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September 2007

Recommended Resources for Real Estate Bloggers

Indiana Sifuentes (Las Vegas REALTOR and up-and-coming blogger) emailed me this excellent article from Business Week:  Blogs Will Change Your Business - Look past the yakkers, hobbyists, and political mobs. Your customers and rivals are figuring blogs out. Our advice: Catch up...or catch you later.  The article, written in May 2005,  really drives home the power of why and how a blog can impact your business.

" cannot afford to close your eyes to them, because they're simply the most explosive outbreak in the information world since the Internet itself. And they're going to shake up just about every business -- including yours."

Some other recommended blog posts for novice and more advanced bloggers alike:

Must reads for Real Estate Agents - Blogs on Real Estate Blogging, Marketing and Technology

Team Blogging Concept - Sharing the Load

Teamsmall300 Here's an idea to help you with more content, more often... have guest contributors on your blog.  In the real estate business, we naturally have a team of other professionals we work with.  Think about it, do you know an escrow officer, loan officer, home inspector, appraiser, handyman or other vendor who could contribute to your blog with useful, relevant information?  This is also a wonderful opportunity to cross-promote your team of professionals.

Do you have an agent team?  If so, have you considered creating a team blog?  You may have hidden talent on your team - budding bloggers - just waiting to help you build a great blog and generate some leads.   What about a team blog where each member blogs about their specialty, niche or farm area? 

There are several noteworthy "community" and collabrative blogs in our industry.  What I find interesting is the diversity, different voices and writing styles on blogs like BloodHound Blog and Rain City Guide.

How to Find Your Blog Voice

Blogsign One of the wonderful features of blogging is the experience of finding your own voice.  I am finding that the more I blog the more I get comfortable with the whole experience and the platform.  I've also been working on not being so technical and analytical about my writing - allowing my true personality and passion to start emerging.  It's a journey that takes patience and commitment.

When I think about why I subscribe to various blogs,  I find that it's not only that the author has something interesting or compelling to say.  I have also discovered these things are also important to me:

  1. The author is writing on topics I like or want to learn more about
  2. It's not always what they say but how they say it - how they deliver the message
  3. The author gets the point across succinctly and the posts are well-written
  4. It's entertaining - makes me laugh - makes me think or ask questions or want to make a comment

We all have a voice!  It may take a little while to trust the process and find it however.  Here are a couple of tips for you to ponder as you find your voice:

  • Write for yourself first - write 20 posts and watch how your voice starts to emerge and develop
  • Blog like you are in a room full of friends, having a conversation, catching up on the news, latest events
  • Write in stream of consciousness - just start and let it flow
  • Share your opinions and ideas; be candid
  • It takes a while to develop your voice - have patience and don't quit - just do it!

Top 15 Tips for Blogging

Bloggingrequiresauthority_3 1. Choose a topic you are passionate about! Clearly define your core topics and focus for your blog and stick to those subjects.
2. Find your voice.  Be transparent and authentic.  Write in a human voice.  Invite a dialogue.  Be clear, concise and conversational.
3. Keep it Local!  Write about your neighborhoods, local market, what customers/consumers want to know about.
4. Write for the audience you want to have.  Know your audience.
5. Write your blog posts for web readers. Scanable, white space, shorter is better, package the content (lists, top 10…), use bullets and graphics.
6. Adopt a mindset and awareness of how your experiences, questions from clients and comments on your blog can translate to content for compelling posts. Many of your posts when sanitized and timeless can build a library and knowledge base.  Consumers and prospects will be able to find you via keyword searches for the topics you've written about.  Also, you can send a link to a post you've already written when a new client has the same question or concern.
7. For search engine optimization - use relevant key words in post titles, tags/categories and the body of the post. Post frequently 3-5 x week.
8. Use interesting pictures and images in your blog posts.  Your own photos, Flickr, research various sites to purchase stock photos.  Remember to name your picture files and use the alt tag and description feature of your blog software for further SEO help.
9. Link, link, link!  Link to other bloggers, sources, websites.  Post comments on other blogs.
10. Persistence and perseverance!  Keep at it.  Audiences take time to build.
11. Don't force it - wait until you have something to say.  Quality not quantity.
12. Clearly display your call to action on your blog.  MLS Search, contact form, CMA, for example.
13. Read other blogs and comment.  Participate in the community.  Join Active Rain!
14. Use a schedule as a commitment for what topic to write about on certain days.  Zenhabits is a great example of this idea in action.
15. Blogging is not for everyone!  It is a commitment - your time primarily.  Before you start blogging...Ask yourself if you enjoy writing and are willing to be yourself, be transparent and let your voice be the world?