It’s no secret that realtors have a hard job; after all, they’re salespeople, marketers, contract specialists, and, thanks to the growing demands of the internet, they now have to be content strategists too. And, somehow, they manage to do it all.
Unfortunately, because of all their other demands, blogs tend to fall short, get back-burnered, and the effects on their business can be significant. After all, to those of us who are busy, it makes perfect sense that maybe you didn’t have time to update your blog, that you let it get away from you, and that’s why you haven’t posted since February 2011. But, to potential clients and partners, it shows inattention, lack of follow-thru… all bad things.
Instead, what realtors need is a simple content strategy, one that’s manageable and that shows result enough to keep the blog’s momentum going. Here are some simple steps:
Writing a Real Estate Blog
- Articulate Your Goal: Why do you want readers? Do you want to be thought of as a leader? Convert users to your agency? Build relationships with complimentary agencies? Articulating your goals will help you define your audience and begin building your strategy.
- Discover The Challenges of Your Audience: As in any business, realtors can choose to write B2C or B2B. Either is fine, but remember that each comes with its own set of challenges, acceptable topics, and rewards. For example, if you choose to write about B2B, you’re tasking yourself with quite a bit of homework, staying on top of recent trends in your industry and having to mingle on Twitter to get aligned with thought-leaders who’ll push your blog to the forefront. On the other hand, B2C writing necessitates keeping in touch with what’s hot on the market, keeping the content simple enough for anyone to understand, and competing with thousands of others doing the same.
- Define Your Audience: Though it may seem like a repetition of the first, defining your audience is where it gets tricky. Who are the types of people likely to read your blog? What are they concerned with? Create personas for the different groups of readers you imagine, and make keyword lists for each. This will help guide you with topic creation later on.
- Use WordPress: I know that many sites come with blogging functionality, but unless you have a passion for HTML, WordPress is the way to go. With a simple WYSIWYG editor, loads of plugins to help with SEO, a simple interface, and the ability to customize theme-ing, WordPress allows versatility and professional design in a user-friendly setting.
- Learn At Least Some SEO Best Practices: SEO is a beast and a half, is always changing, and is almost impossible to get on top of, but knowing some best practices goes a long way. The Yoast plugin for WordPress can help, but it’s worth your time to peruse this article from Falconer Web Marketing as well. You don’t want to create all of this good content for nothing.
- Set a Manageable Blogging Schedule: The old maxim “the more you blog, the better you’ll do” is true, but only to a point. The fact of the matter is that blogging success is not something that happens overnight, over a month, or, necessarily, even six months. Blogging takes regularity to have serious effect. So if you can only blog twice a month, only blog twice a month. But do it every month.
- Learn to Leverage Social Media: I’m quite sure that you all already leverage social media in one way or another. You are marketers, after all. Play around on Twitter with interesting quotes from your blog post coupled with trending hashtags related to your topic. See what does best. In addition to learning about what your audience is interested in and responds to, you’ll get a better idea about whether your content strategy and audience projections match up with reality. Refine when necessary and keep growing!
- Match Your Tone and Content, and Please Watch Your Grammar: Not everyone is comfortable writing, and that’s fine. But the reality is that anyone can do it. Think about who you’re talking to, how they might like to be addressed, and how you can present your content in such a way as to appeal to them. It might take a few minutes of squeezing the old mind grapes to find the right approach, but it always presents itself. Also please please remember that pathologically bad grammar is equivalent to showing up for a meeting wearing a trashbag. Seriously. In a game like real estate where so much depends on reputation, it really is worth your time to re-read and correct errors.
This may seem like a lot, but it really isn’t. After you understand your audience, strategy, and content calendar, running a blog is as simple as writing something, posting it, and tweeting about it a couple of times. It’s no time at all in the scheme of things and can have a huge impact on your business.
Any other must-haves for quality real estate blogs?