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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

Jay is the Broker / Owner of Thompson's Realty in Phoenix, Arizona. A self-professed "Man with a blogging problem" he can be found across the Interweb, including at the Phoenix Real Estate Guy blog where he opines on all things real estate and tosses out random musings.

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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

The rise of influencer marketing and its effect on digital marketing

(BUSINESS MARKETING) More businesses are planning to invest a larger part of their marketing budgets on more relatable, branded content and influencer marketing.

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Influencer speaking to camera for marketing segment.

The digital age has created more savvy consumers, and the barrage of advertising on top of the plenitude of content online can be a lot. Many consumers have learned to hide ads or they simply scroll past them to their content of choice. Most business owners know that digital marketing is a crucial part of any ad strategy, and branded content and influencer marketing continues to grow in the market, because consumers see that it’s different from traditional advertising.

Hardly anything stayed the same in 2020, and traditional advertising also has shifted. Advertiser Perceptions reported on the trend for 2021, based on a survey from late 2020.

“More than half of advertisers using paid branded content and influencers say doing so is more critical than it was a year ago. Throughout the second half of 2020, 32% increased spending on branded content and 25% spent more to back influencers. They’re now putting 20% of their digital budgets into the complementary practices, which is more than they put into any other digital channel (paid search is 14%, display 13%, paid social 12%, digital video 12%).”

The benefits of branded and influencer content are that you are speaking to the consumer where they already are, when you choose an influencer. The people who follow their accounts are more likely to trust that the influencer would only share something they like or use themselves. The best matches are when the influencer marketing fits nicely into the kind of content, the voice, and any specialties they already deal with.

The word “influencer” as well as the concept rubs some people the wrong way. Marketers see the value, though, as influencer marketing can be effective if done well, and the cost to hire them is often less than a traditional ad campaign. If I want to know about food in a city, I’ll follow the hashtags until I find a local food blogger or micro-influencer whose style I like. Then I’ll seek out those restaurants when I visit. Sure, some of the meals are comped, but the truth is that food bloggers and influencers like to share their food recommendations. I have been influenced this way more than once, and not only for food. I am not alone in this, either, which is why it’s an important part of a marketing strategy.

In influencer marketing, the content creator is then given free rein to create within their own style, voice, and persona. They need to connect with their audience in an authentic, familiar way without creating a dissonance for their followers between their public page(s) and the brand. The level of trust is fairly high with influencer marketing, and many influencers realize that promoting something crappy or something outside of their area of expertise or recognition hurts everyone involved.

The power of storytelling comes into play here, as with all good advertising. Branded content is specifically all about the story, often the story of the business’s philosophy or some lifestyle aspect that goes with the brand’s vibe–or is so off that it goes viral. Some branded campaigns join into or build off of conversations already happening in the wider world. The purpose is to have people engage with the brand, with the content, build awareness, encourage conversations, sharing, comments, all with the long term goal of fostering a positive image of the brand so that down the line, they will become consumers.

Think of 2004 Dove’s “Real Beauty” campaign, based on a study showing that around 2% of women saw themselves as beautiful. The widely studied, award-winning campaign featured women of all backgrounds and body types, without airbrushing and Photoshopping them into a narrow vision of “beauty.” While some people hated it, many loved it and applauded the brand for treading into traditionally uncharted waters. Among haters, fans, and people who weren’t sure what to think, the Dove Real Beauty branded content campaign generated conversations. The campaign also encouraged women to feel good about themselves and lift up other women. One could argue that the campaign you could argue that the Real Beauty campaign was a forerunner to the currently popular body positivity movement, which started gaining traction around 2012. Dove increased sales by at least $1.5 billion in the first ten years the branded content campaign ran.

The goal of branded content is to raise awareness of the brand, but the path from point A (creating the content) to point B (brand awareness, ultimately leading to better sales) is not a straight line. Brands are paying attention to grabbing attention, aka building brand awareness via more upper funnel marketing than lower funnel.

One thing that marketers are looking for now, however, is almost eliminating the funnel. With the mind-boggling increase in e-commerce since the beginning of the pandemic, clickable sales capability becomes important in any kind of marketing, including influencer and branded content. It pays to listen to customers, to find an influencer who meshes with your brand’s purpose, and to create thoughtful branded content that isn’t out of line with your core product or service.

