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Top 10 Ways to Use Blogging in Real Estate [#2]

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How Do I Use Blogging?

One of my favorite “uses” for a blog is to educate my readersmy clients and my potential clients (and maybe even the occasional agent). However, sometimes drumming up new and educational content on a regular basis can be a bit challenging. Yet, I am CERTAIN that you are still replying to phone and email inquiries on a regular basis, right? How many times do get an email asking a question, go to your sent box and scan for the last email you sent answering that question, copy a bulk of that answer and send it as the answer to the new inquiry.You THINK you are clever and saving time by recycling a previous email answer … but you can do better.

Here is post #2 in the “Top 10 Ways to Use Blogging in Real Estate” series:

Answer Real Estate FAQ’s Just Once

  • Write a list of all the FAQ’s that you answer on a regular basis. Some great FAQ’s could be:
    • How do you get paid as a Buyer/Listing agent?
    • What is up with [x] neighborhood? – I know you ALL have that “one” neighborhood that no one seems to “get”.
    • What happens once the contract is accepted (buyer/seller)
    • What are property taxes in that area?
    • Why do I need to talk to a lender BEFORE I look at homes?
    • How long does it take to buy/sell a house
  • Tackle each question, one at a time, and answer it as a blog post. Not only does this help you answer that FAQ once, but this can be an excellent source of “blog fodder” for your blog.
  • Link to other related FAQ’s at the end of each FAQ post. Once you have answered several FAQ’s, you can start interlinking them.

Wouldn’t it be nice to answer your frequently asked questions just once? Wouldn’t it be nice to say,

“That is an excellent question. In fact, I just wrote and published an answer to that very question.”

… and then direct them to the post that you wrote for their answers?

Survey says … YES! That would be very nice.

Using Your Blog to Answer FAQ’s Has Multiple Benefits

  1. You have just freed up more of your time to play on Twitter. No, I mean, you have just freed up your time to do MORE money making activities.
  2. You have impressed your client or potential client by directing them to something that YOU wrote and PUBLISHED.
  3. You have proven yourself as a competent and “on top of it” real estate expert – answering their questions before they even asked them.
  4. You have now pointed them to your blog. Chances are they will hang around there reading other things you wrote (like the posts that you linked to at the bottom of the post…). If they are not your clients yet, they may even jump on your IDX and look for homes … or request a CMA.
  5. You will now look at all the questions that people ask you as an excellent resource for blog ideas.
  6. You can now use your FAQ posts as a great “drip campaign” for your SOI (sphere of influence) and/or potential clients.

Even if all you do is answer FAQ’s on your blog (and maybe throw in a market report or two…) your blog will become a great and informative resource for your clients.

What are some of YOUR FAQ’s that would be a great blog post?

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/Niche Tool

Note: Next week’s Top 10 Ways to Use Blogging in Real Estate post will be written by the one-and-only Jay Thompson. I am looking forward to his contributions!

Mariana is a real estate agent and co-owner of the Wagner iTeam with her husband, Derek. She maintains the Colorado Springs Real Estate Connection Blog and is also a real estate technology trainer and coach. Mariana really enjoys helping real estate agents boost their businesses and increase their productivity through effective use of technology. Outside of real estate, blogging and training, she loves spending time with her husband and 2 sons, reading, re-watching Sci-Fi movies and ... long walks on the beach?

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31 Comments

31 Comments

  1. Jim Gatos

    June 21, 2008 at 4:06 pm

    The ideas I am getting from you guys are mind boggling! Thanks!

  2. Sue

    June 21, 2008 at 7:27 pm

    Your posts are very good. I am currently a one man show, however busting out!! I have a drip campaign, informative blogs and emails with links to school info, etc…I take the pre-setup emails and usually add something more personal before sending it out. I have had calls from potential buyers who called based on info they read on my blog. One woman who called said that someone she worked with told “her” about me based on a blog I wrote, so that is good. I can see where it would be beneficial for a client to have info on taxes, neighborhoods etc. … drill it down blogging. 🙂

  3. Ken Smith

    June 21, 2008 at 8:52 pm

    I really like this idea. Talk about making you life much easier down the road.

  4. Matthew Rathbun

    June 21, 2008 at 9:43 pm

    awesome, awesome, awesome!

  5. Jennifer in Louisville

    June 22, 2008 at 7:48 am

    Great points. Education of the readers does several things for you: it establishes you as an authority on the subject and it gets people in the habit that if they have questions regarding the topic, they come to you for the answers.

  6. Jennifer in Louisville

    June 22, 2008 at 7:50 am

    Great points. Education of the readers does a couple things for you: It establishes you as an authority on the subject, and it gets persons in the habit that if they have questions regarding the particular topic, that they come to you for the answers (and you in turn help create a relationship with the person).

  7. Mariana Wagner

    June 22, 2008 at 8:16 am

    Jim – Thanks! … and to think we only touched on 2 ways so far.

    Sue – Yep! A blog can do all kinds of great things for your business.

    Ken – No kidding! I am ALL about making life easier.

    Matthew – Thanks!

    Jennifer – I believe our goal SHOULD be the go-to person for all thngs real estate.

