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He Asked Me, "Why Am I Blogging?"

Sleeping_and_bloggingLast week I was inspired to write an article about developing blog content because of a conversation I had with a client that we are training, well this week he asked the biggest one of them all: "Why am I blogging, again?"

At first it struck me odd that someone who has made the financial commitment to have a custom blog developed and trained on, would ask me such a question.  As I began to answer, it occurred to me that the most valuable reasons for blogging may not be so obvious after-all.  Our clients receive intense training that covers a broad range of topics from article formatting to social bookmarking, to community participation and search engine statistic analysis.  I can see how one may feel that there are "too many trees in the way to allow for a good view of the forest."

His question was followed up by a few attempts at answering it himself with more questions:
Am I writing to my clients?
Potential consumers?
Other agents?
The blogging community?

He wasn't far off in the sense that he realizes that his articles can reach a broad audience, and will persevere to affect all of the above.  But why he is blogging is much clearer than that, and it is for the following reasons that he needs to forever focus if he is to be successful. 

Teresa Boardman's article Keeping Local Real Estate... Well, Local touched on the subject recognizing that it is the local consumer that pays your mortgage, not the bandwagon.  And this sentiment was seconded by John Lockwood.  But the answer to our client's question is a bit more than just keeping it local.

Internet advertising comes in many forms, most of them costly:  Quality search engine optimization (SEO) can run into the 10's of thousands; Pay-per-click runs the bill up like a 13 year old on their first cell phone; Banner ads and text ads on popular sites has never been considered a smart investment; and your fancy-pants, brochure style website has cost you more than you'll ever return on it.  Where most of these forms of advertising fail is that the investment is greater than the return, and the "what you have left to show for your investment" is thin. 

Consistent, regular, quality, passionate, knowledgeable and relevant business blogging is the investment itself, and it's return first comes in the form of CONTENT.  The quality of content is determined by your ability to understand your audience and your ability to write for them.  When you make the commitment to be a business blogger, consistently writing for your consumer, you are depositing a most valuable currency into your internet marketing bank.  The power of your content comes with regularity, quality and quantity.

Content_is_the_rewardTwo months into blogging on the Tomato I began to notice that a significant percentage of visitors were making their way to my articles through their searches on Google.  Each article I write (although under the umbrella of http://realestatetomato.typepad.com) is essentially acting like a little website of its own.  Each has a Title, Category, Keywords, Content and URL.  Google is treating them as such, and as a result, they are all pulling unique traffic through unique search phrases.  Now just seven months in, I have more than 200 'little websites' pulling traffic for me.  Currently, I pull over 200 unique visitors from Google searches every day.  Let me say that another way:  The content that I have 'banked' over the last seven months is responsible for hundreds of unique visitors every day.  Not one of those visitors was 'paid for' and each article has the power to pull more traffic for any number of combinations of search terms directly corresponding with the article's content.

Is all the traffic I generate targeted to my consumer?  Heck no.  But everyday, I know I uncover another potential consumer as I watch my Feedburner stats grow (today it's at 584). 

It is as if I have suddenly been recognized by Google as a 'news source' by being given a main-line to the Top 10 for many of the terms I use in my Blog Titles and Content.  Each and every article I write can be found in one form or another in the search engines in less than 48 hours.  I wrote about ePro months ago and still out-pace the NAR and InternetCrusade for certain relevant search results.  I wrote about ActiveRain CEO Matt Heaton when they first broke into the scene and the interview is seen every time you search his name.  Need to post your listings for free?  Look in Google and you'll see this articleREBA Awards (2 days ago)? Top 10 again.  Real Estate Blogging Advice? Yep... and on and on for hundreds a day.

Content has given me a Google Midas Touch and it is very exciting to know that I can double my exposure on such a platform by simply doubling my content.  So if you want to know why you are blogging, it's because it is the most effective and affordable way to create an audience that is interested in what you have to say.  The number of potential consumers you reach grows with every relevant article you write, so stay on topic and on pace, and this could happen to you.

Related Must Reads:
How Often Should I Blog?
Is 12 Months Too Long?
Who Are You Blogging For?
Why Is A Nationwide Audience A Good Thing If I Specialize In Local Real Estate?
Your Blog Is Bait
No Time To Blog? Bloggers' Block? 6 Strategies To Developing Quick and Beneficial Blog Content
To Blog or Not To Blog
"If You Write It They Will Come!"

