Face Your Fears! Try Embracing These 4 Controversial Topics on Your Home Builder Blog
When it comes to writing blog articles, most home building companies like to stick to safe topics: advice on selecting a floor plan, tips for choosing a community, or details about the mortgage process.
While these are all great topics you should be writing about, we think it’s time to shake things up a bit. Add a new element to your home builder blog - bring in a little controversy.
It’s not a bad word! Controversy is “a discussion marked especially by the expression of opposing views”. A discussion. Discussions are good!
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- Customers want to know what the price is
- Be proud of what you offer and clear about what you don’t
- Talk about relevant news and government policy, but keep it informational
- It’s okay to talk about the competition
By talking about some of the more controversial topics openly, you’ll attract customers by being open and trustworthy. You’re not shying away from the topics that other builders avoid. Potential buyers will believe they can ask you about anything and get an honest answer.
Feel free to talk about some of these things.
The Price of Your Homes
Home builders tend to skirt around the issue of price; it’s the way it’s always been. They would rather talk with someone who is interested (instead of excluding potential buyers solely based on the price tag they saw on the website) before they have a chance to discuss anything.
However, price is one of the main factors potential clients take into consideration. We believe it’s extremely important to be upfront about your pricing.
We all know that a home is more than the price tag; quality of craftsmanship, attention to detail - these things add value to a new home and you want to make sure you’re communicating that to a home buyer.
‘Forcing’ someone to talk with a sales representative about a home that ends up being out of their budget is a waste of time - for your rep AND the home buyer. No one wants that.
What does this mean?
Strike a balance with your pricing. Include your ‘starting from’ or ‘base model’ price on your website - out in the open for everyone to see. This lets your site visitors shop in their price range, and neither side feels as though they’ve wasted time.
How does this translate into a blog article?
Highlight specific models and floor plans, with the pricing in the content. This also gives you an opportunity to give your readers ideas on upgrades and options for these homes. It sets the tone that while “base price is X amount of dollars; if you want these upgrades, you’re looking at more.” And please, make sure you include plenty of images of your model.
Side note? These types of pieces can work really well when running an upgrade promotion - customers can see what a good deal they’re getting.
Services You Don’t Offer
We get it. Generally, you want to talk about the good things your home building company has to offer. When you focus on the things you can’t do, you worry your audience will wonder whether or not you’ll be able to do a good job.
On the other hand, you don’t want people to be checking out your business without realizing you don’t offer the one thing that is a must-have for them.
While you probably don’t want to write an entire post about the things you can’t do, it’s certainly okay to mention some of them - in context, of course.
For instance, let’s say your company doesn’t offer completely custom homes. However, your standard floor plans do have some customizable options, like adding a larger closet to the secondary bedrooms. Talking about what you do and don’t offer here does two things:
- Shows you’re not afraid to talk about what you’re not able to do - not every home builder can build for every buyer as much as they wish they could!
- Give you a place to talk about what you CAN do without it coming across as sales-y - you’re simply offering the reader alternative ideas to what they may want ;)
Relevant Industry News
Politics in Canada may not be the best thing to write about as a home builder but sometimes it really is relevant to your industry.
There have been big government decisions that affect mortgage rates, for example. This is a perfect example of a good topic to cover, and it’s both timely and important. When there are issues that affect the building or home buying industries, there’s nothing wrong with offering that information.
And no, you don’t want - or need - to comment on things like health care or foreign policy.
Focus on the topic at hand and keep it non-partisan. Instead, offer information about any changes or issues that can affect both home buyers and yourself. A new tariff on lumber will affect house costs, plain and simple.
The more information people have, the easier it is for them to make their own decisions. This is an important part of successful content marketing for home builders.
A lot of builders avoid talking about their competition like the plague. It’s almost like they want to pretend those competitors aren’t out there.
But your potential customers aren’t stupid. More and more, they’re doing research on their own, before you and your team even know they’re in the market. They’re looking at you and they’re comparing all of their various options.
Acknowledge the competition.
Now, don’t get us wrong. You absolutely, 100%, should NOT be trash-talking your competition. That’s going to make you look petty, and it will turn people off. It will also create a contentious relationship with those other businesses.
However, talking about competitors in a neutral way can earn you some bonus points among your viewers.
One of our favourite examples of this is Marcus Sheridan. Yes, that Marcus Sheridan. His pool company was almost bankrupt back in 2008. He discovered inbound marketing (and HubSpot!) and started blogging for his company. He created a post that talked about some of the best pool builders in Virginia and did NOT put himself on that list. That one article made $150,000 in sales and it’s still at the top of the Google rankings at the time of posting this article.
How can you do this?
You could create a post that discusses the various builders in your area, offering basic information about each company. Alternatively, if there’s a service another builder offers that you don’t, there’s nothing wrong with specifically mentioning them. They’ll appreciate it, and they’ll be more likely to recommend your business when you’d be a better match for their potential customer.
The other thing to consider is where is that traffic going? It’s all coming to YOUR blog and has the potential to rank well in the search results as a quick guide for home buyers comparing their options. Take it a step further by offering a downloadable builder comparison checklist readers can take with them (with your branding, of course) as they check how you match up to other options.
Your blog should be an important reflection of your business’ style. What type of image are you going to put out? Do you want to stick with topics that are safe or do you want to stand out over your competition? At Velocity23, we can help you design a public persona that fits with your company’s values. From there, we’ll craft pieces that fit your message. Talk to us today.
Originally published Sept 15, 2020