The Best (and Worst) Portal Content From Around the World: March

March 23, 2021
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Property portals are putting increasing importance on and resources into the creation and dissemination of all types of content. This week Spanish portal Fotocasa announced the hiring of a notable TV anchor to front its studies program and be the public face of the property portal in the press. Getting media coverage is more important than ever for property portals and from what we're seeing they are going about it by creating more diverse content and thinking cleverly about their content marketing.

In last month's edition of the feature, we decided to expand the coverage to include any and all content produced by property portals, not just housing reports. We have been richly rewarded by our expansion decision this month as there are a few excellent examples for us to look at...

Realestate.com.au - Australia

The Newscorp-owned Australian market-leader has an excellent insights section which I got to know well before interviewing REA Group's Economic Manager for Economic Research last week (stay tuned for the publication of that one later in the week). They regularly publish really smart looking, well-researched reports and like an increasing number of property portals around the world they employ staff to write a serious property news section as well.

Why it made the list this month: I see a lot of reports produced by property portals around their domestic housing markets and, usually, I am not interested in reading them all the way through. REA's March report on the Australian commercial property sector was exemplary and had me reading until the end. They use some excellent data visualizations which, although they slow down the page, really jump out at the reader and still look great on mobile. The word count is just right and the data was insightful enough without giving anything away.

Snazzy Data Visualization

Snazzy data visualizations are always appreciated on this column

Housing.com - India

Until recently, perhaps because of the paucity of data on house prices, Indian property portals hadn't leaned into the content drive as heavily as some of their counterparts from around the world. Housing.com has gone down a different route to get its name in the press this month by compiling a comprehensive white-paper on the state of the PropTech industry in the country.

Why it made the list this month: Housing.com's parent company Elara Technologies (which itself is part-owned by REA Group) has clearly spared no expense for the production of the report and has even commissioned a YouTube video to promote it. Someone behind the scenes has clearly worked out that there are a lot of investors interested in the nascent Indian PropTech scene and a gap around content to introduce newcomers to the industry and give an overview.

Zillow - United States

The American market leader regularly makes an appearance in this feature simply because of the high percentage of hits it gets on our news filters. As you might expect for a leading property portal in a country as big as the USA Zillow generates a lot of headlines whenever it does practically anything, but recently the number of headlines has gone up still further thanks to what people in the content business call 'distribution multipliers'.

Why it made the list this month: Perhaps the best way to get a piece of content shared exponentially these days is to personalize it to a geographic area. There are more than a few local news networks out there who are more than happy to multiply your message, especially on a slow news day. Thanks to its broad appeal and easy comprehension, keyword use data is often a go-to for property portals looking to get their name across the media. Whereas we often see headlines like "The Top 10 Features Home Hunters Search for in name of country", Zillow has gone granular and calculated the most popular keywords for every city in the country, leading to headlines across local media like this one.

Zameen - Pakistan

As property portals increasingly prioritize content creation in an attempt to keep their brands in the media and in home-hunters' heads, they are branching out in terms of content format and distribution methods. They are also on some occasions rubbing up against unfamiliar themes including politics, or at least domestic housing policy.

The decision to extend the UK stamp duty holiday saw more than a few property portals pass comment at the beginning of 2021 and Spanish property portals are producing plenty of content at the moment around the proposed rental control law with no clues needed as to where their sympathies lie.

Why it made the list this month: The leading Pakistani property portal caught my eye this week after a headline in Emirati English language newspaper Khaleej Times which read "Pakistani housing shortage a huge opportunity for investors". The article's first line neatly sums up the point here by saying "Zameen.com says Pakistan's housing shortage needs an investment of $250 billion". The necessary investment guesstimate here is backed up by what are vaguely cited as Zameen "research estimates".

The piece is a great example of the fact that you don't need watertight figures to be a thought-leader, just a friendly journalist and a big brand. While Pakistan's government is on board with the message here, the fact that Zameen recently branched out to signing deals with developers of affordable housing is hardly a coincidence and it's unlikely that the appearance of the article in an Emirati paper which has links to the Pakistani cement industry is a coincidence either. Portals are big stakeholders in government housing policy and the closer their ties with the media become the more they can be expected to flex their influence.

99.co - Singapore

Sponsored content is something that more and more portals have been experimenting with over the last 12 months, and why not? There are a plethora of companies in auxiliary industries such as moving, finance and insurance out there that would love access to the audience that portals have captive.

Why it made the list this month: Singaporean property portal 99.co teamed up with personal finance research firm ValueChampion to produce a reasonably broad appeal piece about the livability of one of the country's most disparaged neighbourhoods which delves into its property prices. Although the article is maybe missing a few quotes from residents, a few images and a bit of insight in general, it doesn't feel too 'selly' and is a nice example of sponsored content done well.

March 23, 2021
Edmund got to know the world of portals and marketplaces working at Mitula Group (which became Lifull Connect after the buyout in 2018). He worked directly with hundreds of portals across the world in his role in the content department for three and a half years before transferring to the SEO department to understand the inner workings of listings sites. He joined Online Marketplaces as Head of Content in March 2020.

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