At Artifakt, we’re no strangers to neighbourhood guides. Our clients often specialize in unique districts, and neighbourhood guides are a fantastic way to sell their area and their expertise at the same time. So we write a lot of them.
I catch myself reading a lot of them, too – for research, for strategy, and maybe just a little bit of nosiness. Part of the impetus for this post is the sheer number of less-than-useful neighbourhood guides I’ve come across on real estate sites in the last few weeks.
From readability, to usefulness, to general best practices for length and tone, many guides fall short of serving any sort of functional purpose for their audience.
Don’t let that be you! We’ve put together a thorough (and we mean thorough) guide to crafting incredibly effective content that sells your neighbourhood better than you can.
Anatomy of a Good Neighbourhood Guide
- Has a specific purpose – See, Think, Do, Care
- Contains unique, hard-to-find knowledge
- Is useful
- Is readable, entertaining, and consumable
Make Your Guide Do Something
If you can take one thing away from this post, it would be this: your neighbourhood guide needs to serve a specific purpose.
Are you trying to sell property in your district? Do you want potential clients to think you’re the resident expert? Are you trying to generate leads?
If you’re nodding your head to all, it’s time to narrow your focus: neighbourhood guides aren’t a catch-all. By choosing all purposes, you may be choosing none. Take the plunge!
Pick one of the following goals:
- I want people who search for my neighbourhood on Google to find my guide, and therefore, my website
- I’d like to sell my area as the best place to live or invest in, compared to other neighbourhoods
- Potential clients should see that I’m a local expert, and so they should choose me as their agent
- My existing clients that are interested in a broad area (like New York) need more information to narrow their search to a specific neighbourhood (like Brooklyn or Greenwich)
- None of the above – I have my own goal!
Okay, have you picked one? Here’s your angle:
If you chose number one, you have a “See” goal.
Your neighbourhood guide is designed to catch people who may or may not have ever heard of you and, hopefully, have them start considering you as their next real estate agent.
If you chose number two, you have a “Think” goal.
Clients who find your guide are already looking for that neighbourhood, have already heard of your brand, and you’d like them to move forward with selecting you as their agent.
If you chose number three, you have a “Do” goal.
You want a client to “do” something – in this case, hire you. More specifically, you’d like them to read your neighbourhood guide, and then immediately contact you to buy a property.
Finally, number four is a “Care” goal.
This is where you provide more information for existing clients (or potential clients who have already contacted you) to help them understand the local neighbourhood better, and make the client experience better.
This model – See, Think, Do, Care – is a content marketing framework developed by Avinash Kaushik that helps creators narrow their purpose and use content more effectively.
(Did you choose number five? Great! You can skip this whole section if you’d like).
How to use See, Think, Do, Care to write a better neighbourhood guide
A “See” page should rank high on search engine results pages in order to capture a broad audience. To do that, your post needs to contain lots of in-depth information that directly reflects what people are searching for online.
“See” isn’t about selling the neighbourhood. It’s about providing useful information, with the right keywords, to a broad audience. This “top of the funnel” content acts as an introduction to your brand.
“See” pages should have:
- “Big picture” content – area boundaries, local businesses, area market statistics, real estate growth forecast
- Keywords and long-tail keywords relating to the neighbourhood
- Lifestyle content – restaurants, hobby stores, active living zones
- A little bit about you – add in a sentence or two about how you know the area, or a link to your blog, to increase conversion
While “Think” pages should rank high on search engines, its main purpose should be to make someone start seriously considering you as their agent. To do that, you need to provide a balanced perspective of the neighbourhood while showcasing your personality and knowledge.
You want a reader to think, “Hey! This agent seems to know their stuff. I’ll put them on my short list.”
These guides are meant for people who have some commercial intent – they should be just starting to think about buying or selling their home. Maybe they’re searching online to learn more about the area, or maybe they’re trying to decide on an agent to hire. Whatever the case, they’re primed to be convinced.
“Think” pages should have:
- Insider’s-only information on the area
- Data-backed market information on growth, sales, average price, etc.
- Your personality infused into how it’s written. You want to seem knowledgeable, easy to work with, and capable
- Both the pros and cons of the area outlined very clearly, with no sales-y tone
“Do” pages should directly align with a specific action. After reading your guide, what would you like the reader to do?
- Fill out a form request
- Submit their email address
- Call you
- Click on a link to another important page (like “Contact” or “Buy with Us”)
Here, I’ll let you pick a few of these options. But no more than three!
Your “Do” page should have these single-step, easily-done actions spread out on the page. They’ll be reinforced with strong calls-to-action that show the benefit of doing those actions to the reader.
