How to Attract Investors by Writing Articles and Blogs
Raising capital for commercial real estate deals is no easy task. Increasingly, investors are taking advantage of changes to SEC regulations which allow them to raise capital online – from both accredited and non-accredited investors. Depending on the mechanism by which the sponsor is raising capital, they may need to have a pre-existing relationship with the investor. In other cases, and across the board, the sponsor will need to build enough trust with prospects in order to convert them to investors.
Historically investors would spend exorbitant time and resources pitching, in person, to investors.
They’d work the event circuit to find leads and spend countless hours wining and dining people until they felt comfortable investing alongside them.
Today, the advent of online crowdfunding has made this process much more efficient. In today’s article, we’ll show you how to attract investors simply by writing articles and blog posts.
What is the ‘old way’ of finding investors?
The old way of finding investors – and the way most still go about finding investors – is by canvassing country clubs, foundations, charities, boards, networking at their local Rotary Clubs and the like. They do so as a way of getting in front of as many people as possible in the hopes that someone with money to invest will like what they have to say and will want to learn more. This kicks off a long mating process that typically involves wining and dining, a series of meetings, and other in-person activities. This requires the sponsor to (literally) get dressed up and play the part.
They use these in-person events to tell people about their backgrounds, their track records, their experience, their investment philosophy etc. Eventually, they might get to the point of pitching a deal. Perhaps one in ten, maybe one in a hundred, will convert to an investor through these efforts.
It takes an enormous amount of time and effort and can cause a lot of brain damage in the process.
The new way of finding investors is far more sophisticated, efficient, and amenable to both sponsors and investor and one of the tools you can use is to write articles and blogs. A real estate sponsor can get their message across in the same way as meeting in person, but to a far larger audience and in far less time.
Here’s how you can do that.
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What is the purpose of writing articles and blogs to attract investors?
The primary reason real estate sponsors and developers write articles and blogs is to attract prospects and convert them into active repeat investors so they can raise equity for their deals, and the primary reason investors read articles and blogs is to learn more about the best places for them to invest their savings.
For investors the benefits are obvious. They no longer have to sit through hours of boring lunches or meetings being pressure pitched by sponsors. They can research a sponsor and their deals where they want, when they want, using the media they want (computer, cellphone, tablet).
For sponsors the benefits to this approach are three-fold. First, you are putting yourself out there and becoming visible to those who you may never encounter in person. Second, you are providing information of interest and value to a prospect. Third, you are establishing a relationship of trust with prospects. Writing articles and blogs helps you do all of these things – things that would otherwise require face-to-face contact.
Why is writing articles and blogs more effective than in-person networking?
Writing articles and blogs is can be 1,000x more effective than if you were trying to reach people with in-person networking alone simply given the sheer number of people you can reach online. Every article you write gets your name and face out there and becomes accessible to every prospective investor in the world. By providing information of high value and interest to prospects, you can demonstrate that you know what you are doing, and your readers come to recognize you as an authority in the industry; as someone who knows what they’re talking about. Furthermore, you are building trust and strengthening relationships with prospects.
Plus, if there is a silver lining to the pandemic, it has been the accelerated use of digital media. Everyone is becoming more rapidly acclimatized to establishing relationships online.
Keep in mind, as well, that any information you post online lives on indefinitely. Compare this to making a speech or having a conversation at a networking event – those words are spoken just once; they don’t have the same long-term impact that written words can have when posted online for the world to see.
Why is article writing good for attracting investors?
There are many different media for real estate sponsors looking to connect with investors. Many will use social media, podcasts and more. Articles are just one important piece of a much larger puzzle. One benefit, however, to writing articles and blogsis that this approach is scalable. Generally speaking, a real estate developer is only limited by how often they can post high-value content online. And while it is true that content production is a volume game, it is not that difficult a game to win. Each time you add an article, it is accretive to your overall efforts – write one good article per week and within a year you’ll have 50 articles all out there attracting prospects to you.
