Planting seeds of knowledgeContent marketing is not a buzzword, a fad, or a relic of the past. To the contrary, it is your present—your future, even.

I learned, recently, according to Business-2-Community, that 61% of consumers feel not only better about a business that delivers custom (that is, original) content, but they are also more likely to buy from that business. To rephrase for my audience, i.e., real estate professionals, consumers are more likely to hire that business.

I believe today, more so than ever before, there is a battle to win the consumer’s confidence—a battle won by businesses that strive to provide consumers with valuable and engaging information to assist and guide them in their endeavors.

This notion of consumers going online to gather intel about a subject relating directly or indirectly to an upcoming purchase or hiring decision seems familiar, because odds are, you’re actively doing this yourself. We’re all consumers, aren’t we?

We’re scanning Pinterest for the perfect cocktail recipe to impress our dinner guests. We’re streaming videos on YouTube or Vimeo to walk us through the steps of swapping out the lock on the front door. And we’re reading reviews on TripAdvisor before we book a night at the hotel.

What’s more, it doesn’t matter if that hotel happens to be a Hilton, Marriott, or Hyatt anymore—we’re still going to vet it on TripAdvisor. In fact, if you’re neurotic, like me, you’re probably going to perform a word find in your web browser to see if anyone’s TripAdvisor review makes mention of “bed bugs,” and if so, no deal, right? Brand or no brand!

To me, it’s completely clear, the web is changing what it means to be a consumer, and is therefore, changing what it means to be in business, any business—including real estate. It has given consumers the power to dig deeper than ever before.

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For instance, I took my family to Hawaii this past year and wasn’t sure whether it was a good idea to take our 11-month old baby on a hike up Diamond Head as he’d be situated inside one of those baby backpacks, thus making the risk of slipping an exceedingly scary thought.

So what did I do? Well, rather than just assume it wasn’t a good idea or foolishly chance it, I watched an amateur hiker climb it from base to summit on YouTube to gain a sense as to how challenging the terrain could be. I also waded through a fair number of reviews and studied other hikers’ comments.

As a result of my research, which, bear in mind, took me less than 30 minutes, we hiked it and had a blast. Years ago, this wouldn’t have been an available option for us. We would have either missed out or would have been forced to risk it.

In a similar way, prospective home buyers and sellers are running searches on Google and scouring the web for any shred of useful information to assist them in their endeavors—blogs, videos, infographics—anything to give them a sense of the terrain, so to speak. They’re searching for information about shifting market values, emerging hot-spots, hip restaurants, walkability, neighborhood amenities, school performance data, city planning projects, scenic parks, and the excess of stuff that makes a community—a community.

My contention is that in order to engage digital consumers effectively, you need to adopt a hyper-specialized content marketing strategy that addresses specifically the many things for which consumers are searching online. Because the bottom line is this: consumers’ paths to purchase begins online, in research mode. And here’s my advice: be there.

When you’re “there” for somebody, it means you’re available to give that person comfort, support, or guidance at the time its needed or requested. Online, however, the only way to actually “be there” for a consumer, who is in search of guidance over a certain matter, is to have anticipated the topic or question in advance and have already prepared content that lies in wait of the consumer’s web search.

What content can you create today to be there for customers tomorrow?

Photo from International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center 

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Jason Pantana, Realtor, Speaker, NashvilleJason guides real estate professionals through current and emerging trends in consumer behavior, sales and marketing, and entrepreneurship. To invite Jason to speak or to schedule a consultation, visit: