Episode 50: Getting Creative With Content Marketing – Melanie Deziel

From websites and ads to social media, newsletters, and podcasts, content is everywhere and has the potential to be a powerful business driver.

But how do you consistently create good, creative content?

That’s where Melanie Deziel comes in, a creativity coach and leading voice in content marketing. With clients including Google, Netflix, The New York Times, and others, Melanie joins REAL TIME to share her framework for systemizing creativity, making it easier and faster to generate content that stands out and connects with your audience.

Learn more about Melanie and her book The Content Fuel Framework at MelanieDeziel.com.


Erin Davis: Web pages, social posts, newsletters, podcasts; content is everywhere, but do you need to be too? I’m Erin Davis and welcome to REAL TIME, the podcast for REALTORS® brought to you by the Canadian Real Estate Association. Joining us today is Melanie Deziel, a creativity coach and one of the top voices in content marketing. Hitting a wall with your content? Not sure which channels are best for your business? Let’s delve into what makes a strong content strategy with our guest today.

Well, thank you for joining us today on REAL TIME, Melanie. I’m so excited about this discussion. Let’s start with the basics. What is content marketing and why might it be an important tool for entrepreneurs?

Melanie Deziel: Content marketing is a really broad term and it can be used to include a lot of things. I think for our purposes, we want to think about any time we’re intentionally using content to communicate with our audience. That could be the copy that’s on your website or the copy of an email, it’s the content you’re putting on social media, it’s the videos you may record. All of that is really the content that we’re talking about here, things we are constructing as REALTORS® to try to really convey a specific message to our audience.

Erin: One of the phrases you use, and I love your books and I’m so glad we’re going to be focusing on one of them today, is random acts of content. Now let’s look into that a little bit. What do you take that to mean?

Melanie: A lot of times what happens is you have this vague understanding that I’m supposed to be on social, I’m supposed to create content, and without putting a ton of strategic thought into it, because that’s not what we were trained for after all, you just do your best. You throw something out there, but you haven’t put enough thought into whether that serves your business, whether that serves your goals with who you’re trying to reach, whether the audience is correct. That’s where we end up with the random acts of content. You’re using all of your resources, your time to create these things, but they may not be serving your overall goals.

Erin: Okay. Most REALTORS® would agree it’s important to have a social media presence, obviously, but what other channels are cornerstones, Melanie, of a strong content strategy?

Melanie: The content strategy specifics are going to be different depending on what your priorities are and, as we’ll talk about later, I’m sure, how you like to create content, what kind of content you create. What we do know is that social media is important, so is your website. If you have a web property where you are sending people, you want to make sure that there’s stuff there worth seeing. Not just your listings, not just your background professionally, but maybe some helpful blog posts, maybe some articles about common challenges they may run into, maybe other helpful content that’s going to allow them to be a better client for you and allow you to better serve them. Thinking about what you can offer on your website as well as what you’re offering on social media is a really good way to do that. We also want to consider the role that email plays in helping us to build that relationship, but also to sustain it over the long term.

Erin: Okay, let’s talk about the frequency and cadence of emails. There’s a meme going around that says, “Hey, I know I bought a toaster from you once. It doesn’t mean I want to hear from you every single day.” How do you measure that? How do you find not only your comfort zone, which could be every day because we’ve always got something to say, but what you think that the person seeing it in their inbox is going to say, “Okay, I’m going to click on this.” What do you think, Melanie?

Melanie: I love the meme example that you shared. We have to put ourselves in the shoes of the toaster company for a minute here and think about, for our audience, for the relationship we already have with them, what is a frequency of hearing from us that they would expect and then tolerate, right? Because what they expect may be lower than what we ideally need to do, but what we don’t want to cross is that tolerance threshold, where they’re like, “Oh my goodness, get out of here. Mark as spam, delete, unsubscribe.” We’re trying to avoid that at all costs, so you want to think about that. It’s going to be different.

For your established clients, folks you’ve worked with who already know, like and trust you, you have a little more leeway. You can talk to them a little more frequently. I think every day is still pretty strong. I think we’re probably looking at once a week or every other week is really a great place to start to establish yourself and then to test from there more or less frequent. Anything less than every two weeks and people kind of forget who you are when you do pop up. Anything more than that and you have the possibility that, as we mentioned, you may be showing up a little bit more often than they’d like to have you.

