Content marketing is routinely defined as marketing that involves the creation and curation (sharing) of online assets (like videos, blogs, and social media posts) that do not necessarily promote a brand or product but rather stimulate interest, connection, and engagement with brands or products. While Mortgage Loan Officers have been engaged in similar types of marketing for years through email and several non-digital channels, the industry has been slow to embrace the new media version.
Content marketing integrates social media, blogs, and other digital assets to establish and maintain relationships with a variety of audiences using the communication channels they are using to communicate and manage relationships with each other. Millennials and the generational cohort that is following them, Generation Z, do not view relationships the way the older generations do. They also do not consume information the way we do and they do not judge credibility or authenticity the way we do either. They are not as likely to take someone else’s word for anything when they have been raised with the ability to find out anything on nearly any subject with a few taps of their fingers on a smartphone.
Millennials are already the largest block of homebuyers and their saturation of the market is likely to increase in coming years. Generation Z is only a few years from entering the home-buying fray and it is likely that will quickly overtake the top spot shortly thereafter. All of this means that the large majority of future homebuyers are going to be (already are, really) accustomed to knowing far more about you before you are even aware that they are a potential customer. And this is where content marketing really becomes important: if they cannot find out much about you and you are not providing answers to their questions online, it is incredibly easy for them to search and find a Loan Officer that fulfills those needs.
Content marketing offers several benefits but there are three that are truly game-changing. First, content marketing does not cost very much. The applications and platforms required typically do not cost much at all; many are free. It does require an investment in time but not nearly as much as you used to spend driving flyers around from office to office hoping to get past the secretary to speak to an agent or two. And outsourcing can be a cost-effective proposition as well.
The second significant benefit is that it increases your reach exponentially. The core of most content marketing strategies is the blog post (such as the one you are reading now.) The blog serves as content to drive engagement with your social media pages, which leads friends and family members of your contacts to see their engagement and, if they are also interested in the topic of the blog post, will also engage with your content and so on. This is word-of-mouth in the new media age and it happens whether your contacts actually open their mouths or not. Of course, you still want to encourage them to actively share information about you with their contacts, but social media provides a passive element as well.
The third significant benefit is that, as you add blogs that answer real-life questions that your audiences ask, you will gradually improve your search rankings. Search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing use web-crawlers and algorithms to determine what shows up in their rankings. These algorithms change periodically, but they generally place a great deal of importance on how closely the content (blog post) states and answers the question asked by the searcher. The authority of the page is also important and that is established by how much the page has been read by people or linked to by other pages. Another influential aspect of search rankings is how often the information is updated. If the central piece of your web presence is a static web page provided by your employer, the only time it will likely be seen is when you tell someone to go there and provide them the link.