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Top 10 Ways to Use Blogging in Real Estate: #3

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#3: Use Blogging to Become a Niche Expert

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Photo Credit: mag3737


“Your City Real Estate” isn’t the Only Search Term Out There!

Ask just about anyone what one search term they want their blog or website to rank well for and you’ll likely hear, “My City Real Estate!”

And that’s all fine and dandy. But if you live in a city of any reasonable size (say one with more than a couple of dozen or so agents), ranking well for this “gold standard” may be difficult. You’re going to find yourself up against very old websites and blogs that may have thousands of backlinks. Cracking the Top 10 in Google for something akin to “Phoenix real estate” may well be the Impossible Dream.

And here’s the deal…

You don’t have to rank well for “your city real estate”.

Exploit the Long Tail

Chris Anderson first wrote about The Long Tail in 2004 (see Long Tail 101 for his explanation). Briefly (and with apologies to Mr. Anderson for the gross over-simplification) the Long Tail works kind of like this…

Walk into a bookstore. You’ll probably run smack into the shelf holding the New Your Times Best-Sellers. Why? Because shelf space is expensive and limited. Best sellers sell — that’s why they are best sellers. Oh sure, you’ll find a bunch of other titles on the shelves too, but it’s those best sellers that make the registers sing.

Now take a virtual walk into Amazon.com. There you will find tens of thousands of books. Amazon doesn’t have to pay storefront fees to stock a bazillion titles. Yes, they still sell tons of best sellers, but they sell a ton more of far more obscure titles. Let’s say (for example, I don’t have the data) that Amazon makes 20% of their sales from best sellers. That means they make 80% from the rest — the Long Tail.

Search engines work in similar ways. There is no question that a term like “Phoenix Real Estate” will be used by many people going to Google. But many more will cumulatively use “longer” search terms — “Subdivision real estate”, “Phoenix homes on golf courses”, “can a Canadian buy a home in Phoenix”, etc. etc. very etc.

Laser Focus: Shoot for Niche Targets

Take advantage of the fact that people search a jazillion different ways for the same thing. Keep in mind also that people are getting better at using search engines to find what they are looking for.

Take for example someone that lives in Subdivision X (or wants to buy in Subdivision X). They are quite likely to Google “subdivision x real estate” or “subdivision x realtor” or even “sell my home in subdivision x”. They are learning that those search terms will probably return better results than a generic city search.

If you target “Subdivision X” as a search term, even in a very large market, you are much more likely to command a top search position. Why? The answer is simple…

While everyone else is running around grasping at the elusive “City real estate” they are leaving literally hundreds of long tail search terms there for the picking.

Specific Actions You Can Take

Find a niche market. It doesn’t have to be a certain subdivision. It can be anything. A geographic part of your city (East side, west side, north central, whatever). Target a type of home — horse properties, golf course homes, mid-century modern, new homes, old homes, homes between $250 – $300K. Target a type of buyer (or seller) — engineers, doctors, accountants, teachers, old, young, Boomers, X & Y’ers. There are practically as many niches out there as there are agents. Maybe more.

Post regularly about your niche. You certainly could build a blog dedicated to nothing but your niche. Or, just create a category, say “Canadian Buyers” and write a post every week or two that will apply to Canadian Buyers. Over time you’ll have a repository of information targeted to your niche that your niche readers, and the search engines, will love. You don’t have to write exclusively to your niche, but consistently is key.

Write a series dedicated to your niche. Series bring readers back. They leave them wanting for a little more. With a little planning, you can come up with a broad topic and work out a series of posts that apply. (Much as Mariana did with this very series…)

Dedicate a day to your niche. While I am not a fan of “formulatic writing”, there is a great deal of good to be said for being somewhat consistent. Dedicating a specific day for always posting about a targeted niche will help impose the discipline needed to post regularly. And within a year, you’ll have a bank of 52 posts that could easily dominate search engines for loads of long tail niche related search terms.

One word of caution — be careful what you chose as your niche! I’ve written a couple of posts about short sales. I hate short sales. But guess who ranks #1 in Google for “Phoenix Short Sales”? And trust me, people use that search term a lot. If you’re not careful, you may find yourself targeting a niche you really don’t want to work with!

So get out there and find a niche! Write consistently to that niche (not to the search engines, to the people in the niche) and you may just find yourself sitting atop the search engines, and being recognized as the expert for that group of home buyers/sellers.

