Let me preface this by saying that you don’t have to fancy yourself a writer or a poet in order to author a successful real estate blog. Consistency, creativity and knowledge are key. If you’re a great real estate agent, you already possess the gift of knowledge. Now you just have to commit to a set writing schedule and be willing to get creative.
Writing isn’t easy…
Writer’s block. ADD. Interruptions. Pursuit of perfection. These are all things that get in the way of us cranking out that one blog post. Then of course there’s the thoughts that race through your mind like: “is this good enough?” “Will people comment?”
Get Over It!
Put the pen to paper and just write. It’s not gonna be perfect. Not everyone is going to read it. But here’s the deal. Your writing will get better with time. Then, as you continue to do it more and more often, you’ll start to build readers (one subscriber at a time).
Start With An Editorial Calendar:
Consistency is key in authoring a successful real estate blog. So, the best way to ensure that you’re stepping up and staying on top of your game is to create an editorial calendar for yourself. Most people don’t do this. So what you’ll find as you dig through people’s archives is that they’ve written somewhere between 2-4 posts for the month which really isn’t all that great. I mean, I suppose it’s better than nothing. Right?
Do you know how many articles Ines Hegedus-Garcia (author of Miamism.com) wrote in the month of December? She wrote ~4 posts in one week alone. ~10+ posts for the entire month of December. She writes her Miamism Friday’s post every week without fail. As a result, she has a consistent (and growing) readership and I’m sure her site statistics aren’t too shabby either…
How many blog posts should you write per month?
I think that 8-10 is a good solid number and very attainable too (we’ll talk more about content ideas below). For now, let’s start with setting an editorial calendar. Personally, I use a Google Docs template to manage mine. You could do same. But really, a binder, or a word doc works just as well. The point is to put something down on paper and outline a set of posts that you plan on writing each week. In essence, you’re setting a deadline for yourself and committing to writing an article on any given day of the week. This will help discipline you to stay consistent with your content. Still need help with the editorial calendar and what that might look like? Head on over to blogenergizer.com. There, Lynette is offering a free download on a 2010 sample editorial calendar.
Your Content Strategy:
We talked about content briefly the other day. As you begin to outline your editorial calendar for 2010, here are a few things to keep in mind…
- Analyze your existing categories and popular keyword searches for your niche (your community).
- Look for seasonal opportunities to produce more content (Ex. Blog about things to do [activities] for the holiday) .
- Consider making a list of monthly features. For example, Ines Hegedus-Garcia does Miamism Friday. You might do Wordless Wednesday or Just For Fun Friday. This of course presents opportunities for you to be more consistent with your content.
Here are some ideas to write about…
- Market Statistics – Laurie Manny does this well. She writes about Belmont Short & Naples Condos for Sale (in addition to reporting on other communities). It might not seem like the most interesting content, but to the itching home buyer, it’s just what they’re looking for. If you’re a lender, you might consider doing something like this Miami Mortgage Rates Report: December 1, 2009 (the trick again is to offer these types of reports consistently over time).
- Area Events & Holidays – Find a public calendar (try the local community center and your kid’s school) and write about any upcoming local events. What’s even better is if you attend the event, take lots of photos and blog about it afterwards (Animoto slideshows are great for this). Look at what Ines Garcia wrote about theMiami Shores Holiday Walk 2009. Teresa Boardman talks about Dining Locally. Chris Griffith wrote about a local Bonita Springs Wine Tasting Event. Kristal Kraft writes about her weekend escape to Estes Park in a post titled Time for Elk Fest (she uses some wonderful photography in this post). Furthermore, take note of special holiday’s on your editorial calendar and make note to blog about fun activities that you might be able to do during that particular holiday.
- Interviews – The next time you attend an Association event, be proactive, get creative and interview the featured speaker for content on your blog. Irina Netchaev (author of Pasadena Views) did this with Leslie Appleton-Young, Vice President and Chief Economist for California Association of REALTORS® (C.A.R.). She followed up with a post titled: State of the Pasadena Housing Market and California Real Estate Forecast for 2010. Every event you attend is filled with opportunities for you to create new content for your blog!
One of the more common questions I receive is: “Can I just copy and paste articles from other websites/sources?” The short answer is NO. First of all, don’t be lazy. Second, you don’t want to run into copyright issues. As you read updates from industry sources like Market Watch, Bloomberg, or the local media outlet, quote the story AND inject your own opinion into the piece. You have an opinion so share it. This does two things: 1.) it showcases your confidence, 2.) it showcases your knowledge.
Look at this article Justin McHood wrote on FHA Downpayment and Mortgage Insurance Costs.
If you feel like you’re running out of content ideas, it’s always a safe bet to browse YouTube and pick up a video to share. Irina did this to say Merry Christmas. It’s not a cheat. It’s smart. If you like taking photos, consider starting a photo blog. Your Wordless Wednesday post could be nothing more than a photo. It’s interesting and it adds creative content to your site. If you’re a lender, instead of writing out your Mortgage Rates Report, you might consider an audio post (a podcast). Some good sources for delivering this might be TalkShoe and/or BlogTalkRadio.
This consists of the countless bits of knowledge and information in your noggin’. Put it down on paper and write a short post showcasing your expertise. This consists of things like “Listing Tips” and defining “Real Estate Terms” that First Time Buyers might otherwise be unfamiliar with. Consider this post from Ines:(simple, to the point and effective). Other things you might write about are:
- The Mortgage Application Process (consider breaking this up into a series of posts).
- Gift Money As A Form of Down-Payment.
- 8 Tips to Stage Your Bedroom with Feng Shui
- What is a final walk through? (A great post that familiarizes Home Buyers with the purchasing process)
At first glance, authoring a real estate blog might seem like a daunting writing task but really, with a little preparation, it’s not all that difficult. You see, Real Estate IS content. So the next time a client asks you a question (in person, over the phone, via email), consider answering that question via a blog post to share with other people who might have a similar question. Do this daily!
Create an editorial calendar and use the above referenced topic ideas to fill in the dates with posts. Then, commit yourself to meeting those deadlines. If the notion of writing all of that content is still making you feel a little skeptical, here are 10 Steps to Becoming a Better Writer.