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Why Should I Write My Own Blog Posts?

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Consider this …

A real estate agent (lets’ call her Ronella Isabella Fontaine) hears from a fellow office-mate that blogging is the way of the future and decides to start a blog. So, Ronella starts a real estate blog. She posts a few market reports and a couple posts about buying and selling a home in her area.

After 3 months, Ms. Fontaine gets bored and has no interest in maintaining her blog any longer. However, she still wants to be a part of the “way of the future” and has a partial understanding of how blogging could benefit her business. So, instead of writing her own posts, she hires a couple people to write posts FOR her and her blog.

Does this defeat the whole (or part of) the purpose of blogging?

See, I think that an important facet of real estate blogging is allowing the public (the home buying and selling and investing consumers) to get an “inside” look at who YOU are … not only as a real estate agent, but a as a HUMAN. And personally, I LOVE to write blog posts. My blog is me.

But, as anyone who has ever met me would confirm, I am not LIKE many other people out there.

However, most real estate agents are in the business of real estate because they like people/negotiating/seeing their faces on bus benches/wearing polyester/having unpredictable income/whatever. Rarely do people (like Ronella) think,

“Wow. I love writing about real estate stuff and engaging an online audience, maybe I should become a real estate agent.”

So if people, like Ronella, get bored of blogging or do not “have time” to blog for themselves but still want the “benefits” that blogging can bring to the real estate business … is hiring a writer okay?

I am not talking about a guest-blogger or a co-blogger. I am talking about a ghost-writer … someone who writes posts for you, instead of you. If this IS okay, then I want to know…

Why Should I Write My Own Blog Posts?

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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65 Comments

65 Comments

  1. ines

    July 29, 2008 at 4:15 pm

    Maybe she’s boring….and probably better that she doesn’t write! 🙂

    seriously…..I don’t see why you couldn’t have other people writing for your blog, I do have a problem with those other people writing under your name as if they were you. There’s a j’nais c’est qua….we can call it deceiving factor behind it?

  2. Dan Green

    July 29, 2008 at 4:19 pm

    Ronella hiring a writer is MORE than okay — it’s essential. Her abandoned blog is less helpful to clients than having no blog at all.

    Disclaimer: I write real estate and mortgage content each day for Bring the Blog members.

  3. Mike Mueller

    July 29, 2008 at 4:21 pm

    M-
    I think Ghost writing – No.

    However I do see your point and perhaps a twice weekly interview would be fine.

    Yesterday I sat down with Mariana and we discussed how to properly price a home to sell. Here’s what she says…

  4. Laurie Manny

    July 29, 2008 at 4:22 pm

    It seems wrong to have other people write your entire blog, especially under your name. Although I haven’t used a ghost writer to date, I can see some benefits to using one to supplement my blog. Community posts, area information, upcoming events would be OK. Template market reports could easily be done by somebody else, its just dropping numbers in.

    The real estate updates? Buyer and Seller information? Advise regarding anything RE related? No Way! That should be pure you.

  5. Todd Carpenter

    July 29, 2008 at 4:23 pm

    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with buying content that may be of value to your readers. Where I object is when someone tries to represent it as their content. As if they wrote it.

  6. Larry Yatkowsky

    July 29, 2008 at 5:22 pm

    As evidenced from the previous valid comments, finding a consensus on this question will I think, prove diverse if not impossible.

    But allow me to seek your opinion:

    “Why Should I Write My Own Blog Posts”

  7. The Harriman Team

    July 29, 2008 at 5:30 pm

    As Todd pointed out, buying some valuable content once in a while is OK, especially if it’s content you weren’t aware of or that might be breaking news that no one else has heard before. But, I’m a big believer in self-sufficiency and in doing things myself. If I’m gonna have a blog, I’m gonna write the stuff that goes in it, whether it’s good or bad. If it’s gonna fail, I want to know the responsibility rests with me, and likewise if it thrives. I guess it’s pride of ownership and a sense of accomplishment that makes it worthwhile. My lowly little blog just got a PR2 in the recent update, and I know it’s because of MY hardwork, not somebody else’s. I know that’s nothing compared to some of the heavy hitters, but to me and my newborn blog, it’s a BIG DEAL.

  8. Holli Boyd

    July 29, 2008 at 5:59 pm

    I use other people’s work and credit them but I wrote all the local stuff and local re matters. For example, I use that Reed guy that the KW newsletter sends out cause he knows a whole lot more about mortgages and financing then I do …. unless I am writing about a specific situation (I have a post coming up about down payment programs from my perspective and my experience).

    Just want to say I jumped to a PR of 2 too 🙂 Really made my day!

  9. Matt Kelly

    July 29, 2008 at 6:43 pm

    Is it ok if the President has speech writers? The idea is to engage the audience and distribute meaningful content.

