photo courtesy of stuckincustoms
A blog can be a great way to dominate your real estate farm (or niche) … if done correctly. In fact, if you are newer to blogging, I recommend creating a niche blog to start … and ease your way into more prolific blogging as you feel more comfortable. Here is post #1 in the “Top 10 Ways to Use Blogging in Real Estate” series:
How to Use Blogging as a Farming Tool
This post goes hand in hand nicely with another post I recently wrote: How to Dominate Your Geographic Niche in under $83 a Month, but will go more in depth on how to utilize the blog element.
- Create a blog specifically for your niche. You could make it a facet of your current blog (if you already have one), but I recommend creating a wholly different one. Why? Well, when people go to/find your new niche blog, it will show that you are the real expert in that area and not just “one of many” area that you service. Also, you can link to and from your current website(s) and/or blog(s) to your new niche blog – helping (even just a little bit) the SEO of all of your sites.
- WordPress.com is a great place to get and start a free niche blog. (Check out this pretty nifty and highly comprehensive post on setting up a blog– scroll about halfway down the page to 4b for a great how-to on WordPress.com)
- Choose a template that has a customizable header. My favorite templates are cutline theme and misty look. Check the parameter for the customizable header and upload a picture of your niche/farm as the header image.
- Examples of niche/farm blogs: Greenhaven Real Estate & Westbrook Village Real Estate.
- Get an appropriate domain for your new name. The smaller the niche, the better names you can get. Start by just pointing the name to your new site, but eventually spend the few bucks to replace the [area].wordpress.com with your new and special domain name in the address bar. Some ideas for domain names could be:
- Set up a custom IDX search for your niche/farm. Whomever you use as an IDX provider (WolfNet, 1ParkPlace, dsSearchAgent, etc. …) can help you build a custom search for your niche. Take that search and spam your site with that link. Yes. I said “spam” … But, it is okay, because it is your site. See, I want that “search for homes” available the minute someone decides they may want to search for homes. Call me weird (and trust me, I know that most of you do anyway…) but giving consumers what they want, when they want it just seems like a darn good idea.
Where should you put this IDX search?
- As a page on the top/side of the blog
- As a link on the sidebar
- At the end of each post
- Inside each post whenever appropriate
- Post niche-specific posts 2x-4x a month. See? I am not asking you to quit your day job to maintain a blog. I am just suggesting that you replace a fraction of your pointlessly-surfing-the-internet-in-the-middle-of-the-night with productive niche blogging. Some ideas on what to write about include, but are not limited to:
- Market reports (active, pending, sold and DOM data)
- Neighborhood events (garage sales, BBQ’s …) (example)
- HOA guidelines and meeting minutes
- Happenings immediately surrounding the area (parades, new schools, etc…) (example)
- Local business information. – You could showcase home based businesses in your niche.
- Featured homes for sale (preferably with the Listing Agent’s permission … which most will happily give if you preface it with, “May I feature your fine listing on the [area] website?”) (example)
- Advertise and promote your niche blog. Don’t be a secret agent niche blogger. Promote this blog in all the marketing materials that you send out to your blog … and even in your other marketing materials.
- Physically TELL people about it when you are talking to the people in youe niche. This would be a good argument for making sure you get a remember-able domain name.
- When you have a listing in the neighborhood add the new niche blog site to your sign riders and/or your flyers.
- Make a custom business card that you send out to your niche area.
- Add links to this niche blog on your other websites and blogs, and link to it whenever your write something about that area in your other blogs (if you have one).
This is just ONE way to use blogging in real estate. But, in my opinion, it is a relatively easy way to incorporate blogging into your business plan, and a great place to start.
If this is something that you are already doing, I would LOVE to hear how YOU are using a blog as a farm/niche tool.
Pay employees for their time, not only their work
(MARKETING) Yes, you still must pay employees for their time even if they aren’t able to complete their work due to restrictions. Time = Money.
The COVID-19 pandemic has inspired a lot of insightful questions about things like our healthcare system, worldwide containment procedures, and about a billion other things that all deserve well-thought answers.
Unfortunately, it has also led to some of the dumbest questions of all time.
One such question comes courtesy of Comstock Mag, with the inquiry asking whether or not employees who show up on time can be deducted an hour’s pay if the manager shows up an hour later.
From a legal standpoint, Comstock Mag points out that employees participating in such activities are “engaged to wait”, meaning that – while they aren’t necessarily “working” – they are still on the clock and waiting for work to appear; in this case, the aforementioned “work” comes in the form of the manager or supervisor showing up.
In short: if the reason your employees aren’t working is that the precursor to completing the work for which you pay them is inaccessible, you still have to pay them for their time.
Morally, of course, the answer is much simpler: pay your employees for their time, especially if the reason they are unable to complete work is because you (or a subordinate) didn’t make it to work at the right time.
Certainly, you might be able to justify sending all of your employees home early if you run into something like a technology snag or a hiccup in the processes which make it possible for them to do their jobs – that would mean your employees were no longer engaged to wait, thus removing your legal obligation to continue paying them.
