Step 1: Know Yourself
To find the core of your message, write down the guiding values, goals, and culture that permeate your brand. Surprisingly, many medium- and small-sized brands do not have a clear idea of who they are. Uncertain of the values that move them, their messages are nothing but echoes of their competitors. Recycled stories are not compelling.
So dig a little deeper than the usual “excellence, attention to detail, neighbourhood expert” trite statements. Think hard and ask yourself what the most satisfying aspect of what you do is. What gives you joy. How would you like to be remembered, what made you become what you are today, and what do you wish people would say about you?
Brand storytelling also refers to the images that accompany your words: logo colours, pictures, and font. Even the dress code at your office matters. What’s the message? Ensure they work together with the written and video stories you produce to create a coherent message.
Step 2: Know Your Customer
You must have a thorough knowledge of who you are talking to, what they want, and what they fear. Using the Facebook Audience Tool, for example, can give you a wealth of information about the people who visit your page and about those who do not. You can see their demographics and preferences, making it easier to craft stories that resonate with them.
For example, you discover that many members of your audience like baseball. It so happens that you like baseball too. Wouldn’t it be great to target that demographic by appealing to that common ground with anecdotes of what playing baseball taught you about life? Or how buying a property can involve two strikes before you hit it out of the park? Not to mention that you could participate in the stadium’s advertising efforts, offer free tickets to an anticipated game as a closing gift or in a contest in exchange for engagement on social media or for attending an open house (virtually, if necessary)?
Finding and using common interests not only creates opportunities for you to tell a brand story and gather customer stories for future use, but your audience would get the feeling that they now know you better—and, therefore, trust you more.
Step 3: Get Writing
- a hero (your customer);
- a problem, a challenge;
- a guide, a tool (your brand), and;
- a goal, a dream (and what the stakes are).
Easy, right? However, when it comes to the story, it must:
- Answer your customers’ needs and solve their problems.
- Be easy to understand.
- Be about survival, acceptance, love, or achieving a dream.
Step 4: Always Add a Call to Action
Use the buzz you hopefully have generated with your story by inviting them to act at the end of any material. Whether it’s “Sign Up,” or “Learn More,” a CTA is an effective way to get the harness the power of a good story.
So now that you have an idea of how to do it yourself, let me give you one example you can adapt for your use.
Here is a Real Estate Brand Story Structure You Can Use Today
Customer Story Blog Post (or email campaign):
This story could be adapted to serve the needs of a trading or property management brokerage’s blog or newsletter, or a Realtor direct-marketing postcard or email campaign.
Let’s say that recent clients were cooperative in the sale (or rental) of their property and put in a lot of work to ensure the house looked in and out like it belonged in a decor magazine. They made your work easy, and the house quickly sold over asking price.
You can now craft a story like this:
Title: Glen and Nancy sold their home in one week for $1,000,000 in your neighbourhood. Would you like to know how they did it?
You would then describe:
- Your clients (the heroes).
- How they wanted to sell quickly for a specific price (the problem).
- Then you appeared (the guide) and showed them the path to achieve that lofty goal, though it wasn’t easy.
- But they did it (achieved their goal) and made more money than they had expected.
- Then you finish with a Call to Action, saying something like, “Ask me how you, too, can get top price for your home.” And then follow it with a click-button saying, “Tell Me How.”
By applying the principles of story branding to your real estate marketing, you will be well ahead of most of your competitors who are still creating the same tired and trite pieces few people read anymore. Keep in mind that “when people meet your brand, it’s as though they are meeting a person. They’re wondering if the two of you will get along, whether you can help them live a better life, whether they want to associate their identity with your brand, and ultimately whether they can trust you” Donald Miller, Building a StoryBrand (2017).
You may be wondering why I am telling all of this since my business is to write it for you. The reason is that writing is time-consuming and meticulous work, and few people have the knowledge or the expertise to do it themselves. Some of you will try, but most of you are too busy to do so. That is where copywriters come in.
If you don’t want to sound like your competitors, you should hire someone who knows your field. So how would you like to have your content written by a former real estate professional and published author turned copywriter?