Erin: Okay. What might a REALTOR® consider when choosing content channels and formats? Because there are so many out there, Melanie. How do we choose that?

Melanie: There are so many and it can be really stressful. There’s a lot of pressure, I think, on us to be everywhere, do everything, be super active on all these different platforms. I would really encourage you to think strategically about a couple different things. The first thing you want to think about is where your audience is. Because if you’re showing up every day on TikTok, getting millions of views for your amazing dance moves but none of your audience is there, that doesn’t do anything for you. That’s a lot of time and effort that you’re spending that could be better served actually reaching your audience.

You want to think about that. Where is my audience? The answers to that you can find by looking for the basic social demographics of each of the different platforms. That information is usually pretty easy to find because they want their advertisers to know who they’re reaching. As a general rule, if you’re going after, high-income professionals, for example, LinkedIn is going to be the best place for you to reach that audience. If you’re looking for moms, families, Facebook and Pinterest are going to be two great options for you. Instagram also has a lot of really great demographics that you can dig into based on the data they share and try to identify where are these folks. You could always, of course, pay to reach them through ads, but ideally, we’d like to make sure we’re showing up in the places where we could reach them organically. That’s the first thing to think of. That’s the first one. It’s like, where is my audience?

Erin: Right, fish where the fish are.

Melanie: Exactly. We don’t want to be fishing in an empty pond or fishing in a pond full of something we’re not allowed to catch.

Erin: Right.

Melanie: The other thing you want to think about, though, is like in our analogy here, what kind of fishing do you like to do? Are you a fly fisher? Are you a deep-sea fisher? Are you just a casual shore fisher for bass and trout? That’s about as far as my fishing analogy can go here. You want to think about, what is your favorite way to create content? Because here again, I’m coming back to TikTok, if you decide– you discover that your audience is on TikTok, but you are absolutely averse to being on video, you don’t want to be showing your face, you don’t want to be dancing, you don’t want to be doing lip syncing, then that’s not a good match.

What we’re looking for is kind of a Venn diagram overlap of, where is your audience and what kind of content do you like to create? How do you like to communicate? Hopefully, we find something that’s really in the center there that allows you to create in the way that’s comfortable for you and effective, but also allows you to reach the ideal audience. If that overlap isn’t as big as you’d like it to be, that’s a time to think about the tools or the talent you can add to your team to try to fill that gap.

Erin: That’s a great point. Don’t feel like you have to do it all yourself. You, for example, are an amazing communicator. I love your speaking and everything that you do, but you don’t love, say, the nuts and bolts, the cutting, the editing and that sort of thing. That’s where you say, hey, somebody has to be the star of this and somebody has this other set of tools, so you go about finding who has the other set of tools, right?

Melanie: Absolutely, yes. A lot of times the folks that we look to, especially on social media or in marketing, the folks that we’re looking to as examples and saying, “I want to create content like that,” that person very well may be using a professional photographer. They’re not shooting photos on their iPhone. That person may have a whole video crew set up to make their videos look incredible and you may not have access to that. It is important to take a look at who are we setting as our standard, and are we working with the same resources, because tools and talent can make a big difference if you are trying to fill that gap. Hopefully, you’re able to find the way you like to communicate. You’ve got the support of tools and talent that help you do it, and you’re able to bring that content into an environment where your audience is ready to consume it.

Erin: Yes, that comfort zone is so important because if it’s not comfortable for you, it’s not organic and it feels like a drudge, and I think that the audience can pick up on that. What do you think about that?

Melanie: Absolutely. The reality is we got so much to do. Nobody has time to be doing things that make them absolutely miserable because there’s something to be said for that. When you show up in a video or in a podcast or in some other environment, you need to bring your whole self. You’ve got to dial your energy up a little bit. You’re a little more animated, a little more movement, a little louder than you might normally be. If you’re not feeling it, that’s going to come through really quickly. It’s going to be obvious that you’re not having fun, and that’s not a whole heck of a lot of fun to watch or listen to somebody really uncomfortable or really clearly doesn’t want to be there.

