Brand Tales speaks with the head of product and content marketing at Australian real-estate data giant CoreLogic.
Former publisher and editor Kylie Davis has always been a forward thinker. A long-time board member of the World Editor’s Forum, Davis was also national network editor, real estate, at News Corp and a senior editor at Fairfax Media. She now uses her journalistic instincts and marketing skills as the head of product and content marketing at CoreLogic, Australia’s largest property data company.
Brand Tales: What are your main responsibilities at CoreLogic?
Kylie Davis: My expertise area is property solutions. So I look after all of the go-to-market and promotional activity for the real estate, commercial and construction products at CoreLogic. I’m also in charge of company narratives and thought leadership, so I write industry reports and help the executive team with presentations.
BT: What have you learnt about the content game since leaving publishing?
Davis: I’ve learnt how valuable good writing and communication skills are in non-media businesses, and how poorly they are generally done. It means our skills as journalists in being able to “see” the angle in a situation immediately and articulate it clearly is really powerful. I’ve also learnt a frightening amount about how exciting data (especially big data) is to the content game, and I’m playing with bot technology to autogenerate quality content based off databases.
BT: How long has CoreLogic been committed to a content strategy? Is content already a big part of the company’s overall marketing strategy?
Davis: CoreLogic has always understood the power of good content and has been strong in the space for over a decade. Our director of research, Tim Lawless, is the most quoted person in media on Australian property market performance and his research team is a powerhouse for providing reports on the market on every property topic imaginable. Being a data company, we understand the power of search engine optimisation over search engine marketing, too, and we drive a lot of traffic to our website through our reports and videos that break extraordinarily complex topics into easily understandable chunks.
BT: Why do you think having a storytelling mindset is important for brands?
Davis: Our industry is really complicated – property data is immense and can be hideously dry – so telling stories around it is a great way of making it more approachable and understandable. Telling a great story can also really help our clients understand why what we do is valuable and makes sure it doesn’t feel like homework. Data that doesn’t tell a story is just a bunch of numbers. For me personally, too, I’m passionate about helping the real estate industry lift its game. Capturing data about agent behaviour and telling the stories that contrast that behaviour against consumer expectations provides a great platform to affect real change.
BT: In your opinion, which international company (in any industry) is doing content really well, and why?
Davis: In the real estate industry, the US real estate conference business INMAN is very smart on its content. It runs conferences that link real estate with technology but it has created an extremely vibrant and engaged community in the space, and the conferences are now just a way for everyone to get together and discuss what’s happening online in reality. As well as the usual daily articles on its website, it has an active email newsletter strategy, and has always been the first to demonstrate how the latest content initiatives work – like video, Facebook Live, Facebook chatbots etc.
“Content is a mind-set, not a campaign.”Kylie Davis
BT: Which Australian brand is doing a great job with its content? Why do you think this is so effective?
Davis: Again a real estate example (sorry to be boring) but Tom Panos, has reinvented himself completely from being a head of sales in newspapers (at News Corp) to being one of Australia’s best real estate coaches and trainers – and he has done all of this through content. Again, he’s created an engaged audience through social, EDM and his website and aligned that with his offline traditional media activity in print and on TV. I worked with Tom for many years and love him to death – but he’s the first to admit that he was always the sales guy, and could hardly string a written sentence together. But he’s a really great example of how having a great message that is clear and concise can cut through even if you’re not a strong writer. He relies on video mainly.
BT: Can you nominate one specific example of a content execution (not necessarily one created in Australia) that you think works really well? Why?
Davis: The Danish campaign that got people thinking about their similarities rather than their differences was extremely powerful and showed how beautiful storytelling can have a huge impact.
BT: What advice do you have for brands (and agencies) that want to use content as part of their marketing mix?
Davis: Content is a mind-set, not a campaign. While it’s great to have a budget for specific executions so you can do really fun stuff that pushes the envelope, you need to make sure you’re funding your team to get your foundation content right. Foundation content is making sure your website, EDM and social strategies have an ongoing feed of stories and content so that special executions have an existing audience and a great platform to work from. I genuinely hate one-off campaigns that expect miraculous results. Content marketing done properly is an ongoing commitment.
BT: What’s your biggest challenge when creating and executing branded content?
Davis: For us at CoreLogic, the biggest challenge is the density of the material that we’re working with. It’s extraordinarily detailed and complicated – and making it simple and seem easy (but still be accurate) takes a huge amount of energy and brainpower. Getting that cut-through to take an algorithm that a PhD scientist has created and turning it into a 90-second animated video – it’s harder than anything I ever did in newspapers.
BT: What are the immediate prospects for brand journalism and content marketing in Australia?
Davis: The prospects for brand journalism and content marketing in Australia are enormous. Most Australian businesses struggle to explain themselves to their customers or even their staff in easy-to-understand language so our skills as journalists and editors have never been more needed or in demand. We’re also now firmly in the age of big data. The algorithms of Google and Facebook are running our lives and machine learning and artificial intelligence are making them freakishly smarter on a daily basis. So everything we write becomes a data point to tie back to everything that has gone before. But despite their cleverness, no bot comes close to the human brain for creativity and joining new dots. So while the bots might commoditise the heavy lifting of content generation, it’s the humans that will be directing them on what to write about and discovering exciting new ways to tell stories and have fun with the stories.