Unleash the Power of Your Own Local Knowledge with WikiRealty | Chicago Association of REALTORS®

by Sanjay Kuttemperoor, CEO & Founder of WikiRealty, Inc.

It’s a fantastic time for real estate professionals in markets across the country, especially Chicago. Low unemployment, historically low interest rates and rising rent prices mean consumers are being bombarded with the message that “now is the time to buy!” As a relatively affordable metropolis compared to cities on the East and West Coasts, Chicago is highly appealing for both first-time buyers and foreign investors, two major demographics driving the market in 2015.

In a thriving real estate market, how can professionals separate themselves from the crowd and get connected with consumers seeking their expertise? Content marketing – creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content – is the most effective tool a Realtor® can utilize to grow their business. Content marketing increases one’s digital footprint, leading to more opportunities to connect with consumers searching for real estate information online. WikiRealty is an online platform for real estate professionals to share real-time, trusted local information that helps everyone make better decisions about where to live and work. Our web and mobile app offers C.A.R. members a quick and easy way to grow their digital footprint by sharing content that demonstrates their knowledge of Chicago.

THE PITFALLS OF ONLINE ADVERTISING

According to data tracker Borrell Associates, the real estate industry as a whole spent $27 billion dollars on advertising in 2014, with just over $16 billion spent online. Over the next two years, online advertising is expected to grow to over $19 billion. Despite enormous ad spends, hit or miss targeting of qualified clients is still a large source of wasted dollars. Even you (and probably most people you know) don’t click on online ads — at least not on purpose. The Internet has afforded us access to a wealth of user-generated content that helps us form our opinions about what to buy. We inherently trust this type of content, and it dwarfs the power of advertising. As The Atlantic succinctly stated: “We seek information, so we’re more likely to trust it; marketing seeks us, so we’re more likely to distrust it.”

THE DEMAND FOR LOCAL KNOWLEDGE

Consumers can’t get enough local knowledge; they crave it. Traffic to the multitude of listing portals on a yearly basis far exceeds the number of sales happening in a given year and even the total sales projected to happen in the next five years. PAA Research has estimated that only 45 percent of Zillow’s page views are of for sale homes. The remainder of views is on local information and user-generated content. Consumers are hungry for information about communities. The advantage to creating hyperlocal content is that it will often allow you to rank ahead of major listing portals in search. It’s nearly impossible to compete on generic terms and phrases against companies investing millions in SEO, yet there’s an opportunity to land at the top of search engines for specific, hyperlocal queries. When consumers know what they want, they are likely to search for specific information. For example, “River North condos without rental caps” is a more specific search. By sharing your hyperlocal knowledge online, you can dramatically improve your SEO rankings.

HIGHLIGHT YOUR EXPERTISE ON WIKIREALTY

As a C.A.R. member you already have access to WikiRealty. Join our vibrant community for free in Chicago by signing up at wikirealty.com/join-chicago.