They Call Me Miranda Priestly: Four Things I’ve Learnt From Running a Lifestyle Blog
By Nicole Pomeroy, Communications Manager
If you were to ask me two years ago for my opinion on where the real estate market is headed or what the upcoming home design trends were, my answer would have fallen flat.
It wasn’t until we received a client lead back in April 2017 with the Canadian Real Estate Association that I discovered I wasn’t alone. There were (and still are) hundreds of Canadians feeling misinformed, confused, and curious about topics surrounding real estate and home design. Questions from, “What Is The Cost of A Single Family Home Across Canada?” (is everywhere just as crazy as Vancouver and Toronto?) to “What Do I Need to Know Before Designing a Custom Shower System?” had little to no information for Canadians by Canadians...until we joined forces.
Fast forward to my current role as Account Manager and editor-in-chief of REALTOR.ca’s Living Room Blog, I’m amazed by how a team of writers, REALTORS®, design influencers, and a talented team of creatives have collaborated efforts to not only make this kind of information accessible to Canadians but fun and easy to follow along. A question I often get now is: What’s it like running a lifestyle publication like REALTOR.ca? My short answer: It’s fast-paced, and involves gallons of coffee per week—but if you really want me to get into detail, I’m going to share four things I’ve learnt from running a lifestyle publication.
#1 SEO is King:
From the day we began our Research and Insights for the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) we declared that search engine optimization (SEO) is king. Customers who are ready to buy, do their research first, then second, then again for validation—it’s more important than ever to get to the top of those search results. How do you get there? By creating quality, fresh content that ranks high in search in the long tail (and especially local markets).
#2 Discovery is Queen:
In order to get our ranking to the top, we first have to discover exactly what people are looking for. How can we be of service? What information are they looking for? What do they care about? And where are they searching for this information? There are tools and various insight reports accessible that helps to pull data from your audience. Once you’ve figured out how and why, that’s when you can learn to get better by optimizing the where (getting them to go even deeper into your rabbit hole by spending more time on your website, bouncing from one blog to another, skimming through your social platforms—the possibilities are endless once you get it right).
#3 Analytics keep the conversation going:
There’s something about data that’s so magical. It’s not only rewarding to see positive results (platform growth, page views, average time spent on pages, engagement rates, etc.), but also keeps the conversation going. When you dig deep enough, it’s telling. Data is pretty straightforward and will tell you exactly what your audience is engaging with, and what they aren’t. Social listening and understanding your audience's behavioural patterns you can discover things like affinities, ( that is which other blogs and profiles your audience is following and engaging with), what content they’re sharing on their personal accounts and from which platforms, who they’re tagging (friends, family, colleagues?), and finally, really take into consideration their questions and feedback. Using a formula you’ll know exactly what your audience wants and where they want it—an important factor when allocating your ad spends. If you have the patience for it, it’s simple—if not, we’re always happy to help.
#4 It takes an army:
Getting through the kinks of launching this publication flawlessly was easier than I ever imagined. Thanks to the full support and involvement from the Canadian Real Estate Association and their team, an army of writers from across Canada, and our internal team: Celestina who helps to manage the distribution and cross-platform storytelling through multiple social channels and media (publishing five English and four French articles across eight platforms), Alex and Anna Maria, who help to set and guide the social branding and on-going visuals. Then there’s Tara, who played a prominent role in the research and strategy (which we won an award by Content Marketing Awards for by the way! *announcement post pending*), and continues to oversee the project, write articles, and sources visuals when it’s a design that she’s super passionate about (practically all of the Design Files, that is). And finally, our French editor Nathalie Rivard, who writes, optimizes and helps to bring in a list of high-profile French-Canadian contributors to Salon.
Getting outside your comfort zone, learning new things, and putting yourself into other people’s shoes is the greatest thing about what we do. If you were to ask me for my opinion on where the real estate market is headed and what the upcoming design trends are, I would answer today with confidence.