If you’ve ever scrolled through a real estate website and wondered about the person behind the beautifully written and enticing blurbs about your dream house – wonder no longer. Meet Donna Webeck – freelance property copywriter. To say Donna is passionate about property is an understatement – she lives and breathes architecture, design and real estate, and it shows in the way she runs her freelance real estate copywriting business. Her enthusiasm for property is infectious and inspirational – imagine if we all felt this way about the work we do?
Meet Donna Webeck – freelance real estate copywriter
Hi Donna! Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your path to becoming a freelance copywriter?
I’d always been a self-confessed “word nerd” and harboured a desire to write professionally. In 2011 I undertook an Australian Writers Centre Feature Writing for Newspapers & Magazines course (affiliate link) and began to dabble in freelance writing for a few publications. Years later I decided to expand my writing knowledge by undertaking two of the copywriting courses that AWC offered. By this stage I was passionate about all things property and real estate and felt these courses would offer me the best chance to learn the necessary skills required to market myself as a copywriter.
How did you get started in real estate copywriting?
When we were selling our home in 2013 and looking to buy I found there was a lot of room for improvement in the listings I was reading. None of them seemed to emotionally engage me or paint the picture I wanted to see with words. I also knew I needed to have a portfolio in order to be taken seriously so I approached the agent who sold our home and he allowed me to write a few of his listings up. From there I advertised on LinkedIn (as that was where most of my target market were in the realm of social media) and an agent took a chance on me. Thankfully it has blossomed from there and I was able to launch Prestige Property Copy in 2016.
And how did you decide on the very specific niche of prestige properties?
I soon learned the bigger the marketing budget, the more likely they are to engage a real estate copywriter. Often it is only prestige properties which have this.
Could you give us a ‘behind the scenes’ tour of your business?
I offer two packages: an onsite visit or a remote package. With an onsite visit, I’ll be booked by an agent to view a property at a mutually convenient time, whereby we take a walk through of the home and grounds.
I’ll be advised on all the key areas to focus my copy on and I also like to ask the owners a question or two about their time living in the home, to give me an overall picture of what I will write. It takes approx. 20-30mins (and yes, I do take notes and occasionally pictures too) and I then arrange to turn the copy around fast – generally a 48 hour timeframe, but sometimes even less.
If the client isn’t based locally, I am able to work from the notes, images and floorplan which are sent to me. I do prefer to be able to see the property in person because I get an instant sense of what I will write and am very focused on what is in the surrounding area as I drive there.
But that being said, I am still able to help my clients which are spread as far away as Melbourne and Perth and I treat every listing as an exciting new opportunity as I truly love what I do!
Are you happy to share a little bit about the practicalities/logistics of the work?
It was 2015 when I first started to dabble in real estate copywriting and initially it was difficult to get traction. It was very much word of mouth referrals which helped me get established so it was critical I did an impeccable job and offered a high quality service.
I charge per listing and have different rates for onsite visit packages and remote packages. I also have different rates for staff profiles, web copy, blog posts etc.
“Words That Sell” by Richard Bayan has been my bible and offered endless inspiration. I also live by the Julia Cameron creed “picking words is like picking apples; this one looks delicious.”
How have you found clients? Has this changed over time?
LinkedIn, word of mouth and most recently, Google, have helped me win new business. I took Kate Toon’s Recipe for SEO Success course last year to help my website work harder for me as I don’t have a lot of time to undertake marketing.
I know lots of people are interested in real estate copywriting. In your experience, what skills do writers need to have?
It’s important to have an understanding of the market, terminology, target markets etc. Personally, I always feel its my immense passion for all things property which sets me apart from my competitors. I truly love what I do! Real estate, architecture, interior design and writing are quite possibly my favourite topics in the world so it is a privilege to channel my passion into every job I undertake.
Are there any myths/misconceptions about writing real estate content?
I have been told it’s a job anyone could do – just string a few sentences together about the features of a home – but to me it is so much more than that.
Every home has a story to tell and I am honoured to share it. I also want to be able to write copy which makes readers insert themselves into that setting and create an emotional connection. It has to compel them to ring the agent and attend an open home and fall a little bit in love with the life on offer I have conjured up with the copy.
Do you think it’s helped your freelance business having a niche?
At first I had to be prepared to do all types of writing to make ends meet but now I almost exclusively only do property related copywriting.
It takes time and perseverance to be successful in a niche but I wouldn’t change a thing. In time I want to be considered as an authority in this sector so the only way to ensure that happens is to keep focusing on this sole area of copywriting.
What would your advice be for writers wanting to break into real estate copywriting?
Contact agents you know and ask to be given a chance, just so you can build a portfolio. Or re-write an ad to show your personality, skills and flair. Then it’s time to hustle and put yourself out there, either in person at networking events, or on social media.
What do you find most challenging about being a freelance real estate copywriter?
There are always going to be agents who think its not worth their money to invest in a professional copywriter so they write the ads themselves. But, like anything, just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. Time is money after all and I can free them up to do what they do best (selling!) while I take care of the words.
And the best thing?
I’ve joined that exclusive club where you get to do a job you love and get paid for it! It’s almost like a calling – it was what I was meant to be.
Thank you so much Donna, how can people get in touch with you?
You can check out my portfolio of work on my website www.prestigepropertycopy.com.au as well as see the schedule of services I offer. I’m available anytime for a chat on 0405 738 133 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Isn’t Donna great?! Have you ever thought about getting into real estate copywriting?