If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me, “what is the first thing I should do if I want to start a real estate blog?” I would be sitting on a beach right now sipping a cocktail from a coconut with a little umbrella in it.
Instead, I’m sitting in front of a laptop writing a blog post. That’s OK, I like it here too.
For years my pat answer to that question was, “Just Do It” (sorry Nike, please don’t sue me). There is a lot to be said for just doing it. After all, you have to start somewhere. Too many people too many times over-think it. They want the perfect looking blog on the perfect platform with the perfect plan in place.
Good luck with that. Having been at this real estate blogging thing for six years, I can tell you that if you plan for perfection, if you wait until every little detail is correct, you have a problem.
You will never have a blog.
There is merit in the “just do it” philosophy. Get something, anything out there. You can tweak and twiddle, change it up, experiment on the fly. Just get something published. Generating content consistently is the hard part. So just publish. Something. Anything.
In the early 1800s, little known English cleric and writer Charles Caleb Colton said, “To write what is worth publishing, to find honest people to publish it, and get sensible people to read it, are the three great difficulties in being an author”.
Fast-forward 200 some-odd years later and the internet has fixed Colton’s second difficulty. You no longer need to find honest people to publish your writing. Anyone can publish anything on the internet in seconds.
For a successful real estate blog however, you still need to write something worth publishing and get people to read it.
So maybe “just doing it” no longer suffices. I’m amending my pat answer to the “what’s the first thing I should do to start a blog” question:
Just do it. But do it well.
That doesn’t mean that you have to have every little detail perfect. The prettiest and flashiest site on the planet does you no good if you aren’t developing quality content consistently. No, you don’t have to write like Faulkner or Hemingway. But you do have to be able to put some semblance of complete sentences together in a manner that makes sense and can be understood by your readers.
Writing is hard for many people. Sportswriter Red Smith once said, “There’s nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein.” (For you youngsters out there, a typewriter is what we used before PCs and keyboards were invented.) But the beauty of a real estate blog, your real estate blog is that you aren’t trying to publish the next great American novel. You aren’t writing a story for publication in the mainstream media. You are writing to inform your readers of something, to help them understand, to educate them.
I’ll give you a little secret that took me a long time to figure out. While you should never underestimate the intelligence of your readers, there is one fact that remains clear.
Ready for it?
You know more about real estate than they do.
That’s not to say you can just write down any crap you want to and call it a blog post. You are the expert, though, and if you write in your voice, expressing your passion and help your readers understand what it is you already know about real estate then you have just “done it well.”
It really is that simple. Don’t ever forget that you are the expert, and it is that expertise that you want to share. You want people to walk away saying, “Oh, I get it now. That makes sense.”
Maybe you aren’t the expert in what you’d like to write about. Let’s say you want to write a post on the effect of the mid-east uprisings on mortgage interest rates. Fine, then preface your post with, “I am certainly no expert on this subject, but…” or better yet, find said expert and ask them to write a guest post for you.
Or do some research and educate yourself before you write. Cite your sources so people can also educate themselves. No, you won’t become the leading authority on factors affecting mortgage rates, but with a little research you have just done two things, well I might add, that can help you tremendously in business. You’ve gotten smarter about a subject that interests you, and you’ve helped someone else get smarter.
That’s doing it well.
It’s not just about the prose. It is how you deliver the message. Write like you talk. Write about your passions (inside and outside of real estate). Your readers are smart, and they will sense your passion. Realize that you are just writing a blog post, not a dissertation for your PhD or a New York Times best seller and for the love of Pete, just click publish. It may not be the greatest post ever written, but it won’t be the last post you ever write. Like anything, you’ll get better with practice.
You can do it, and do it well.
Photo Credit: Brett Jordan on Flickr. CC Licensed.