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10 Misconceptions About Real Estate Blogging

Flat-earthRecently, both Teresa Boardman and I took a stab at what we saw as mistakes on real estate blogs.  You may have noticed, we don't always agree on what we feel is the best of advice for the Tomato audience, and neither does Kris Berg.  This is what makes it such a pleasure to have active participation in the blogosphere.

Below is an example of Teresa and I taking the same above headline and having our way with it for your enjoyment. 
We alternated our items to mix it up a bit.
Who’s who?

1.  High Traffic = Success

Why: Having people come to your site is always a positive thing, certainly.  Large numbers should mean large success.
Why it's not:
Quick success with a blog generally indicates that you have either:
1. Uncovered a popular topic or
2. Piqued the interest of the mob.
Popular topics are softballs when it comes to getting someone to visit the site.  If everyone is searching for stories about a topic, writing about that topic isn't an indication of success, it is an indication of bandwagon jumping. 
Knowing where to find an audience, and enticing them with a great headline, shows savvy, not success.
It is the consistent traffic, garnered by target audience keyword phrases that support your success.

2.  A Great Writer Will Have A Great Blog. 

There are some very well written blog posts that miss the mark because of what the writer is writing about.   The ability to write is one skill that is helpful to have but writing a blog is different from a literary master piece or a newspaper article because of that all important voice and focus.   With so many blogs these days unique content is best.  Blogs have not changed the old rule that content is king when it comes to web sites and marketing.  Isn't the goal to distinguish ourselves in the market place?  

3.  Regular Comments = Success

Why: Participation from your audience is an indication that people are reading, not just visiting.  This is great.
Why it's not:
Although audience participation can be a first step in lead development, there are a number of reasons not to get too excited about regular comments
1.  People leave comments just for the link back to their site
2.  People leave comments to attract your audience to their site
3.  Your competitors read your site, and like to participate either to appear vigilant or to keep an eye on your message.
4.  The same audience enjoys participating as you create a community that is your blog.
It is generally the silent majority that you develop as regular readers that incubate into a potential lead base.  Your faithful readers, a number which can be determined by your feed subscription count, will be a better barometer for your success.

4.  No Blog Is An Island.

Blog_IslandThat is a bunch of bunk.  Contact with other blog writers is not necessary for a successful  blog that generates sales. Leads and contacts come in through search engines.   However,  the social aspects of connecting with other blog writers is  invaluable.   As I crank out at least a post a day I find that the kind words of encouragement, observations, criticisms and suggestions from my peers are priceless and their comments are better than my posts.  There are bloggers that I can call or email to run an idea by when I am not sure about it.   I can site several examples where I tried something or pursued an idea because another blog writer encouraged me to do so. There is a blogger who goes through my blog periodically and looks for emotions that I try not to express on my business blog. He gives me the courage to continue on days when I really don't want to.  There are blog writers that I have helped get started.  I answer email questions almost everyday.  I go into other blogs and fix things that are broken.   The very best way to learn something is to help or teach someone else. The questions I am asked almost always teach me something new and provide much needed blog food, and ideas.

5.  Blogs Are Magic

Why: There is a lot of irresponsible chatter about how the blog is an effective SEO tool.
Why it's not:
To the search engines, blogs are nothing more than HTML content.  There is nothing that makes them come up more effectively than a standard website other than the fact that by their definition, they demand the regular posting of content.  Organic search engine success is governed by the elements that make up a successful blog, making the two go hand-in-hand:
1.  Unique content.
2.  Regular posting schedule.
3.  Core focus, revolving around keyword phrases to attract target audience.
4.  Community participation (inbound links).
Starting a blog to be a search engine magnet is not the discipline that that is going to make it work.  Having the passion and commitment to post unique articles regularly, and on topic will have the reward of being found for terms and phrases that your target audience type into the search engines.

6.  Real Estate Blogs Are A Good Place To Advertise Listings.

There are a zillion sites out there with listings on them.  Blogs with  posts about listings look like real estate web sites.    Distinguish your blog from the tens of thousands of real estate web sites by making it unique and different.  A real estate blog can be used for marketing and will help generate business without listings on it. Consider putting some links in the side bar or a link to your real estate web site listings page. Consider a separate blog for each listing, and have the sellers contribute if they are so inclined so that they can speak directly to the buyers about their home.   Blogs work because they are different from regular marketing, they are not about in your face advertising they are about having a conversation. 

7.  I Can't Write Therefore I Can't Successfully Blog

Why:  Blogging is a ton of writing.  This will scare off most that feel they have not an affinity for it.
Why it's not:
Blogging isn't so much writing as it is understanding your target audience's needs, interests, concerns, objections, fears, and thirst.  Blogging is a natural fit for Realtors that spend their day answering questions and helping people make major financial decisions.  Blogging doesn't have to be an essay, and it doesn't have to be prose.  Blogging doesn't have to be funny nor clever. 
Blogging has to be clear and targeted.  Learn to hear real estate blogging topics and you'll never find yourself without compelling content.  Now you just need to organize the message in a format and voice that your audience finds as a pleasure to read.
8.  Your Blog Platform Makes A Difference When It Comes To Lead Generation. 
Chalking_it_up_as_fad
Blog platforms are not all the same.  Some are better than others in that they allow for more flexibility, or are easier to use. Some are free, some cost money, some charge hosting fees and some do not.  It is the blog content that attracts the readers not the technology. Blogs are not at all about technology, they have been around for a decade and have recently become popular because the technology has gotten to the point where anyone who can use the internet can read or write a blog.  How a blog looks is important.  We only get one chance to make a first impression and the same is true with our blogs.  Having all the latest widgets, doodads and plug ins is not as important as how a blog looks or what type of content it provides.  For tech savvy bloggers the platform can make all the difference but for most the more advanced platforms just have more features that never get used.   Platforms change, what is the best today may be obsolete tomorrow.  Don't be confused by platform snobs; top blogs can be found on every platform.