    There’s also an element of “writing for the press/media” which is important for some people. I’m not suggesting that everyone hire a spin doctor, insomuchas being able to author content that is meaningful enough for a reporter to pick it up.

    One other thing I’ve done in the past…..I’ve turned blogs into press releases and vise versa and blasted them out through PR Web and 247pressrelease.com. There’s nothing wrong with that is there?

    BTW…I like Dan Greens writing style. It’s not bias or controversial. Just right down the middle facts. For lots of people it’s good, relavant content which mixes nicely with some originally authored ideas.

    Interesting topic.

  10. Matt Stigliano

    July 29, 2008 at 6:52 pm

    I don’t think I would ever have someone write for me, but I guess I can see the value in using some one else’s posts. I don’t think I would do it for local stuff, but perhaps for important general real estate info. Say for instance Jeff X offered me a piece about mortgages…I’d probably jump at the chance as despite only having heard of him in the last few weeks, I like the guy and like what he has to say (and as a side note, have yet to have a lender respond when I asked them what they thought of ratespeed). I in fact, can’t wait for him to write here, cause I feel I’ll learn a lot. If he could disseminate that to my clients or readers, that would be something of value I would be bringing to the table. Of course, I wouldn’t sign his posts with my name either and would make sure the world knew he wrote it.

    It also goes back to the idea of whether or not you should bring personality to your blog which was discussed earlier…since I think you should do it, then it wouldn’t make much sense to have someone else’s personality shine through on my blog.

  11. Drew Meyers

    July 29, 2008 at 7:11 pm

    I really hope I never get to the point where I have someone else write a blog post in my name — that would defeat the purpose of blogging for me. I’ve always said voice and personality are a huge reason I read blogs — without them, there’s no real reason to read a blog when I can go to the main stream media to get my news instead.

  12. Chris Griffith

    July 29, 2008 at 7:19 pm

    I find that the people that read my blog and hire me for handling their real estate have a personality similar to mine or at least understand and appreciate my personality and mannerisms. I wonder if I had a ghost writer if client would feel bait and switched. They “thought” they were getting someone they knew and what showed up was different.

  13. Matthew Rathbun

    July 29, 2008 at 7:39 pm

    I struggle with this when trying to answer the question for students. My typical response is: Marketing about you and your services only works if you believe in it, do it consistently and reflects YOU. The issue with most agents is that they do what works for someone else. If someone hires you about a particular article that you wrote, and then asks you questions about it that you can’t answer… they’ll know that you didn’t write it and now you’ve started a relationship with a known lie, from a client who assumed that since you’re an agent you lie anyways.

    I think it’s problematic and has a simple fix. The blog can be all about “John Smith”, and the articles that are written can be authored by “The John Smith Team”. I think the “team” approach in this instance may have the added benefit of telling the consumer that your group has a philosophy; but perhaps you’re too busy to write it out because you work with clients. Your assistants or team members write your thoughts out as a benefit to consumers.

    That’s one approach…. I happen to ghost write for certain folks, but only on specific issues where the client needs help with ONE issue and usually I only do this if it’s an attorney who has asked for help. Mainly because I am not an attorney and do not directly work for their office. However, I think that any ‘ghost writer’ must insist that the person hiring them to do so, pre-reads and approves post before it’s made public. The “name” on the blog is the one who is ultimately responsible for the content and the liability and accuracy. I am sure that Dan Green is an exceptional writer and very knowledgeable, but there are caveats to Virginia that make us unique in a short-bus kinda way. I wouldn’t want to have those issues / laws violated by a well intentioned writer…

  14. Jennifer in Louisville

    July 29, 2008 at 7:40 pm

    For me, I think authenticity and a sincere interest/passion – comes through in the writings to the reader. Their personality. Their interests. Their expertise. All should come through to the reader. A ghost writer simply doesn’t have the knowledge of the little details (like: whats a good dish at the local restaurant in the area, etc), that give a blog true personality.

  15. Julia

    July 29, 2008 at 8:14 pm

    Writing a blog is not just about providing information to your market, it also offers you opportunity to keep up on what you need to know to keep your professional edge. Where that dividing line is between what has to come directly from you and what you can extract from someone or something else is the age-old question every CEO, large or small, has to deal with. What can you use that will reflect you, not someone else. It takes time, it takes thought, but when you give to others, you’re also getting the benefit. I think readers ultimately know the difference.

  16. Mariana Wagner

    July 29, 2008 at 8:20 pm

    Ines – Ronella may have been oring at first, but wait until she had a few Mojitos! (lol!)

    I am all for co-authors and guest authors. This post was intended to get feedback on “bloggers” who do not write their own posts, but hire out that “task” to others who write stuff in their name.