Other posts in this series:
Top 10 Ways to Use Blogging in Real Estate: Introduction
Top 10 Ways to Use Blogging in Real Estate: #1 Use Blogging as a Farming Tool

Top 10 Ways to Use Blogging in Real Estate: #2 Answer Real Estate FAQ’s Just Once

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18 Comments

18 Comments

  1. Mariana Wagner

    June 30, 2008 at 8:22 am

    Jay – This was excellent! Niche marketing it very important. You explained “the long tail” SO WELL. Even if I didn’t rank for “Colorado Springs Real Estate” I would have a hopping business for all the “long tail” search terms that our site is found for.

  2. Matt Thomson

    June 30, 2008 at 9:35 am

    Good point! In addition to finding a niche regarding to real estate, how about a niche relating to what potential buyers in your area want to know about? I closed 2 deals in June from out of state buyers who both found me via my blog.
    One had Googled “Youth camps in Gig Harbor” to find things for their kids. I came up #1 and #2 as I had recently written an article about that.
    The other Googled “Gig Harbor Uptown Center” because he was taking a job there and again I came up #1 and #2.
    Buyers want to know about more than just real estate…parks, schools, jobs, activities, athletics, shopping are all things people will search for when moving to an area.

  3. Teresa Boardman

    June 30, 2008 at 10:20 am

    blog? what is a blog? where can I get one?

  4. Vance Shutes

    June 30, 2008 at 10:50 am

    Jay,

    “Without hope, we perish.”

    With this post, you’ve given all of us a great deal of hope.

    I can tell you from direct experience that posting articles on a specific subdivision has paid off enormously in the number of direct hits at my blog. While it’s nice to be found at “My City real estate”, it’s much more satisfying to be found #1 at “My neighborhood homes”.

    Thank you greatly for giving us all the hope that we can dominate our own neighborhoods!

    @Teresa – A blog? I hear you can find them at the corner “Google” market.

  5. Steve Belt

    June 30, 2008 at 1:25 pm

    Jay, as we spoke in person, this is precisely why I created my Scottsdale blog. While I may crack the top 10 for Phoenix Real Estate (currently at 20) by the end of the year, that will have been an 18 month journey, that included a lot of skill, luck, time, and effort. The new blog is going after such a narrow market, that getting into the top 10 for the specific subdivisions I’m focused on will be relatively easy. In fact, it already ranks #1 for certain long tail searches, after just a week!

  6. ines

    June 30, 2008 at 1:51 pm

    I love LONG TAILS!! who wudda thunk I’d ever say that! I started seeing long tail effects after miamism had been up for about 6 months and now it’s amazing. Anything that people know me for you can find me in miami, from historically relevant homes, specific architectural styles to the most trivial but useful keywords……and it only gets better, no?

  7. Juliet Johnson

    June 30, 2008 at 7:33 pm

    You haven’t mentioned Squidoo as a really efficient method to “own” a niche. I put one up as a test for a girlfriend and it’s beating out the MLS, the realtor’s site, the site where the address is the url. It’s very cool – check outg 15 Charles Road in Bernardsville, NJ.

  8. Paula Henry

    June 30, 2008 at 9:09 pm

    Jay –

    I have had more transactions from the long tail about neighborhoods than any other source.

    You have given me many more long tail ideas! Thanks.

  9. Jason Sandquist

    June 30, 2008 at 9:49 pm

    I took you advice from an article that I saw a while ago that you had written and just recently found time to start the niche site. One week later and it is first page, getting the traffic needed and written entirely for the community. Needless to say, I think more are in order!

  10. Eric Blackwell

    July 1, 2008 at 5:43 am

    Jay;

    Great points all… I will add the following. I am blessed to be #1 in our market for city real estate (and many other long tail terms. Currently only 7% of the traffic comes from city real estate. That is a significant number, but the rest comes from the longtails…ideally you’d like both, but the long tails can feed you in style!

  11. Jennifer in Louisville

    July 1, 2008 at 6:18 am

    IMO, niche marketing can be more lucrative & easier than going for the generic City Real Estate terms that everyone shoots for. Theres less competition generally, and if you are truly interested in that particular niche, it will show in your posts. Becoming the authority for the niche takes time, but its a really nice feeling when no one makes a “move” (pun intended) without talking to you first.

  12. Kay Baker Wilmington NC Real Estate

    July 1, 2008 at 2:28 pm

    Yes, you are so right about the long tails. I have worked diligently on city real estate and still on google pg 6, but my neighborhoods are working just fine….Thanks for the insight.
    Kay Baker Wilmington NC real estate

  13. Ken Smith

    July 14, 2008 at 10:38 pm

    Niche marketing is key in real estate. Not only online, but offline as well. People want to hire someone who is an expert, not a “Jack of all trades”.

