Following on from last week’s homage to Biggie Smalls, I thought I’d take a leaf out of the rhyme book of another MC maestro – KRS-One.
The New Yorker has written some of the finest lines in hip-hop history.
And his 1988 masterpiece, “My Philosophy”, is peppered with them.
So with his lyrical genius in mind, here’s my philosophy on writing great estate agent content. These principles apply to all forms of good communication – be they blogs, vlogs, email campaigns, guides or prospecting letters.
Why should you listen to me? Well, I’m a multi-award-winning journalist turned content creator who has been doing this for the past 20 years. And we’re ranked the number one estate agent content creators on Google and Kerfuffle.
The main thing – Focus on the tell rather than the sell. The most common mistake agents make with their first stabs at content creation is to steam in with ‘here’s why you should instruct us’. If it’s all about you, it ain’t going to interest them.
Don’t overdo it – The average person can read two hundred words in around a minute. Most points can be made well by a skilful writer in under 400-500 words. Unless you’ve something sensational to share, don’t overdo the word count – especially as our attention spans shrink ever increasingly.
Just Do It – Remember Nike’s iconic slogan? Of course you do. The mantra I use as a content reminder is JAV – Just Add Value – because if you are not adding value to your community, you will soon get ignored. How do you add value? From a content perspective, simply answer common questions homeowners or landlords have.
The six fundamentals – Think of five bums on a rugby post. It’s not some weird fantasy but hey, if it floats your boat, who am I to judge? The foundations of most great content features five Ws – Who, What, Why, When, Where, accompanied by a How. Read a news report and you’ll see these six fundamentals at work.
Show leniency – You need to think like a lenient judge and keep your sentences short. This helps the reader to follow your train of thought. Trust me. This approach works. 25-30 words per sentence is about right. The objective of most sentences is to get the reader to read the next sentence. In rap, this is called flow.
Loud and proud – Once you’ve written something, read it aloud. This helps you ensure your content’s copy is flowing and will highlight any areas you need to look at again. If you have to re-read a line to make sense of it, something is wrong with it and needs fixing.
Speak to the people, not at them – Avoid jargon like a Glastonbury toilet on the final night of the festival. What on earth does laid to lawn mean? Vendors? Don’t get me started, and as for f’ing ‘applicants’! Aim to create a dialogue (talking with) not a monologue (talking at) with the people you are communicating with. Jargon builds walls and alienates – walls might work for clowns like Donald Trump but they don’t if you’re an estate agent looking to create rapport.
Practise patience – A cornerstone of many philosophies but it also applies to writing. You can show this by writing today and checking tomorrow. Wherever possible, look at something you’ve written the day after. This helps you approach it with fresh eyes, and you’ll see any flaws, errors or areas you can improve.
Be real – I think it’s never been more important to sound like a human when you’re communicating. Too much emphasis is placed on writing for SEO – for Google basically. How on earth can you develop a distinctive tone of voice for your agency when you are writing to please a mysterious algorithm?
Thanks for reading.