It’s almost my anniversary.
My first post on AgentGenius arrived on September 22, 2008. By my calendar (which I sure hope is the same as yours) that means I’m only six days away from celebrating my blogging birthday. As I’ve mentioned previously in posts, I had done what I would now consider blogging back in my band days, but we called it “Diary Of A Madman” (nice Ozzy reference) and in daily speech I called it a “tour journal.” Looking back it was a blog, no matter what I called it. In my 359 days of blogging (I started right here before branching out on my own), I’ve learned a few things that I thought I’d share for the new agents out there.
These five things have served me well in my 359 days as a blogger, both here and elsewhere. I’m not claiming they will solve all your blogging problems, but I certainly hope they get you through a rough patch or two. Some of them I discovered on my own, some were handed down to me by some of the bloggers you see on these very pages. Overtime, I’m sure you’ll come up with your own important things that help make your blogging better and better each post. No matter how you look at it, blogging is definitely a growing (and learning) experience. So take these five things; adapt them, use them, throw them out, refine them, or carve them in stone – that’s the beauty of blogging.
That’s 0.013927577 Things Learned Each Day.
You don’t have to be an English major. – I was never the best in my English classes and although I held my own in various writing classes, I was never considered a genius. When I wrote my “tour journals” for the band, it didn’t matter a whole lot what I said or how I said it, so I learned to write as if I was speaking directly to my audience (then composed of 14-35 year olds who loved raucous 5th grade humor set to music). I wrote about my day as if I were telling my best friends what had happened. Honest, open, and full of ums and ahs. We weren’t looking to attract anyone new with “Diary Of A Madman” (I didn’t even know what SEO was), we were looking to entertain the people who were already visiting – the fans.
In writing as myself, I was able to talk about things as they were. Some entries read more like a Twitter message – “Show sucked. Tired. Jim just gave me a beer.” Some were the more lengthy diatribes you’re used to from me. What they were though, was a sneak peek into the true life of rock and roll. When I started writing for real estate purposes, I forgot those lessons and my first few blogging attempts were trying to be someone who I wasn’t. They were trying to give facts and figures and had no personality whatsoever. I was boring myself to tears. I’m not saying facts and figures aren’t important, but if they’re not showing the world who you are as an agent and why you’re the agent for them (on their terms, not yours), they’re a waste of your time.
Your looks are important. – No you don’t have to be a size 0 with perfectly white straight teeth and the latest trends in fashion, but you do need to pretty
yourself your blog up. None one likes staring at a white screen with a pile of words on it. From photos (I’d link to my Flickr account, but it doesn’t exist) to video to header tags to bold, italics, and links – you need eye candy.
I still have a long way to go in regards to truly beautifying my blogs, as I tend to be rather formulaic about it, but my early posts were without photos, formatting, or any sort of window dressing. Even just learning how to separate a few paragraphs can be an extremely good thing. Learning how to justify text is even better in my opinion – wish more bloggers did too.
Commenting is crucial. – If you’re not commenting on blogs, you’re not learning. I challenge anyone to disagree with that. Comments are where all the action happens in any post. A post is as static as your first website. Comments are where a blog becomes interactive. Comments are where visitors can take the information in the post to a new level and where you might just learn a thing or two. By commenting on other blogs, you may just attract a few inquiring minds to your site to start a conversation with you.
It’s not just about real estate. – Some of the posts that garner the most attention and reaction are the posts about things other than real estate. Yes, we are all here to talk real estate. Yes, we all want to tell buyers and sellers in our town how things work. Yes, we want to help show them that we’re the one they’d love to work with. When you step outside real estate for a moment and talk as yourself, readers are more likely to see you as a regular Joe (or Jane) and not a salesmen-esque, pushy, “buy me-buy me!” agent (which we all know is an all too common theme in people’s opinions about real estate agents). They want to connect with you. Let them.
When in doubt, read. – Blogging can be hard at times. I’ve written more than once of my sudden freeze on blog ideas. How I just can’t seem to think of anything. Some people suggest notebooks and some people use voice recorders to keep ideas. I’m not one of them. The way I write isn’t exactly perfect for those methods. What is? Reading. When I feel stuck, I head to the internet and read some of my favorite bloggers. By reading other blogs, I open up my mind and almost always, something comes rushing in.
Think about how many times you’ve read my blog and said, “I like it, but I would have added…” Don’t just think it, don’t just comment it…you have the ability to write a post that tops mine! Write what you would have done differently or better or just add to the mix. Want extra points? Link to the blogger and tell them you took their post and put your own spin on it. Bloggers love to get a bit of recognition. Please note: This is not about copying other bloggers, but rather building off of their thoughts.