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Real Estate Blogging And The Art Of War

Sun_TzuJim once wrote a post about how your blog is an Army, which got me thinking. If blogs are comparable to armies, and posts to soldiers, then the time-tested rules of employing an army may have some relevance. To this end, I recently undertook yet another study of “The Art of War,” the Taoist mantra of the genius Sun Tzu. I came up with a few good points of time-tested strategy made applicable to blogging. Enjoy.

Master Sun on Strategic Assessments: “Structure your forces accordingly to supplement extraordinary tactics. Forces are to be structured strategically, based upon what is advantageous.”

When Sun Tzu says “forces,” read it as “blog posts.” Then it begins to make sense. Bloggers use “extraordinary tactics” every day of the week. Think of how convention says that we should go about winning strategically important key words. For example, if I wanted to win the keywords “Tampa Real Estate,” I would probably have to pay for them with adsense. Or, I could pay a web development team a zillion dollars and give them a year, and maybe I could be number 1 in Google. Those are examples of conventional methods of achieving the objective. Blogging is the extraordinary tactic that gives us the advantage over the giants of our industry.

Forces are to be structured strategically,” as it applies in this context, spurs a discussion about how we write our blog posts. If you want to win the long tail results that will bring you business, you must write keyword rich context and relevant headlines. Further, the posts must be structured into concise, descriptive categories that can dominate the search engines. Finally, in order to generate links your content must come across as a discussion between you and your readers. It’s a long order to fill, which is why so very few bloggers are truly remarkable.

The lesson here is that extraordinary tactics alone are not enough. In other words, having a blog alone will not win business. You must structure (write) your forces (blog posts) correctly to supplement your tactics. Get it?

Master Sun on Positioning: “So it is good that warriors take their stand on ground where they cannot lose, and do not overlook conditions that make their opponent prone to defeat.”

In this passage, we’re talking about taking the “high ground.” In ancient battles, it was imperative to capture the most easily defensible terrain around. By doing so, you gave yourself a much greater chance of winning, despite the inferiority of your force in terms of size. How does this equate to blogging? Think of the high ground as a niche, and your blog posts as the soldiers that must defend it. By positioning yourself within a great piece of terrain, you make yourself nearly invincible.

InvincibleExample: I’ve recently started writing a series of posts about military relocations to MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa. I’ve turned out about four keyword rich articles in the last week. As a result, I’m beginning to climb the ladder in Google. By the time the big Brokers figure out what I’m doing, it will be too late to catch me. (You won’t tell them, will you?)

And, concerning the “Conditions that make their opponents prone to defeat” I offer the following thought: It is impossible for any Brokerage to be all things to all people. If they try to compete with us for our respective niches, they will surely spread themselves too thin on marketing dollars.

Master Sun on Being Pro active: “Those who are first on the battlefield and await the opponents are at ease; those who are last on the battlefield and head into battle get worn out.”

Here the great master talks about getting to the battle first. I submit that blogging is catching on in the Real Estate industry, and that the secrets of its business generating potential are out of the bag. Therefore, it is imperative that you select your niche and begin the process of dominating it now. If you’ve managed to beat all of the other bloggers to the battlefield, they will have to work frantically to try and catch up. Meanwhile, you can sit at the pool and sip mojitos while you update your blog with your palm Treo. Life is good.

Who knew that a dude from the 6th Century B.C. would know so much about blogging?

Related Must Reads:
Your Blog Is An Army

Other Tomato Articles By Jonathan
Will Blog For Food
Localism: Winning the Hearts and Minds

Thanks Jonathan!  As always, it’s great to have you on the Vine.

Jonathan Greene is President and CEO of Team Greene Realty.
His website:
His blog:

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I've looked at RealOpinionated and came away clueless as to what ground you think you're occupying.

You're all over the map.

Master Sun would not approve. I'm not misunderstood, you don't have to write EVERY post about a single topic in order to be effective. That would just be boring.

Just to clarify my point, I focused on three things during the month of March (thus far): Military relocations, Vacation/New Homes, and For Sale By Owner articles. To date this month I have written 7 military relocation related articles, 11 articles related to new homes, new home communities, or vacation homes, and 4 articles for FSBO sellers.

The idea is to build a body of work which will be easily assimilated by search engines without boring your readers to sleep. Had I posted all 7 military articles in a row I would have lost the interest of any readers who are not military. Not a great idea.