We want to make sure we’re bringing good energy, and sometimes that means we have to change the way that we create content, we might have to change how frequently, and really tapping into, when does your energy work best? Just as a personal example, I know for me, I’m not a morning person. I love coffee; still doesn’t help. I’m not a morning person. If I need to show up on video, I need to be animated and wide-eyed and bushy-tailed, morning is not going to be it for me. I’m going to be looking to schedule that filming, hopefully, sometime in the afternoon where I know I’ve had breakfast, I’m ready to go, I’ve warmed up and I’m feeling a lot more alive. Those are all things that you want to consider too. When do you do your best writing, or when are you your most alive and animated? Because that might impact when you decide to create the content.

Erin: Melanie, what’s the best way to truly find out where your audience is, or do you just put in the work and watch what happens? How do you find that perfect pond, to go back to the fish analogy?

Melanie: All right, we’ll do fishing for a little more. The greatest thing to do is to take a look around. If you’ve got other fishermen, other REALTORS®, other folks in your space who are targeting the same audience you are, they’re trying to catch the same fish, take a look and see where they’re fishing. Where are they dropping their bait? Where are they spending time? If they’re having those conversions, they’re having that engagement, that’s a good indication that, hey, maybe that fishing hole over there might be perfect for the fish I’m trying to catch, for the audience I’m trying to reach.

The other thing you could do is– I don’t know how far our fishing analogy goes here. Maybe the Fish and Game website has some data about what fish are in which ponds. Our equivalent being you’re going to look and see what you can find about that demographic data to see who are the users of these different networks, who’s present there, who can you expect to reach. There are some tools that can help you do that too.

A great tool that I love to talk about is SparkToro, Spark T-O-R-O. It’s a tool that allows you to plug in some keywords or an account or two on social media that you know is reaching the right audience. Then it will show you the related accounts, the related hashtags, the related podcasts they listen to, all of those different things, to give you a sense of where do these people hang out when they’re talking about these key terms that are really important to me.

Erin: Okay, how hard is it to use SparkToro and is it free?

Melanie: There’s a free– there’s free search access, so you could start and test it out for free. Then you can also go ahead and upgrade if it’s a tool you decide you want to use more regularly or more intensely. What I will say is it’s a lot more reasonable than many of the enterprise tools that are out there. You can, of course– I mean, there are whole agencies you can hire to do social listening and sentiment testing and all kinds of stuff. That’s really too much for most of our purposes. A smaller tool like SparkToro that’s going to help you identify those audience overlaps is probably just the right size for what most of us are doing.

Erin: Excellent. Okay, I’m going to give it a go. I am. You’re known for coming up with creative ways for businesses to engage their audiences. This is what you get hired to speak for, large groups. Now, what would you say to someone who says, “Look, I’m not creative”?

Melanie: First of all, I’d probably take a break and have a little cry because it breaks my heart to hear folks say that. Because the reality is when we’re young, when we’re kids, there’s no fear of not having a good idea. You see your kids– if you’ve got little ones, you know they come home with the wildest drawings, the craziest ideas, the best outfit combinations that they’ve picked all themselves, no fear of embarrassment, no worries about whether it’s a good idea. Through schooling, through socialization, we start to become more self-conscious and we start to believe that there are negative consequences for bad ideas. The reality is the stakes on what we’re talking about here are very low. We should feel safe to come up with ideas, to talk things out with our team, to discuss the different options without fear of humiliation or professional downfall. We’re talking about something that should be fun, communicating with our audience, which we do know how to do.

Most of the time, if we can get through the therapy phase of helping make sure that everyone feels comfortable, it’s also about having the right prompt. A lot of times we just focus on– we have a hang-up like that, “I’m not creative,” or I’m just the, blank, person. You focus on just this one thing and you reinforce that idea for yourself. Instead of focusing on why you can’t do something or why you’re not well-suited to it or why you’re not creative, let’s switch up the prompt and ask yourself something like, what could I teach my audience? What have I learned that my audience would want to hear? What could I do that would make their lives easier? What kind of information is my audience trying to find or what questions are they asking? Those questions are going to get you to the same result, which is something you can create that they will value, but hopefully it’s not sort of digging into those same insecurities that may come from a place of being concerned about the quality of your ideas.

Erin: That would make it a whole lot less scary just to rephrase the prompt, what does my audience want to know? Then you use the tools and stuff that you’ve mentioned and maybe even like chambers of commerce and the things that are so local and important to the people in that area or where your client is. That’s brilliant advice. Yes.

Melanie: Thank you.

Erin: You’re welcome. Now, I know as a writer, you’ve probably had the writer’s block, but what about people who get caught up in a creativity slump? Then how do you nudge us ahead?

