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What Is The Biggest Barrier To Real Estate Blogging?

Teresa Boardman, our resident Real Estate Blogging Goddess, is back with some personal insight on what she has uncovered as the biggest roadblock to blogging.

What Is The Biggest Barrier To Real Estate Blogging?
By Teresa Boardman

SurveyingEarlier this week I conducted a kind of survey, and asked 25 real estate bloggers, which I defined as practicing real estate agents, mortgage, title and staging pros who blog, what they see as the biggest barrier to real estate blogging for agents.

The answer was writing, and it was almost unanimous.

What to write about and how to write it.

That came as a surprise to me because so many agents believe that blogs require technical skills. This myth is perpetuated here and in other places on the internet as blog writers discuss SEO and merits of various blog platforms, and the rules of blogging. I would have guessed that they found the whole process complicated and confusing.

Based on what I have read, I did most everything wrong when I started my blog, but the important thing is I did it. It doesn't seem to matter because I still achieved my business goals. My blog has been and continues to be a journey and one of the most meaningful learning experiences that I have ever had.

The writing thing is something I don't have a solution for.
I am intensely uncomfortable writing and posting where the world can see it. My whole education was based on the idea that if a piece of writing had a grammatical error, or a misspelling it was useless and had no value. When I submitted a paper, or an idea in writing it came back with red pen all over it. Occasionally I would have a teacher or professor who would notice an idea or something else in a written piece but mostly it was about the technical aspects of writing not about the ideas or research that had gone into it.

I_UnderstandAfter I graduated from college I pretty much avoided writing unless someone made me. I had jobs where I pawned it off on administrative support, and I made sure that I hired people that could write. I would talk, and they would take notes, record, or type as I went.

I understand not wanting to write or being afraid of it. It is possible that I have missed opportunities to work with buyers or sellers because they came to my blog and found a typo. Yet I take the risk each day and hope that if I practice long enough I will be able to crank something out that doesn't have an error in it. I have written more than a thousand posts and I am relatively sure that if they are more than a paragraph long they contain at least one mistake. Yet people still read my blog and some want to do business with me, even though I can't spell.

The same is true with photos. People seem to enjoy them and I use photos on my blog but I am sometimes told that they are not technically correct. It might be the composition or the angle. Yet I shoot what I see and if it pleases me I post it. I write what I think and hope that someone will read it and find some value in it even if it is not technically perfect. I am a Realtor, not a writer or a photographer.

The_WayThinking about good writing, good photos and perfect search engine optimization makes me crazy. (OK you no what I mean, we all know I am stark raving mad already) If I had really considered all of those things I never would have started a blog. Now that I have readers the writing is harder. I don't like to think about how many people read it each day.

Doing everything the way it is supposed to be done takes the joy right out of it for me. It isn't fun to worry about every sentence and every photo. Professors and photographers stop by and some times send me notes. So far they have been positive and they help me find the courage to do it all again the next day.

There are other things that I don't do perfectly, yet if it is something that I want to do I keep trying, practicing, or I get more education. It is the same with the blog, if I had let my inability to write stop me I would have missed out on opportunities that I am really happy to have had.

Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy doing it. My strategy is to spend more time doing it than thinking about it or planning it out. I don't worry about what other bloggers are doing, or what I am supposed to do. I just try to improve my own personal best. Just do it, or at least try it. If it were easy I would not be nearly as rewarding. The risk involved in writing on the internet seems small in comparison to the risks most of us take each day as 100% commission based sales people responsible for representing others in the biggest purchases or sales of their lives. real estate is not for wimps.

Teresa Boardman is an exceptionally professional Realtor in the St. Paul, Minnesota area.  

Her website: www.TBoardman.com
Her blog: www.StPaulRealEstateBLOG.com
Voice: 651-216-4603
Thank you Teresa.  As always, it’s a pleasure having you 'on the Vine'.

