Friday, July 19, 2019

Commercial Real Estate Content Marketing - Does it Matter?

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One of the ways I survived the economic downturn of 2008 was to “work out loud” - a phrase coined by my bride of forty years. Simply, it is the practice of taking my daily tasks as a commercial real estate professional - finding, winning, and fulfilling business - and writing about them. Who knew the weekly missives would someday appear in your subscription of the Orange County Register Sunday Real Estate Section. Moreover - an internet catalog of commercial real estate topics now exists for inquiring minds. A digital footprint is created which is akin to a marketing sign on a vacant building - a touchpoint is formed.

My fear - when I started blogging in 2010 - was only two people would read my ramblings - my wife and me! Turned out - I was ahead of the content marketing curve - before content marketing was a thing. Now, I’m known nationally - in my industry - as one of the early adopters of social media to distribute the content I create. Doubt what I say? Perform a Google search for Allen C. Buchanan and see for yourself. What few of us anticipated? Many owners and occupants of commercial real estate would seek on-line counsel for their commercial real estate issues. If properly crafted - blogs, videos, white papers - can address questions that arise through owning and occupying commercial space.

Recently, I opined: “We must - as commercial real estate professionals - appeal to the on-line searcher. A common mis-conception is we simply use the modern media sources - FaceBook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram - as a way to advertise available properties. Unfortunately - these ads get deleted like that cable subscription. What pulls a building shopper to us these days is content. Content that portrays us as experts in our field - not simply a name on a sign. Content that inspires to action, entertains, or educates as a means of demonstrating our knowledge. Good content - videos, “how-to” articles, thought pieces - serve as a large net for existing and future buyers. Advertising buildings for sale only appeals to folks in the market today - a very small slice of the population.”

Chances are - if you’re an avid reader of this column - you’ve some stake in commercial real estate. You own it or occupy it. Therefore - when a need arises - a vacancy to fill, more space for your operation, it’s time to buy or sell - what will you do?

I’m guessing one of several things.

You’ll contact the agent you’ve known for years. Ok. No web search needed. However, if your go-to agent has not embraced content as a means of finding you a tenant or buyer or sourcing additional space - are you being short changed?

You’ll ask a friend for a referral. Absent a relationship with someone in our business - you’ll probably see if that referral has a web presence or check out LinkedIn for some color. By the time you meet - you’ll have a pretty good understanding of his background, expertise, focus, and clientele.

You’ll scoop out those mailings you’ve received from active neighborhood pros and call one. By the way - if you’ve not investigated the service provider - you should - before you call! Client testimonials, case studies, years in the trade, experience with your particular requirement - all should be vetted. Yep. On-line.

You’ll perform an on-line search for the need you have. Bingo! In your browser - you might type “How do I choose a commercial real estate agent?” “What should I avoid when marketing my building?” “Considerations when leasing a commercial space.” Those search results pull you toward an expert who produced the thought piece. You get a sense of her knowledge without ever meeting her. Determined? Whether you want more and if you will engage her.

Does commercial real estate content matter? Absolutely! Just ask Siri.

Allen C. Buchanan, SIOR, is a principal with Lee & Associates Commercial Real Estate Services in Orange. He can be reached at or 714.564.7104. His website is

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