Candy Evans is one of the nation’s leading real estate reporters, bloggers and consultants. She writes for AOL’s Housing Watch, Joel Kotkin’s The New Geography, and is now a guest blogger for Future of Real Estate Marketing (FOREM). She’ll soon be writing for Move.com. Candy holds a masters degree in journalism from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and has been a published writer for more than 25 years. She was a longtime contributing editor to Dallas’ D Magazine and sister pubs, and in 2007 founded the wildly successful Dallas real estate blog, DallasDirt, where she broke the news on where former president George W. Bush bought his Dallas home in 2008. She is the founder and creator of SecondShelters.com.
Whoa there, bet you read that headline twice.
My point exactly.
As a journalist and real estate editor, I created a blog for our local city magazine’s web site with ZERO MARKETING DOLLARS. No ads, no billboards, just an occasional link from one of the other blogs, IF I was lucky. Thus I had to learn how to write salaciously, weave in the real estate information with zippy headlines and topics, even some scandal, if possible.
In other words, I had to sell a blog like a newspaper or magazine: great content, catchy heads.
And yet, we have to pay homage to the Search Engine Gods and load SEO into as many graphs as possible, which can sometimes make for boring writing.
That’s where being an old-fashioned wordsmith comes in handy, handier, perhaps, than all the high tech gadgets in the world.
How do you do it?
- Don’t pontificate. Your readers want facts and information, not what happened to you at the last NAR convention when you almost lost your cell phone. Give them information – rich facts – in an earnest, honest form.
- Think of unique ways to say what it is you are going to say. For example, a recent post on how Plano, Texas, was recently listed as one of the safest cities in the nation is worthy of a post. It’s also big news because many of us in North Texas remember all too well a different perspective on Plano, from about fifteen years ago when Plano teens were dying from overdosing on heroin. Would you write: “Plano, Texas Makes Safest City List”? Here’s what I said: “Plano is So Boring. No One Ever Gets Killed Up There.”
- Good blogging has an element of drama to it. A tease. One of my most successful guest posts was from an agent we called “Secret Agent” complete with logo. Up next: Real Estate’s Witness Protection Program.
- If you have a lot to say, don’t hesitate to keep the convo going, much like a “to be continued…” series in several different posts. This will keep your readers coming back.
- Good writing is like music, it has a flow. Look at your sentences carefully when you proof and feel the music of the words. Don’t repeat words; use a thesaurus. Alternate longer and shorter sentences. Use more verbs for action.
- Be human. Admit your errors even as you engage your readers. Maybe your first thoughts were not entirely clear on that topic, maybe you’ve changed your mind as a result of the interactive communication you’ve just had! Go and grow with it, and treat readers like they are having coffee with you at Starbucks. Laugh, tease, inform, exchange. That’s what successful blogging is all about.
How do you keep your blog posts exciting?