    Dan – Thank you for your insight. I appreciate having supplemental content for a blog for the times when you “can’t think of what to write” or when you are “too busy to write” and especially for the times when you want an article about a facet of the real estate profession that you are not an expert of (ex. I can’t write mortgage articles)
    I see that “bring the Blog even promotes “Heck, you never even have to write at all!” and that is the part that I am addressing with this post.

    When does it stop mattering that the personality of the blog is not that of the agent it represents?

    Mike – I love the idea of an interview. THAT would bring 2 personalities into the mix, and could be VERY engaging.

    Laurie – You make a very valid point: The posts that are more templated, like market reports, COULD be done by someone other than the blog owner, as there (usually) is not a lot of “personality” in those posts to begin with. (However, a market report with attitude would be a great read IMHO.)

  17. ines

    July 29, 2008 at 8:30 pm

    Talking about adding a little “umph” to market reports – here’s an example of what I did to my last market report:

    So if you have some pocket change laying around (like $24,000 worth), remember you will be able to afford a parking space at The Venture in sought after Aventura.

  18. Dan Green

    July 29, 2008 at 8:37 pm

    @Mariana — I agree with your comment and know that the Bring the Blog members who generate the most new business from their blogs are the ones that do add personal content at times and do market their blog with a little bit of hustle.

  19. Mariana Wagner

    July 29, 2008 at 8:44 pm

    Todd – That is partially my point. Is it EVER okay pass something off as yours, when it is not – even if you have permission?

    Larry – I was hoping for varied answers when I wrote this post. Personally, I will always be the author of my own posts (aside from guest/co-bloggers). But, like I mentioned before … that is me. I am curious how other bloggers see the use of ghost-written content.

    Wayne and Pat – I guess I err on the side of agreeing with you on that – at least for myself. I want to know that my success (or failure) is my own. However – that may not be a viable business plan for other agents.

    Holli – Crediting your guest authors (like David Reed) is one thing. But what about having someone just writing content FOR you?

    Matt – Interesting. I never thought about comparing blogging to presidential speech writing. I don’t know if I would compare them, actually. I DO agree that there needs to be a degree of talent and calculation behind blog writing… But,

    If you do not have the time or talent or whatever to maintain a blog and there are a multitude of other way to generate business, then maybe you should just do the “other” things?

  20. Mariana Wagner

    July 29, 2008 at 8:55 pm

    Matt S – That is the ultimate dilemma: Do you use a blog to just convey information? Or also as a tool to introduce potential clients to you and who you are?

    Drew – I see “personality” as an important facet of maintaining a blog. It is an introduction to who I am and how i do business.

    Chris – “Bait and switched” is an interesting way to look at a blog that is wholly authored by someone who is not the blog owner. We get a lot of people who “like” us before they meet us. That is because of our blog.

    Matthew – Ah! That is a great point, regardless of whether a post is guest written on ghost written. The blog owner MUST validate the post and make sure it is accurate to their local standards, situations and laws.

    Jennifer – Are the “details” of a blog post what helps make it successful?

    Julia – Yes. Blogging makes me more competent as an agent – just by the simple fact that I do way more research on things than I used to. That, alone, is very valuable.

  21. Mariana Wagner

    July 29, 2008 at 8:56 pm

    Ines – niiiice. That is a great addition to a market report.

  22. Rob Hahn

    July 29, 2008 at 11:18 pm

    My take:

    It’s perfectly fine to have a ghostwriter for your blog.

    However…

    If the substance of your posts is something that a ghostwriter can write, then you probably shouldn’t be blogging at all. If the substance is something that a ghostwriter cannot write, then you’re not likely saving much time.

    In other words, if your posts are not chock full o’ expert real estate facts and opinions that establish your bona fides, then they’re just fluff. Sometimes fluff is good, but not all the time. If your ghostwriter knows that much about real estate and your market, you probably should just hire that person to be an agent in your office.

    So for you to display your wealth of knowledge, wisdom, and expertise about all things real estate… you’re going to have to do a significant amount of work — at least having the writer interview you, then turning those words into finely crafted English. That is neither timesaving nor cheap. You may need to compile all the info, write it up, provide direction to the ghostwriter, set forth the general narrative, etc. etc. Well, by the time you’re through with that, you might as well just write the darn thing yourself.

    There is a third possibility: you yourself don’t know much about real estate. In that case, may I suggest spending less time blogging and more time learning about the business?

    This does not apply to specialized knowledge, like law or accounting. In such a case, just send your customer to a law blog or some such.

    -rsh

  23. Laurie Manny

    July 29, 2008 at 11:53 pm

    Mariana, I agree with adding a lil sumptin to the market reports and do when I can, which is why I still write them myself.