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Comments

Jim - I recently read Realty Blogging by Richard Nacht and Paul Chaney and a group of us wrote reviews under TLW's (The Lovely Wife)guidance in Active Rain. That book really opened my eyes to the incredible potential that blogging has. Go take a look at the reviews when you have a chance. As for a blog, I started blogging in Active Rain and I am hooked, now I am ready to go off into the real world. Thanks for the push....I'll start researching the best route.

GREAT post and you have a excellent site theme! I'm very new but I would have to add to it that outside the SEO and exposure there's a fulfillment in the writing itself.

I'm on the rural land side of things and a lot of the people aren't up to speed when it comes to the internet other than how to boot up and use email. So, writing for the rural community while still trying to be interesting enough for the rest of the real estate community seems impossible though fun to try.

Jim, what you are saying is so true about each post being considered by google as a website in and of itself.

I've noticed exactly the same thing with our blog. We rank higher and higher in searches on google and I'm amazed at times when we are on the first page of a google search from a phrase in a blog post.

I consider every post another ad on the web directing those who are searching about Tucson to our gateway for more information.

I hear the call to localism as a keyword for 2007. I hear others trying it for a day or two and finding it "boring".

I'm really glad I took the advise of many and kept the message of our Tucson blog on point. The more I blog about Tucson the more interesting I find it.

I never leave home anymore without a camera in my pocket, I read every paper, free flyer weekly and local that I can find. I find more local content to blog about than I have time to research and follow up on.

I'm amazed sometimes at the searches I do for more information on a topic only to find one of my own blog posts in the search.

I honestly don't think most RE bloggers are even beginning to scratch the surface of the potential they have to bring people interested in their local real estate market to themselves as a resource and authority.

I hope from posts like this one and Teresa's that the RE community begins to sense and understand the impact they can have on their market through consistent blogging about their own community.

Here's to this pebble in the search stream, may its wave increase exponentially.

Why do I blog? I hate to disappoint you, but I blog so when I am out of town, I will have all the information I may need including classnotes and other stuff that right at my fingertips on my website. I can log in any where in the world on any computer I please and pull up my infomation. But then again, not many people actually sit down and write their classnotes and stuff in an article format but hey, I'm unique.

Take a look at my derekburress.com site. It's all classwork on there except for one article. Even the article "Why I want to be a Teacher" is a class assignment.

With my real estate site at realestateperspectives.com, 95% of the stuff on there that I wrote is nothing more than class notes from where I was in real estate school that I rewrote to help me while I was in the studying process.

And you guys through I really blogged - fooled ya!

I blog, therefore I am. (slight modification from the original). In addition to all the above reasons for blogging, it also gives you credibility, shows your professionalism, and not only your knowledge but your wisdom.

Another great post. You are so right that each blog post acts as it's own web page. That is also why blogrolling is so important, as it automatically builds authority into each page.

This is the challenge of ultralocal blogs though, to get nationally blogrolled, in order to be read and appear in search results locally.

I ditto the comment about searching for info and finding my own blog post. While it aggravated me at first it also told me about opportunity! I blog about a variety of things but all tied in to what I hope is of interest to consumers, and for sure is of interest to me. I don't know any other way to do it. Like Nike says, just do it lol

Dave,

"""I never leave home anymore without a camera in my pocket, I read every paper, free flyer weekly and local that I can find. I find more local content to blog about than I have time to research and follow up on."""

That's some serious localism. Now you sound like a reporter... and you are.
---

Derek,

A blog can be used for many types of content management for sure... And your use for class notes is certainly convenient, not disappointing.

Regarding the article, the question that my client was asking was more that he wanted to know why it is that he is blogging - as a Realtor, looking for new clients.
My response is, that although the business blog can be an effective marketing tool for so many reasons, it is the power of the core focus content that brings the greatest reward: traffic.

I blog because how else would my friends find me but through Google? I sweat for SEO. That would make a good t-shirt slogan, bumper sticker or maybe a name for an indy band . . .

I have a problem. I blog because I can't stop. Once I missed a Wednesday. Think I forgot to shower too. Some days I don't have clean socks, so I blog bare foot, in Minnesota, in the winter. My cat misses me, so does my bed. I need help . . . think I'll do a little search, there must be a blog out there with some good advice . . .

T-
Do you blog in the Tomato T? All my clients and blogging friends receive one to help inspire.

Jim - could you send some tomato socks? The love the T but it does not keep my feet warm.

Teresa,

We don't wear socks when we blog in California. :)

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