Last modified on March 28th, 2017
By Rachel Jefferson
As a property manager, it’s your job to ensure each and every one of your current residents is happy while also doing your best to attract new tenants. If you’re not blogging, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to successfully accomplish both those goals. Having a blog gives you the chance to amplify your voice in a sea of younger, more tech-savvy renters. Starting a blog can be a bit of work, but after the initial planning, you’ll be able to maintain it with ease. (I’m going to skip the technical aspects of blogging in this post; but AppFolio Professional Websites come with built-in blogging capabilities for quick set up.) Here are three tips on how to create an awesome community blog; and, if you already have a blog, here are some ideas if you need to refresh your current process or content.
#1 Before You Write, Do Your Research
The first step to creating a high-quality community blog is also the most important one: do your research. Tenants and prospective tenants don’t want to read boring, rambling posts. They want fresh and relevant posts with tips, news, and actionable information that can benefit them in some way. This means you should take time to browse other local property management blogs to see their style and gather ideas about what subject matter they tackle in their posts.
After vetting the competition, it’s time to think about your property management blog. How do you want it to be different from these other blogs? What will set you apart? One great thing to consider is including content that revolves around your local community. These will be entirely unique to your area and will separate you from being just another generic website.
In particular, research your local community. Try connecting with local leaders and organizations to see what’s happening in town. Curate a list of events, up-and-coming businesses, and attractions which your residents will enjoy hearing about. Find out what really makes your town a special place to live. After talking with some local restaurants and stores, you might even be able to work out a discount deal for your residents if you feature their business on your blog—a win-win for both parties.
#2 Brainstorm Property Management Topic Ideas
Now that you have a huge amount of data and research to work with, come up with specific topics. It’s a good idea to plan a few different categories of posts and then create separate titles within these categories. This will give your blog a sense of cohesion and make it easier to organize and classify. A few good ideas to start with include:
Home improvement and safety tips. These type of blog posts are a great way to give your tenants advice for living a more comfortable lifestyle. You can include topics such as fixing a leaky faucet, patching up chipping paint, or even the proper way to shovel snow. Informative posts like these will give them a reason to keep checking in on your blog. But, always remember that you are the property manager. Don’t post tips for things you don’t want your tenant to handle themselves! For example, you might want to provide tips on how to prevent common issues, and give them the proper instructions for what to do if the issue arises.
Technology features. More and more property managers turn to online property management software to manage their maintenance and rent payments. One great idea for a blog post is to highlight the features of this technology that you offer. Create tutorial posts showing tenants how to use your online interface and the different web payment options. You can even create a post on the benefits of paying online rather than with a check.
Seasonal and local event posts. While other property management blogs will typically feature similar content in the first two categories, these types of posts will be what truly sets your blog apart. Feature new businesses in the area, talk about upcoming events, or even create a resident itinerary for things happening this month; and, you could offer your blog up as a forum to share important renter announcements.
#3 Create an Editorial Calendar
With some research and a list of solid topic ideas, create a timeline for when and what you will post. For a truly successful blog that generates the optimum level of leads, research recommends that you should post about 16 posts in a month, which equates to about four posts a week. But don’t let this number overwhelm you. You should only commit to what you can handle; one post a week in the beginning is a great start.
The easiest way to organize a content calendar is to actually get a calendar (or create a spreadsheet) and write the topic titles on the days you will post them. For ease of posting, reserve each day of the week for a specific topic. For example, Monday could always be your home improvement blog day.
Once you’ve established a calendar, try to get at least two weeks ahead on your content. This will prevent you from falling behind. Additionally, set aside a few hours each month to plan ahead for the next month so you’re not scrambling to come up with new ideas the day before a post.
Benefits of Business Blogging
With your new blog in place, you’ll begin to reap a load of benefits, including:
Increased tenant satisfaction. Creating custom-tailored blog posts for your residents will help them feel valued. They’ll feel thankful to you for providing important decorating tips and local event schedules.
Increased leads. If you’re successful in creating compelling content, your blogs will be shared on social media. This improved engagement very likely will attract new tenants and give your property management company a good name in the public eye.
As you can see, blogging can be truly rewarding if you are willing to invest the time and energy into creating innovative content.