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Comments

I see plenty of technically correct blogs that are not worth reading. Or put me to sleep. Or I don't understand. Your blogs are real T.

Teresa - I am so glad that you wrote this post as I have been thinking the same thing since I recently began blogging. I spent hours reading the "how to do" Blogs and there were so many contradictory opinions on the correct way to do things that if I had attempted to follow all the advice I would never go near my keyboard. You are never going to please everyone with your posts, ideas, viewpoints, etc and truly there is really no ultimate "correct" way to blog. As long as you do not hurt anyone, learn something and have fun yourself blogging is a marvelous way to connect to people.

blogging is a platform for writing, just like magazine articles and newspapers. The same number of real estate people who are able to write for newspapers, magazines, and newsletters on a regular basis will be able to blog. The rest will not, no matter how much they know about software or, for that matter, grammar and usage.

If you are a writer, you can be a blogger. If you are not a writer, you will fail as a blogger. And by writer, I mean someone will a will to express himself.

I'm a writer, and have been for twenty-five years. I can write about real estate, because I'm also a Realtor. I'm also a technologist. I was also an English professor. Which one of these makes me a blogger? All of them and none of them.

I love to write, and have all kinds of information to share about my experiences as a thirty year-plus Realtor in the Bay Area of California. My problem seems to be finding readership for my blog: www.bobbielemberg.blogspot.com. I've made a separate business card that tells how to access the site, and have a link on my website, but I'm stumped on how to generate wider readership.
Bobbie

Blogging is a platform for conversations and observations. Over-thinking the process prevents most people from taking the plunge in the first place.

A little creativity and a lot of common sense are more important ingredients than technical acumen or your level of education. Thank goodness not all bloggers are ex professors. (no offense to the ex prof, but you know exactly what I mean)

What exactly is a technically correct blog and why does that even matter? It's black and white. A blog either works for the reader or it doesn't, technically or in the character of its content. There could be plenty of reasons why a person doesn't understand what they are reading, many of which may not have anything to do with the content or skill of the writer.

Like so many other things, if you just explode the myths first, people will see how simple things like blogging really are. How someone defines success with the effort is a subjective thing.

Wonderful post, well said and I didn't see any typos, wasn't looking because I was interested in the content.

Thanks to committed bloggers like you Teresa, the world has become a much smaller place. Our sphere of friends has grown. We find people with whom we can connect based upon common interests without ever actually meeting.

Not only do you get a chance to learn a few things from what others share on their blogs, but you get a chance to smile, commiserate at times and sometimes enjoy a beautiful picture or two.

Perfectly spelled and eloquently spoken or not, we find the blogs that speak to us and just keep coming back. We each have something to share, thanks for being out there and keeping us all in line. Your very presence is an encouragement to new bloggers to just do it.

And keep the photos coming, I like 'em.

These are encouraging words. Thank you. I too have to agree that it is 'what to write about', that slows me down on blogging more. Nice to know I'm not alone in my search for interesting topics.

My "problem" dare I call it out is not finding a topic to write about, but finding the time to actually write it. I do find myself agonizing over each post. The pattern I've fallen into is to write one thoughtful (at least i think it is thoughful), detailed, somewhat lengthy post per week rather than 3 or 4 short paragraphs. I've traded quality over content. That means i have to spend a decent chunk of time on each post though, so it is a commitment.

Anyway, i'm reading the tomato and writing this comment when i should be writing my own post...should've had it done yesterday.

BTW, if you are ever looking for a good, short book to help you with the actual process of writing check out Brendy Ueland, If You Want To Write. She will definitely help you.

Kevin's comment falls in line with my problem with blogging- over reading. In college, my senior thesis consumed months of my life because I couldn't even begin until I felt that I had read and was able to cite every source on the planet. I find myself in that same boat with blogging... I have to clear my feed reader completely before I get to my own blog, even though I don't always draw from other sources. It's a terrible habit!