It's not obvious because it's not supposed to be. Throwing in other posts both keeps me entertained and keeps the reader from feeling like they're being gamed.

In defense of Jonathan's alleged "all over the map"ness -

Sun Tzu also said: "In all fighting, the direct method may be used for joining battle, but indirect methods will be needed in order to secure victory. Indirect tactics, efficiently applied, are inexhaustible as Heaven and Earth ......... there are not more than 5 musical notes, yet the combinations of these five give rise to more melodies than can ever be heard."

I interpret that thusly - stick to your core topics, yet use creativity and indirectness in your writing to win the battle. That's what I try to do with my blog, and that's what I like the most about Real Opinionated and The Real Estate Tomato.

Ahhh...a man after my own heart. Thanks for the assist, John.

Jonathan. As you know, I don't always agree with you but I must say: I love this post. The writing and analogies were brilliant. Now to get my war gear on.....

Thanks Dave. Honestly, my wife doesn't always agree with me either. Neither does my mother, but I still love them. Thanks for the comment.

Hello Lake...

I may be wrong, but isn't 7 musical notes and 10 if you count sharps and flats?

or 12 notes if you want to count a full octave... However, I love your analogy... Correct me if I am wrong, but you are saying that your blog should have a core mission, but, you can attack that mission from many different angles or combinations when writing your content.


During the life and times of Sun Tzu the chinese were the most advanced civilization on Earth. They developed one of the first written musical notations utilizing 5 notes, not 10. That's the primary reason why Asian music sounds so much different from Western music today.

It's also noteworthy that the origin of Western music comes from the early Church, which used 4 notes or "modes" to create musical notation. Think Gregorian chant.

Ok, your right... For the sake of the analogy and the article... Considering that most Chinese Classical music is still based on the Pentatonic scale.

However, I believe your use of the term "mode" is out of context. A "mode" is an ordered series of musical intervals (or pitch) much like a scale, except that a scale does not contain a tonic (or primary) note.

Forgive me everyone for turning this into a conversation about music theory...

I've been told more than once than my blog lacks "focus". I guess that means it lacks "direction" too and tends to wander about a bit.

Oh well. It is what it is. I have had numerous clients tell me they love it, and many have said that's why they chose us as their realtor. If that keeps happening, it can wander about all it wants....

Jay, that's my theory about it long as I keep getting closings I will keep doing what I'm doing.

Edde, I'm a student of music theory myself, although obviously not as well read as you. I didn't know the difference between a mode and a scale, other than in the historical context. I think the chinese use quarter steps as well, so c# and a half, I guess....that's why it sounds so different.

Johnathan: You are not the only real estate blogger writing military history stuff. I have wrote everything from the Vietnam War to the Civil War in North Carolina.

Yes, I am a history major but I have also found that these historical articles tend to leave a huge long tail and in some cases, makes you an expert in a particular field of study.

My top keyword is "mi lai" and if you research the massacre, I am one of the first sites to show up. My professor raises beep over me posting all my work on my blog as I often get quoted by other students in his other classes when they turn in their own research.

Recently through, I have posted a lot of local and state history articles to attract a more local following.

I am inactive as a real estate agent, so business wise, I do not know how much of an impact it would have if I choose to be active but I do know if you type in my hometown and real estate, I am pretty much at the top so I could imagine I would be seen a lot. One thing I haven't figured out is why I keep getting visitors from a nearby city searching for homes for rent. Maybe it's because I wrote a history article on that town and also have real estate articles on my site? Who knows?

The long tail works in mysterious ways, my friend.


Lets say you dominate (or at least are very visible) in a local search on Google, Yahoo, and MSN.

Search -Northridge Estates Homes Waunakee-

What methods do you find effective to advertise this fact?

I think the idea is that you don't have to advertise the fact. People find you because you dominate the search terms.

Although, it would make a compelling addition to a listing presentation to be able to say "I own Google searches for Estate Homes in Waunakee."

Other than that, I say throw up a billboard that says "80% of home buyers start their search online, and I'm number one in google."

John, that was a good idea. That would certainly grab some attention among sellers. I am going to steal that one (it is on my site afterall) and add it to my eMarketing talk: AKA The Starbucks Mistake:

Have at it, big guy. When my current advertising contract expires with the Real Estate book I'm getting a billboard to do just that.

This book is great. Sun Tzu's teachings can really be applied to our every day lives.

Excellent entry! I'm been looking for topics as interesting as this. Looking forward to your next post.


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