One of the hardest things to do when writing a blog is to figure out what to write every week. When I started blogging, I couldn’t write fast enough. I had all these ideas pent up through the years, and I had to write them all now.
Then slowly the ideas start to fade, and you have a blog that is staring at you waiting for you to write something. Yikes. What do you do now?
Here are seven steps I take to create my content so I never run out of blog ideas:
Before you write your first blog post, brainstorm a list of ideas. Turn off your phone; turn off your email; turn off your social media. Spend one solid hour brainstorming ideas for posts.
Write a list of questions past clients have asked you. Think of topics you see on social media or in the news when it comes to real estate. Think about things you have always wanted to share with clients about real estate. Brainstorm those ideas. Then keep the brainstorming list in a handy app such as Evernote or Trello.
Then schedule time every month to brainstorm new posts for your blog. You don’t need to spend hours doing this. I take one hour every month and brainstorm new ideas for my blog. When I do this, I come up with a list that lasts me two months or more.
By taking the time to focus all your attention on this simple task, the ideas will flow freely.
2. Write categories
Once you have a list of post ideas, look for similarities in your ideas. From these similarities, create a list of categories for your blog.
Ideas for categories include:
- First-time homebuyers
- First-time home sellers
- Investment property landlords
- Investment property rehabbers
Plug your list of blog post ideas into each category. Then, on your blog, create menu items for each group. This task will give your blog structure that your readers will appreciate.
The bonus for creating categories is that it is easier to think of new ideas. Once you have an organized list, the ideas just start to flow. Your brain thinks of ways to fill the category buckets even when you aren’t brainstorming.
Now that you have brainstormed ideas and created categories, it is time to do some research. I like to brainstorm and create categories first. To me, that is the most creative part of the process. The research is more tedious and damages my creativity if I do it first.
I will be the first to admit that doing research isn’t my favorite part about blogging. That being said, when I do it and do it right, my reward is great blog posts and feedback. That is why I always take the time to research my market.
Look on social media sites to see what people are talking about when it comes to real estate. Dig down deep on sites such as Reddit and BuzzSumo to find popular topics. Send out a survey to your past clients to find out what lessons or topics they want to learn.
Better yet, pick up the phone and call your past clients. Ask them the five things they wish they would have known during the buying or selling process. Ask them what information was helpful to them during the transaction.
Once you have done all that research, you will have an extensive list of blog topics. Put the list into the categories you created.
4. Create a series
Look at your list of post ideas. Are there any that you can turn into a series of posts? Series posts resonate with readers because they feel like they have learned something. I like to do this with “how-to”-type posts.
The benefits of series posts are twofold. You have the opportunity to teach your readers and keep them coming back for more every week. Also, you can then create a page with all the posts from the series, which is good for search engine optimization.
5. Seasonal posts
Take a look at the calendar and pick out different seasons, holidays or events to pull from for topic ideas. For example, every spring and fall you could write a home maintenance blog post. Or you could write a post about how to list your house for sale during the busy holiday season.
Look for unique post ideas that correlate with big events in people’s lives.
- Milestones (first/last day of school, graduation and so on)
- Events local and personal
Plugging seasonal posts into your blogging list will engage your readers. These posts are more personal and feel valuable to your readers.
6. Deeper posts
More than likely, all the post ideas you have written are lighter-type posts, and that is a good thing. But I do encourage you to think of ideas that go deeper than “10 things every first-time homebuyer should know.”
Some of the most read posts on my blog are deeper posts such as “The funk” or “What can you do in six minutes.” These posts aren’t all about real estate marketing. They are about challenges we all face every day.
Are these posts the reason people visit my blog? No. They visit to get marketing ideas. They will go to you to get real estate information. But regular readers stick around because they have connected with me through these deeper posts.
Think about challenges you have faced in real estate and your life. Look at how you can write about them to connect with people. The deeper connections are how you build a loyal following and a community. That is one of the best rewards when it comes to blogging.
7. Create an editorial calendar
At this point, you have a fantastic list of ideas that you can write about for your blog. Isn’t that great?
Now it is time to create an editorial calendar. My favorite way to do this is to add the WordPress Editorial Calendar plug-in to your website. If you aren’t using WordPress, look for a similar calendar to lay out your blog posts.
Then start adding your post ideas to this calendar. Doing this allows you to get organized and think ahead about what you need to write. It is also easier to plan out your seasonal and series posts when you have an editorial calendar.
By taking the time to plan your content, you won’t run out of a list of ideas for your blog. You can duplicate this process over and over to generate new content ideas. This process makes your blog look professional and organized.
If you want your blog to generate business for you, take the time to do it right. Put together a solid content marketing plan, and your blog will be a success.
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.