The writing comes naturally with time and having blogged for a short time, I can "crank" out material easily (but don't look at the dates of my recent articles, the kids are pretty demanding during the summer). The great thing about the Web2.0 movement is that blogging gives rise to a new voice- a natural voice. So, if your grammar isn't on par with Mirriam-Webster, just relax. We all make spelling errors and we type too quickly, but readers either don't understand (which is fine), or they realize that a HUMAN is typing this material rather than the Realtor Robot!

Great blog, T- your voice is natural and you have not been weighed down by the SEO-widget-salespitch-ultraglossy3d-monster and your blog is better because of it.

Great article..My issue is also time...and sometimes I want to research something to death, instead of just talking about it. I think the beauty of blogging is your audience gets to see your personality, not just your face and statistics about your success in real estate.

I think I saw a comment asking for topics to write about. One of the toughest problems we all have. I have such a list. Let me see if I can whip it into a post and get the fruity guy to put it up. :)

Nickie - you have been an amazing friend. Always there, with a kind word. I can't wait to meet you. :)

Great article, Teresa. It's good to know there are lots of us out there that have trouble writing. I agree, if it were easy, it wouldn't be as rewarding. Being relatively new to real estate, writing knowledgably (is that a word??) about a subject is my problem. I find that I need to research a lot, so what ever subject I write about seems credible. I do find that blogging forces me to do more research on real estate than I probably would if I were not blogging. There's a small reward already. Your blog and The Tomato are awesome.

Art Wagner
www.stlouisrealestatevoice.com

You're right, looking for subjects or topics to write has been my problem too... that's why until now i'm not able to put a blog into my real estate buy and sell website. I'm thinking of maybe just putting or collecting the latest real estate news and then just post my comments on these articles.

Excellent Teresa...writing is most definetely a "personal" experience. You're efforts to consistently improve for yourself, versus measuring up to others, keeps the information flowing to your audience in St Paul as you see fit.

Teresa - you have helped me through the months (maybe you didn't even know it) to learn the most important lesson which is just be yourself. Post some silly thought, post a great picture of a lily or talk about bread-making - yes, I've been paying attention! :) But the message is be yourself and you will naturally attract the business that fits who you are individually. I LOVE the simplicity of that process!

Have a GREAT day and thanks again if I didn't say it clearly enough!

Jennifer

I often find myself not writing posts about an idea I have because I think it's a good enough idea that I "want to do it justice" in a well thought out and well written post. Instead, I just never get around to it.
OR, like ARW, above, I spend too much of my 'free' time reading other's blogs and not enough blogging.

Like an earlier post I saw on your blog, Teresa, I too find myself carrying around my camera, taking pictures from my car at red lights or on the side of the road at all hours of the day, maybe leaning far enough out of the car for the right angle and getting funny looks. I really enjoy it. And, as Teresa and others have all said, that's what counts, right?

Presented like the veteran you are. I too was worried when I first began to write. But then I just decided to write how I speak. And if other have problems with that then let them have problems. I don't judge or criticize others for spelling, punctuation, or grammatical errors. I look for the message they are trying to deliver. I hope at least a few others will cut me tha same slack.

My challenge is the occasional brain cramp, block, whatever you want to call it.

Some, like you, just seem to have a constant flow of material from all different threads of thought. I respect that.

wow these comments are great! I love writing on the Tomato, I have said this before, the comments are better than my posts and I learn so much from them.

Jennifer - trust me I don't post my silly thoughts, just on Fridays and on other blogs. My thoughts are not yet ready for publication.

This article really makes you human, and it has inspired me. I am sending it to all the agents in our firm. Thanks for making yourself vulnerable.

Thanks Tomato, really enjoy your posts also.

Blogging is about being human and personal, writing like speaking.

"Doing everything the way it's supposed to be done takes the joy right out of it for me!" Love that quote. Wish I had expressed it myself - sure feel the same way! :)

Does it realy help to blogg? If you continue to blog, it will.

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