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7 Tips For a More Interesting Real Estate Blog

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Your content may be the next best thing but, like most folks, if it’s dry and dragging then I won’t get past the first paragraph. We’re all like this to some extent (especially your blog readers)… we want helpful information that’s interesting and, dare I say, entertaining.

Let’s face it, the subject matter of real estate can be a bit dry. And it’s up to you, the real estate blogger, to make sure it isn’t. Clearly, the more interesting your blog the larger your readership and the more your blog will generate business for you.

Two Realtors that have doen a kick ass job of creating blogs that are interesting, engaging, personal and profitable are Ines Hegedus-Garcia of https://www.miamism.com and Jay Thompson of https://www.phoenixrealestateguy.com.

If you take a look at their blogs you’ll notice that they engage their readers and turn what would otherwise be a dry topic into a thriving community.

Here are 7 ways you can do the same…

1. Offer advice

Folks are obviously coming to your site to remove some of the mystery from real estate and get specific insights and tips.

2. Talk to your audience

Use “you” and “your” often. This simple act makes your blog more personal and engaging on an individual level. Besides, you’re not writing a textbook – it’s a blog!

3. Share personal stories

More than anything, people are buying you. When you reveal stories that involve you then your readers get a deeper glimpse into who you are and who they’re hiring.

Other Realtors with equal experience can share similar tips but nobody can copy your stories and personality.

4. Go off-topic

It’s okay to not talk about real estate. There are other things that matter to your readers. When you show that you care about similar things your readers bond more with you and your blog.

5. Stay Short, Sweet and Simple

Without a doubt you could write some lengthy real estate posts but you’ll do your readers a service but shortening those posts down or, better yet, split the post into mulptiples.

You should also use images, subheads and bullets to turn long text into shorter chunks.

6. Let your readers have their say

Providing your professional advice is always a good thing but every now and then allow your readers to have their say. Write posts that, instead of giving answers, ask for their solutions and insights. Your readers will feel more involved and will also recognize that you are one to listen.

7. Give them what they want

Pay attention to the comments that your readers leave on your posts, make note of the questions people ask when you’re face to face, then be sure to address those questions in the comments or in future posts.

Follow these tips and your blog will be more than a collection of facts, tipcs and insights. It will become a key ingredient in your relationship building and your business.

What other tips do you have for masking a blog more engaging for readers?

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29 Comments

29 Comments

  1. Shane

    July 20, 2009 at 8:54 am

    Mark, thanks for the tips. I am by no means an expert on this. In fact I do need to take a hard look at improving my posts. Two things I find work well are:

    1. Clever title

    2. Fun or interesting pictures (that is part of the reason I clicked on this post :p )

  2. Lani Rosales

    July 20, 2009 at 9:00 am

    *GREAT* list, @markeckenrode, I would add

    8. Be a local guide and worry less about your popularity in the industry; don’t write for Realtors on a local real estate blog that is designed to talk to consumers (aka know your audience).

  3. Jay Thompson

    July 20, 2009 at 11:40 am

    Thanks for the mention Mark! To be included in the same sentence as Ines is an honor. (and to think, this was posted on the same day I posted an article clearly in violation of guideline #5 – which I do all too frequently.)

    To Lani’s comment, I agree and disagree. Yes, popularity in the RE.net means nothing. But I’ve had countless clients tell me some of their favorite posts are the ones I write that primarily target Realtors or the RE industry. They consistently say that it tells them I am connected with, have insight, and care about what’s happening in our business.

    It’s a fine line to be sure, but I think too many avoid writing that falls outside the “hyperlocal” realm. Of course the local RE consumer wants to see local info, but it doesn’t hurt to let them know you have thoughts on real estate as a whole. At least in my experience they like that sort of article too.

  4. Ines Hegedus-Garcia

    July 20, 2009 at 12:27 pm

    Funny, I was just going to say the same thing jay said – wow!!! to be included in same sentence as Jay is an honor. And for the record……he truly kicks ass.