Melanie: If we’re stuck and a new prompt isn’t working, like we just talked about, then sometimes it’s helpful to just switch things up entirely. I know that sounds a little scary, but there are little things you can do that data and studies have shown us actually help your creativity. Small, simple things like try taking a different route to work in the morning, driving a different road. Try brushing your teeth with your wrong hand. What we’re trying to do is get our brain out of a rut and get new inputs for our world. If we’re consuming the same things, seeing the same things, it can be hard to come up with new ideas because there’s a lot of sameness around us. Even just little ways to expose yourself to new information; listen to some new music, watch something on Netflix that’s a totally different genre than you’d normally watch. Just find a way to spice up your inputs a little bit so that you, hopefully, make some new connections between different things that are going to inspire you to create some content.

Erin: All right, how about cutting back on the frequency of it? That can feel like a vacation. If you take away the having to do it, the obligation, then something can become more of the joy that it was meant to be.

Melanie: Absolutely, yes. There’s a lot of burnout and fatigue that you can encounter, especially if– I talked about earlier that once a week or every other week is a great starting point because that’s less likely to lead to overwhelm. If you, right out of the gate, commit, “I’m going to do a new episode of my podcast every single day,” there’s a really good chance you’re going to burn yourself out quickly and it’s not fun anymore when it becomes an obligation. Yes, absolutely. If what you’re feeling is sort of overwhelm and burnout and it’s just not fun, that’s a good sign that maybe take a step back, take a break or reevaluate the way that you’re doing it to see if you can make it a little more approachable and a little more enjoyable again.

Erin: All right. What I’m really getting from this message is if you’re a content creator and you pick a day like, say, St. Patrick- no, Cinco de Mayo. Let’s pick Cinco de Mayo, and everybody and his dog is posting something about, how do you make a margarita? What’s your favorite? How hot do you like your nachos? All that kind of thing. Is there some way that you can flip around something that everybody’s posting about and make it unique, make it matter to the person who is digesting or receiving that content, Melanie? What would you do?

Melanie: Absolutely. Those types of posts that you talked about, they can feel like a lot of fun because we tend to get responses, but what they’re not is really differentiated. If everyone’s out there posting, what’s your favorite topping for a taco, or what kind of nachos or margarita are you having today, we kind of blend in in this sea of content sameness and that’s not what we’re looking for.

The thing to think about is, what makes my perspective different? What is it about your perspective that can change the way this is? Because only you have lived your life, only you run your business, only you live in the place that you live, only you know the people you know. What you might consider is what if you were to poll all of your clients and ask what their favorite Mexican restaurants are in the area. That would be very unique. That’s something that no one else can do. They don’t have your clients, they don’t live in your area. Even if they do live in your area, bring your own flavor into it. What are your favorite places to go around the neighborhood? What is the best meal you’ve had in a particular food genre that you can speak to and speak to folks who are in your neighborhood? Because the best place to take your kids for all-you-can-eat tacos in the neighborhood is so much more relevant to your neighbors than which of these toppings can you not live without on your nachos.

Erin: That’s fantastic. When you think about it, if you were at the dog park and you just sat down on a bench next to someone, you wouldn’t turn to them and say, “Hey, what’s your favorite margarita today for Cinco de Mayo?” You might seem a little off, to say the least. You would ask something of the person you’re connecting with on social media just as you would in-person and maybe reframe it like that?

Melanie: That’s right. Yes, act like a human. The example you gave is actually perfect. If someone sat down next to you at the dog park and they turned and said very robotically, “What is your favorite topping on nachos?” He could be like, “Who is this robot, and which of my neighbors have they replaced here?” It doesn’t feel natural. Yes, think of it that way. What’s the conversation you would have? If you did run into a client and you were talking about that holiday or that topic, what would that conversation be like, and try to have your content align more closely to that.

Because the other thing you don’t want to do is have all of your content giving out a certain feeling, a certain vibe, a certain emotion that doesn’t align with how you actually show up in the real world. Just because everyone else is posting about margaritas doesn’t mean that you have to be the party gal posting the same thing if that’s not how you are, if that’s not what you’re interested in. Maybe you’re someone who really likes history and you want to talk about the history of the holiday, or you want to talk about maybe someone in the community who has had a huge impact because of something having to do with that holiday. There’s ways for you to look at it through your own lens and not feel like you’ve got to show up looking like everybody else because you’re not.