  8. Holly White

    June 22, 2008 at 10:57 am

    Great Ideas!!! I’ve already used your first post and registered and set up my first neighborhood blog that is doubling as a single property website right now until I get more content, but it’s a start and it looks great. Thanks for the wonderful insight on this one. We could all probably lose our voices talking about these things over and over again. Putting them in a blog and directing customers to your site to review them and educate themselves is a stellar way of getting more activity on your site and at the same time establish yourself as an authority on the subject. Way to go!

  9. Mariana Wagner

    June 22, 2008 at 1:15 pm

    Holly – Congrats on your new blog!

  10. Barry Cunningham

    June 22, 2008 at 1:36 pm

    we use this approach to generate traffic from consumers in our area on Trulia voices as well

  11. Mariana Wagner

    June 22, 2008 at 2:06 pm

    Barry- Trulia Voices would be a great platform for FAQ’s. I imagine there will ALWAYS be new and “interesting” questions to answer.

  12. Perri K. Feldman

    June 22, 2008 at 4:00 pm

    Thanks. I had been hitting a wall and these are great suggestions. Thanks for stopping by, glad to have found your blog.

  13. Eric- New Orleans Condos and Lofts

    June 22, 2008 at 4:54 pm

    You always have some great ideas. A lot of my blogs are a result of questions that people always ask me. Its just putting them in words for everyone to see. The ones that do not ask still want to know.

  14. Lisa Heindel

    June 22, 2008 at 5:27 pm

    Would you recommend individual posts versus perhaps creating a FAQ page for a blog?

  15. Mariana Wagner

    June 22, 2008 at 6:35 pm

    Perri- Make sure you come back for future installments of this series…

    Eric – Thanks! You are right … Many people will have questions that they never ask.

    Lisa – I would definitely tackle each FAQ as a separate post, but then you COULD have a FAQ page with links to all of your posts on that page. You could then add to it as you wrote more.

  16. Mariana – Thanks for this post! I do answer certain questions over and over . . . and I am trying to set up neighborhood specific areas on my web site so I could certainly pull some of that information that I am already collecting for my blog. Keep ’em coming! (Just wish I has 20 more hours a day!)

  17. Mariana Wagner

    June 22, 2008 at 8:05 pm

    Robin – I figure the more we can use our blogs in our businesses, then, ultimately we will HAVE more time.

  18. Glenn fm Naples

    June 23, 2008 at 10:47 am

    Prior to posting an answer to a FAQ from your e-mail, should you get the permission of the person asking the question?

  19. Mariana Wagner

    June 23, 2008 at 11:10 am

    Glenn – I have 2 answers:

    1. FAQ is Frequently asked questions, meaning that I get the same questions over and over. I can pull those questions out of my head, for the most part.

    2. If I get a particlarly interesting question I will NOT ask persmission from the asker. A question is a question. No, I will not say “so-and-so from this place asked this question…” If I make any reference to someone asking a question, it would be like, “I was recently asked a great question…”

  20. Jay Thompson

    June 23, 2008 at 4:14 pm

    From a purely logistical standpoint, if you are running a WordPress blog (self-hosted, not wp.com) you can install the FAQ-tastic plugin. This lets you create a page, and “answer” FAQ type questions in the back end of WordPress. The plugin then generates a separate page for each question and compiles the links on your FAQ page.

    It’s a great way to collect all your FAQ type posts in one place. There are also some potential SEO benefits to having the page structure it uses. You can see an example on my blog here.

  21. Ken Smith

    June 23, 2008 at 5:01 pm

    Jay can you control the URL’s of the pages when using the multiple page function or is it automatically the question? Would be nice to shorten those up a little bit.

  22. Jay Thompson

    June 23, 2008 at 5:35 pm

    @Ken – great question. I just took a look. While the url defaults to the question, there is a field to enter whatever URL you want.

    Looks like I missed that when I originally did that first batch of questions… shorter would indeed be better.

  23. Mariana Wagner

    June 23, 2008 at 7:26 pm

    Jay – That is an awesome tool! Thank you for sharing it.

  24. Ken Smith

    June 23, 2008 at 8:59 pm

    Jay thanks for sharing the resource. Think there might be more then a few ways to use it.

  25. Paula Henry

    June 23, 2008 at 9:11 pm

    Mariana –

    What an excellent series! I have done this several times with posts – definately love the FAQ plug-in idea. Looking forward to the next installment:)

  26. Jay Thompson

    June 23, 2008 at 9:17 pm

    “Think there might be more then a few ways to use it.”

    I think so too….

  27. Chris Shouse

    June 25, 2008 at 9:54 pm

    Excellent Post Mariana, look forward to the rest”)

  28. Ana in San Antonio

    July 1, 2008 at 11:05 am

    Thanks for the tips, I’ve had a blog for about 2 months and I was already out of ideas.

  29. Sue

    July 11, 2008 at 8:24 pm

    I must start writing FAQs on my blog. I think this will be key in bringing in more activity. I have to believe buyers and sellers are searching on various issues on a daily basis. I never quite understand the resistance buyers have to getting pre-approved.

  30. Brad N

    March 7, 2009 at 11:28 am

    Wow Great Advice

    Here is the issue, I am intimidated to start, Should I be? I have a blog attached to my website that is incorporated. I have this feature turned off atm. The sole reason is that I when I turn it on and look at it live, the Content is sparse.

    So it better to create a bunch of articles, save them in word and post them all at one time, or should I post them one at a time over several days/weeks. The advice here means that I now have several new articles to create

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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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