August 10, 2010

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Writer’s Block?

Writing sassy and successful advertisements is a skill - one that some individuals make a living out of. But what if it’s only one part of a myriad things you have to do? Such is the lot of an estate agent. So where do you find the inspiration - and the time - to consistently pump out great ads that hit the target? You can either hire someone to write them for you (highly unlikely!) or you could employ some technology to assist.

Agents are operating in an increasingly competitive market, one where time is of the essence and results are paramount. So why then do so many sales and leasing agents spend so much of their week agonising over content for advertisements? Because they have to…or at least they think they have to. Making your listing stand out from the crowd and attracting the right buyers is essential to creating a transaction. The advertisement is the key piece of the marketing campaign for selling or leasing a property and by necessity requires thought and attention. These days you need ads on the internet, on sign boards, in magazines, flyers and even on mobile phones and it can be argued that the same property requires a different ad for each of these different media. Creating and customising this many advertisements each week would be daunting. But there is another way.

Kirsty Dunphey, Australian Young Business Woman of the Year and Real Estate Entrepreneur, has created a tool that will expedite the ad writing process. is a simple program that offers three ways to generate property advertisements in a flash.

1. Create

Randomly generates headings, catchphrases and words to get your creative juices flowing. There’s thousands to choose from so you’re sure to find something that suits your listing.

2. Generate

Choose from a range of categories that suit the main feature of your particular listing and the database will return descriptive phrases that really help your ad to stand out.

3. Replace

There’s two features in this section. The first allows you to type in any letter of the alphabet and have words returned starting with that letter - great for those into alliteration! The second is the ability to type in a word and generate synonyms for that word eg. ‘house’ would return ’home’, ‘residence’, ‘dwelling’ . Again, this is a great tool for those who find they keep using the same old adjectives each week.

The concept is simple, the execution is neat and easy and there’s a 10 day trial on offer. At only A$1.95/ week it’s a steal if you want an easy way to get inspiration for your property ads.  The program doesn’t actually spit out a finished ad for you, so you still have to do some work, but it certainly could help to piece your ideas together or get you started when you have a mental block. My only criticism would be that with simplicity can come duplicity. If both you and your competitor used the tool, how could you be sure you’re not going to end up publishing the same headlines or catchphrases? Just something to be mindful of.

To finish, I thought I’d list my top five stylistic tips for writing a property ad:

1. Don’t use slang or colloquial language - remember you may be appealing to buyers/renters from all around the world so make sure they understand what you’re saying.

2. Don’t try and be too clever or funny - your sense of humour may not appeal to everyone and you don’t want to risk turning people off.

3. Don’t get too waffly or ethereal with your description - if it’s got a view describe it, but don’t ‘hint at a patchwork quilt of powdery baby blue from the upper most deck’!

4. Don’t forget to actually list the main features of the property - some agents get too caught up in the fabulous location they forget to say how many bedrooms the place has.

5. Don’t EVER mislead the reader - never write something that is blatantly untrue or could be misconstrued.

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  1. Jo

    Just wanted to thank you for this great article and mentioning

    Re: your question: how do you know your competitor and you won’t end up with the same heading etc.

    We’re up over 22,000 headings, words and phrases at now, so while it’s not impossible - it’s unlikely (probably no greater a percentage than if you were making up the ads yourself, but so much easier!)




  1. [...] making sure the description doesn’t leave out any vital selling points or attributes the home might have (eg: period features, pool, etc). Read our article on Writer’s Block here. [...]

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