Owning your niche: The 3 M’s of personal branding for real estate professionals

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Owning your niche can mean different things to different agents. But at the end of the day, it can be summarized in one phrase: being the leading voice in your area of expertise.

What that area could be and how you may choose to lend your voice are open for interpretation. 

Let’s break down how choosing a market, message and medium can help you own your niche and build a trustworthy and influential personal brand. 

 

Choosing your market

 

I implore you to become the leading expert on one market if you’re getting started with personal branding. By market, I’m not just talking about your geographical area. Sure, your market could be a neighbourhood in Greater Vancouver, for example, but it could also be new builds, apartments or investment properties.

You could even make your market something more specific, aiming to become the leading real estate voice on subjects like macroeconomics, government policy or trending real estate-related news in Greater Vancouver.

I recently met with an agent who told me that she sold homes right across the Lower Mainland, including everything from apartments to single-family homes, and she wasn’t sure where to focus. My advice was to follow the Pareto Principle, often referred to as the 80/20 rule.

Ask yourself what 80 per cent of outcomes (sales, leads, new business) come from 20 per cent of causes. This doesn’t have to be exact; you’re trying to determine where your efforts pay off the most. She quickly determined that her most positive outcomes skewed heavily from selling single-family homes in East Vancouver, allowing her to begin creating content with a more focused approach.

Whatever niche you choose to focus on, invest heavily in education and content creation, and stay on topic so that your audience starts to turn to you for advice on your area of expertise. If you choose to focus on a neighbourhood, for example, move quickly with content when a new announcement comes out about the area, and set up alerts so you’re always ready to offer your insights.

 

Choosing your message style

 

Let’s stick to the neighbourhood niche for this example. There’s plenty of thought leadership you can offer when you speak or write about your neighbourhood, but it’s good to have a few kinds of messages that you can come back to regularly. It’ll keep you going as you begin sharing your thoughts.

Here are the kinds of messages I often recommend starting with:

Reflections. Look back on events that have happened and share thoughts on news or how events of the past have impacted the neighbourhood.

Predictions. Give your opinion on what’s coming up for the neighbourhood. Be honest, and invite your audience to engage with your thoughts. Discussion fosters community.

Stories. Tell tales from the neighbourhood or interesting events that have happened to you in the community. These don’t necessarily need to focus on buying and selling, they need to focus on the neighbourhood. Run a feature on a local neighbourhood business that everyone would agree is an institution, a pivotal part of the community. Readers love these kinds of stories.

Education. You already have a wealth of knowledge in your niche. Start by sharing it. As you walk further on your thought leadership journey, make a note to create a piece of content every time you learn something about your niche that makes you pause and say, “Wow, that’s interesting, I can’t believe I didn’t know that about my neighbourhood.” You’ll have a bank full of content to create in no time.

 

Choosing your medium

 

Social media has created more than a bit of anxiety among real estate professionals over the years. I speak to agents every day who say variations of the same thing.

“I’m a real estate professional; I care about finding my clients the perfect place to call home. I don’t know the first thing about stepping in front of a camera and creating videos.”

The good news is that despite what you’ll hear from the marketing department at your office, no one needs to be on every medium, platform or social network. TikTok is not mandatory to be a great real estate professional.

What is mandatory, however, is having and sharing your expertise with your existing and potential clients. Choose the medium(s) that suits you best. A few options include:

Writing. I recommend starting with LinkedIn, a blog on your website and a newsletter. This three-pronged approach can do wonders for building your personal brand. Have a call to action to bring your LinkedIn following into your newsletter — it’s always better to own the list than to build your castle on sand (just ask anyone who invested all of their efforts into Facebook a decade ago before they capped organic reach.) Write about your expertise, engage with your readers and you’ll be on your way to growing your personal brand and owning your niche.

Design. If you’re a talented designer, this can be a way to stand out. Your audience will love graphics, infographics, visualized data and statistics on your neighbourhood. Share photos from the community and include a bit of written context to let your voice shine through.

Video. Short-form video content is performing well on Instagram and TikTok, while longer-form content can do well on YouTube. Set your topic, write your script, record, edit and post.

In-person. Communicate your expertise in person with your existing and potential clients. This is something all agents should be doing at their client meetings: building a solid reputation and establishing their expertise on the subject matter at hand. 

 

Stay committed to your brand: What gets measured gets managed

 

Once you’ve determined your market, message and medium, set some weekly targets to keep yourself sharing your expertise consistently. What gets measured gets managed, and there’s no greater motivator than a blank page and a deadline.

If you commit to a niche and create content that drives home your specific expertise, it won’t be long until your audience starts referring to you as the new homes expert or the North Vancouver market specialist. Give it time, stay committed and let your voice shine through in everything you say, write, design or create.

 

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