are the days of simply pumping out torrents of vapid fluff crammed with keywords and links to attract clicks and please Google’s search engine ranking algorithm.

It’s also important to understand the various channels where you’ll be placing the content, and how to modify it to fit their styles and parameters. For example, a text-heavy article about “pets and apartment living” you create for your blog can’t be simply dragged over to a Facebook page or Instagram as is. Some platforms are text-oriented; others, photo and video-heavy. And audiences differ in age and interest.

So what did managers have to share about content marketing? Let’s drop in on the conversation:

Are you doing any kind of content marketing for your properties? If so, what do you do currently? If not, why?

Blogs on property websites came up first. (They’re the part of your websites devoted to regularly updated content, such as articles and announcements; if you haven’t created them, you need to!) A manager from South Bend suggested blogs be directed to residents (as opposed to prospects) and highlight all the fun things going on at and around the property. Of course, a blog that does this will also appeal to prospects considering moving there.

Events and activities can include not just those occurring at the property, but also in the neighborhood, since when you promote a property the neighborhood comes with it. The blog is a good place to express the brand (personality) of the property. Is it a young, fun place? An elegant, classy one? A concerned, caring one? Or some combination of these?

The same manager went on to suggest that residents can be invited to guest blog about their areas of expertise – for example, fitness or pet activities in the area. Getting residents involved helps create a feeling of community.

Then the conversation turned to creating diverse content for different markets and platforms. This can be the biggest challenge in content marketing, because each property has its own neighborhood, activities and even personality, and each platform (Facebook, Instagram, the website blog, etc.) demands a different style and weighting of text and images. Obviously this translates into a lot of labor, and putting aside time to devote to creating differentiated content can be difficult.  A manager from Columbus said he’s found it challenging to get managers at the sites to identify and capture opportunities for content creation, presumably because they’re so busy with core duties. But a Flagstaff manager added that if you call on outside talent to help with content creation, they have to “know your audience as well as you do.”

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A Wilmington manager noted that content doesn’t have to be shared only in your own channels (website, Facebook page, etc.) but can be shared with community and outreach partners as well to extend its reach.

One of the participants thought it would be fun to have the roundtable participants throw out content ideas for on-site managers. Some of the suggestions included:

  • Pets at the property and pet-friendly amenities in the area, with “guest star” puppies and cats living at the property.
  • Cooking, eating and neighborhood food-related establishments, with recipes
  • Five tips to meet more of your neighbors (again, anything that builds community is great content)
  • Tips to help ensure you’ll get your security deposit back
  • Five things you didn’t know about living at the property (examples: you can rent the club house; we’ll water your plants while you’re on vacation).
  • For student living: “Best jobs for students who are tired of being broke;” “Fun opportunities for learning outside the classroom.”

How would you define content marketing for apartments today? What kinds of content should be included in that mix?

The first answer was: “Personalized, targeted content aimed at enhancing community connection and reach. Fun, engaging, and unique.” We’ll stick with this solid answer!

What do you wish we could do better as a multifamily industry?

Here’s what one participant had to say: “Explore. Seek out the new. Try, and fail, and try again. Go boldly where no multifamily marketer has gone before!”

Another emphasized “quality over quantity,” reinforcing the point that creating fluff just to take up space and improve search engine ranking is no longer useful.

And a third manager said, ostensibly to those doing very little content creation thus far: “Just DO it!  Gotta start somewhere!”

Whether you’re just starting out or deeply engaged in content marketing, you need the right resources in place. Check out RealPage’s suite of Leasing and Marketing solutions to grow your business.


Author and Contributor

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Based in New Orleans, Guy Lyman is a professional writer with over 25 years’ experience writing about multifamily and commercial real estate. Lyman is a frequent contributor and writer for the Property Management Insider blog.

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