INTERVIEW WITH BILLY FINK // CONTENT MARKETING MANAGER, HIGHTOWER
Can you describe Hightower’s overall content marketing program?
BILLY FINK: Most of our content marketing efforts happen through our blog. We started the initiative about a year ago, and have gotten very positive feedback from the industry and our clients.
Overall, the content is focused primarily on leasing best practices. The entire Hightower platform is built to streamline leasing and asset management — so it only makes sense that our content efforts reflect that same mission.
From a more tactical standpoint, we publish to the blog every day.
The moment your blog feels old or stagnant, you have lost a great deal of credibility. There is just so much to read out there nowadays, you really have to earn the right to be read.
How do you identify new topics?
BILLY FINK: That’s probably the hardest part of content marketing. Selecting good topics is the foundation for any good content marketing program. If you miss the mark, and publish content that your audience doesn’t care about, nobody will read your content — no matter how good or interesting you may think it is.
We are constantly tracking interesting stories from news publications, other blogs, conferences, our sales team, our customers, and any macro real estate trends — and applying a leasing lens to them. This seems to be the best way to produce content that people are interested in reading. Once we identify a topic or theme that does well, we’ll usually run a few more posts on the topic to confirm the interest wasn’t a fluke. Then it is included as a staple in our regular editorial schedule.
What tactics do you use to distribute your content?
BILLY FINK: Most of the typical channels: email, social media, syndication, and some paid placements. Together, they create the most powerful distribution system for the content.
The most effective channel for us is social media. Although each channel (Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, etc.) delivers different results depending on the specific topic, Linkedin has traditionally been the best.
Most articles get syndicated in 4-5 other publications (including The News Funnel, which has been great for awareness and traffic!).
Do you think content marketing will become more popular in CRE?
BILLY FINK: Absolutely — but that’s not to say that content marketing hasn’t always been around in the industry. All those research reports that brokerages put out are a perfect example of good content marketing. They are taking their insights and data to demonstrate thought leadership through great, regular content.
The change will likely come from smaller brokerages. Many of these brokers will seek to demonstrate their market value through smart content. And they should definitely do it. Content marketing is one of the best measures of ROI, but it requires a lot of upfront and consistent work. Before venturing into the content marketing game, firms should expect at least 3-6 months of regular posting before seeing any real return.