    Rob, I couldn’t agree with you more. Bloggers who don’t know enough about real estate and hire ghost bloggers to write are presenting themselves as competent Realtors, which is what the consumer believes they are getting when they work with them. The reality is more than a little scary. If a blogger has to hire a ghost writer because they don’t have the basic knowledge they either should educate themselves in a hurry or get the hell out of the business.

  24. Sean Rafferty, CMPS

    July 30, 2008 at 12:40 am

    nice post + great comments = a change in thinking!

    I’m a BTB client of Dan Green’s and have gotten plenty of good juice from end users (consumers)

    Definitely has added to my sales collateral and helped my “appearance”

    fyi, I’m a very well rounded Mortgage Planner that has taken my knowledge beyond what just Barry & Sue tell me via MMG!

    That being said, I haven’t been plugging BTB for their posts (I copy/paste to Typepad, though I did click the feature in BTB to give credit to BTB… just doesn’t show in the html paste… I’m pinging Dan @ that tonight!)

    I’ve been motivated in the past by Todd C, Brian B, & Mike M’s work to do more (funny enough, if you check my tweets from last night, you’ll see I was working on my blog quite a bit… looking better, but still not up to my standards, just got a plug today on how to make Altos Research widgets smaller – btw, there’s my plug for those still reading this… check out https://altosresearch.com …really good data and some of it’s free for your blog!)

    There you have it… the true confessions of a ghost writer user. Shhh, just don’t comment on my blog and give it away! LOL! Can you imagine that! That’d suck!

  25. Bill Lublin

    July 30, 2008 at 1:19 am

    Marianna;
    You’ve been making the real point all along in this discussion. Whether you add content personally, or purchase content to reprint, the final product will determine what the consumer sees, and therefore how the consumer interacts with the owner of the blog.

    Having a service like Bring the Blog does give you those days off, and still populates the blog with information that may not have been what you would have chosen. Or they might provide you with the start of a blog you generate yourself.

    I don’t disagree with Laurie that you shouldn’t be representing yourself as more educated or experienced then you are, but that may not be the issue of using another writer. It may be time, or it may be a lack of comfort with the writing process. Bottom line is I think you’ll get out what you put in –

  26. first time home buyers loan

    July 30, 2008 at 4:23 am

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  27. Mack in Atlanta

    July 30, 2008 at 6:32 am

    Wouldn’t having someone else write your blog posts be like buying links. It’s just not right. I am not opposed to a guest writer, just passing off someone else’s work as your own.

  28. Mariana

    July 30, 2008 at 7:04 am

    Rob – You bring up some great points… It is almost like a catch 22 no matter how you look at it.

    Bill – I guess this is where the road forks. One one side of the spectrum there are some folks may want a blog purely for SEO reasons and may not care at all if the posts are even read, nor do they care how they are perceived by their audience. Having a full-time ghost-writer could be an excellent option for this person. The other side of the spectrum is the blogger who is wholly engaging, caring more about the conversation than SEO. I guess it is where you fall in the spectrum and WHY you are choosing to blog that will determine how you view ghost-writing.

  29. Mariana

    July 30, 2008 at 7:08 am

    Mack – The interesting part about buying links or having a full-time ghost writer is that both of those are viable ways of doing business …

  30. Mariana

    July 30, 2008 at 9:20 am

    fthbl – What do you think about having a ghost writer for leaving comments?

  31. Dan Green

    July 30, 2008 at 9:30 am

    @ #31 LOL

    @ #29 The only reason to blog is to generate new business — just like anything else in marketing. The difference is that every other type of marketing a “throw-dollars-at-it” solution and blogging is a “spend-time-on-it” solution. Time, of course, is our only inventory as salespeople so there comes a point at which blogging is no longer cost-effective. This is the point that Bill, Todd and others are making.

    Some people generate a lot of new business from their blog(s) and other people generate none. I would argue that the blog as a marketing medium, however, is equally important to both because if you’re not blogging every day, your clients will get their information from somebody that is.

    Real estate markets changes daily and so should your content. And if you don’t have time to blog every day, make like the major newspapers and use third-party sources — ghost writers, Inman news feeds, Bring the Blog or otherwise. The key is to attract eyeballs, keep them, and convert them.

    @ #31 Still LOL

  32. Benn Rosales

    July 30, 2008 at 9:31 am

    I think you have to determine what you’re writing for first:

    a. longtail/seo
    b. demonstrating who you are as a person/expert

    If it’s both then great, you can have ghosts and yourself writing. If it is for local longtail, then it really doesn’t matter so long as what is bring written is tailored for local.

    If you are writing to be a local expert and demonstrating your personal self, then the choice is clear.

