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?
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 )
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).
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.
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,
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
July 20, 2009 at 12:39 pm
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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?
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.
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 😉
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.
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.
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.
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.
July 27, 2009 at 12:31 pm
this was very informative and interesting! thans for the input!
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.