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8 Things That You Are Not Doing On Your Real Estate Blog, But Should Be.

Blogging-directions1. Microblogging

Twitter is all the rage… and yet most blogging agents aren’t using it because they don’t grasp the value

Here’s another way to approach the Micro-Blog: Instead of catering to the audience in a Twitter Community, consider those that are actually coming to read your blog.  Short updates from you about the market, your efforts as an agent, new listings, and news flashes are just the sort of thing that your readers will appreciate.  Now pop them on your blog, and syndicate that back up to Twitter instead of the other way around. (More on this in coming weeks)

Hot tip: When it comes to your blog, avoid the community babble that gave you the creeps when you first looked at Twitter: “Having a hard time deciding what cereal to get.”  Your audience came for tangible real estate topics, not the stream of consciousness that you feel the need to share.  Try: “Cleaning out the gutters for the today’s 2pm open house at 123 Elm St, Eastville.”

2. Video Blogging

With high quality and too-easy-to-use video cameras available for under $150, you’d be a fool to not start including local video clips on your blog.  Whether you post yourself vlogging, or replace the photo-op with a quick clip, your audience will appreciate it. 

Hot tip: Try to keep videos under 2 minutes.  That digestible expectation will have them watching every video you publish.

3. Extending Your Soapbox to Other Community Experts

At Inman Connect last summer, we held a panel on Taking Your Blog to the Next Level.  My take then (and still) is that there is way too much Realtor-on-Realtor action happening in what are supposed to be local level real estate blogs, aimed at developing an audience of potential clients.  It took several paragraphs to cover all the bases in an article, so I will save the space and provide a link to the benefits of getting other local voices to carry the load of your blog content.

Hot tip: Once you know you have a local audience that cares about your efforts, it won’t be difficult to get others to provide valuable content.  Trying to put the cart before the horse will be a hard sell.

Google-maps-on-blogs4. Using Google Maps

I’m not talking about just popping a map on the site to showcase a location.  Google maps are so incredibly versatile now, that the range of resources you can create for your audience is endless.  To whet your appetite, here is a link to Lori Turoff’s post that describes her Open House Map for Hoboken, NJ.

Hot tip: Next week, I will be publishing a comprehensive overview on how to leverage Google Maps on your real estate blog.  It will include several exciting map examples like Lori’s above.  I feel that the proper use of Google Maps will be what makes your site an invaluable resource unlike any other in your community.

5. Including Unique Calls To Action

What separates a real estate blog that generates appointments from one that doesn’t?  More often then not, it is Call-To-Action.  As bloggers you are writers/reporters, but most importantly, you are real estate agents that need to have appointments with clients.  Writing alone will not always be enough to get someone to act in a manner that leads them to working with you.  Place visible calls to action in your navigation, in your sidebars, in your footer, in your articles, in your videos and in your email blasts.

Hot tip: Spend some money to have someone design something nice for the calls-to-action on your site.  These graphics can be what get people to ‘act’ so it is worth a small investment.  Mix in a theme to the graphics that you use for your calls-to-action.  Cool looking icons, or a mascot will stand out, and yet not be seen as ‘pushy’. 

6. Advertising Your Contact Info in a Visible and Unique Manner

Teresa Boardman has expressed more than once that one of her biggest pet peeves is how so many real estate bloggers make it difficult to locate contact info on their site.  How can you take the time to create so much content, only to overlook that having someone contact you is the most important element of your online presence? 

Take a quick look at your site from the visitor’s perspective.  Who is the proud author, and how can I reach him/her?  Similar to the take above on calls-to-action, take the time to do something unique with the areas of your site that should be grabbing your readers’ attention.

Hot tip: Leverage the online network that you are building and showcase one click icons to your profiles on Social Networks that people recognize; Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter.

7. Policing Your Links

It’s common knowledge that dead links can affect your SEO, but just as important, dead links make your site look unkempt to your visitor.  Routinely check the links that you offer in your blogroll, resource lists, and community pages, and make sure that they are still active.  Recently I weeded out over 20 bad links from by blogroll, and it occurred to me just how poor that must have appeared to anyone looking at the sites I claimed to care about.

Want to go even deeper?  Run Xenu’s Link Sleuth and find every dead link in your archive. 

Hot tip: Are you into Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn?  Pay it forward with a short ‘social-roll’ link list to your favorite local profiles.  Yes, local… think about your audience’s needs.

8. Writing to Your Ideal Reader.

Your knee-jerk first thought: My audience is far too diverse to have a specific Ideal Reader in mind when I write.  It’s the same argument I hear when I try to pin an agent down to commit to focus on one specific niche community with their early blogging efforts; I’ll work everywhere, why would I want to pigeonhole myself to one location?  I will be missing such a greater audience.

The answer is that it is much easier to write fluidly and constructively on a micro level then it is when approached broadly.  Sure the topics seem endless, at first with the broad stroke, but the value comes in your ability to hone in on the endless topics of a narrowed focus.  It is much easier to position oneself as the expert on a limited range of topics than on everything, everywhere.

Who you are writing to works in a similar manner.  When you can visualize the reader, it is much easier to explain things to them.  What’s easier, explaining something to a friend or to a room full of strangers?  When you ‘know’ your audience, it will be much easier to deliver your ideas.  My advice: force yourself to consider who you are writing to; define them, and write to them.

Hot tip: Try to avoid writing for yourself.  Write to educate.  Your audience has questions, and you and your blog are the answers.

Have you got some examples of your implementation of the above? 
Please share them with the community, we’d love to learn from you.
 

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Related Must Reads:
10 Misconceptions About Real Estate Blogging
All You Ever Needed To Know About Blogging SEO, But Were Afraid To Say So.