What are the key components to writing a good blog or article?
There are three things to keep in mind when writing blogs or articles targeted to investors.
The first is that you must provide value to the reader. Make sure that as you craft your article, you keep your reader’s perspective in mind. Subconsciously, your readers are always thinking ‘what’s in it for me,’ so everything you write to should constantly provide an answer to that question.
The second is that it is important to stay on topic, which means writing about things that speak to your value proposition. Providing valuable, actionable content that your readers can actually use by sharing with them the lessons you have learned is a great way to do this. It provides value while at the same time keeping them focused on the world through your lens of experience.
The third key component is that your articles and messaging must have authenticity. This is the hardest to manage because it is easy to worry that not everyone is going to like what you have to say. Well, you are right. Not everyone will. In fact, there will be those who think you are a travesty to real estate and should be committed to a padded cell. Forget these folk; they will never invest with you and instead remember that for everyone like that, there’s someone else for whom your every word is as of the Oracle at Delphi; truth, only the truth, and nothing but the truth. They will read everything you produce and only want for more.
Those are the people to write for because it is they who will become your most active, repeat investors who introduce you to their friends and encourage their children to write you checks.
How to pick articles that your audience want to read about
Here is a tip for anyone looking to start writing articles and blogs to attract investors: grab your latest pitch deck—the one that you most recently took to a networking event. Give this pitch deck to someone who has no knowledge of real estate. Ask them to highlight every term or concept they do not fully understand. Then, make a list of those highlighted words. These are the topics for your first few articles. Elaborate on those terms in more detail. Explain how they are used in practice.
This is the kind of high-value content that your audience will appreciate.
You will want to use this as an opportunity to share your take on some of the topics—this will help your audience get to know you and your real estate philosophy. There are many different approaches to commercial real estate investing and there really is no right way to invest. Everyone has their own experience and background. This is a way to share your perspective with your audience. Be sure to discuss concepts like IRR or Cap Rate even though you know they have been written about already online and be sure to provide your unique perspective. If you don’t do that, your prospects will migrate to someone else’s articles and they will become someone else’s investors.
What’s the best way to teach someone?
One of the most effective tools you can use to teach your audience about a topic is by video recording your message. Imagine yourself sitting across the table from your ideal investor. Picture that they have just asked you about a specific topic. Now, record yourself answering their question. Provide detail from your perspective, based on your background and experience. Then, take that video and have the audio transcribed. Then edit that transcript so that it reads like the written word and not the spoken word. Once the transcript is edited, you now have both a video and an article that can be shared with your audience.
This dual-format approach works well because it gives your prospect the opportunity to consume the content when they want, how they want, and in the format they want without you actually having to be present.
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How long should real estate articles be?
Let’s use the example above in which you transcribe and edit a video recording. The average person speaks about 150 words per minute. If you speak for ten minutes, this is 1,500 words. At a minimum, each article should be at least 800 words. Over 1,000 words is better and 2,000 or more words is really excellent for the sake of search engine optimization (SEO). If you can stay on topic for 20 minutes, you will have spoken about 3,000 words.
If you speak for an hour, you will have some 9,000 of transcripted words that you could potentially turn that recording into four to six articles on different topics.
The key with this approach, though, is to be sure you stay on topic and continue providing relevant information with each article you write. The information should dovetail directly into your unique value proposition and, as mentioned before, address the topic from the reader’s perspective.
What if I’m not a strong writer or don’t have the time to write?
Real estate writing can be a challenge for some. This is true whether you are writing articles from scratch or simply transcribing audio into thoughtfully written articles. Even the latter can be quite burdensome. The good news is that there are people who specialize in this kind of writing and you can always find freelance writers online.
That said, writing about real estate is a specialized skill. At a minimum, it can help to provide the writer with an outline in order to ensure they capture your perspective. Providing them with more elaborate material – like a transcript – is a better way to capture your authenticity.
