Owned, Paid and Earned Content to Market and Rent Apartments

April 12, 2013

Blog posts aren’t as interesting to read today as they were a few years ago. Perhaps because everything that should be said has been said. Or, maybe it is because online content has turned into advertisements and marketing materials, referred to as “Content Marketing” to lure you in. Marketers ruin everything.

That said, the article Top 3 Trends Apartment Marketers Should Not Ignore caught my attention, specifically The Convergence of POSE Media. Writer Lea Lashley articulates the definition of POSE well; 

 The convergence of paid-owned-shared-earned (POSE) media is completely disrupting how marketers … market. Those who do not integrate and align their POSE are now at a disadvantage.

What do we mean by POSE? Paid is brand content enabled through payment (includes paid search, sponsored content, promotions, advertising, etc.); owned is brand content published on a brand’s channel (includes websites, social media channels, blogs, apps); shared is consumer content enabled by a third party (includes organic search, forums, user-generated content, “likes” and retweets or comments, etc.); and earned is consumer content enabled by a third party (media coverage, etc.).

Paid media by itself no longer works. Brands must leverage paid and owned in order to scale. In our world, the goal is amplification—spreading messages to connect with customers and leveraging POSE to drive effectiveness, achieve authenticity, cultivate ideas, and cut through the noise.

The article was refreshing. We have chanted about Branded Media and Be The Advertiser for several years at the Urbane Lab. It works, and is an extremely effective edge for LOWERING Apartment Marketing Costs. The dirty little secret is, that Apartment Marketing Costs continue to decrease over time as you build your Content Arsenal. As your Digital Footprint expands year over year with creative, useful content, your SEO benefit expands accordingly. The average apartment operators number of units to rent is static year over year and doesn’t expand unless there is a Lease Up.

The key here is USEFUL Content, useful to your prospect, NOT you or your company. Hence the reason blog posts aren’t so interesting now, marketers have turned content into noise, mostly designed to enhance SEO. There is however significant value to businesses and brands that effectively craft meaningful, helpful, fun, entertaining content. 

Do Apartment Operators Understand the Value of Media

As long as Apartment Marketers continue to primarily spend their marketing budgets on ILS Ads, they aren’t very serious about ANY type of Media Marketing. Some have done Paid Search, but that is the extent of their Media Marketing. There Paid Search has mostly been ineffective. The irony is that if they were to pursue Paid Media, Owned Media, Shared Media or Earned Media they would realize that their biggest competitor isn’t the apartment community across the street, it is their ILS Partners. By and large the ILS’s OWN the search market and they will outspend most apartment marketers. However, with diligence, the savvy Apartment Marketer can level things up with Local Content and Partnership Marketing, which fuels a well oiled Local Search Campaign.

Take Your Hand Out of the Cookie Jar   

It is tempting to just continue to pay the ILS Fees each month in exchange for a limited number of Leasing Leads consistent with keeping vacancy at an acceptable level. The system does work, but at a price. Perhaps tolerance is the issue. We don’t complain about gas prices much until they near the $4.00 per gallon mark, then the market pushes back and gas prices somehow mysteriously fall away and never exceed the high water mark. Put into perspective, as long as our Apartment Marketing Costs fall under $200 per unit per year, all is right with the world. Well, what if $200 per unit per year is 30% higher than what you should spend for Apartment Marketing, or 50% higher than what you could be spending. This business is, and has always been about the nickels and the dimes, and apartment marketing gets squeezed, down to that $200 per unit per year mark. If you are spending most of that marketing budget on the ILS Game, and your hand is in their cookie jar, there isn’t much left for any meaningful media marketing campaigns. 

Help Bridge the Gap with Partnership Marketing 

Partnership Marketing is an excellent strategy to bridge the gap between starting your Branded Media Campaign and garnishing enough website traffic to self sustain enough Leasing Leads to keep your Apartment Community full. The Urbane Lab has long been a supporter of Hitching Your Wagon to Someone Else’s Wagon when appropriately aligned. Our Boutique Apartment Brand, Urbane Apartments has successfully alined and partnered with both Local and National Brands, such as Vitamin Water, where we have a Branded Vitamin Water Cooler in our Leasing Center. We have had Sharpie Draw on the Walls Contest at a Grand Opening of one of our Apartment Communities with over (250) guests!

Partnership Marketing helps you get noticed, and when you get noticed by the National Media, only good things happen. Our Urbane Media Digital Marketing Strategies have had the good fortune to land articles in Bloomberg Businessweek Magazine and Entrepreneur  Magazine. The New York Times had this to say about our Partnership Marketing effort; 

Urbane Apartments has served as the media partner for a local festival and a restaurant association’s Restaurant Week, as well as the sponsor of a successful Ladies’ Night Out organized by a merchants’ association. For the Restaurant Week promotion, Mr. Brown featured short  videos on his Web site that received 3,000 views over three weeks. He is now in discussion with 35 restaurant owners to do cross-promotion for free product offers on hisFacebook page.

“We hitch our wagon to others’ wagons to build our brand,” he said. “For example, most women at the Ladies’ Night Out event weren’t renters, but they have sons or daughters or nieces or nephews or friends who might be. These types of events can get them talking about us. It’s a win-win for everyone because it gets more people in our partners’ doors, too. We’ve taken partnership marketing to the next level.”

Get in the game, content creation takes a while.  

Eric Brown

Eric’s background is rooted in the rental and real estate industries. He founded metro Detroit’s Urbane Apartments in 2003, after serving as senior vice president for a major Midwest apartment developer. He established a proven track record of effectively repositioning existing rental properties in a way that added value for investors while enhancing the resident experience. He also established Urbane Media, a social media marketing and PR laboratory, where innovative marketing ideas are tested. Eric has been featured in Entrepreneur Magazine and Business Week Magazine. You can connect with Urbane_Media on Twitter. Eric also writes regular articles for the following publications;  Multi Housing News Social Media Examiner Search Engine Guide

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