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Comments

Jim _ I have to disagree with your hot tip on twitter. I agree that the twitter stream can't be just babble. I like to throw some business in mine like a link to an article or commentary on the local market but that isn't what helps me build relationships.

I actually agree with your suggestion on Twitter. I must have looked at Twitter for 3 months trying to figure out how best to use it. I agree with both you and Teresa that NOBODY wants to know that you've just finished brushing your teeth (or some other meaningless babble.) I think Twitter does a great disservice to itself by marketing the tool this way.

The holy grail of Twitter finally came to me last month...Twitter DOES make an outstanding micro-blog, or a "blog-within-a-blog." I use it to post quick neighborhood and real estate updates that wouldn't justify their own blog post. Things like price reductions, hot new listings, relevant news updates, etc.. are perfect for this forum. And there are a number of widgets that you can use to publish your updates in a visible spot on your main blog.

The beauty of Twitter is the portability (you can post from your phone) and it's simplicity. Combine that with the additional third party apps like TweetFeed, TwitPic, TwtPoll, etc...and you have the perfect micro-blog.

Thanks for the great ideas!


WOW, probably the most valuable thing I've read since I started blogging and I've read a lot. Great article, great advice, great things to do if I ever get more than 5 minutes to myself.

Jim, let's roll my geotagging research in with the Google Maps info and get everyone some more incoming links and very unique traffic in the process

Kudos. I would extend the Hot Tip on #6 to include a photo stream from Flickr or Picasa or whatever. I would like to put a few of my recent pics in a widget on my sidebar but worry that it might be too java / flash heavy or just otherwise load slowly. But I am working on a clean, nice looking link to them. If anyone knows of a widget that only shows, e.g., the Picasa logo and the blurb "see my pics here" or something like it, please post! Thanks!

Love your new tricked out Twitter page. How did you do that? Twitter is on my 2009 Business Plan radar screen. Leaving no tern unstoned ;-)

I think the bottom line on Twitter is there is no bottom line yet. It is still too new and all industries including RE are still trying to figure out how the heck to best use the thing. We all agree it's awesome, but no one can say for sure just why.

Well, everyone except Barrack Obama, he seemed to figure out exactly how to leverage the snot out of the thing.

I am a Google Adwords Professional in Australia focusing on the Real Estate industry and just wanted to say what a great real estate blog you have.

Terrific stuff here, Jim -- I just pimped it for you on Twitter, in fact. :-) I think the point about too much realtor-on-realtor action is the key thing here. Agents have to blog about the community, about local news, local events, about life and living in their hometown. That's the stuff that'll help sell houses.

Nice Post - I love the aggressive use of social marketing platforms - just haven't figured out how to incorporate all the pieces in process.

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

-Sarah

Jim,

It really is about the calls to action. My brother and I recommend making more than 1 call to action during a post. They can be subtle but they need to be made because otherwise one just becomes a free news source and that isn't the business we are in (for most of us anyway).

You do make a great point about too much realtor to realtor action. We have to attract our next customers for sure.


I really enjoyed this article. Your readers will appreciate this, especially in this economy. There is a new free site for classified ads for house rentals, apartments rentals and condo rentals called treehouseforrent. Check it out.

GREAT tips! Different blogs certainly have different purposes depending on industries and for this one, you definitely have the right idea.

Great Post as usual. Thanks for your contribution to Inman Connect NYC. It was great meeting you and the other "Tomatoes".

The Key now is putting all that knowledge into action!!

What do you think of "MyBlogLog"? Anyone using that for anything interesting?

Jim it is refreshing to stop by the RET. This blog world is ever changing and articles like this make it a lot easier for me to keep up. And you correct... I have avoided twitter for the simple fact that I can't understand why people people would give a flip what I am picking up at the grocery store. However... for real estate tips... that is a good idea.

Hi Jim,
Here's what I've found in my first year of blogging and social media:
Twitter - great for discussions with Realtors and other people out of state. Made many friends there, hope for broker-to-broker referrals some day. Good for promoting a blog post or new listing, but if that's all you do, they'll shun you eventually.
Facebook - Great for connecting with high school and college buddies, and past clients who have moved away. This is my virtual "sphere."
Blogging - my Tomato blog has been the best investment of '08. I need to monitor my dead links better so thanks for that tip.
Google maps - Look forward to hearing the news on this one.
Comments - I don't get too many yet, but they're rarely from other brokers.
Sorry you had such a lousy journey home from NY (seen on Twitter!)

That is a fantastic list.

We've recently started using Twitter.. Can't say the results are anything to get excited over but it looks cool.

Ernie

http://www.sankertown.com/

Great post - I really like the summary. Thanks for the tip and tool on finding dead links. I am going to test it out because I just found a dead link this morning and was wondering how many others I have lurking!

Here's a post I read yesterday with great twitter tips... especially for finding local people to tweet with.

http://www.mytechopinion.com/2009/01/finding-tweighbors-on-twitter.html

I'm glad I'm not the only one who is still trying to figure out Twitter. I just started using it, and your suggestion was extremely helpful. So thanks!

Jim
You know tomatoes are my favorite fruit/veggie :-)
The info and aroma from the tomato is awesome!

Can you give us a twitter tutorial?...I seem to be lost with all that is available. I do use micro blogging but as you pointed out it is mostly realtor to realtor action....

Thanks so much for all of your help on this
Callie

Just thought I would show you my blog and how I have implemented information for my readers in an easy to follow format. It works for me and I get lots of good feedback. I have been lazy the last couple of months, I also teach tech savvy classes to other agents. Still trying to find how to take my classes to a greater population. Love your blog,
Camille

Still waiting for that google maps post! very interested to read it since i am adding a mapping feature to my own site very soon :)

can use press release, ezinearticle, or sosial network

I actually agree with your suggestion on Twitter. Excellent entry.

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