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How To Approach Real Estate Blogging And Ensure Your Success, Guaranteed

Target AudienceI sat here making an effort to finish writing an article covering the 2 most crucial things to consider about your website when I was derailed by the topic below.

The following is based on a phone rant that I have let loose so many times that I’m starting to feel myself on auto-pilot, almost thinking about something else, as I explain the basic formula to guaranteed blogging success.  It struck me that I need to write this down before I mistakenly consider it to be no longer relevant.  The fact is that it couldn’t be more relevant for new and struggling real estate bloggers.

I am adding this article to the Pre Class Homework that all of our new clients will receive, for it is the foundation of their path to blogging reward.

1. Define Your Target Audience/Ideal Reader

In a past article I wrote this:

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.

All of the above absolutely applies, but I think I can drive this point home, and make it clear as to why this is the number one thing to do to ensure your success.

Stop thinking like an agent that will drive 20 miles in any direction to help any potential client, in any neighborhood.

The Bad News: You can't be all things to all people. 

The Good News:  As a blogger, you have the power to create your audience, and attract the types of clients that you want to work with. 

Do the following:
Ask yourself, “Who do I enjoy working with?” and “why?”.
Now name your ideal reader.  Mine is “Sue”. 
List everything you can about them. 
How old are they?  Are they married?  Kids? Household Income? Profession?”
Where are they from originally?  What interests do they have?
Where do they want to live?  How much do they want to spend?
What are their concerns/questions/challenges/dreams/plans?

There is a beautiful thing about blogging; if you write to them,they will come.

2. Define What You Are Going To Write About.

Up-at-nightYour Real Estate Blog Is Your Newspaper

The above linked article tells some of the story on this step to success, but again, this point needs to be made absolutely clear in order for you to pause reading and commit to this action.

Clear topics and organization of your content is everything.

You have an opportunity to make an amazing impression on your visitors.  What you choose to write about will deem you an expert on those topics, if you make it clear.

Choose the pillars upon which your entire blog will stand.
If you are just starting out, limit yourself to no more than 10.
Those categories need to be something that you can commit content to regularly.
If it is a topic that you can’t write inexhaustibly about, then omit it from the list.
You can always add to this list as you develop as a blogger.
If your aim is to have some whimsical content, then create a category for all of it (“Whimsical Wednesday”, for example).

You'll thank me later.

If you don’t take this approach, your blog will make the impression that you are all-over-the-place and not an expert in any topic.  It will be too overwhelming to your visitor to know what to expect from you, and they will not subscribe.  Your best categories will be buried by the clutter.

At the end of this post I do offer some ideas of what to write about, but I know nothing about you, your expertise, your area of focus, your goals, your ideal reader… so don’t rely on me, or others to establish the pillars of your content.  Think very clearly about this task.  This is how your audience will be getting to know you, and there is nothing more important when it comes to them trusting you as their expert agent.

3. Goals - What Do You Want To Achieve From Your Efforts?

“More business” is not exactly the right answer.

You aren't selling a product, you are working on building an audience and getting them to trust you to contact you for specific reasons.

What are those reasons?
My goal is that I want to be found, and found to be the expert at providing the solutions to the things that keep my ideal client up at night.

Think niche... not just “I want to work with someone that wants me to help them buy/sell a home”.

Let’s start with the Need.
What do the clients you want to work with worry about?  I know you know… you spend all day educating and handling challenges, objections, negotiations, and concerns.

If your goal is to be found and found as the expert, you and your blog need to be the answers to these questions.  The internet is the source of our knowledge and education when we are doing research for the major decisions in our life.  Less and less we rely on friends, mother, and even the professionals (at first) when digging into a topic that really matters to us.  We go online.  We expect answers.  This is where you come in.  Preemptively tackling issues puts you in the seat next to them as they learn to overcome all the anxiety.  Once they come to trust you and your expertise, you get the nod.

Bloggers-hatNow let’s look at the Location.
What areas do you want to be known as the expert?
What terms do you want to make the front page of the search engines for, because of your blogging.?
San Diego (for example) is not the right answer.  La Jolla is... or even communities within La Jolla. Get it?

Real Estate is all about location, location, location right?  Well so is real estate blogging!
Pin down locations and blog the heck out of them.  Force yourself into positions of success.
There is nothing more effective than writing community profiles, over and over.

The more you are all-over-the-place, the more diluted your traffic, message and impression become.
Seriously... imagine all the exciting things that could have you found for your goals.
Waterfront Condo in La Jolla, CA? That's more, like it and, it will generate you a much more qualified visitor for your effort.

If water is to be found 100 feet below the surface, you aren't going to dig five 20 foot holes.

It sounds like something I picked up from Keller Williams agents, and it is correct:
Focus your efforts to find success.  Note the formula should you want to start digging again to grow your reach.

4. How Often Can You Find Time To Write And Publish Blog Articles?

Seriously... what commitment can you make for the long haul?

When I am asked the question "how much do I need to blog to make this a successful venture?" the short answer is, "As much as you can".  The long answer is that you are to become a blogger to make this work.

A blogger sees and hears article topics throughout the day, and writes regularly about their target audience's needs.

The goal is content.
The effort is typing.

To make blogging a successful venture you need see the venture as a change in you.
You now write for business.  You now hear blog articles in every conversation, email, house, meeting, photograph, tour, closing, listing appointment, open house...put on your blogger’s hat.

