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No Time To Blog? Bloggers' Block? 6 Strategies To Developing Quick and Beneficial Blog Content

Bloggersblock After over 100 days straight of posting to the Tomato, you may (read: should) be wondering to yourself if there's a life outside of this blog?   We're often asked, "How do you come up with all of that information?"  "How do you find the time?"  "How can you still manage to have a family, a job, a life?" 

I can't speak for Greg at BloodhoundBlog (Mr. 101 posts in 24hrs) but  the short answer is that we have a strategies for consistently generating quality content.  Being consistent with your expected posting schedule is crucial when it comes to maintaining an audience.  Below are 6 strategies for populating your blog when you find yourself short on time and creativity.   We use the top 4 to ensure the Tomato is fed its daily article.

1.  Store Content For A Rainy Day

If you were to log into our Writely account, you would see on average about 10-12 partially written articles.  As soon as a compelling thought pops into our head, it becomes a title and an outline or paragraph.  As we revisit the idea it beings to resemble a blog entry.  Having a pipeline of good potential blog posts alleviates the pressure of having to be creative when you have limited time to publish for your hungry audience.  Simply hop into you Writely account, throw some lipstick on an almost completed article and presto, you have earned your readers attention until your next article.

2.  The 101 Blog Post Challenge (a.k.a. The Greg Swann/Ardell DellaLoggia) Method

Earlier this week, these two decided to do the unthinkable and write 101 articles on their blog in just 24 hours!  They couldn't produce a thesis for every article, so they had to cut some corners, yet still give the impression that each post had some clout.  The strategy was this: find an intriguing article online, copy an excerpt from it, generate your own opinion of its value.  Take this article for instance from Swann over at the Bloodhound Blog:

"real estate 2.x:

If the real estate market continues downward, do you think Zillow’s traffic will go up? I am pretty sure that Zillow’s traffic will be directly related to property prices. Everyone loves to see how much money they are making – it is fun, but most people are not going log on each day to watch their zestimate go down (accurate or not). Personally, I find the site quite boring…one visit seems like enough.

My fourth question would be – if the validity of their purpose has been picked apart, and their revenue model is full of fatal flaws – when do they run out of money?

Maybe we should start a pool?

I’m thinking they probably have a business, if only because Realtors will always throw away money on advertising that is easy but useless. On the other hand, I’m suddenly flush with play money…"

He took a question that was proposed on another blog, added a two sentence response, and just like that, he had an article.  Brillant! Granted...he had just finished posting 102 articles the day before...

3.  Have Someone Write It For You
There are companies out there now that will write your articles for you.  TheWritersForHire.com for instance, are professional copywriters who will write your website content for you.  In their own words "Website content is more than just a word document. Professional website copy is fully laid out and ready to use.  We don't just write your content but do all the layout and research involved in creating truly custom copy." 

Or how about Elance, DirectFreelance, and GetAFreelancer, where you can post a project (title of a blog entry, and maybe some bullet points of the content you would like), and have free lance writers bid for your business. 

Another option is heading over to Craigslist  and posting an ad under writing gigs.

And finally, partner up with some other good writers to provide excellent content.  We do it, RainCityGuide does it, SellsiusBlog does it, BloodHoundBlog does it... we're all doing it!  In fact, most of this post was written by Jason Benesch, and not me, Jim Cronin.

4.  Post Revisited

A great way to continue providing content that revolves around your core topic, increase past article readership and fill the void of nothing new to say is: Take an 'oldie but goodie' post you have written, bring it back to life as today's article and simply elaborate on it.  Maybe it's a topic that you think differently about now; maybe there are new examples to support your stance; maybe you left some part of it underdeveloped; maybe it was a great article that got a lot of comments and you would like to respond to the comments left; maybe it was a great article that didn't get any comments and you want to try the audience again.  By doing this you can invigorate your blog, expand on old ideas, re-stir your own pot, refinish the surface and polish the once dusted topic that was left in the graveyard of stale words.

5.  Saved by a Listing

None of the above working for you?  Take the easy way out for real estate agents.  It's a little cheesy, but it gets the job done, and it may even help gain some positive exposure for your inventory.  Post a cute article about one of your own listings (or someone else's).  Why not?  It is the business you are in.  Grab some pictures, add some simple text as to why this listing deserves to grace (loosely used here) the annals of your blog, and voilà, you got yourself a post!   Read more on blogging your listings here.