9.  Blogging Is A Fad

Why:  Successful blogging takes so much commitment, no one is going to be able to keep it up and run a successful business.  In addition, there is always something new around the corner to takes its place.
Why it's not:
There's no argument that successful blogging takes work, but so does anything else worth doing.  Chalking it up as a fad because it isn't the easiest marketing effort is just a reaction to not seeing the value of the effort.  The irony is that the length of time one continues to blog, the more effective the effort continues to be.
Of course something new is coming, and in some cases it is already here: vlogging, podcasting, teleportation...  However, until search engines are able to recognize and catalog our voices, it is the written content on your website that will dictate the majority of your success in being found online.

10.   Real Estate Blogs Don't Need To Have Pictures On Them To Be Successful.   
When it comes to real estate web sites pictures are extremely important, especially if the blog is about a city, neighborhood or about houses.   Adult readers don't have much of an attention span, and our younger readers even less... pictures get their attention and can be an effective way to tell a story.  A picture really can be worth a thousand words but take much less time to read. They speak volumes about the subject matter and about the photographer but in a subtle way.

Related Must Reads:
The 10 Biggest Mistakes Made By Real Estate Bloggers
96% Of All Real Estate Blogs Will Fail
Stop Acting Like Blogging Is Rocket Science
10 Things Not To Do On Your Real Estate Blog

Reprise:  The list that didn’t quite make the ‘Misconception List’.
1. Group Blogging Is Where It’s At
2. Anyone Can Write A Blog
3. There’s Such A Thing As A Big Blog And A Little Blog

PS – Teresa Boardman is an exceptionally professional Realtor in St Paul.  Her blog, St Paul Real Estate Blog, is known as one of the most exciting in the industry.

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Comments

Very nice! I like this much better than a list of rules to follow. Who knew Kris' post from yesterday would become such a big deal - now it gets mentioned here. I think this post will help new bloggers as they begin their journey - probably more than a list of rules. Good work.

Shaun,

There were never any "rules" written... just what we felt were mistakes.

So, are you two altar boys going to send the collection plate around now or wait until after the Eucharist?

Maybe you could get some emoticons for kneel down, stand up, sit, kneel down, grab the hymnal, etc., so we'll all have an idea how long it is before we can go out for breakfast.

Jim - it doesn't look like you screwed this one up too bad. I can tell which are yours and which are mine. I think it is wonderful the way John comes by and adds value.

ok, sports fans...if there are no rules to break, who is the rebel?...the person who doesn't blog or blogs about why blogging is good/bad/helps SEO...I smell a well-done weenie here, but actually, we are are turning on the same roller grill, aren't we? I like the "blogs are magic" - how canthat be a misconception when millions appear and disappear every week?

Please pardon my Moebius strip of thought.

Now, I'm totally confused! Listings on a blog...get a separate blog???? Have listings on the sidebar? Is there a way to have it all??

By the way, although we aren't in for SEO...I'm now a 5 and thrilled!! Love to talk about where I'm headed and get the confusion cleared...this post bring up more questions.

Gena,
I think that the idea is to not clutter your chronological blog posting with random listings that are not necessarily going to meet your audience's interests.

Alternatives include: Listings in sidebar. Listing category that doesn't display on chronological blog, blogsite for each listing, or just a button that links to a listing page.

No, what would add value to this sermon, Teresa, is some gospel music.

Sam Cooke's "Jesus Gave Me Water" with the Soul Stirrers harmonzing would work well. Or practically anything from The Persuasions.

The other things I used to like to do in church when it got like this were wish they'd take some incense out. Incense is nice. Or look at the pretty girls in their Sunday best.

Maybe someone can get Niknik to stop by.

i use http://www.postlets.com and they have a nifty new feature that allows you to post your listings in small sidebar sizes. i have two on my site now. check it out and let me know what you think.

http://eastsiderealestate.blogspot.com/

thanks. BTW, postlets.com is a FREE tool to promote your listings.It provides a flyer ad for craigslist and other online postings. check em out.

Eug-

I like Postlets and what they have done with the sidebar widget. It looks great on your site - and I feel that this is a positive alternative to cluttering up the message of the blog with listings.

Note: VFlyer also offers such a sidebar widget. Check out both before you decide.

Jim

VFlyer is very cool too. Had not heard of it before. thanks for the heads up.

And thanks for the kudos on my blog.

I continue to enjoy reading yours.

Any guess if my real estate blog - http://www.realestatetimes.in can be a success. I have started a year back and am following most of the advise you mentioned here. Get just 2000 Visitors/Week!

I just started my blog on St. Louis RE last week, and have spent hours researching how to get started. Your site has been the most helpful resource I've found, and has given me the confidence to feel that I'm on the right track. I'm using the Point 2 platform which is integrated with my website. It's easy to get up and running but is still in beta and not so easy to customize for those of us that are new to all this technology. Any feedback to make it better would be appreciated!

I was getting started creating a real estate blog, but I don't know where to start, good thing I found your blog.. thanks for the points it was really helpful.

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