Seven months ago, I took a leap of faith. A scary risk that I felt I needed to do. I decided to shut down my consistent stream of income creating real estate marketing tools. I decided to turn my complete focus to starting a real estate marketing blog.
I had burned out on creating the tools and just wasn’t enjoying it anymore. What I loved doing was talking about real estate marketing. I loved researching new ideas that would help agents in their business.
I have kept a list over the years of ideas I wanted to write about, but I couldn’t ever find time to do it. Then one day, I just had to write. I was ready and excited to learn about content marketing and about blogging. So I began to write. It hasn’t always been easy, but it has been rewarding.
Here are six lessons that I have learned from blogging over the past seven months and takeaways that you can implement in your real estate business.
1. Consistency is key.
When I started blogging, I set a goal to blog every day for three months. This task would accomplish three things. First, I would build a blog catalog that had a lot of good content. Second, by committing to doing this every day for three months, I would know if I liked to blog. Finally, I would create a routine for myself where writing became something I did every day.
Around the end of the first month, I was going crazy. I found out that I loved writing, but posting every day was burning me out. I was also putting out mediocre content, and that was unacceptable to me. Then I came across a post by Jon Morrow, one of the blogging masters. He wrote that the worst thing any good blogger could do was post every day.
That was music to my tired ears. By posting every day, I was doing my blog and my readers a disservice. I was pushing my good content to the bottom. People were seeing only my mediocre content — not good.
I looked at my analytics and saw that my highest-traffic days were Monday and Thursday. Starting in January, I committed to that schedule, and my blog traffic grew like crazy. I found that my writing was better, and I got rid of the blogging burnout.
Takeaway: It’s not how often you create content, it is the consistency that counts. People will respond to your marketing when you consistently show up for them.
2. Good writing matters.
Someone once said to me that because I blog so much, a post must only take me an hour or two to complete. Ha! I wish.
The blogging experts say that a great blog post takes three to four hours to write. They also say it should be at least 1,500 words. I think that is true. Sure, I could write a blog post in an hour, but I know it would be garbage. The Internet is full of garbage, and I refuse to contribute to it. If I am going to put something out there for everyone to see and judge, it has to be great. My readers deserve it.
My writing process looks like this:
- Edit twice
- Read out loud
- Edit again
- Find images
It is an intense process, but it is one that has not failed me in the past seven months. I know that if I follow this process, my writing is clear and focused. I also know that when I follow this process, I publish my best work.
Takeaway: Anyone can write a blog, but if you want to be successful, you must write excellent content. Don’t just whip something up in an hour and think it works. Follow a writing process to put your best foot forward. This quality of work is how you gain loyal followers. It’s also a good rule for all your real estate marketing pieces.
3. Be yourself.
When you blog, you have to be more than just yourself. You have to be authentic, and you have to show moments of vulnerability.
Why? Being you is how people connect with your content. This connection is what makes people cheer for you and join your tribe.
For example, I write about marketing ideas for agents. Those posts draw people into my blog. The posts that get them to stick around and engage with me are those where I am most vulnerable. Posts where I document my wins and failures for the month or mistakes that I have made. Those are my most-read and commented-on posts. The Internet is full of the perfect-looking posts on blogs and social media. People like to see the ups and downs that we all experience.
Takeaway: Blogging isn’t just about numbers, beautiful pictures and fun updates. An authentic blogger writes about the wins and losses, not just the good times. The more real you are, the more of a following you will have. Make sure you incorporate you into all the marketing that you do. That is how to create successful marketing campaigns.
4. Exposure is critical.
There is one sound you hear when you first start blogging: crickets. You throw up a few posts, share them on social media and maybe get 10-15 visitors a day. It is painful. Right away, you wonder if this is worth it and if you are going to gain any traction.
The one thing you can’t do is write and write without getting exposure for your blog. You will put all this great content out there and get frustrated because no one is reading it. You will get down and then quit because you don’t see the point. Don’t do that.
You must get exposure for your blog if you want it to grow. How do you do that? Look for opportunities to guest post on popular blogs in your area. Make sure your sphere of influence and clients know about your blog. Create ads on social media for your popular posts. Do everything you can to gain exposure for your blog.
Takeaway: If you make blogging part of your marketing strategy, you must have a plan for it. You can’t throw up a few posts and hope that they will go viral. Like any marketing strategy, you must work to promote it.
5. Targeted landing pages are a must.
If I could go back and do one thing over when I started my blog, it would be to create landing pages. I regret not doing that right away, and I know I missed out on a lot of leads. Without landing pages, I was showing the best of my blog and hoping that people would come back for more. But people are busy and will forget about you unless you give them a reason not to.
The first step to get them to come back is to have a landing page on your blog and get their email address. Landing pages are critical in converting website visitors into loyal followers. Give them something of value on the landing page, and they will reward you with their coveted email address.
Takeaway: Yes, a good landing page is a lead generating machine. More importantly, it is an opportunity to build a loyal following. Create landing pages for your blog so that you can convert your website visitors. Work hard to convert those visitors into loyal email subscribers.
6. Email list is bread and butter.
I wrote a post on Inman about why email marketing beats social media. Boy, has that been proven to me over and over during the past seven months. My email subscribers are the most loyal, kind people, and I am grateful for them. They show up for me in a big way when I ask them to.
For example, when I did my first webinar on landing pages I had more than 100 registrations. All but four people came from my email list. I was blown away.
When I send out an email letting them know there is a new blog post, 45 percent open and read the post. When I share my new post on social media, the numbers are around 10 percent for reading my post. This data shows me that email subscribers are more connected to me than my social media followers.
Takeaway: Yes, social media is hot and an essential part of any marketing strategy. But email marketing is still king when it comes to connecting with your prospects and clients. Building an email list is critical to stay in front of your database.
The journey of blogging has been scary, fun and rewarding. If you have ever considered starting a blog, I recommend that you do. It has been worth it to me both professionally and personally to take that leap.
In part two, I will share six more things that I have learned over the past seven months — including a battle I am still trying to win.
Jennifer Snyder is a real estate marketing consultant, speaker and blogger at Marketing Ideas for Agents. She researches marketing ideas, tools and resources that will make real estate agents’ lives easier and help them grow their businesses.