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Using content to crack into a community

Consistency is key

When Richardson & Wrench director Jason Boon started publishing stories, he didn’t know he was doing content marketing. He thought of it as “being part of the community”.

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His instinctive approach to marketing works. Boon publishes a weekly article about Sydney’s Potts Point/Elizabeth Bay areas in his Local Stories blog and amplifies it through social media – achieving a 20 to 30% ROI.

It’s a good example of how passion for a subject, single-minded consistency and a willingness to invest in content for the long-term can reap rewards. We interviewed Jason to find out what inspired his content trajectory.

It’s a good example of how passion for a subject, single-minded consistency and a willingness to invest in content for the long-term can reap rewards.

When did you start using content to connect with your community?

I started about 20 years ago. Everyone tries to do the real estate agency thing – dialogues, cold calling, callbacks and chasing. I just don’t get the whole concept.

So I went the other way. I decided to brand myself and become a part of the community.

I started off writing articles about local shops and businesses, the community, the fountain in Kings Cross, the Kings Cross markets, and the heritage, and I would print the content in glossy brochures and booklets and include real estate in there as well.

How do you distribute your content to the community?

I would send out letters using the post office. This was before social media. At that time there were 11,000 post boxes in Potts Point and Elizabeth Bay. I would pay the post office a fee and they would deliver them to the entire area once a month. It cost $100,000 for the whole year.

I did it manually for years and years, spent lots and lots of money on it. But by the time I had done that for three years I was in total control of the whole area real-estate wise.

I then transferred the content onto my own website, and now share it via Facebook and Instagram, and to a database of 20,000 people via my weekly newsletter.

If you look at it, it’s crazy the amount of money I’ve spent. But it’s come back 10 fold.

How do you come up with content ideas?

I speak to locals, ask them what they’d like to see, hear and read.

You have to keep it simple, it can be confusing if you overdo it. Keep your stories informative but just basic.

I’ve really rammed home for 20 years that Potts Point is Sydney’s Soho. I’ve pushed that as strongly as possible.

It’s a very different approach to marketing than other agents take. Other agents think you have to chase business for the rest of your life. If you anchor yourself and get involved in the community and show interest, you’ll become an attraction business.

Not only has a content-led approach been good money-wise, it’s a softer approach that has helped me form deeper relationships. You’re playing the long-game, not the short-game of chasing sales.

When your target audience is reading one of your blogs, what do you want them to take away from it?

I want them to feel like I’m a part of and understand the community, that I’m not just there to sell. I’m a specialist in the area and someone who’s always going to be there.

It gives a sense of accountability because I’m not someone’s who’s going to come and go, fly by night, simply trying to get a sale.

There are people who have seen me around for 20 years now – an older lady stopped me in the street the other day and said she’s probably never going to sell, but she’s told her daughter to give me a call when she dies.

Based on how successful your blog has been, do you have any content advice for a big brand?

Be a part of the community. And not only that, do it consistently.

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Susan Burchill
Susan has been a professional writer for 25 years. Today she is a content marketing specialist and occasionally, a copywriter, fulfilling briefs ranging from blogs, scripts and LinkedIn content to longer-form white papers and thought leadership. Her clients have included some of the biggest consultancies, tech companies, media and finance brands in the world. With a background in television - music, the arts, factual - she crosses genres regularly, writing for TV networks and producing video as required. She also writes about sustainability, her passion project.