(This is Part 2 of a two-part series. Read Part 1, “Perfect real estate blog a mix of local news, fun.”)

Coming up with fresh content for your blog can be tough unless you know where to look for great ideas.

Last week’s article looked at some ideas for creating fresh content. Today’s article includes more tips on how to build an effective blog.

To start off, take a look at the following paragraph as an example of how not to write a blog:

While I was researching this article, I came across a terrific blogging resource. Mary McKnight (REBlogGirl) and Erin Fogarty (The Fairy Blogmother) are currently building 365 days of blogging tips at their site, RSSPieces.com.

The paragraph is ineffective because it does a lackluster job of attempting to engage readers. Compare it now to the following:

Get Your Blogger’s Writer Block Unblocked

Are you struggling with coming up with content for your blog? Struggle no more — REBlogGirl and her trusty sidekick, The Fairy Blogmother, have already posted more than 100 days of blogging tips at RSS Pieces and plan on hitting 365 tips for bloggers before they finish. Samples of their creative approach include:

1. Real Estate 101 for Newlyweds links not only to tips to help couples with real estate decisions, but links to resources to help them have a great wedding.

2. From the Strange, But True Files of the MLS. Check out the parking space listed at for $149,000.

The second approach is more effective for the following reasons.

1. Headlines matter

You have only a few seconds to capture the reader’s interest. Writing a powerful headline for your blog post is one way to keep the reader’s attention. It’s also important that your headline reference high-interest topics for your readership. For example, if you are working in Phoenix and want to attract foreclosure buyers, be sure that your headline includes “Phoenix,” “foreclosure” and “real estate buyers.” Using these keywords in your headline will help you drive more traffic to your site.

2. Niches for riches

The newlywed example above illustrates how to build your blog around a specific niche. Rather than trying to be all things to all people, niche your blog to a specific demographic or geographical area. Become the expert in that area.

3. Benefits, not just features

Many bloggers focus on features, rather than benefits. “Features” refer to the physical characteristics of a property. “Benefits” refer to the emotional response the features may generate. People purchase because of the emotional benefits they perceive. When it comes to blogging, it’s extremely important to focus on what the emotional value is for your audience. The “Get Your Blogger’s Writer’s Block Unblocked” example above provides a clear emotional benefit. Reading this article will help you stop staring at your computer and will assist you in writing your blog. Tapping into something that is a problem and then providing a solution is one of the best ways to build traffic to your blog.

4. Have fun!

Real estate blogging works best when you provide valuable information to your readers coupled with having fun. The fun can be in terms of your online blog identity — The Fat Lady Blog or The Fairy Blogmother — or it can be in terms of your content.

5. Hyperlink to other bloggers

One of the most important things you can do in any blog post is to link to other bloggers whenever possible. When you reference them in your blog, the best bloggers will link back to you. This helps to build your search-engine ranking. Furthermore, rather than requiring your reader to cut and paste an address into your Web browser, all the reader has to do is click on the link. Also, many bloggers track where they are referenced in other blogs.

6. Referencing others’ posts is a good idea provided you give appropriate credit.

The most important rule when it comes to blogging is to avoid copying other people’s content. If you’re going to reference someone else’s work, do so with a link rather than copying it. The link builds your search-engine placement. Copying someone else’s posts, however, can get your blog banned by the search engines. The way to reference someone else’s work is to give a brief excerpt from the original source and then provide a hyperlink to that resource.

7. Help! I’m not a writer!

If your writing skills are poor, you can still blog without hiring someone to do it for you. A simple approach is to record your comments and have them transcribed. If that doesn’t work, hire a writer to discuss your ideas. Have the writer place your ideas in grammatical form, but don’t allow the writer to do much more than that. It’s your blog, and it must reflect your personality.

Blogging can really be one of the most enjoyable ways to build your business in 2007. Imagine all the fun you could have taking pictures and doing nifty things all in the name of creating your local blog. Sure beats licking stamps, cold calling and knocking on doors.

Bernice Ross, national speaker and CEO of Realestatecoach.com, is the author of “Waging War on Real Estate’s Discounters” and “Who’s the Best Person to Sell My House?” Both are available online. She can be reached at bernice@realestatecoach.com or visit her blog at www.LuxuryClues.com.

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