Mia Hodgkinson, senior content producer and copywriter at The Property Buying Company, talks about her role, changes in the property sector and her drive to increase the sector’s diversity.
What does your role at The Property Buying Company encompass?
My role is very varied. My main aim is to raise our profile through brand awareness, reassurance and outreach. Creating high quality, engaging content and getting our message out there leads to new customers contacting us and contracts being signed.
I could be creating content for our website one minute, and pulling together a press release or calling journalists the next. As I’m from a traditional journalist background, I have the ability to piggyback across both traditional and digital media which is a real plus in this industry. Being reactive and communicating effectively, both internally and externally, is key.
What are the key trends in the property sector?
We tend to avoid talking about Brexit too much, but it has definitely had an impact on the housing market. More chains are breaking for people using estate agents and more people are downsizing to save money. They come to us and require a quick sale, with minimal stress, and that’s exactly what we offer.
There is far less stigma around companies like ours now because we’re regulated, are upfront about the fact we can’t offer market value and we do turn people away if it isn’t going to be a relationship that will be positive for both parties. This is a key change in the housing market – quick cash buyers are on the rise.
Not only do we include all fees in our services, we offer things that estate agents can’t, such as; assistance with removals, help finding a rental property, a courier service and negotiation of onward purchases.
How do you take account of these trends in your PR and comms strategy?
I always ensure that customers are aware of the various services we offer. I’m transparent in all of the content and comms I create and I engage with journalists and bloggers who genuinely believe in what we offer.
As a marketing department we do a lot of research and competitor analysis. By staying ahead of the curve and being creative, we can become the best within our sector. I also ensure that we have brand guidelines and internal comms so that we are aligned across the board and everything is uniform. Regular brainstorms ensure our team is constantly creating new and unique concepts to promote what we do.
Property comms could be construed as being a staid sector, are there any ways you look to enliven what you do?
It is and that’s why the marketing team are a bunch of people with experience in a variety of sectors. We have each brought our knowledge and creativity to the mix in order to shake up our comms strategy.
We recently created an infographic on the most bizarre places to live in the UK. Property doesn’t have to be dull, unless you look at it from only one angle.
Or is a more traditional way of operating still the best tone to take?
Tradition will always have its place in property, but the companies that will go the distance are the ones who are open-minded and fresh-thinking.
Which audiences are you looking to reach? Is that changing?
We tend to work with a slightly older audience, or younger people acting on behalf of older parents. This is unlikely to change much because we only work with customers who have a decent amount of equity in their property.
That’s not to say that we don’t work with younger people – there are plenty of affluent young people who require our services, but they are not the majority of cases we come across.
How do you look to measure your comms work?
We use a lot of analytical tools to measure our success and each lead we generate has a source attached to it so we know how that person has been able to find us. We’re constantly analysing this data and working on ways to improve it or adjust it for the better.
What is it like as a woman to work in a male-dominated sector?
Interesting! I’m from a very commercial background, having worked in fashion and retail previously as a head of brand. Property is a new area for me and there are quite a lot of traditional views that may be considered fairly antiquated in other industries.
Part of my role has led me to join Young Entrepreneurs in Property (YEP) as a rep for my company. This chapter of young people strives to create balance for better within the construction and property industry by hosting networking events that are a far cry from the stuffy, suited and booted networking events of old.
You could be having a workout session followed by a smoothie and networking or you could be chatting about proposals for making the city centre greener over breakfast. It’s a fresh approach to property and construction and is something we, as a business, very much embrace.
Are you doing anything to try to redress the balance?
My ongoing work with YEP and bringing those ideals into the office is a way to redress the balance. We have a large proportion of women working in our company and that is on the up.
As a slightly older woman in my office, I definitely think that knowing how to communicate effectively and assertively is important for getting your views heard. It’s taken a lot of practice, but it’s by far the best key to achieving #BalanceForBetter in the future.
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About Alister Houghton
Alister Houghton is UK Content Marketing Manager at Cision, writing and commissioning thought leadership, interviews and opinion pieces covering the earned media, marketing and journalism spheres. As well as working in a variety of roles across the business, he has previously managed media and web content for the British American Football Association.