It’s always interesting to see what website features stand out as being important to current and prospective clients in the real estate industry. In some cases, it’s design. With others, it’s something regarding search functionality. And a common one today is 3rd party syndication options.
Creating professional looking websites with intuitive search functionality and plenty of related information is a great start, but it’s hard to have a competitive advantage when you’re doing something your competitors could buy tomorrow. Because of this, I think it’s worth stepping back for a second to consider where a site’s competitive advantage comes from.
Here’s the challenge: Lots of companies can create professional looking websites. A few companies can create create usable real estate search functionality. Most companies can syndicate 3rd party content onto your website. If that’s as far as you go with your website, you’ve done little to stand out from the crowd.
What is Original Content?
In this context, original content to me is the type of content that goes above and beyond what your competition can syndicate (listings, school info, neighborhood info, trend data) just as easily as you can. Examples include:
1. Enhanced listings – photos of higher quality and volume than can be found on your competitor’s sites.
2. Full agent sites – think “beyond the profile”
3. Neighborhood information – Not just specs, but original stories and news pieces about places.
4. City information – again, not just specs that your competition can syndicate as well. If you’re really experts in your market, demonstrate it.
These are just four examples of types of content that can differentiate you from your competition. Creating a website people will visit, link to, and share with their friends, is done by creating content people want to visit, link to, and share with their friends. Content that’s better, more interesting, and unique gets that done, which means real estate sites are becoming media sites.
Platforms that enable the broker and every agent to contribute original information builds a competitive advantage over the competition one web page at a time. If your website doesn’t offer the functionality you need to behave like a real estate media site, you’ll have a hard time differentiating your from your competition online.