- My goal as an agent is to write for my target audience in my particular market.
- Use analytics to better your website -- it should always be evolving.
- As agents, we should be working on both lead capture and attraction with our blogs and websites.
Writing a blog never really became the big thing we thought it would be for real estate agents a decade ago. There are a handful of real estate pros who have been blogging for a decade or more, and it has been working well enough that some of us have kept at it through the crash of the housing market and the Great Recession.
I have kept my blog going since 2005, and I still publish an article almost every day. Most years I have a strategy, and every year, I use analytics and metrics. This year, I have an editorial calendar. I should have had one for each of the past 10 years but I didn’t.
Starting out — just do it
January is a popular time to start blog, and usually, by about February the blogger has stopped writing and started making excuses for not writing. By about April, the excuses stop; and by August, the blog might still be up and running, but all two people who visit the site will hear crickets and see cobwebs.
People who do not like to write should not start a blog, yet they do. Writing takes time and discipline and is a horrible task — if you have to force yourself to do it.
Blog posts don’t have to be literary masterpieces. The best way to find time to write is to add it to your schedule just like you would a client meeting or an open house. Writing can always be outsourced, or so I have been told.
Back when writing a blog was the next big thing, real estate bloggers would write content for real estate agents. They would build a readership and grow a large audience of real estate professionals. That isn’t the same as blogging for business, but for most it is more rewarding.
My theory is that the reason writing a blog doesn’t work for most agents is because most agents don’t want to work at writing a blog.
When I started mine in 2005, the idea of using a blog for marketing was fairly unusual in the real estate industry. It wasn’t until about 2007 that the industry started supporting bloggers by selling us stuff and giving classes to teach us how to blog.
Industry support was the beginning of the end. Many people tried to find a one-size-fits-all formula for writing a blog, and others worked hard to create blog site themes with the picture of that one big new house on the top, a set of house keys or the nice couple standing by the sold sign.
The designs were unique to the real estate industry, and they helped make blog sites look more like the ugly real estate agent websites of yesterday. As an industry, we are the most comfortable with cookie-cutter approaches that are easily replicated by real estate agents.
Why I blog
As an agent, my goal is to use my blog to attract homebuyer and homeseller clients in my area. Having a bunch of real estate agents as readers isn’t going to help my business, but occasionally agents do read it and share the content with others — and that does help my business.
Agents who want to use a blog as part of their marketing strategy should take a look at Seth Godin’s blog. He isn’t writing someone else’s blog; he is writing his own. The content is unique and so is his voice. When we read his blog, we feel as though we know him. We also like him and trust him.
A successful real estate blog needs to be written for a target audience in a specific market. When I write, I’m picturing my readers. I’m remembering conversations with my clients and the questions that they had.
I’m trying to provide the information that homebuyers and potential sellers are looking for as they search the Internet and sift through all of those generic articles written by real estate writers on national sites.
The goal of my business blog has always been the same, and that is to build trust while demonstrating my knowledge of St. Paul, Minnesota, through photography, and my knowledge of real estate through words and numbers. There isn’t any point in writing someone else’s blog, not even one as fun to read as Godin’s.
Why bigger isn’t better
Having millions of visitors to my site isn’t nearly as important to my business as having potential clients visit. I do my best to focus on my target audience and ignore the opinions of others.
Looking at Google Analytics for my site helps me to understand who my readers are and what they are reading. Each year, I make plans to make my site better because there is always room for improvement, and it can always be better.
Real estate practitioners tend to think in terms of “bigger is better,” whereas I have found that targeting my content to a smaller audience helps me attract more of the people who will want to do business with me now and in the future.
We also tend to focus on lead capture and not on attraction. Ideally, we should be working on both. It’s possible to attract business through social media on the Internet. The best clients are those who are those who find me and ask me to be their agent.
Real estate blogging isn’t dead, but there isn’t a lot of competition, either.
It’s January. Have you started a business blog yet?