    Jay and I have different approaches and they both work. I don’t write for other agents on Miamism and always keep the subject local in nature. I think it’s important to identify who you are writing for and everything else falls into place. For me, the most challenging part was to liven up the boring real estate conversation – as you said,

    Let’s face it, the subject matter of real estate can be a bit dry

    And also to keep in mind that if you engage a readership that is not looking to buy and sell real estate quite yet, the chances of them choosing them as your agent when they do, are much, much greater.

    Thanks again for the kudos, means tons coming from you

  5. Jay Thompson

    July 20, 2009 at 12:39 pm

    Jay and I have different approaches and they both work.

    Therein lies the beauty of this blogging thing. There are multiple approaches that can work. There are some general guidelines that should be followed where possible, and Mark pretty much nailed them here (along with all the comments so far). But hard and fast “do it this way or it won’t work” rules? Nope. And that’s a cool thing.

  6. Lani Rosales

    July 20, 2009 at 1:10 pm

    I think we can all agree that there is a difference in usefulness between the following blog topics:

    TOPIC 1: I partied with people at a conference this weekend & here are pictures.
    VS.
    TOPIC 2: I attended a conference, this is what I learned and how this impacts your consumer experience.

    TOPIC 1: How I market my brokerage.
    VS.
    TOPIC 2: How I market homes for sale to insure less days on the market.

    TOPIC 1: Yippee, you can get an $8k tax credit.
    VS.
    TOPIC 2: Why an $8k tax credit is good or bad for you.

    It boils down to writers choosing one of the two: “showing off my popularity” posts OR “tangibly showing you how valuable I am” posts. Agents should know their audience, so I leave the definition of “valuable” to consumers, as you and Ines do really well.

  7. Jay Thompson

    July 20, 2009 at 1:40 pm

    Those are all great examples Lani. When I teach classes or speak at at blogging / SM events, I try to tell people to “focus” as much as possible on the consumer, as they are the ones that ultimately pay the bills. This coming from the guy whose blog is, according to some “experts”, completely lacking in focus. TPREG wanders all over the place. But it is what it is, and it works for me. Others mileage will certainly vary.

    Knowing your audience and “finding your voice” are crucial for ultimate “success” (and how success in a blog is defined could be a whole ‘nuther post). I think it’s easier to do that with a focused audience. But I hear too many “experts” telling people things like “You have to be hyperlocal” and “you can’t write about anything but real estate” and “a niche audience is the only way to do it” and it drives me nuts.

    Note, I’m not saying you and Mark are doing that here. In fact, I know you both pretty well and think your suggestions here and elsewhere are spot-on.

    But let’s face it, you can’t swing a dead cat on the internet without smacking a blogging / SM “expert” in the face. They are everywhere. Some are brilliant, some not-so-swift. Bottom line is there is no one-and-only way to do this thing. These guidelines we’re talking about here are a great source though for someone to take and run with.

  8. Erion Shehaj

    July 20, 2009 at 3:16 pm

    This post hit the spot with me, as I’ve been on a quest to “quench” the dryness of my local blog. You couldn’t have picked two better examples than Jay and Ines since when it comes to local blogs, they do it better than anyone I know.

    One tip I would add is this: Give your local blog some structure.

    The thing about regular readers is that they expects certain posts on certain days. It’s very similar to other types of content – TV shows for instance, have specific showtimes for that same reason. Your local blog should be no different.

    (@LaniAR taught me that)

  9. Ines Hegedus-Garcia

    July 20, 2009 at 3:39 pm

    Erion, I learned to schedule my posts from Paul Chaney – more to make it easier to write and to change things up a bit than for the audience – it has turned around though, after 2 years of regular postings that certain types of posts have become popular and people come back for them.

    I like what Jay says above, there is no right way or wrong way to do this – you should listen to what your readers are saying, to requests, and never be afraid to experiment – my one piece of advice is BE CONSISTENT!! don’t just stop writing because people will not come back.