Erin: You’ve given us so much food for thought so far and actually made us hungry at the same time. Thank you very much. I’m wanting nachos. Of course, you’ve written a couple of excellent books that are also filled with all kinds of great information, including Prove It, and the one that we’re discussing today, The Content Fuel Framework or How to Generate Unlimited Story Ideas. Now in it, along with all kinds of great insight like we’re hearing today on content and creativity, you share a system for creative brainstorming. Okay, how does the system work?

Melanie: It’s a really good question. What I find when I’m working with clients, when I’m working especially with folks who are doing their day job and don’t have to spend as much time marketing their day job, the idea of coming up with content can be really challenging. It feels like a foreign concept. It’s not our day-to-day. Most often what I find is people get stuck because they’re trying to think of too much at once. They want that one strike of genius, that one lightning strike, light bulb moment, the muse and just the right amount of coffee and to have something just magically happen in full.

What a content idea really is, is it’s actually two things. When we break it down to its smallest parts, it becomes a lot easier for us to tackle that challenge of coming up with an idea. That first part that we want to think of is the focus. What is this content about? What is the story, the theme, the topic, the message? Those are all synonyms you might use. What are we actually trying to communicate here? Once we have that answered, then we can ask the question, what’s the best format to bring that to life?

The example I like to give here is the reason we start with focus is because we’ve all gotten a package in the mail that the item inside was nowhere near the appropriate size for the box that was chosen. Somebody decided how to deliver that to you before they decided the content of what was inside, and the mismatch was really obvious to us. It creates a lot of waste, a lot of filler, and we don’t feel good about it at the end of the day. We can do the same thing with our content if we’re not careful. If we decide, “We got to do a video. It’s going to be incredible. What are we going to say? I don’t know. We’ll figure that out later,” then the video we end up with probably has a lot of filler, it’s probably not very focused because we’re deciding on the package before we decide the content.

When we start with our focus, what are we going to say, then we ask what’s the best package to put this in so that we’re going to deliver it effectively to our audience. Whether that is a video, a podcast, whether it’s an infographic or something else entirely.

Erin: I will think of you every time I open a box and there’s another tiny box or it’s just filled with packing peanuts or airbags. Just filler–

Melanie: I don’t know if that’s good.

Erin: No. No, it’s not, but it’s a brilliant analogy, Melanie. Thank you. The book also walks readers through 10 different ways to bring your stories to life and the formats that they could take. Okay, so let’s explore that a little bit too, like the base prompt.

Melanie: That’s right, so the focus being what’s our angle here. There’s a lot of different angles that you could take, and as you said, in the book, I walk through 10 different ones just to give you some options to start. Some that are really common and that would work really well in this space would be people-focused content. Looking around to say, not just myself, I don’t want only content that focuses on myself, but who are the people around me that I could create content about that would help me communicate my values, my job, my community to my audience. It might be people on your team. It might be the mayor of the neighborhood. It might be the person who’s been running every morning for 20 years and knows the nature in the area better than anyone else. You know who those people are. That’s the question to be asking. Who are the people that I could tell stories about that help convey this idea?

People-focused content is some of the most relatable stuff. It’s not the only way to tell stories. You could tell stories about the history of a particular topic or an area, you can give people instructions on how to achieve something. There’s lots of other options, but I think if you start with people-focused content, you’re going to be on your way to creating some really engaging, really interesting and relatable content.

Erin: That’s amazing. Okay, and to get a little bit more black-and-white about it, how about maps? What about using maps to do this?

Melanie: Absolutely. Maps are a really cool option. I think most of us default to writing written content or video if that’s where you’re comfortable, but there are some other formats that are so, so valuable. Maps is one that I think is really underrated, and given our expertise here, it’s a perfect vehicle for us to deliver content.

We made the example before for Cinco de Mayo that we were going to highlight some of our favorite Mexican restaurants in the area, our favorite tapas places. We’re going to really spice it up. Well, most people would probably think to just deliver that as a written list, but how much more valuable would it be if it were delivered as a map? Even just a basic map that shows where these places are, it’s going to be a lot more valuable for our audience when we’re talking about geographic content all of the time.