    What a lot of people miss is that the copy on a 1.0 site could be tailored to demonstrate your personal side- a blog isn’t always required, but if you intend to rank highly, then the blog is the best option.

    There are so many angles to reaching a consumer, it’s really a matter of defining who and what you want to accomplish, and then planning the shortest route to bliss.

    As for ghost comments, I don’t think it ever mattered to start with. I personally would have a hard time engaging a paid spectator in a meaningful and truthful conversation.

  33. Glenn fm Naples

    July 30, 2008 at 9:40 am

    By writing one’s own material there are some benefits that can be achieved – learning more about the subject matter via research and improving your own personal writing skills.

    A ghost writer used in a manner where the ideas and major points come from the blogger is fine if there is a lack of time available. I do agree with others that the post should be read over and approved prior to going public.

    One item not discussed about writing content is the use of an editor to edit the article.

    Does anyone use an editor to review their articles prior to posting?

  34. Mariana

    July 30, 2008 at 10:22 am

    Dan – “The difference is that every other type of marketing a “throw-dollars-at-it” solution and blogging is a “spend-time-on-it” solution.” You know, that is a good way to look at blogging, too.

    Now, I don’t think you need to blog everyday to have a successful blog. However, I do agree that resources like BTB can help a blogger have a bigger, better, badder blog. (Yes. I like alliteration.)

    Benn – EXACTLY. A blogger needs to figure out their goals and intentions with their blog before they can determine whether or not a ghost writer can be a part of their overall business plan.

    Glenn – An editor would be a great feature. In fact, I would wage a good bet that multiple bloggers would hire a Real Estate Blogging Editor if there was one for hire. Hmmm … DO I smell a business opportunity for someone?

  35. Glenn fm Naples

    July 30, 2008 at 11:49 am

    Mariana – it is not a new concept so there should be an individual that does editting. Just need to find someone that is good. 🙂 Preferably one that has a journalistic editor background. Without the real estate background may have a different perspective more towards the readers/public.

  36. Ben Martin, Va Assn of REALTORS

    July 30, 2008 at 1:22 pm

    A real estate blogging editor!?!?!? Ha! What would happen to the blogger’s personality?

  37. Mariana

    July 30, 2008 at 1:30 pm

    Well, I was thinking an editor would be helpful for structure and grammar more than voice and attitude.

  38. Ben Martin, Va Assn of REALTORS

    July 30, 2008 at 1:37 pm

    Oh, the former aren’t really necessary on a real estate blog. 😉

    Seems I helped stir up a hornet’s nest about spelling, felines and grammar on real estate blogs at Inman last week. (sorry for the confusion, Mizzle, I tried to comment in a /snark tag on #37, but WordPress killed it.)

  39. Todd Carpenter

    July 30, 2008 at 1:39 pm

    Jessica Sweesey was my editor while I blogged at Inman. I gave her carte blanche to change the wording my posts, fix the grammar & spelling, and change the titles. I would love to have an editor for every post I write. Indeed Mariana, ideas and attitude is all that I care about.

  40. Ruthmarie Hicks

    July 30, 2008 at 2:54 pm

    I didn’t have time to read all the comments. I think “canned stuff” that appears EVERYWHERE on the web could harm the blog in the eyes of google. So the “blogger” needs to choose the ghost writer with care. I saw someone on AR saying they would “sell blogs” for a $1.00 a pop…um seriously – how many places has that content appeared? 100? 200? 2000????

    However, I can see where someone might hire someone to supplement their writing. Some people are very, very busy and if writing doesn’t come easily – bringing in a writer would be beneficial provided the owner of the blog is given sufficient input. The owner of the blog needs to think about what will be written in their name…and direct the content in the proper direction. It can’t run on “auto pilot” to be truly personal. This could be expensive, but if the price is too good to be true – it won’t work.

  41. Glenn fm Naples

    July 30, 2008 at 3:42 pm

    Ben – I looks like others have defined the difference between a writer and editor.

    Ruthmarie – if someone does use “canned stuff” which some do – it should be limited to a set number of the article (limited) and the ultimate user should still massage the article to make it somewhat unique.

  42. Bob

    July 30, 2008 at 5:57 pm

    Ghost written material by itself has little SEO benefit.

  43. Jay Thompson

    July 30, 2008 at 6:18 pm

    “Ghost written material by itself has little SEO benefit.”

    Bob – are you saying Google can tell who is pressing the keys???

    Assuming the content is unique, how can a search engine possibly know if the blogger or a ghost writer wrote the post?

  44. Ben Martin, Va Assn of REALTORS

    July 30, 2008 at 7:03 pm

    @Jay, don’t talk about the Google like that. You’ll only anger it.

