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As we rapidly head towards our second anniversary, I grabbed Andrea for a quick chat to find out more about writing for estate agents. Where did her passion come from, how did Citrus Content start and what challenges and key trends do we face.
How did Citrus start?
I have always had a passion for property and interiors, but writing? My career took me down a different path until 4 years ago when I joined twitter. Here I shared my love for property and started to attract a following, this led to my first blog post. I was asked to write a guest post on my passion, incredibly it was for Rightmove. Over the next couple of years I was asked to write more and more, and realised two things; firstly, I loved it and more importantly, the industry wanted more. So two years ago, I grabbed my pen and paper and started to write as a profession.
Let’s face it, estate agents historically don’t have the best reputation and are renowned for being stuck in their traditional roots. I admit some agents are grasping onto their past with both hands but many are embracing the future and breaking the mould to emerge as a new breed of estate agents.
What are the challenges?
Estate agents are not marketers, designers or creative professionals but the business community and our technological society is asking them to be. They often find it hard to translate their knowledge and personality into content that emotes the reader. But being able to be the solution to this challenge is so rewarding.
Are there any key trends?
Like similar industries, traditionally estate agency content has been cold and corporate. This has changed, whether it’s down to social media or customer needs, the industry leaders seek warm and engaging content that speaks directly to their clients. We work hard to establish a tone of voice for each agency to highlight their individuality. I have created, what we fondly call, our Voice Document. This document is the foundation of everything we write and also means we can write numerous articles on the same subject and you can clearly identify which agent it was written for. Storytelling for estate agents is now very client centric, we focus on using words such as ‘you’ and ‘your’ rather than ‘we’ and ‘our’.
Estate agents are also fusing this new trend with traditional values. They want to be seen as not just based within the community but also part of it. There is a growing demand for editorial content which features local businesses and events. Blog posts, newsletters, and magazines featuring a community touch are a trend that again is growing. No matter whether we feature a local store, artisan, or product, we have to find a way of relating it to the agent or buying, selling, renting or letting a property.
We are required to be all things not just writers. Working with estate agents is fantastically creative; we are often required to be marketers, coming up with inventive ways to promote their business. Some clients require even more, we have written press releases, organized events and so much more.
How have things changed?
Every day I see a change in the industry and a growing acceptance that engaging content is a necessity not a luxury item. There is still a long way to go, as this acceptance is still very much a minority. This is not to criticize those that have not adapted the new trends, as a culture change in an industry never happens over night.
Looking to the future
There is definitely a change in customer perception, and an estate agent is no longer the most hated profession. I often say ‘There is nothing more powerful than words.’ Words are breaking down stereotypes, strengthening the client and agent relationship, aiding an agency to financial success and most importantly, changing how the industry operates.
I’m proud to be part of this incredible change and look forward to breaking many more moulds in the future. Writing for estate agents is anything but dull, it is often said when buying a house you think with your heart and your head. Passion, industry knowledge, and adaptability are key to our success at Citrus Content.