The same could be true for that people-focused content. I mentioned the person who runs laps every single morning in the neighborhood. I bet you they could create something really cool. Here’s a two-mile trail. Here’s a five-mile trail. Here’s a 10-mile trail. Describing that step-by-step would make for some really boring content, but if it were on a map, it suddenly becomes something that’s really useful.

Erin: Yes, digestible in a whole different kind of way. You mentioned briefly, history. What about our own histories? What about writing blogs kind of about yourself, not going into too much minutia or self-aggrandizing, but letting people know just who you are so they feel a connection with you, Melanie?

Melanie: Absolutely. At the end of the day, this is a relationship business. We’re trying to build relationships with clients that hopefully last them through even more than one home. We want to be there for those important moments. In order to do that, they have to know and like us. We’ve got to be able to help them understand who we are and what’s important to us. Being able to talk about the things that are important to you, your hobbies, your interests, your values, help them understand not just the services that you offer, but who you are as a person.

A great example of this is the REALTOR® that we worked with in buying our first home, Lois. We were looking at REALTORS® in the area and a lot of sameness, like we were talking about, a lot of similar content about how to look for your first home or whatever the case may be, but Lois’ specialty was she talked about things to do for families. She specialized in helping families find their first home. My husband and I had a little one, and so seeing her content, knowing that she’s focused on what’s important to her, family bonding and family time, helped us see that she was a little bit different than the other options out there and she was the right fit for us. She’s out there sharing content like- not happy spring or it’s the first day of spring, but a great spring activity is picking berries with your kids. Here are my favorite berry-picking orchards in the area that are great for kids under 10, that they’re very walkable, for example. That is so much more valuable than just a generic happy spring graphic. What can I do with that? Nothing.

Finding a way to tap into what makes you special. If you’re a dog person, find a way to work dogs and dog parks and dog-walking trails and whatever else into it. If you’re a music person, talk about the history of music in the area. There’s ways that you can examine the areas around you, the people around you and the work that you do through the lens of what makes you truly special. That’s what’s going to allow people to connect with you on a deeper level.

Erin: Wow. Elevating your personal brand, if you will, and going deeper at the same time. Just brilliant. Okay. How can we ensure, Melanie, as entrepreneurs and REALTORS®, that we’re creating content strategies that connect with people and support our business goals and not just content for business sake? I think you’ve touched on many of them; make it personal, use a map. I think the message has to be not me, me, me, but what do you need from me? What do I think is interesting to you?

Melanie: Absolutely. Yes, the example I gave of Lois is thinking, what do my families need? What do families in our area need? That’s the driving force behind a lot of the content that she creates to connect with families who may be looking for homes in the area. You can do the same thing. Really focus on, what is it that your clientele are looking for? What are the challenges that they face? What are the problems that you can help them overcome? What are the questions that they have? If you’re keeping your audience’s needs at the center of the work that you’re creating, it’s a really good chance you’re not going to get too far off-track and too self-serving.

If you do need some sort of formula, if you’re a rules person, the 70-30 rule is something that comes up a lot. The idea of that at least 70% of your content should be for your audience, and then you can allow 30% to be for you, more self-serving, more of a call to action for your business. What we want to do is provide enough value that it’s okay that we ask for things for ourselves on occasion. If we are only doing that me, me, me, there’s not a lot of reason for folks to stick around. What are they getting out of the exchange? That 70-30 balance, if you need a goal, is a good place to be.

Erin: That is so brilliant, the 70-30. Give, give, give 70%, and then the 30% can be a gentle ask. It’s so smart, and it works in real life relationships too. If you only call somebody when you want something, pretty soon they’re going to see your number and go, “I’m busy.” That is just a great lesson. Thank you so much for that, Melanie.

Okay. Now building long-term relationships with clients is critical in real estate, obviously. You’re still in touch with Lois and you bring her up. How can REALTORS® be intentional with their strategies to not just attract new leads, but to help nurture and convert those leads and then ultimately retain them as clients? How do you do that?

Melanie: I think we’ve mentioned a few different approaches to creating content, talking about what your audience needs. It’s also really important to feel comfortable talking about things that are not directly related to what you do. Coming back to that 70-30 rule. Most of your clients, once they’re done working with you, hopefully, assuming everything goes well, they may not need to work with you for a while, and so those direct, ask-focused content might not be what they’re looking for, it might not be the right time. You need to be providing enough value that it’s worth sticking around.