You should never subcontract your view of the world to a writer. I’ve seen some sites that sell ‘library’ content; articles or blogs that have been written once and then sold to dozens of buyers. Do not be seduced by the temptation to use these off-the-shelf articles. They are disingenuous, bad for SEO, and will ruin your reputation if and when prospects realize that you have been faking your viewpoint – they’ll wonder what else you’ve been faking. This is important when trying to convert prospects into active investors: if there is a disconnect between what the prospect has been reading online and who you really are, the investor will eventually catch on and you will potentially lose them as an investor forever.
What is “imposter syndrome” and how do I avoid it?
Impostor syndrome is something that a lot of people struggle with when writing real estate articles and blogs.
I used to suffer from imposter syndrome dreadfully, wondering if everyone out there knew more than me. Fortunately, I overcame that fear – now I KNOW that everyone out there knows more than me.
The worst thing you can do though, if you do have doubts about your ability to persuade, is to adopt a persona you think that your readers want you to be. It comes across as being inauthentic, which is the quickest way to lose prospective investors. Instead, real estate sponsors want to build a brand based on their personality, their experiences, and the actual stories that have taught them about the world of real estate. This is a powerful way to attract people who think like you do and will attract prospects who are aligned with your goals and business model.
A great way to avoid imposter syndrome is to imagine you are teaching to an auditorium full of students. Let us assume it is a real estate investing 101 class required for their degree. Some students will be mentally checked out. Others are somewhere in the middle, they could care more or less, but will do enough to get by. Then there are those who sit in the front row and soak up everything you have to say. These are the people you should be “teaching” to with your writing. Those are the people you will want to attract. Do not worry about the others.
And remember, the more genuine you are with your opinions and perspectives, the more you will stand out. You do not need tens of millions of fans. You only need a few hundred, and you can create a few hundred fans by being true to yourself.
A great way to get your articles read
One of the biggest challenges real estate developers encounter is actually getting someone to click on the link to their content. If you cannot drive traffic to your articles, or if a prospect doesn’t open your email, then writing the articles won’t have much of an impact. They way to overcome this obstacle has to do with creating exceptionally compelling subject lines – this is what stimulates someone to open your email and click on your link – and there’s a great tool I discovered from Jessa Claeys at Bigger Pockets. The tool is called SendCheckIt.com and it allows you to input your subject line and then will give you recommendations on how to improve it to maximize your click-through rate.
Use it. It’ll help you get your articles read.
How to reach the most investors
Once you have written an article or blog, the key now is to get it in front of as many people as possible. The first step is getting it your article uploaded onto your website so people can read it (duh). The second step is to take the link to that webpage and share it on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and any other social media platforms you use. You can share just the headline of the article and then use a link back to the actual post. Linking to your article is a key component to any social media post – it is what brings people back to your website where they can learn more about you and what you have to offer.
The third and final piece, and perhaps the most critical piece, is embedding a form on your website that allows people to learn more about you by signing up for your newsletter. This form is where you will capture prospect contact information and use that information to follow-up with an automated series of emails that brings further value to you prospect. In the direct marketing world, this is known as a “call to action” or CTA.
The CTA is really no different than how you’d follow-up with an in-person meeting. For example, you might wrap up a business lunch by saying, “I’ll send you ABC information tomorrow,” or “I’ll give you a call later this week to introduce you to so-and-so.” A CTA just brings that follow-up process online. You might follow up with a white paper, a case study, a newsletter, or access to a deal room, for example. Most sponsors will use an automated system to send out this information as soon as they capture someone’s email address using that CTA form. The system will generally send a sequence of content over time as a way of nurturing that prospect.
How much content to I need to share online to attract investors?
