Creating your own reality TV show to give away a brand new home is a gold star approach to content marketing, and it has worked a treat for South African portal Private Property.
The company has just wrapped its third season of Win A Home, which this year drew 3.5 million weekly viewers, 800,000 visits to the Win a Home section on the company’s website, 280,000 competition entries and reached 485,000 people through Facebook and Twitter.
Over 13 episodes, the show features three design contestants who are tasked with turning three white-box apartments in a lifestyle estate called Val de Vie, located in the Cape Winelands, into prestige properties. The three are mentored by experts from Elle Decoration, VISI and Real Estate Magazine and present a space to be judged each fortnight.
Home viewers enter the competition each week and automatically go into the draw for the grand prize. At the end of the show, one lucky viewer wins one of the homes that has been designed for the show and the victorious designer wins a cash prize and an internship at a prestigious design studio.
Private Property CEO Simon Bray says a project of this size has its challenges, but the result is worth it.
“We’ve seen a large increase in brand searches and direct traffic during the show’s run and direct traffic to our site increased by 32 percent year on year,” he told Property Portal Watch.
“This year was the also first time that we hosted the show content and competition entry on a dedicated platform on our site. The show produced a large volume of content on all channels, social, press, online search and display.”
“It does cost quite a bit of money to produce a show on this scale, but if we take into account the exposure we received on TV through promos and ads, the publicity in the press and on social media then our ROI on the show was eight times our investment.”
As viewers signed up to win a home, they were also placed on Private Property’s database, resulting in a large boost to its newsletter list.
Bray said the opportunity to be involved in the show came when the portal decided to up its content marketing game.
“We were looking for an interesting way to be involved in television, using integrated content instead of using commercials,” he said. “We were approached by Cardova, a TV production company with the Win a Home show concept.
“There was a lot of synergy between us as a property portal and the reality show format based on design and decor and ultimately giving away a dream home.”
And it’s not just your average buyers who’s paying attention. Bray says there are several industry benefits, too.
“From a B2B perspective, it allowed us to strengthen our relationships with some of the largest real estate agencies in the country and with existing partners like banks.”
“We invited the heads of these agencies to appear alongside us on the show to discuss property matters and showcase some of their properties.”
Bray says his company has other content marketing initiatives, including print publications, a separate TV show sponsorship deal and a weekly appearance by Bray on Expresso – South Africa’s most popular breakfast TV show – but he’d definitely recommend a reality show style of marketing to other portals.
“Absolutely, but it needs to be a part of a fully integrated marketing plan rather than just a stand alone show,” he said. “Making a success of a project like this takes teamwork and a lot of coordination between people in the business and outside it.
“Within the business our development, marketing and content teams were all involved.”