I know we talked earlier about that threshold of, like your toaster company, how much is too much to be in the inbox. If your tools give you the option to segment your audience, to separate between you’ve got your hot leads, maybe your active clients, and then you’ve got your just warm ones, the ones that are kind of in the background simmering a little bit, that tiny burner in the back, the simmering ones, we just need to keep it warm. Reaching out to them less frequently with more audience-focused content is a great way for you to stay top-of-mind without overwearing your welcome, and making sure that they don’t forget who you are, but they don’t get bugged by you too much either. That’s one option is to treat those audiences differently. Who are you maintaining in that simmering burner in the back, and who are you actively trying to fire up to make that conversion?

Erin: How do you think content marketing can help REALTORS® to build trust and credibility? I mean, rampant consumer skepticism. It’s something that we discussed actually with Nature of Things, Anthony Morgan, in Episode 47, and it is real.

Melanie: Absolutely is. The environment that we are all operating in as REALTORS® or even just as business owners, it is some of the most skeptical consumer experiences that we have ever had. The data shows time and again that year after year, unfortunately, the world gives our customers a lot more reason to be skeptical, a lot more reason to doubt what they’re hearing. Just look at your latest- your email inbox or your missed calls list, maybe your text inbox these days, and you’ll see the spam, you’ll see the reasons that they’re not trusting.

That could be upsetting, but there’s a way to see it as an opportunity. That in this world that our clients are operating in and our prospects are operating in, everyone around them is giving them so many reasons to doubt, and we can use our content to show that we are who we say we are, that we do what we say we do and that we can be trusted to help them with this problem that they’re trying to solve.

Content gives you a chance to communicate the truth behind your business claims, the ability to really show that they don’t have to take your word for it, you’ve got testimonials to back it up, or they don’t have to take your word for it, they can see it themselves. They don’t have to take your word for it, you’ve got accolades to prove it. Really finding ways to use that content to say, “I’m bringing you the evidence. I’m bringing you the receipts. I know there’s a lot of reasons to be distrustful, there’s a lot of reasons to be skeptical, but I’m going to help ease those concerns so you know you can trust me.”

Erin: Terrific wisdom. Thank you so much, Melanie. All right. What three things do you want people– what three toppings? No. What three things, Melanie, do you want people to take away from our discussion today?

Melanie: Three important things for you to remember is at the end of the day, your story matters. People work with you because they want to hear what you have to say, they want to connect with you and they want to work with you specifically, so bring yourself into your content. It’s so incredibly important.

I also want you to remember that your content should serve your audience, not just your business needs. We want to make sure that the stuff is for our audience, that it’s adding value to them so that they see us as someone who adds value to their life.

The last thing I want you to remember is that have some fun. This stuff is supposed to be fun. If it’s feeling like a drag, if you’re dreading doing it, it’s a good indication to you that maybe something isn’t quite right for you strategically. Change up your process, change up your content, try recording in a new way or a new day, and really just find a way to bring that spark back. Because when you’re having fun, that’s going to be obvious in your content.

Erin: Oh, that is so good. It reminds me of something a trainer told me once, that when you were a kid at the playground, did you stay on one machine for 30 minutes? No, you didn’t. You ran around and tried all the machines and you just had a great time. I think your message is such a great reminder to bring the fun back into it and come from a place of joy where you can.

Melanie: Absolutely. It makes it a whole lot more fun because if it feels like a drag, man, it’s just, why are we doing it, right?

Erin: Exactly. What a great conversation. Thank you so much, Melanie.

Melanie: Thanks for having me, thanks for chatting.

Erin: Oh, so much great content there from Melanie, so many messages on how to get your messages across in really unique ways, ways that resonate with you, ways that are about you.

REAL TIME is brought to you by the Canadian Real Estate Association, CREA. Production is courtesy of Alphabet® Creative, with technical support from Rob Whitehead. For more real estate resources, tools and insights, visit us anytime at CREA.ca. If you like this conversation, our 50th, if you can believe it, why not explore the rest of our episodes, from the art of negotiation, to AI, sustainable business practices and more. We cover all things Canadian real estate with a wide array of exciting guests. Don’t forget to rate or review the show. This is where the 30%, where we’re asking you to do something, we always appreciate it, so thank you.

I’m your host, Erin Davis. Thanks again for joining us and we’ll see you next time on REAL TIME.