The challenge MUST NOT be topics.  If it is, you don't get it.  Your business is made up almost entirely of content.  You get to choose the content for which you will be known as the expert.
This is the reward, the immediate reward, to a growing audience.  You get to instantly be the expert on whatever you choose.  People want to do business with experts.

The challenge is making it a priority.  Once you realize that this is how you not only generate new business, but communicate with the audience you already have, it’s easy to make it a priority.


Schedule it.

2-3 times a week is a minimum, and a pace that will not necessarily be swiftly rewarded.
In the beginning it is more quantity over detail.
Create as much content as you can.
If you try to write your opus with every post you will fail.  You will burn out.  You will not enjoy it.  It will be a waste of money and time that was better left undone.

Mix it up.

Here are a few ideas right off the top of my head.
A weekly photo post with a short description (10 mins)
A weekly email/client question (copy paste: 10 mins)
A weekly historical fact or fun fact about the area (30 mins with research)
A weekly Listing Profile (yours or not) about which you have something very interesting to say. (30 mins)
A weekly Challenge Overcome story (30 mins)
A Weekly Top 10 real estate post: "Top 10 things to consider before searching for a condo in La Jolla" (1.5 hours)
A Weekly Business profile (restaurant, locksmith, new opening... whatever) (45 mins)
Monthly Market Stats/Trends Analysis (1 hour)
Monthly testimonial/client story. (1 hour)
A Weekly Interest Rate update from your friend the Loan Officer. (5 mins to post)
A weekly "nothing to do with real estate what-so-ever" post (Tennis anyone?) (1 hour)
Now fill in the holes with everything else that enters your head as a good idea for a blog post.
It took me just 5 mins to type up how you can generate nearly 500 posts in a year in less than 20 hours a month (5/week)

You see, it's not the ‘what’ nor the ‘how’, it's the WHEN, and the WHEN is now.

More resources for content ideas:
101 Real Estate Blog Topics

More Blogging Success Tips:
50 Sound Real Estate Blogging Tips
New To Real Estate Blogging? 6 Steps To Get You Started
How Often Should I Blog? 

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Comments

Great blogging tips. Indeed, blogging is really an effective tool to get your business on top and market it effectively. Quality content relevant to your passion/business is the key to get a lot of audience.

So, I am a blogging newbie and soon to graduate from Tomato U. and I am patting myself on the back because I actually have taken your lessons to heart...my last few posts have been about: home selling tips, a local business, a listing profile and local family fun events. Give me an A!

I especially agree with #4. Consistent writing over time is what really convinces Google et al that you are legit. I remember when I was in tomato training, Jim googled my name, john coley, and we mostly came up with results related to the singer John Ford Coley. Now my blog is #1 for the term "john coley" even though JFC is a platinum album selling artist. I wrote about that recently on my blog, and how that helps me sell real estate. Thanks again to Jim and the tomato team!!

I read this post of yours thoroughly and I found it very interesting as well as informative. The topic: "How To Approach Real Estate Blogging And Ensure Your Success, Guaranteed" is really very unique. I completely agree with the points that you mentioned. Firstly, fixing targeted visitors is the most important thing for the success of your blog. Secondly, content quality attracts your readers to go through more pages of the blog. And last but not the least, set your goal properly to get the most out of your effort. I will wait for few more great posts from you in the future also. Could you please give me few unique and interesting topics on which I should write ?

Thanks for the great 101 info. I lilke your suggestions. So many times I sit in fron tof the computer and wonder what to write. Something!

I think that number four is the biggest one to look into.

Great stuff. I have tried to work on getting traffic using my blog on my real estate website http://www.morganhillhomes.com and have had minimal success. However after reviewing your post and borrowing some ideas I have renewed hope.

I love the contest idea! What a great way to get people involved. I want to try the garden photo contest because of the season. Anyone has success with that type of stuff? What did you offer as "prizes?"

Blogging and gaining results from using it is largely based on the content you provide on your blog. If it is something interesting that people will want to read and come back to then you will receive more hits than if you just place nonsense on your blog. Keeping things in a professional and beneficial manner seems the best way to receive "hits".

AMAZING! Loved reading this article because it just solidified EVERYTHING I am teaching my real estate clients and putting in place for them! I especially liked your "few ideas" list - couldn't have made a better list myself. I'll be explaining the untouchable and undeniable strength that blogging brings to realtor's businesses on my blog soon - we can talk until we are blue in the face about the importance of blogging - I'll be showing it in black and white. Blogs are more valuable than your website!!! So get blogging people!

Content content content is all I can say when it comes to blogs. Users who visit professional blogs are visiting them for the pure reason of they trust you and and are relying on your content to be credible and correct. Just keep your blog professional and full of factual information and you will receive more hits and visits guaranteed.

Great advice. I was in a meeting today about the future of digital media and online engagement and one participant had this excellent point: you have to give people a reason to keep coming back. You can't just be another blog.

Easier said than done, no doubt. But a worthy goal.

Bob Stahl

Discipline is definitely the key to success in blogging. Make a plan and stick to it!

As always, great and very meaningful advice. Although I don't blog in your niche, I love reading the advice you give because most of it can be relevant to any blog. Thanks

I think you're bang on by treating it as a newspaper. There are far too many 'opinion' pieces out there, and not enough actual true journalism coverage of the real estate industry.

The blogosphere seems to be like an echo chamber -- one person reports it, then everyone follows. Isn't there any original reporting left?

The post is really nice and thanks for explaining each and everything precisely. I agree with you that defining what you are about to write is really important. It gives a clear idea to the audience that you are an expert.

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