  10. Ian Greenleigh

    July 20, 2009 at 4:08 pm

    I wonder–have any of you thought about whether the aptitudes that normally correlate with success in real estate include writing skills? In other words, Ines, are you an outlier for being great at both? Yes, we can talk all day about the fact that people can acquire such skills (and they can), but not everyone starts at the same place. And if you aren’t a great writer to begin with, how smart is it to invest in acquiring these skills vs. playing to your strengths?

  11. Mark Eckenrode

    July 20, 2009 at 5:56 pm

    you’re all a bunch of brainiacs with your comments 🙂

    just to clarify where i was coming from with this article, and i think this is in line with what jay, ines and lani have added: there are no hard and sturdy rules on how to blog. however, how you blog reflects what you want from your blog. in most cases, what most folks want is interaction, rapport, community and, of course, top-of-mind awareness. so, if you what you want is to to connect with people in this way then how you blog will be more personal, open, outgoing and reflective of your individual personality – because you’re trying to build relationships.

    @ian: you bring up a really good point. it’s one i’ve thought about quite a bit, too. the cool thing about blogging is that you don’t ave to be a great writer. do a video blog, instead. it’ll still take some time to “find your voice” but it can be powerful. gary vee is a great example of a video blogger.

  12. Ines Hegedus-Garcia

    July 20, 2009 at 9:10 pm

    Ian – I’m not a good writer (although I have become better just because of the mere fact that I’m not afraid to express myself – evident in my goofy mojito reviews). The beauty of blogging, for me at least, is that it not only has made me a better agent, but a better listener – talk about a triple whammy!! I’m a firm believer that everyone’s business could benefit from blogging, unless of course, you have no personality – then maybe stick to mass xerox’ed expired letters 😉

  13. Matt Stigliano

    July 20, 2009 at 9:26 pm

    Thought I’d add my comments to Ian’s thoughts…

    I really don’t think skill plays into blogging as much as some may lead others to think. You need to be skilled enough to construct a coherent sentence, but I’ve read some interesting blogs that were rife with mistakes (spelling, grammar, bad aesthetics, etc.). What I have learned from both my own writing and the writings of some of my personal favorites is that you need to be you. Sure, cursing every other sentence probably isn’t a good idea (if that’s your style), but not being afraid to call it like you see it and write it how you would say it.

    Real estate blogging is about conversation, not just posting words for SEO power. I hear people talk about blogging just from the viewpoint of Google, but there’s more to it than that. Conversation is what we’re all after in the end – without it, what are we really doing? Conversation is the building block to all things real estate.

  14. Doug Francis

    July 21, 2009 at 11:24 am

    This post and comments are truly worth re-reading, and I suggest that you take a few notes to plan out readable blog.

    I cruise all of your sites on a regular basis and appreciate the fact you all chime-in with ideas and suggestions. Yes, structure is essential and your ever changing use of cool technology keeps me on my toes.

  15. Jay Thompson

    July 21, 2009 at 11:52 am

    “I wonder–have any of you thought about whether the aptitudes that normally correlate with success in real estate include writing skills?”

    I think about it. Personally, I think writing skills are important in life, not just in real estate blogging.

    But that’s not to say that you have to write like a Faulkner or Hemingway. I wish I were a far better writer than I am.

    But you do, as Matt pointed out, need to be able to construct a coherent sentence. And for the love of Pete, don’t write for search engines, write for your readers! I see WAY too many people stuff keywords into post after post.

    If you are looking for Phoenix real estate, you should consider hiring a great Phoenix real estate agent. A good Phoenix agent will be able to help you find the perfect Phoenix home.

    That’s all grammatically correct, but it’s utter crap. Do you speak like that when you are talking to someone? Of course you don’t. So why write that way?

    Write like you talk. Google is smart, it’ll figure things out. Readers are even smarter, they’ll figure it out too.

  16. Jim Horne

    July 27, 2009 at 12:31 pm

    this was very informative and interesting! thans for the input!