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Business Marketing

10 must-listen-to podcasts for business owners

(MARKETING) If you’re a business owner and want to learn something…anything…give one (or all) these podcasts a listen.

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As podcasts grow more and more popular, it has become increasingly difficult to sort through the sea of excellent options out there.

From interviews with business leaders to industry-specific advice from experts, podcasts are an incredible free and convenient way to get a small dose of inspiration and knowledge.

This short list offers just a taste of the myriad of business podcasts available. Whether you’re an aspiring entrepreneur looking for some tips on breaking into a new industry or a seasoned vet hoping to get some new inspiration, we hope you’ll find something here worth listening to.

How I Built This, hosted by Guy Raz.

Podcast fans will recognize Guy Raz’s name (and voice) from TED Radio Hour. While that show can be a great source of inspiration for businesses, one of the most consistently inspiring shows is his new project that shares stories and insight from some of the biggest business leaders in the world. In just four months, Guy has talked to everyone from Richard Branson and Mark Cuban to L.A. Reid and Suroosh Alvi. While there are plenty of excellent interview-driven shows with entrepreneurs, if you want to hear about the world’s best known companies, this is your best bet.

The Art of Charm, hosted by Jordan and AJ Harbinger.

The Art of Charm is a business podcast by definition, but the advice it provides will definitely help you in other parts of your day-to-day life as well. With over three million listens a month, the incredibly popular show provides advice, strategies and insight into how to network effectively and advance your career and personal life.

StartUp, hosted by Alex Blumberg and Lisa Chow.

If you’re an entrepreneur, there is no excuse not to be listening to StartUp, the award-winning business podcast from Gimlet Media. The show’s talented hosts come from incredible radio shows like Planet Money and This American Life and bring a top-notch level of storytelling to the show, which provides behind the scenes looks at what it is actually like to start a company. Now on the fourth season, StartUp is one of those business podcasts that even people not interested in business will get a kick out of.

The Whole Whale Podcast, hosted by George Weiner.

One of the best things about podcasts is the wide variety of niche shows available that go in-depth into fascinating topics. One of those shows is the Whole Whale Podcast, which shares stories about data and technology in the non-profit sector. You’ll get detailed analysis, expert knowledge and can hear from a long list of social impact leaders from Greenpeace, Change.org, Kiva, Teach For America, and more.

Social Pros Podcast, hosted by Jay Baer and Adam Brown.

Navigating the surplus of social media guides online can be a nightmare, so look no further than Social Pros. Recent episodes talk about reaching college students on social media, the rise of messaging apps, and making better video content for Facebook. Plus, there are great case-studies with companies doing social right, like Kellogg’s, Coca Cola and Lenscrafters.

Entrepreneur on Fire, hosted by John Lee Dumas.

One of the original entrepreneurship shows, Entrepreneur on Fire has logged over 1,500 episodes with successful business leaders sharing tips, lessons and advice learned from their worst entrepreneurial moments. Sometimes humorous, sometimes heartbreaking, always inspiring, this show is sure to have at least one interview with someone you can learn from.

The $100 MBA, hosted by Omar Zenhom.

Think of The $100 MBA as a full-fledged business program in snack-sized portions. The daily ten minute business lessons are based on real-world applications and cover everything from marketing to technology and more. Cue this show up on your commute to or from work and watch your knowledge grow.

This Week in Startups, hosted by Jason Calacanis.

This is your audio version of TechCrunch, Gizmodo, or dare we say The American Genius. Each week, a guest entrepreneur joins the show to talk about what is happening in tech right now. You’ll get news about companies with buzz, updates on big tech news and even some insider gossip.

The Side Hustle Show, hosted by Nick Loper.

This is the show if you want answers for the big question so many entrepreneurs face. How do I turn my part-time hustle into a real job? Featuring topics such as passive income ideas, niche sites, and self-publishing, host Nick Loper is upfront and honest about the tough world of side hustles. The show features actionable tips and an engaging energy, and may just be that final push you need to grow your gig.

Back To Work, hosted by Merlin Mann and Dan Benjamin.
Focused on the basics that you don’t think about, Back To Work looks deep into our working lives by analyzing things like workflow, email habits and personal motivation. Somewhere between self-help, and business advice, Back To Work takes on a new topic relating to productivity each week.

