Jen Sylvester is a Massachusetts-based RE/MAX agent who has been developing her video content generation for the past eight years. She spoke to real estate consultant Katie Lance about how creating consistent and authentic content generates quality leads who are eager to work with you as an agent.
Jen started producing occasional content on the American video email service BombBomb, but it wasn’t until she produced around 1900 videos that she committed to pursuing evergreen content.
On the #GetSocialSmart podcast, she explains why it is so important prioritise video as a lead generation tool and what traps to avoid every step of the way, from beginner to pro videographer.
It’s not all about the equipment
- “The agents that are committed to doing video on a consistent basis; it’s not the fanciness, it’s not how am I editing and how am I shooting,” Jen says.
- “I went from my DSLR camera to my iPhone. I’ve got an embarrassing amount of equipment, thousands of dollars and my iPhone 11 Pro is phenomenal, with good lighting and good sound of course. All that doesn’t matter if you don’t post it regularly.”
- Jen explains that she’s even had clients tell her they “binge-watched” all of her videos.
- Jen recommends sending content to both buyers and sellers.
- “Yes, I use it for YouTube but then I also take the links and include it in a form email for buyers and sellers to say ‘here’s this reference material’.”
- Jen shared an example of sending a cold lead a video with a small amount of information. Almost a month later, the man called her up and said they had been communicating with a lot of agents and she was the only one to send them a video, which they felt was a strong point of difference.
- “From that video, we felt like we knew you and we felt like we could connect with you,” Jen recalls the man saying.
- Jen explains similar situations had frequently occurred over the past eight years and it has provided her with more quality leads.
- “It’s not just a lead. You can get a lead from Zillow. But the video lead, the quality of the lead, they’re thanking me. They ask me questions and I answer the questions, it’s not ‘oh whatever, we’ll go talk to another agent’, there’s weight to that. They were thanking me for that information at that time. It’s definitely consistent but it’s not your imagination.”
Make real estate your core, but also show who you are
- Jen’s videos aren’t solely real estate related, she also shares tech information and more personal content.
- “The other thing too is, there’s only one Jen Sylvester. The agent down the street, they want to do video. I used to think, ‘what if they do a video just like me, are they going to steal all my business?’ No, because they’re personality is entirely different. When you embrace the fact that you are who you are and that’s what you should be, you shouldn’t be somebody else.
- Jen explains she shares her “goofy” side on YouTube, as well as serious listings.
- For example, Jen filmed a listing house tour video with the title ‘Most unique & surprising home tour ever in Plymouth, Massachusetts’ but she filmed her daughter’s hamster cage.
- “It’s a ton of fun, it mixes things up. I kind of do the same thing with the home tech. I hear people say ‘you’ve got to focus on one thing or another’ but I’m a total geek.
- “I have 65 smart home devices in my house. I’m a nerd with this stuff. It fascinates me. Is this going to help me get a listing? Probably not, but it’s who I am. And if I can attract the nerd or the geek, you know what I’m saying? Those are my people that I can relate to, they can come into my space.”
- However, she says it’s important to ensure real estate is at the core of the content and other topics are sprinkled around that.
You’re never going to have spare time, you have to schedule your content creation
- Jen explains she has a “busy life”, she is a solo agent with two kids – one in high school and one going to university.
- She explains the key to keeping on top of her professional and personal life is time blocking.
- “I did plan for 52 weeks but I set aside time near the beginning of the month to review that month and make sure it’s timely. Sometimes, best laid plans but all of a sudden things shift and I’m not feeling it,” she says.
- Jen also does video batch recordings, which she says is a huge component. It allows her to have back-up videos to maintain her post schedule if she’s slammed with appointments and doesn’t have time.
- Jen also colour codes her planning with the different topics so she ensures her posting schedule is balanced.
- She says its important to treat video as a marketing tool that is a proactive activity that requires attention
- She breaks her video content timing down into ‘chunks’, so she researches for her content at one time (including keyword research), films a lot of content all in one go and edits all the content in another ‘chunk’ of time. And then she goes back to planning and starts the process again.
- She also explains she looks out for content that people specifically ask her about time and time again
- “A lot of people think video is the extra, video is the fun thing. It’s for when I have time. You never have time. It’s like ‘I’m going to join a gym when I have time’. Never going to happen.”
- Jen explains while she focuses on produced media, somebody could do a quick point and shoot and also be effective.
- “The key is to work out where you are in that and schedule accordingly,” she says.
You’re also improving every time you turn on the camera
- Jen says at first she fell into the trap of comparing her content to videos with bigger budgets.
- “They’re on a different chapter than we are. The person who has never even hit record, they’re on chapter one. Michael Thorne, Jesse Peters, Katie Lance, they’re on chapter 30,” she says.
- “Maybe I’m on chapter 15. The trap is a lot of people, myself included, look at that and go, ‘how do I go from chapter one to chapter 30. It doesn’t work that way. You’ve got to go two, three, four, five, six, seven.
- She points out that having something like 700 views is a huge achievement, because that’s 700 different people looking at your niche content and are likely associated with that niche in some way.