  17. A. Magog

    December 3, 2009 at 11:58 am

    I think another thing to emulate with them is there use of social media. They are both very active on twitter and have over 5000 followers. Most people understand blogging, but mastering social media is hard to get your head around, and they’ve done an amazing job.

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Business Marketing

Use nostalgia as a marketing niche for your business today

(MARKETING) A market that is making waves is found in the form of entertainment nostalgia. Everyone has memories and attachments, why not speak to them?

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Is it just me or does it seem like there is something for everything nowadays? Let me clarify, as that is a rather broad question…

With the way communicating through technology has advanced, it’s become much easier to connect with those who have shared interests. This has become especially evident with interests in the entertainment community.

Entertainment nostalgia

It now seems like there is an event for every bit of nostalgia you can imagine. Autograph shows, meet and greets, and memorabilia collections of all kinds are held in convention halls all around the world. (To give you an idea of how deep this thing goes, there was a “Grease 2” reunion convention sometime within the last five years. Being that I’m the only person I’ve ever met who likes that movie, it’s amazing that it found an audience.)

This idea of marketing by use of nostalgia is something that is becoming smartly tapped and there are a variety of directions it can go in.

For example, the new Domino’s ads feature dead-on tributes to “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.”

What’s your niche?

If you’re a fan of anything, it’s likely that you can find an event to suit your needs.

And, if you want to take it a step further, you can think outside the box and use nostalgia as a marketing tool.

I recently began dabbling in social media gigs that have brought me to a few different fan conventions. One was a throwback 80s and 90s convention that featured everyone from Alan Thicke to the members of N*SYNC. Another is a recurring convention that brings together fans of sci-fi, horror, and everything under that umbrella.

I was amazed by the number of people that came out to these events and the amount of money that was spent on the day’s activities (autographs, photo ops, etc.). I was energized by the fact that you can take something you have a great appreciation for and bring together others who share that feeling. Watching people meet some of their favorite celebrities is something that is priceless.

Hop onboard the nostalgia train

If you’re a fan of something, you don’t have to look too far to find what you’d enjoy – going back to the aforementioned “Ferris Bueller” example, there is a first-ever John Hughes fan event taking place in Chicago next month that will bring fans to their favorite Brat Pack members.

In the same thought, if you have an idea, now is the time to find others who share that interest and execute your vision.

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Business Marketing

5 tips to help you craft consistently high-converting email marketing

(MARKETING) Email may seem too old to be effective but surprisingly it’s not, so how can you get the most out of your email marketing? Try these tips.

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Email marketing

Email marketing might seem archaic in comparison to modern mediums like social media, blogging, and podcasting; however, it actually remains one of the highest converting options marketers and small businesses have at their disposal.

But Why Email?

Hopefully, you believe in email as an effective marketing channel, but in case you have doubts, let’s hit the reset button. Here’s why email marketing is worth investing in:

  • Email is one of the few marketing channels that you have total control over. Unlike a social media audience, which can disappear if the platform decides you violate their terms, you own your email list.
  • Email is considered very personal. When someone gives you access to their inbox, they’re telling you that you can send them messages.
  • From a pure analytics perspective, email gives you the ability to track behaviors, study what works, and get familiar with the techniques that don’t.
  • The ROI of email marketing is incredibly high. It can deliver as much as $44 in value for every $1 spent.

5 Tips for High-Converting Emails

If you’ve been using email, but haven’t gotten the results you’d like to, it’s probably because you’re using it ineffectively.