6.  Get a Swicki (New addition thanks to Brad Nix's input and his blog article)

A swicki is the below and more.
1. A search engine.
2. Targeted results trained by moderator and users
3. A buzzcloud (look in right hand column of this site) promoting the most common searched
4. Instant notification to moderator of visitors' searches.

How does a swicki help you write articles for your blog?  When your audience preforms a search on your site, the swicki notifies you of their search terms, in turn giving you an opportunity to write to your visitors' interests.  The bad news: you still have to write the articles.

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Comments

Who exactly is "we"? Is there more than one tomato?

The "we" is Jason Benesch and I. Jason frequently contributes his content, ideas, and opinions to the Tomato's articles. But the voice, unless otherwise stated, is mine.
An example... Together we came up with the above 5 reasons - he wrote the meat of the article, and then I cleaned it all up.

That makes me feel a little better, Greg Swann aside (he's not human) I was beginning to doubt my own abilities. There are so many blogs out there that are so much better than mine. So far I've been going it solo, looks like I need some help. :)

As usual, another great post. Good job, J&J

MP

great post jim & jason! you just reminded us about an earlier post we did that would be great to re-visit. maybe we'll post it monday...

-rudy.sellsius°

My blog will soon be celebrating it's 300th post. I store drafts of content and have a special file in outlook that I call blog food. I keep articles and emails for future publication. When I get writers block I go through my photo library and find a photo to write about.

All great ideas and I myself have been keeping a running list of ideas for articles to write as time permits. You have written and credited other parties responsibly, but my concern about this article is that not everyone understands the ethics and legalities invloved in using someone else's work. It takes one quick email and most folks are flattered, so please, blog responsibly. Give proper credit. Blogging is publishing.
Thanks for letting me get that off my chest Jim!
Norma

All great ideas, but my favorite way to find new content is to use a Swicki. Swicki's are the best search tool for blogs I have found and are great for fine-tuning your content basd on what your actual readers are searching for on your blog site. How cool is that?

http://atlanta575realestate.com/2006/10/need-blog-content-get-swicki.html

Brad,

Thanks for turning me back on to the Swicki. I installed a swicki when I first launched the Tomato. But, I never gave it the chance to work its magic. Perhaps I should reinstall... hmmm...

Went ahead and did so. And now you deserve all the credit! Thanks.

Love the swicki. Great post for mentioning such a good tool. Another way a blog can help users select topics is that most bogs show you how many times each article was viewed. That helps users to determine which articles are of most interest to your visitors. For example, we found that many of our Cape Coral bloggers that specifically talked about marketing homes in this declining market drove more traffic than those that didn't. Those that revisited that topic from different angles frequently also drove more traffic than those that didn't. That is a very valuable feature of a blog. It can also help visitors to determine which posts might be of most interest to them.

All really good ideas, I had never heard of a Swicki. I am going to do some more research on a Swicki and get back to you all, thanks for the great information.

I bow before the tomoato gods. LOL
I have so much to learn... thank you for sharing

I practice your first suggestion. I have a handful of posts have written to go back to when I have bloggers block. I always keep a running list of ideas from which to choose. Sometimes its not as much the ideas as it is the inspiration to write.

Fantastic blog and helpful content. I worry that number three is close to astroturfing. I think perhaps getting an interview or using outsourced content to create links to are two easy ways to avoid. At the very least, I think if someone outsources (some) of their content that the content should be infused with the real estate agent's expertise. Otherwise, it seems to defeat the purpose of a blog.

Thanks again for such fantastic content!

These are actually good blogging tips. I personally think if you're a realtor you should take time to write blog posts yourself- no matter what their length is... Micro-blogging really rocks!

Hi Brad,

Thanks for the mention of our company, The Writers For Hire (www.thewritersforhire.com).

Personally, I keep a .txt document on my desktop (appropriately called, you guessed it, blogideas.txt). Whenever I see a cool idea for a blog, or something pops into my head, I jot it down there. Then if I have a little extra time, I just scroll down the list, and I don't have to stare at blank blog screen.

By the way, if anyone hears about us from your blog, we'll be happy to give them a 10% discount, just for mentioning you and this blog.

Happy Thanksgiving guys!

Wintress Odom
Owner
The Writers For Hire, Inc.

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