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Business Marketing

Need design help? Ask a Designer offers free peer-review for better design

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Good design is more than just slapping some fonts and colors together. Ask a Designer promises free design advice on their new website.

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A white sign in an urban setting reading "In Design We Trust" with glowing yellow lights above.

With the necessity to create and maintain an online presence for our businesses nowadays, content creation is essential. One impact this proliferation of content has had on entrepreneurs, bloggers, and small businesses is that many non-designers have had to take a stab at design work. Sometimes this works out for the amateur designer, but often it could be better: More effective, accessible, and appealing. This is where Ask a Designer comes in.

Creating designs online can be fun, but your average Canva, Squarespace, or WordPress user, for example, has no more of a sense of design than the man on the moon. Design work encompasses so much more than just slapping some words on a stock photo and calling it a day. While there are truly incredible and helpful free or inexpensive DIY design and business tools out there, nothing beats the power of knowledge and experience.

Ask a Designer provides one more level of professional review and counsel before a business owner puts their DIY (or even paid) design work out there for the world to see—or worse, not see. As a writer, I have always valued editorial reviews, comments, and feedback on my writing. Second eyes, third eyes, and more almost always serve to improve the content. It makes business sense to get as much feedback as possible, even better to get expert feedback.

For example, an experienced web designer should have a good idea of how to incorporate and test for UX and UI purposes, thus making the user interaction more functional and pleasant. A skilled graphic designer knows what colors go together for aesthetic appeal, accessibility, and even the psychology behind why and how they do.

Take logos. Pick a color, image, and font you like, and go for it, right? I’m afraid not. There is a lot of data out there on the science and psychology of how our brains process logos. There are examples of logo “fails” out there, as well. Consider the uproar over AirBnB’s logo that many thought evoked genitalia. Or the raised eyebrows when Google changed their color scheme to one similar to Microsoft’s palate. Just search for “logo fails” online to get an idea of how a seemingly innocent logo can go horribly wrong. I haven’t linked them here, because they would need a trigger warning, as many of the worst examples can be interpreted as some sort of sexual innuendo or genitalia. Searchers, be warned.

It always makes good business sense to use professional designers when you have the option, just as it makes sense to use professional writers for copywriting and professional photographers for photography. After all, if you have the chance to get something right the first time, it saves you time and money to do so. Rebranding can be difficult and costly, although sometimes rebranding is necessary. Having a designer review your design (whether logo, WordPress, blog, or other) could possibly help you from missing the mark.

How does Ask a Designer work, and is it really free? It’s super easy—almost like designers had a hand in it! Know what I mean? First, you go to the website or app and enter your question. Next Ask a Designer will assign your question to the appropriate type of designer in their network. Within 48 hours, they’ll get back to you with feedback or an answer to your design question.

While Ask a Designer is available to anyone to use, the website suggests it is especially helpful for developers, teams, junior designers, and business and product owners. They suggest, “Think of us as peer-review in your pocket.” The team at Ask a Designer will provide feedback on specific projects such as websites, logos, and portfolios, as well as answer general questions.

Examples of questions on their website give a good idea of the scope of questions they’ll answer, and include the type of feedback they provide. Sample questions include:

  • “How do I choose colors for dark mode?”
  • “I’d love feedback on a logo for a restaurant.”
  • “I’m an industrial design student and I’d like to move into automotive design. What are some resources that can get me to where I need to be?”
  • “Please send me some feedback on [website link].”
  • “How can I use my brand fonts on my website?”
  • “I’m a full stack software engineer. Are there any resources you could suggest for me to level up my design or UX skills?”

Ask a Designer is new, and so they currently list 2 design experts, each with 20 or more years of experience in their fields. They promise to add more “desig-nerds” soon. It may sound too good to be true, but from what they state on their website, this expert design review service is free. Considering the other excellent tools out there with some free components out there for business, it is possible that this is true. Whether they will add a more in-depth paid version is yet to be seen. In any case, it’s worth trying out the app or website for your burning design questions and reviews.

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Business Marketing

6 tips to easily market your side hustle

(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 hustle marketing

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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