Then again, the moral question of whether or not cutting your employees’ hours comes into play here. It’s understandable that funds would be tight for the time being, but docking employees an hour of their work here or there due to problems that no one can control may cause them to resent you down the line when you need their support in return.
The real problem with this question is that, despite most people knowing that the answer should always be “pay them”, the sheer number of people working from home in the wake of worldwide closures and social distancing could muddy the water in terms of what constitutes the difference between being engaged to wait and simply burning time.
For example, an employee who is waiting for a meeting to start still fits the bill of “engaged to wait” even if the meeting software takes an extra half hour to kick in (or, worse yet, the meeting never happens), and docking them pay for timecard issues or other extenuating factors that keep them from their work is similarly disingenuous – and illegal.
There are a lot of unknowns these days, but basic human decency should never be up for debate – especially now.
Cooler temps mean restaurants have to get creative to survive
(MARKETING) With winter approaching, restaurants are starting to find creative and sustainable ways to keep customers coming in… and warm.
Over the last decade we have seen a change in the approach to clientele experiences in the restaurant business. It’s no longer just about how good your food is, although that is still key. Now you have to give your customers an experience to remember. There are now restaurants that feed you in the dark, and others who require you to check all your clothes at the door. Each of these provides an experience to remember alongside food that ranges from good to exquisite, depending on your taste.
Now, however, the global pandemic has rearranged how we think about dining. We can no longer just shove people into a building and create a delectable meal. If you’ve relied mostly on people coming into your restaurant, you may struggle to survive now.
The new rules of keeping clients safe means setting things up outside is the easiest means of keeping large numbers of them from crowding inside. Because of this, weather has become a key influence in a company’s daily income. Tents that were a gimmick before, only needed by presumptuous millennials, are now a requirement to keep afloat. People are rushing to make their yards into lawns that bring some in some fancy feeling.
The ties to the sun in some areas are so strong that cloudy days have been shown to drop attendance as much as 14% for the day. This will become the more apparent the colder it gets. For me, I always mention hibernation weight in the winter, when all I want to do is curl up and eat at home. Down here in Texas we are already finding cooler weather, drops into the 70s even in August and September. We are all assuming a cold winter ahead. So, a bit of foresight is finding a means of keeping your guests warm for the winter ahead.
San Francisco restaurants have started with heat lamps during their cooler evenings. Fiberglass igloos have also been added to outdoor seating as a means of temperature control. A few places down in the Lonestar state keep roaring fires going for their outdoor activities. While others actually keep you running in between beverages by encouraging volleyball matches. This is the new future ahead of us, and being memorable is the way to go.
Canva is catching on to content trends, launches in-app video editor
(MARKETING) Canva launches an in-platform video editor, allowing access to their extensive library of assets and animations to create high-quality videos
Video content consumption is on the rise, and the graphic design platform, Canva, took note of it. The $40 billion Australian startup has entered the video business and announced the launch of its video editor, Canva Video Suite.
The end-to-end video editor is an easy-to-use platform that anyone, no matter the skill level, can create, edit, and record high-quality videos. Best of all, it’s free, and it’s available on both desktop and mobile platforms.
The tool has hundreds of editable templates that you can use to create videos for several online platforms like TikTok, YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook. Some templates can be used to create workplace and business videos, while other templates are perfect for personal videos. There are playful themes you can use to create that spooky video just in time for Halloween or make a laugh-out-loud video to send to your best friend! With a wide range of selections, in no time you’ll start creating your very own video masterpiece with Canva.
What else does the video software offer and what can you do with it? Well, let me tell you:
Collaborate in real-time
Having everyone on the same page is important and Canva’s video suite takes that into account. To collaborate with others, you simply send them an invite, and together you can edit videos, manage assets, and leave comments to give your input.
Video timeline editing and in-app recording
Similar to building presentation slides, Canva’s scene-based editor simplifies video editing by using a timeline approach. With it, you can quickly reorder, crop, trim, and splice your videos. Also, users don’t need to leave the platform to record that last-minute shot; within the app, you can shoot and record yourself from a camera or a screen.
Library of assets
The video editor is filled with an array of watermark-free stock footage, icons, images, illustrations, and even audio tracks that you can choose from – but if you really need something that is not on their platform – you can upload your own image, video, or audio track.
Animate with ease
Although still in the process of being released, soon you will be able to add animations of both text and visual elements in just a few simple clicks. Among others, animation presets that fade, pan, and tumble will help you transform your video and take it to a whole other level.
Overall, Canva Video Suite is very intuitive and has all the essential things you need to create a video. And by streamlining the video creation process, Canva is ensuring it enters the video marketplace with a bang.
“One of Canva’s guiding principles is to make complex things simple, and our new Video Suite will allow everyone to unlock the power of video, whether that’s to market their business, make engaging social posts, or express their creativity,” said Rob Kawalsky, Head of Product at Canva.
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