One article won’t get you very far. To be relevant, you also need to be posting high-value content on a regular basis – though not, you will be glad to know, forever. There are several ways to go about doing this, including:
- Use “notable quotables”. Go through your article or transcript and underline short phrases that can be used to make a point. Think of these like little tidbits of information or pearls of wisdom. Then, use an app like Canva to create images with those quotes on it. These images can then be shared on social media. You’ve probably seen notable quotables before; Warren Buffet is someone who gets quoted on social media all the time. That’s great. But your prospects want to hear from you, not Warren. Weave your branding into the images, using your company’s color scheme, logo, and font. This will ensure your posts start to become recognizable and stand out among others in the pack. And of course, be sure these posts include a CTA that encourages people to “click here to learn more” – an action that will lead them back to your website.
- Create short video segments. Using the video or audio that you have already created, make a series of short video segments that can be uploaded to social media. This is an especially effective tactic if your company has its own YouTube channel. From one recording, you should be able to create at least 10 short video segments. These can all be shared via social media, again with a CTA embedded that brings people back to the source article on your website.
- Enhance the article on your website. You have already created a simple article or blog post. Now amp it up. Embed some of the video segments and some of the notable quotables to make the article especially attractive to the reader. This will keep people on your website longer, which is important given the way Google and other search engines work. When people spend more time on your page, it sends Google the message that people like your page. As a result, you will rank higher in Google’s search results and Google will be more inclined to send organic traffic to your website.
- Replicate the article and post it elsewhere. A great way to generate more content is to take a transcript and send it to three different editors. Give them basic instructions and then let them run with it. You will get three different articles back, each on the same subject matter and using similar pearls of wisdom. Then take each version of this article and post it on LinkedIn, publish it on major news outlets or even as a release, or use it as a guest post on other blogs that are read by high-net-worth individuals.
- Combine a series of articles into a single white paper. Well-written white papers are a fantastic lead magnet. Create a white paper as a giveaway when someone signs up on your website (using the CTA form we discussed above).
In the end, this strategy will allow you to take one article and transform it into dozens of ancillary posts and content that bring people back to our website. If you deploy this strategy once a week for 10 weeks, you will have a great start of high-value, relevant educational articles in your voice, telling people your story across multiple outlets and social media channels.
One of the best reasons to deploy this content marketing strategy is that it avoids direct selling. You are not pitching anything to people. You are strictly educating your prospects and creating a relationship with them using topics extracted from what you on a daily basis. You are preemptively answering questions that your prospects would have asked anyway. Over time, this will establish you as a leader in the industry.
Success will not happen overnight. Real estate developers are cautioned to be patient.
It takes six to ten points of contact with someone before they take any meaningful action. Creating robust content marketing campaigns using articles and blogs takes time, but eventually, readers will become keenly interested prospects and those prospects will become your next investors.
If you liked this article and would like to learn more about raising capital for real estate investing, check out some of the resources below:
If you have only just started in real estate development, have completed no deals, have no email list, but know you want the freedom and wealth being a real estate developer brings, then I suggest your first step is to start evaluating deals so you can recognize a good one when you see it.
Here’s where you should start. You’ll learn everything you need to know – the different types of real estate, different development strategies, how real estate cycles influence the market, and all about due diligence.
If you want to find deals and raise money for them so you can start your real estate development business, then learning how to conduct due diligence so you can pitch your deals better to investors is a great place to start.
If you’ve already purchased one or more real estate project and are seeing more opportunities than you can finance, then now is the time to start building your investor network so you can finance all your next deals quicker.
You’ve already got some momentum; now start finding and educating prospects about what you’re doing so you can build an email list of people to pitch to when you’re ready to raise money for your next deal.
This is what we build for private clients all the time – it’s called the Investor Acquisition System and you can access the entire program right here so you can find prospects, and convert them into being deep pocketed, repeat investors in your deals.
If you are a seasoned pro with multi-cycle experience, a substantial portfolio, a decent deal pipeline, and find yourself spending too much time raising equity capital because you’re still doing it in-person, then it’s time you put technology to work for you.
The wonderful thing about doing this is that you’re not going to be doing anything different than you’re already doing and, guess what, you’ll never have to sit through investor meetings again.
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