When AMLI Residential’s staff began to think about how to communicate more effectively with residents, the Chicago-based company relaunched its website.

But that wasn’t enough. So they continued digging into and researching how they could reach those renters between the ages of 25 and 34, Amanda Johnson says.

More than a year later, the company’s website is gaining traction from both current residents and future potential residents, Johnson, the director of digital marketing says.

One of the keys to the digital drive includes the company’s customized blog chock full of timely, original, hyper-local content.

“A blog has to be more than key words,” she says. “A blog has to engage people.”

Once a month, the AMLI team assembles for a brainstorming session and discussion over what topics should be addressed in the upcoming blog posts. Then a hired writer or staff member creates original content to drive traffic to their site, increasing the visibility of the company’s brand nationwide through one centralized site, Johnson says.

“AMLI is very proud of our brand,” she says. “And we see this blog as an extension to our brand and the face to our brand. We have a number of properties that are centrally located in the markets that we’re in. People associate us with our name and we want to carry that same professionalism in the blog. As opposed to 60 individualized blogs, we wanted to carry that voice out in one.”

The marketing team also pays close attention to which topics and posts are gaining the most traction so they can tailor the information to what their residents are interested in.

The most popular post gave tips for how to throw a housewarming for a new apartment. The post received more than 1,300 visits and 78 percent of those hits were organic traffic being drawn into the site.

“We try to make [content] relevant,” Johnson says. “And we’re fluid. We’re constantly adjusting based on the feedback we get. The blog is still in its infancy.”

The team will focus on updating the navigation and adding more kinds of content, perhaps videos, in the upcoming quarter. The marketing team also plans on looking at using other social media applications as additive tools to fuel traffic to the blog. Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter are the usual suspects for distribution, Johnson says.

“You can write all day long,” she says, “but the reality is, you have to be able to share that and get it out there in the world.”

Lindsay Machak is an Associate Editor for Multifamily Executive. Connect with her on Twitter @LMachak.