  45. Daniel Bates

    July 31, 2008 at 5:03 am

    I am a real estate agent and write my own material. I often have people tell me they love my articles and ask me follow-up questions, so I think that would create an awkward moment if I didn’t write them myself. I honestly think that people that use ghost writers are committing fraud. They’re passing off other peoples thoughts as their own. Now that’s fine for the person who wrote it, because they were well aware and getting paid to do so, but what about the public who may be basing some of their decision to use you on a particular post?

    Fortunately, most of the so called ghost writers in real estate are really just copying and pasting articles from newspapers and other media sources. Unfortunately, I’ve had several of my articles plagiarized and found that when I contacted the agents, they tell me that they had no idea because the articles are written by someone else. The agent/webmaster is still responsible for any content though, so you may want to consider your source if using a ghost writer and the liability they are getting you into.

  46. Brad Nix

    July 31, 2008 at 6:46 am

    I have a real estate blog that is open to many guest writers. My agents at Maxsell use it to brand their personal service, our attorney partners use it to highlight key issues in commercial contracts, and I have local business owner guest write to add the entrepreneurial spirit to the blog. However, I have never had anyone ghost write for my own voice. I think it’s much better to have guest writers add their own unique personalities and ideas to your blog than to fake it yourself.

  47. Jay Valento - Long Beach real estate

    July 31, 2008 at 10:55 am

    If you grow your real estate practice to a team and have a lot of buyers or sellers in escrow, then you hire a transaction coordinator to set in to assist you with your clients.

    Would ghost writing be like hiring an assistant or coordinator? Perhaps you delegate your topics and categories to them to research and write a post that represents your beliefs about real estate….while it does not take up a tremendous amount of time to write a post for a blog, what else could you or someone be doing during that time?

  48. Bob

    July 31, 2008 at 12:52 pm

    No Jay. I’m suggesting that ghost written material usually isn’t compelling or original enough to generate links to it. Publishing content just for the sake of having more content isn’t an effective long term SEO strategy going forward.

  49. Cheryl Allin

    July 31, 2008 at 1:22 pm

    I don’t think having a ghost writer for your blog is a smart idea, especially if you’re trying to develop your own ‘voice’ in the marketplace. Basically your blog sells you – but with a ghost, they’re getting someone else’s voice. I can see the need to save time, but that’s where you get an assistant to setup google alerts, surf other blogs, you dictate ideas you have for posts and have your assistant dig up some research…then YOU write the post in your own voice. That’s the best of both worlds IMHO.

  50. Mariana Wagner

    July 31, 2008 at 1:22 pm

    Ruthmarie – I am not talking about canned content or copyright infringement. I am talking about hiring someone to write an original post, or a series of original posts FOR you.

    Daniel – I do not believe that ghost writers and the agents who use them are committing fraud. If there is a legal agreement between the writer and the blogger, I do not see how that could be fraud. However, I do see your point that if a client chooses to work with you based off of an article they thought you wrote, then there may be an issue, if you are not as competent as the person who wrote it.

    Brad – I like this: “I think it’s much better to have guest writers add their own unique personalities and ideas to your blog than to fake it yourself.”

    Jay – I see your point, but TC work is a task (or series of tasks), whereas writing a blog post is WAY more than something that can be delegated to someone who can follow directions well.

    Bob – I guess that makes sense, if the writer is a mediocre writer. But if they are a great writer who understands SEO, then I do not see a difference.

    I guess there really is not a right or wrong way of going about this IMHO. What I am learning through this discussion is that, ultimately, it depends on your initial PURPOSE/GOAL/REASON for blogging. Some people obviously see it as a viable resource for internet lead generation with a side effect of educating consumers. Others see it as a place to converse with and educate an audience of potential clients and referrals, with a side effect of SEO.

    Personally, I find myself near the middle, with a heavy leaning toward the latter. Because of this, I do not see myself ever hiring someone to write FOR me. (But the busier I get, I DO see myself looking for more people to write WITH me.)

  51. Mariana Wagner

    July 31, 2008 at 1:23 pm

    Cheryl – I like the “blog assistant” title. I am going to figure out how to fit that into my new business plan. Who’d a thought that THAT would be a job description ever? LOL!

  52. Bob

    July 31, 2008 at 4:03 pm

    But if they are a great writer who understands SEO, then I do not see a difference.

    The on page aspect of SEO is a minor factor.

  53. Ruthmarie Hicks

    July 31, 2008 at 4:21 pm

    Right…that’s what I thought. If you have a professional who is VERY busy and they hire a writer to help them “get their ideas out there” I don’t think its a bad thing. This doesn’t come cheaply, but for those who are busy with buyers and sellers, it is well worth the outlay.

