Ironically, those working in the multifamily property industry rely heavily on blogs written by marketing and leasing experts to spot new trends, learn about technology, and discover new ways to increase tours and leases. Those apartment marketing experts recognize blogging as a powerful, cost-effective digital marketing tool to reach their target audience and build authority.
You read multifamily industry blogs because they’re helpful, and you likely only read content by industry influencers who show up on Page 1 of your search engine results. Why not post a regular blog on your apartment website, so you can provide similarly helpful guidance to prospects and residents, improve your search engine ranking and increase organic traffic?
“There are several benefits to this,” says Corey Egan, Co-Founder and Director of Business Development at LeasingKC, which posts bimonthly blogs on its website and promotes the content through social media. “Creating and engaging with an audience is an important function of blogging for a multifamily community.
“Keeping this audience engaged with fresh, creative content will reinforce your brand,” Egan says. “Also, this becomes important when trying to boost the SEO of your property website.”
Blogs Boost SEO
Blogging provides properties an excellent opportunity to improve SEO, or search engine optimization, meaning it helps property websites rank higher in search engine results. Businesses with blogs have 55% more monthly online visitors than businesses that don’t. Blogs are a fantastic way to work in popular keywords prospects use when doing a search online.
As an added bonus, Google and other search engines reward regularly updated websites by ranking them higher in search results. Frequent blog posting indicates your website remains current and continuously improved.
“I think, first and foremost, the SEO benefit of blogging is huge,” says Michael Norris, Chief Marketing Officer at Youtech, a digital agency that specializes in multifamily marketing but also works with clients from a variety of industries.
Blog about topics that target high-ranking keywords in your market and include those keywords throughout the blog, particularly in the headline, subheads, and first few sentences. On the internal side of your website publishing software, enter keywords in the photo alt text field and in the metadata. The metadata description is what shows up under the URL in search engine results.
“Blogs offer properties a SEO opportunity. If someone’s looking up a nearby landmark you blogged about, they may come across your property and find a place to rent,” Norris says. “It’s also beneficial to the readers who click on the blog.”
Blogs that Help
Leasing specialists are helpful people by nature, and are constantly on the lookout for new ways to assist prospects in their apartment search as well as help current residents navigate the community’s services, amenities and surrounding neighborhood.
Approach blog planning as a way to offer assistance to prospects and residents, not just a method for increasing company profit. If you’re simply trying to be helpful, prospects will remember you when they’re ready to sign a lease. Residents will also feel more brand loyalty and likely stay living there longer.
“It just goes hand-in-hand with good content marketing, where you want it to be genuine, you want to be authentic, and you want to give people information that’s useful to them,” Norris says. “You don’t want it to just be about search engines and unnaturally stuff blogs with keywords.
“At the end of the day, you want to be helpful to humans,” he says. “Even if you’re not ranking and SEO is something you’re not particularly good at, just being genuinely helpful goes a long way.”
Topics to Cover
Norris suggests writing about popular local places to visit, like a nature preserve or biking trail near the property. Consider promoting neighborhood bars, restaurants and entertainment venues. “Honestly, I think where you’ll see the most benefit is capturing keywords for landmarks and things of that nature near you,” he says. “I don’t anticipate, depending on where you’re located, there’s a ton of competition for all of those keywords.”
You can also write blogs that are recaps of resident events or local community events. This is a great way to really paint a picture for prospects of what it’s like to live at your community. Creating a neighborhood guide that lists the local shops and restaurants with resident reviews and a quick background on the business. You can even do spotlight posts on specific businesses and dedicate the entire post to them. Apartment industry marketing tends to forget that home is a cozy, tight-knit community…even if it’s a short-term home. A lot of these blogs can be repurposed into social media content as well.
To boost SEO, it’s important to embed within blogs both internal links to other pages on your website as well as include one or two external links. If you highlight a local place that also features a blog on their website, ask that establishment to link to your property website if they write a topic that warrants cross-promotion.
“I think it’s important to stay relevant,” says Egan at LeasingKC. “That can either mean according to what’s currently going on in the world, which is seen now, or just the time of year — i.e. Holiday Season, Summertime, Football Season, Festivals, Events, etc.
“Content can be based around those specific events or time of year,” he says. “Then you have other, more basic content that can be focused on your specific industry, such as renter resources and tips.”