- “Ready to buy a home in Hip District? See our exclusive listings here.”
- “Find out how much your home is worth with our accurate calculator.”
- “Choose different: contact us now.”
Because your purpose is to get someone to do something, “Do” pages have much less content. In fact, I’d recommend fewer than four hundred words.
Those four hundred words should be jam-packed with delicious detail that makes you and your neighbourhood seem like a hot ticket that can’t be missed. We call this “urgency”; your reader needs to connect with you ASAP to get those benefits!
“Care” is the funnel that everyone forgets. And yet, it’s one of the best tools you have for generating repeat business and mobilizing word-of-mouth.
These “Care” pages are meant to improve the experience of existing clients. They include lots of helpful, useable tips for the people that are already in their real estate journey with you. It also should be fun, entertaining, and exciting.
The idea behind “Care” content is to surprise, delight, and reward.
- Staging help
- Moving tips and resources (especially important for relocation-heavy districts, like D.C. or Silicon Valley)
- Step-by-step resources for filling out paperwork
- Concierge-style service
- “What happens next”
The true purpose of “Care” pages is to make sure your existing clients feel so strongly about you and your services that they can’t help but recommend you to their friends and family. How great is it when one client turns into five or six? Care makes all the difference!
Make Your Guide Unique
Okay, I promise: now that we have See, Think, Do, and Care out of the way, it gets much easier from here.
For all four funnels, it’s important to showcase your unique knowledge that can’t be (easily) found anywhere else. If your neighbourhood guide contains the same information as dozens of other pages, then why have it at all?
Reflect on the purpose of the page and then draft a list of all of the things that you know about your neighbourhood that others don’t. Maybe it’s the little-known restaurants, maybe it’s your in-depth market knowledge (more on that, next), or maybe it’s your access to data on local trends.
Whatever it is, your neighbourhood guide should showcase what you know better than anyone else.
Talk to your team or an existing client. Ask them what they think you do better than anyone else. Use that information to angle your neighbourhood content so you can become the resource that others already know you are.
Make Your Guide Specific
Unique and specific – I’ve talked about these before! Great content is both of these things, and your neighbourhood guide is no different.
Saying a neighbourhood has “great shopping” doesn’t cut it anymore in the information age. But “With over a hundred thousand square feet of brand-new retail space, and another ten thousand earmarked for a still-secret department store, East Corner Street is the place to buy right now” makes a reader think that you know your stuff!
Always include relevant statistics on population growth, demographics, incoming restaurants, upcoming shopping districts, and more. People are looking for this information, and you should be the one to deliver it!
Make Your Guide Useful and Useable
Ask yourself: what can a local reader do after reading my guide?
Do they know more about the local food scene? Are they more confident about the area as an investment place? Would they be able to navigate the area more easily?
Arguably, neighbourhood guides are the least immediately-useable types of content (in comparison to, say, a guide called How To Stage Your Home). Most Realtors are using neighbourhood guides to capture new eyeballs (“See”) and turn these viewers into leads.
This is a fine purpose – great, in fact. But you should still think about how useful your content is in the long run. A reader should be able to do something with the information they’ve learned from your guide. What can they do now? How have you helped them?
Make Your Guide Readable
Finally, the most important, and least important, aspect of a great guide: entertainment value.
Your guide needs to be readable. But you shouldn’t focus solely on how entertaining it is.
Think of the “user experience” of your post:
- Is it easy to read?
- Do you use headings and subheadings?
- Are paragraphs fewer than three sentences?
- Do you use lists to break up content?
- Are pictures useful here?
- Are videos useful here?
There are so many strategies you can use to improve the reader experience. Re-read your piece out loud. Send them to a friend. Post them for feedback online.
Concern yourself with whether someone will get through the whole page and find the information there helpful. If so, the you should have entertainment value aplenty.
Now to sum up!
- Content should have one purpose: be easily found online (See), be convincing (Think), be converting (Do), or be caring (Care)
- Impart hard-to-find information that supports your goal
- Readers should be able to do something after reading your post
- Use images, headers, subheadings, and multimedia to make your content more readable
- Always keep your readers’ experience in mind
At Artifakt, we like to make useful content. Whether it’s a neighbourhood guide, a strong blog post, or websites that convert, we think that content has to serve a purpose before anything else.
It’s a good mindset to get into if you’re creating content (or just starting to) for your real estate clients. Create with purpose, help your readers, and everything else will follow.
One last little thing…
Does this sound like a lot of work? It is… but I love it! I’d be so happy to write you a purposeful, effective, and useable neighbourhood guide, no matter where you are. Get a quote now!