    When someone hawks $1.00 a blog – then that can really hurt the blog. How many times have they sold that “content”? Once? Twice, 500, 5000 times????

  54. Jay Thompson

    July 31, 2008 at 5:45 pm

    @Bob (#50) I’ll buy all that…

  55. Rich Jacobson

    July 31, 2008 at 5:53 pm

    I think there may be certain industries or businesses where ghost writing would be acceptable. Real estate, however, has such a strong relational element to it, I personally would find it misleading and disingenuous to my potential clients to convey one thing in my writing and be something else in person. That’s the true beauty of blogging – it removes the mystery dating period between agent and client. When you finally meet, it’s as though they’ve known you for ages, and the comfort level is established much more earlier on in the process.

  56. Mariana Wagner

    July 31, 2008 at 7:15 pm

    Rich – You are right. There are some industries where the voice in totally unimportant. I agree that Real Estate is not one of those industries (for the most part). In fact, one of my FAVORITE things about blogging is the phone calls where someone informs me that I AM their agent, based purely off of the blog posts that I have written … and before I have ever even spoken with them. No ghost writer can create that kind of phone call for me.

    Also, I begin to wonder…

    How do you manage your reputation when other people are writing in your stead? At what point do you lose control when you Ghost Ride the Blog?

  57. Jim Gatos

    August 1, 2008 at 6:37 am

    Marianna, when I first came to THIS blog I was on the verge of “chucking” it all in, and killing of the blog…

    After I was “talked” out of it by you guys, I revamped the blog, tried a couple of things, borrowed (with permission) a thing or two from you guys, (especially Jay Thompson, thanks!), and now htp://www.massrealestateguy.com is the result.

    I could never imagine having someone “ghost write” my posts; where would my personality be?

    I don’t want my blog to be boring. The only way I am finding this to shape up is to be more “liberal” with my posts, and to post daily or as often as possible if I have something to say.

    I am now averaging 1 sign up a week in the mls portion of my blog, and I think it’s due to the “BuyWorcesterNow” posts I am making. The informative local posts seem to do the trick..

    I just can’t see someone GhostWriting my posts; it would be a wierd feeling.

    Yes a blog can be a lot of work, but after a while, when it settles, then the post writing becomes easier and hopefully takes a little less time..

  58. Mariana

    August 1, 2008 at 3:42 pm

    Jim – You make a great point: “Yes a blog can be a lot of work, but after a while, when it settles, then the post writing becomes easier and hopefully takes a little less time..” Once you get in the groove, it WILL become easier.

  59. Steven Beam

    August 2, 2008 at 1:15 pm

    Blogging is a lot of work but learning the process makes writing it easier. I know a lot of local Realtors that use writers for their content pages on the old static websites.

    It isn’t for me. I really enjoy keeping up to date and I can honestly say spending the time to do the market reports on my own has helpped me more than once when on a listing appt. or out at a party and a friend asks me a question about a neighborhood I cover. I can spout information like a pro.

  60. Sue

    August 4, 2008 at 9:23 pm

    I think its important to write your own blogs for the most part because its important to get your personality in there…for interest and to build a bond with readers, hopefully potential clients. I guess I can see hiring someone once in a while to research and pull info together for you and then you can take it put your personality into it. Blogging is alot of work. Statistics gets boring, but I believe its of interest to people. Regarding hiring Ghost writers to leave comments…hmmm that seems kindof tacky to me.

  61. Mariana Wagner

    August 5, 2008 at 8:09 am

    Steven – I can’t even COUNT the times I have been able to spout off a bunch of great information that I learned while blogging. That is an awesome benefit IMHO.

    Sue – (The “comment” comment was just me being a bit snarky at comment #27.)

  62. Jay Thompson

    August 5, 2008 at 8:19 am

    “The “comment” comment was just me being a bit snarky at comment #27”

    Mariana being snarky? I’m shocked, shocked I tell ya! 😉

    Sadly, I see what appears to be “paid for” comments every day. What an absurd practice. Even more so given that most major spam filters snag these comments before they see the light of day. SO people paying someone else to comment is a complete waste of money.

  63. Mariana

    August 5, 2008 at 8:40 am

    Jay – I know … snarky is just so NOT me.

    You know, I would wage a good bet that the people who “pay commenters” do not know they are “paying for [spam] comments” … it is just part of the lovely package that people get when they purchase services from “I-will-get-your-site-to-rank-on-Google” SEO “experts”.

  64. Gordon Baker

    September 6, 2008 at 9:08 pm

    To write an informative blog that has substance you have to do some research. That means stepping outside your comfort zone, learning something new, organizing it and putting it into words. I’ve found that blogging makes me constantly seek more information, and therefore become a better agent.
    It also allows you to show the personal side and connect with your readers.