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Business Marketing

Why your coworkers are not your ‘family’ [unpopular opinion]

(MARKETING) “I just want you to think of us as family,” they say. If this were true, I could fire my uncle for always bringing up “that” topic on Thanksgiving…

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The well-known season 10 opener of “Undercover Boss” featured Walk-On’s Bistreaux & Bar. Brandon Landry, owner, went to the Lafayette location where he worked undercover with Jessica Comeaux, an assistant manager. Comeaux came across as a dedicated employee of the company, and she was given a well-deserved reward for her work. But I rolled my eyes as the show described the team as a “family.” I take offense at combining business and family, unless you’re really family. Why shouldn’t this work dynamic be used?

Employers don’t have loyalty to employees.

One of the biggest reasons work isn’t family is that loyalty doesn’t go both ways. Employers who act as though employees are family wouldn’t hesitate to fire someone if it came down to it. In most families, you support each other during tough times, but that wouldn’t be the case in a business. If you’ve ever thought that you can’t ask for a raise or vacation, you’ve probably bought into the theory that “work is a family.” No, work is a contract.

Would the roles be okay if the genders were reversed?

At Walks-Ons, Comeaux is referred to as “Mama Jess,” by “some of the girls.” I have to wonder how that would come across if Comeaux were a man being called “Daddy Jess” by younger team members? See any problem with that? What happens when the boss is a 30-year-old and the employee is senior? Using family terminology to describe work relationships is just wrong.

Families’ roles are complex.

You’ll spend over 2,000 hours with your co-workers every year. It’s human nature to want to belong. But when you think of your job like a family, you may bring dysfunction into the workplace.

What if you never had a mom, or if your dad was abusive? Professional relationships don’t need the added complexity of “family” norms. Seeing your boss as “mom” or “dad” completely skews the roles of boss/employee. When your mom asks you to do more, it’s hard to say no. If your “work mom or dad” wants you to stay late, it’s going to be hard to set boundaries when you buy into the bogus theory that work is family. Stop thinking of work this way.

Check your business culture to make sure that your team has healthy boundaries and teamwork. Having a great work culture doesn’t have to mean you think of your team as family. It means that you appreciate your team, let them have good work-life balance and understand professionalism.

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Business Marketing

Market your side hustle with these 6 tips

(BUSINESS MARKETING) It can be hard to stand out from the crowd when you’re starting a new side hustle. Here are some easy ways to make your marketing efforts more effective.

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Side hustles have become the name of the game, and especially during these turbulent times, we have to get extra creative when it comes to making money. With so many of us making moves and so much noise, it can be hard to get the word out and stand out when sharing your side hustle.

Reuben Jackson of Big Think shared five ways that you can market your side hustle (we added a sixth tip for good measure), and comment with your thoughts and ideas on the subject:

  1. Referrals: Don’t Be Afraid to Ask!
    If you’re going to make a splash, you have to be willing to ask for favors. Reach out to your network and ask them to help spread the word on your new venture. This can be as simple as asking your friends to share a Facebook post with information that refers them to your page or website. Word of mouth is still important and incredibly effective.
  2. Start Where You Are
    Immediately running an expensive ad right out of the gate may not be the most effective use of your (likely) limited funds. Use the resources you do have to your advantage – especially if you’re just testing things out to see how the side hustle goes in the real world. You can do this by creating a simple, informational landing page for a small fee. Or, if you’re not looking to put any money into it right away, create an enticing email signature that explains what you do in a concise and eye-catching way. Check out these tools to create a kickin’ email signature.
  3. Gather Positive Reviews
    If you’ve performed a service or sold a product, ask your customers to write a review on the experience. Never underestimate how many potential customers read reviews before choosing where to spend their money, so this is an incredibly important asset. Once a service is completed or a product is sold, send a thank you note to your customer and kindly ask them to write a review. Be sure to provide them with links to easily drop a line on Yelp or your company’s Facebook page.
  4. Be Strategic With Social
    It’s common to think that you have to have a presence on all channels right away. Start smaller. Think about your demographic and do some research on which platforms reach that demographic most effectively. From there, put your time and energy into building a presence on one or two channels. Post consistently and engage with followers. After you’ve developed a solid following, you can then expand to other platforms.
  5. Give Paid Marketing A Shot
    Once you’ve made a dollar or two, try experimenting with some Facebook or Twitter ads. They’re relatively cheap to run and can attract people you may not have otherwise had a chance to reach out to. Again, the key is to start small and don’t get discouraged if these don’t have people knocking your door down; it may take trial and error to create the perfect ad for your hustle.
  6. Go Local
    Local newspapers and magazines are always looking for news on what local residents are doing. Send an email to your town/city’s journal or local Patch affiliate. Let them know what you’re up to, offer yourself for an interview, and give enticing information. The key is doing this in a way that your hustle is seen as beneficial to the public, and is not just an ad.

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