As UK house prices continue to rise, Amy Wilson asks how content marketing can help you to reach the large audience gripped by the subject
Everyone applying for British citizenship must pass a ‘Life in the UK’ test. But a quicker and more effective test would surely be to mention house prices and see whether the potential citizen’s eyes take on a feverish glint and a long conversation ensues.
In short, if you’re not obsessed with house prices, you can hardly call yourself British. And the nub of what everyone really wants to know is: am I overpaying if I buy a property now, or missing the boat if I don’t?
The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show prices climbed 11.7pc in the year to July, taking the price of the average home to £272,000. In London, prices are still outstripping the rest of the country, up 19.1pc in the last year to an extraordinary average of £514,000. Whether and what kind of action the Bank of England will take to cool the market is another key issue, with an interest rate rise widely expected in 2015.
There is certainly no shortage of opinion, from the man in the pub to TV property show presenters. So how can content marketing help you to stand out from the crowd?
As a construction company, mortgage lender or property industry adviser, working with people buying and selling real estate every day, your informed views will find an eager audience: wealth management advisers with property-hungry customers; retailers (and not just those selling curtains and paint – every shop owner needs customers who feel well enough off to spend); even economists.
Everyone from the Governor of the Bank of England himself down to the first-time buyer looking for a one bedroom flat, wants to be as informed as they can about where the property market might be going, to try to stay one step ahead of another boom or bust.
As a company working in the property industry, by using your own website and social media platforms to publish expert opinions and flag useful content up to interested people, you can address this information-hungry audience directly. Suddenly, people who would never have thought of coming to your website will find themselves there, and will be learning about your business as well as reading about property prices.
Looking at the most common online searches around UK house prices, there is a real demand for detailed information: UK house prices + “trend”, + “graph” and + “by region” are all in the top ten.
Property search site Rightmove has marked itself out as a trusted voice in the industry, as well as a place to look for houses, by publishing its own market trend reports which come up on the first page of Google’s search results for ‘UK property prices’ a search term which returns an amazing 11 million results. They have done this without having to pay a media company for advertising space, or hoping their comments will be picked up via press releases.
Rightmove also offers a price comparison service and all kinds of advice to users of its website. It comments on news topics might affect house prices, for example in this story on Scottish independence.
Mortgage lenders and insurers are also using their websites to offer property market advice, with HSBC, Nationwide and Halifax all having dedicated pages for first-time buyers. All three appear on the first page of Google search results for “first time buyers”. Meanwhile Rightmove, Aviva and the AA have published online checklists for viewing and buying houses. The AA and Rightmove’s guides both rank higher than the one published by the consumer advice service Which?.
An enormous variety of other businesses could offer useful comment or analysis of property market trends – lawyers working in conveyancing, or tax and inheritance experts who could advise on the most efficient way to pass on property. Businesses connected to the reasons people choose locations to live – public transport links or schools for example – also have useful information to offer. Reports on areas with the biggest increases in property prices offer a good news hook for a local private school to talk about itself. Finally, companies directly linked to people’s desire to buy, sell or revamp a house such as interior designers and landscape gardeners can publish their take on local property prices to show they are on top of market trends.
Every business or organisation has the chance to promote its own informed view by using its own website and social media channels. The right content will attract a new audience and set it apart from the clamour of voices already out there.