Here are a few very practical tips for high-converting emails that generate results:

  1. Write Better Subject Lines: Think about email marketing from the side of the recipient. (Considering that you probably receive hundreds of emails per week, this isn’t hard to do.) What’s going to make you engage with an email? It’s the subject line, right?If you’re going to focus a large portion of your time and energy on one element of email marketing, subject lines should be it.The best subject lines are the ones that convey a sense of urgency or curiosity, present an offer, personalize to the recipient, are relevant and timely, feature name recognition, or reference cool stories.
  2. Nail the Intro”: Never take for granted the fact that someone will open your email, and read to the second paragraph. Some will – but most will scan the first couple of lines, and then make a decision on how to proceed.It’s critically important that you get the intro right. You have maybe five seconds to hook people in, and get them excited. This is not a time to slowly build up. Give your best stuff away first!
  3. Use Video: Email might be personal, but individual emails aren’t necessarily viewed as special. That’s because people get so many of them on a daily basis.According to Blue Water Marketing, “The average person receives more than 84 emails each day! So how do you separate your emails from everyone else? Embed videos in your emails can increase your conversion rates by over 21 percent!”This speaks to a larger trend of making emails visually stimulating. The more you use compelling visuals, the more engaging and memorable the content will be.
  4. Keep Eyes Moving: The goal is to keep people engaging with your email content throughout. While it’ll inevitably happen with a certain percentage of recipients, you want to prevent people from dropping off as they read.One of the best ways to keep sustained engagement is to keep eyes effortlessly moving down the page with short and succinct copy.One-liners, small paragraphs, and lots of spacing signal a degree of approachability and simplicity. Use this style as much as you can.
  5. Don’t Ask Too Much: It can be difficult to convey everything you want to say in a single email, but it’s important that you stay as focused as possible – particularly when it comes to CTAs and requests.Always stick to one CTA per email. Never ask multiple questions or present different offers. (It’ll just overwhelm and confuse.) You can present the same CTA in multiple places – like at the beginning, middle, and end of the email – but it needs to be the same call. That’s how you keep people focused and on-task.

Give Your Email Marketing Strategy a Makeover

Most businesses have some sort of email lists. Few businesses leverage these lists as well as they should. Hopefully, this article has provided you with some practical and actionable tips that can be used to boost engagement and produce more conversions. Give them a try and see what sticks.

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Business Marketing

Here’s how one employer was able beat an age discrimination lawsuit

(MARKETING) Age discrimination is a rare occurrence but still something to be battled. It’s good practice to keep your house in order to be on the right side.

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Jewel age discrimination

In January, the EEOC released its annual accounting for reports of discrimination in the previous year. Allegations of retaliation were the most frequently filed charge, which disability coming in second. Age discrimination cases accounted for 21.4% of filed charges. As we’ve reported before, not all age discrimination complaints rise to the level of illegal discrimination. In Cesario v. Jewel Food Stores, Inc., the federal court dismissed the claims of age discrimination, even though seven (7) plaintiffs made similar claims against the grocery store.

What Cesario v. Jewel Food Stores was about

In Cesario, all but one of the seven plaintiffs had spent years with Jewel Food building their careers. When Jewel went through some financial troubles, the plaintiffs allege that they began to “experience significant pressure at work… (and) were eventually forced out or terminated because of their age or disability.” Jewel Food requested summary judgment to dismiss the claims.

The seven plaintiffs made the same type of complaints. Beginning in 2014, store directors were under pressure to improve metrics and customer satisfaction. Cesario alleges that the Jewel district manager asked about his age. Another director alleges that younger store directors were transferred to stores with less difficulties. One plaintiff alleged that Jewel Food managers asked him about his retirement. The EEOC complaints began in late 2015. The plaintiffs retired or were fired and subsequently filed a lawsuit against their company.

Age discrimination is prohibited by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, (ADEA). The ADEA prevents disparate treatment based on age for workers over 40 years old. However, plaintiffs who allege disparate treatment must establish that the adverse reactions wouldn’t have occurred but for age. Because none of the plaintiffs could specifically point to age as the only determination of their case, the court dismissed the case.

A word to wise businesses

Jewel Food was able to demonstrate their own actions in the case through careful documentation. Although there was no evidence that age played a factor in any discharge decision, Jewel Food could document their personnel decisions across the board. The plaintiffs also didn’t exhaust all administrative remedies. This led to the case being dropped.

Lesson learned – Make perssonel decisions based on performance and evidence. Don’t use age as a factor. Keep documentation to support your decisions.

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