As a small business owner, having unique content and a blog that doesn’t look like everyone else’s is an advantage. It’s important to stand out in a crowded field. It’s affordable, too.

For the past two weeks, the traffic to my blog has gone way up. That’s often a sign that, within the next six to eight weeks, there will be more business. People start the homebuying or selling process on the internet, and I have information ready for them.

A decrease in traffic usually means that business is going to slow down in the next three to four weeks. I’ve been writing the blog and watching the traffic for the past 15 years, and I plan to continue through the pandemic and beyond. Writing is good for business, but it also forces me to think about and stay on top of market trends.

Not all traffic is equal. The goal is to attract readers who will become clients at some point in the future. There are people who read my blog for a couple of years before they pick up the phone and call or send an email with a question.

A blog is a great content marketing tool that could be used as a lead capture tool. Personally, I use it to attract leads. I don’t get thousands of leads that I follow up with and nurture with a drip marketing campaign.

Instead, I attract readers who follow up by reading more and ask me if I’ll work with them. When I meet them in person, they act as if we’ve already met, and they soon become friends.

Over the weekend, I spent some time with a few past clients who found me in 2015 through my blog. I was their third Realtor. Their second Realtor was part of a large team. He captured them, but they got away. Their first Realtor also captured them, but she didn’t have the kind of experience they were looking for.

Like a lot of things that are worth doing, writing blog posts takes time and effort. That’s why I can’t recommend it to anyone who doesn’t love writing about real estate.

People often ask how I find the time to write so often. I find the time because writing is part of my job — just like holding weekly meetings, showing houses and writing offers.

Good content comes from questions people ask about real estate and from daily conversations with clients and consumers. Most of my content is uniquely about Minnesota, whereas most of the national content comes from the coasts.

Although I’ve drawn ideas from them, I don’t imitate other real estate sites. No one else can write my blog. I never use stock photos, but I manage to come up with a picture or graphic for every article. I could easily write an entire article on choosing photos for blog posts and how to use them to create a sense of place on the internet.

Instead of writing to search engines, I mostly write to people who are using search engines. I try to keep it informal and more news-like than marketing-oriented. If you work in an area where it’s all about the lifestyle, then write about that. You could also write about historic homes, architecture or all of those things.

What the blog does for me is this — it helps me demonstrate how well I understand the local market, and it shows that I have experience selling real estate. It seems to also help people overcome their distrust of real estate salespeople. My clients tend to be people who do a lot of research on their own before they contact me.

For those of you who are experiencing a shift in business, now might be the perfect time to start a blog. You can do it from your home, and you probably don’t need to wear a face mask. If you have a little extra time right now, you can use it to write your first 30 articles and schedule them to be posted at a later date.

Posting links on social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn is a great way to drive more traffic to blog posts. At the same time, they remind our friends that we can help them through their next real estate transaction.

When clients have questions, I often answer their questions and send a link to a blog post I’ve written on the subject. If I haven’t written about it already, I typically put it on my “future blog post” list.

It’s worth mentioning that, in the next few months, we may start seeing some real estate agents drop out because business may get even tougher. Technology companies and people with a lot of money to invest will continue to eye the real estate space as the land of opportunity.

Maybe real estate companies will continue to grow larger and spend more money on advertising. However, that doesn’t mean that small companies and individual agents can’t compete. We can compete — and we can win, too.

As a small business owner, unique content and a site that doesn’t look like everyone else’s is an advantage. It’s important to stand out in a crowded field. It’s affordable, too. No one has been able to buy all of the search terms that people use when they’re thinking about buying or selling real estate.

A blog doesn’t need to have more traffic than the national portals. It just needs to have enough traffic from the people who are looking for help buying or selling real estate in your area.

If you want to try something different, start a real estate blog. And if you really want to make a splash, instead of using the site to share recipes, information about local business or things to do in your area, write about real estate and throw in some local news, pictures and market updates on the neighborhood level.

Cultivate readers who don’t have a real estate licenses, and stay focused on the kind of clients you want to work with and write to them. For ideas on what to write about, see 101 ideas for blog posts and 50 blog posts that will attract home sellers. Here are a few from those lists to consider:

  • A story about your neighborhood
  • Market statistics for your area
  • Things that go wrong with real estate sales (especially now)
  • The basics for getting a house ready to sell
  • Staging tips
  • How the listing price of a home is determined
  • How to prepare for (virtual) showings once your home is on the market
  • How to choose a real estate agent (or how not to)
  • What questions to ask when interviewing agents
  • Packing tips for homesellers
  • Moving tips (especially during a pandemic)
  • Tips on handling multiple offers
  • The importance of photography, videography and virtual tours in the homeselling process
  • What are some of the red flags when it comes to the financing?

For advice on how to get started, check out Problogger. Stay focused on your future clients, not on other real estate bloggers or real estate agents.

Teresa Boardman is a Realtor and broker/owner of Boardman Realty in St. Paul. She is also the founder of StPaulRealEstateBlog.com.

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