  65. naks

    March 8, 2009 at 1:48 am

    Well , i know one company who is giving Year hosting and free web designing professional training but to students and professionals only.i am too taking their guidance, they are just charging around $75 that’s all, as to get hosting and guidance for high level designing this cost is too low.
    Weather you an Artist, fashion designer, architect, student etc this is a very good start for your business & projects.make your blog, your website do any thing you want, their experts are always for you.

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Opinion Editorials

Sci-fi alert: Building cities on quantum networks becoming reality

(OPINION / EDITORIAL) The University of Bristol’s Quantum Engineering Tech Lab has created quantum networks that demonstrate the possibilities for future cities.

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Quantum network connections in theoretical city at night time.

The University of Bristol is home to the largest quantum entanglement-based computer network in the world. Its Quantum Engineering Technology Lab, led by Dr. Siddarth Joshi, has been spearheading the development of a method of encryption called Quantum Key Distribution that may soon revolutionize information security.

First, what is quantum computing, exactly? (Giving a concise answer to that question is sort of like nailing jelly to a wall, but here goes…)

Much like a light switch, a conventional computer circuit can only be in one of two states at a time: On (1) or off (0). That’s basically how binary code works – by representing information as a series of discrete on and off signals, or high and low energy states.

Quantum computing makes use of a third kind of state that exists between those two.

Think about it this way: If classical, binary computing models rely on energy states of “yes” and “no” to communicate data, quantum computing introduces a state of “maybe.” This is because at the quantum level, the photons that make up the information in a quantum computer can exist in multiple places (or energy states, if you prefer) at once – a phenomenon known as “entanglement.”

Entangled photons cannot be observed or measured (i.e., tampered with) without changing their state and destroying the information they contain. That means quantum computer networks are virtually hack proof compared to traditional networks.

This is where Dr. Joshi’s team is changing the game. While previous attempts to build a secure quantum computer network have been limited to just two machines, the QET Lab has been able to establish a quantum encrypted network between eight machines over a distance of nearly eleven miles.

As Dr. Joshi puts it, “until now, building a quantum network has entailed huge cost, time, and resource, as well as often compromising on its security which defeats the whole purpose. […] By contrast, the QET Lab’s vision is scalable, relatively cheap and, most important of all, impregnable.”

If it can be successfully scaled up further, quantum encryption has countless potential civic applications, such as providing security for voting machines, WiFi networks, remote banking services, credit card transactions, and more.

In order for an entire population to be able to utilize a quantum network, fiber optic infrastructure must first be made accessible and affordable for everyone to have in their homes. In that sense, quantum cities are still roughly two decades away, posits Dr. Joshi. The technology behind it is very nearly mature, though. A simpler application of quantum encryption is practically right around the corner – think quantum ATMs in as few as five years.

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Opinion Editorials

5 ways to grow your entrepreneur business without shaming others

(OPINION / EDITORIAL) We all need support as business owners. Let’s talk ideas for revenue growth as an entrepreneur that do not include shaming your competition.

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Entrepreneur women all talking around a meeting table.

The year 2020 has forced everyone to re-assess their priorities and given us the most uncertain set of circumstances we have lived through. For businesses and entrepreneurs, they were faced with having to confront new business scenarios quickly. Maybe your entrepreneur business was set to thrive as behaviors changed (maybe you already offered contactless products and services). Or, you were forced to add virtual components or find new revenue streams – immediately. This has been tough.

Every single person is having a hard time with the adjustments and most likely at different stages than others. We’re at the 6-month mark, and each of our timelines are going to look different. Our emotions have greeted us differently too, whether we have felt relief, grief, excitement, fear, hope, determination, or just plain exhaustion.

Now that we are participating in life a bit more virtually than in 2019, this is a good time to re-visit the pros and cons of the influence of technology and marketing outreach online. It’s also a great time to throw old entrepreneur rules out the window and create a better sense of community where you can.

Here’s an alluring article, “Now Is Not the Time for ‘Mom Shaming’”, that gives an example from about a decade ago of how the popularity of mommy bloggers grew by women sharing their parenting “hacks”, tips, or even recipes and crafting ideas via online posts and blogs. As the blog entries grew, so did other moms comparing themselves and/or feeling inadequate. Some of the responses were natural and some may have been coming from a place of defensiveness. Moms are not alone in looking for resources, articles, materials, and friends to tell us we’re doing ok. We just need to be told “You are doing fine.”

Luckily, some moms in Connecticut decided to declare an end to “Mom Wars” and created a photo shoot that shared examples of how each mom had a right to their choices in parenting. It seemed to reinforce the message of, “You are doing fine.” I don’t know about you, but my recent google searches of “Is it ok to have my 3-year old go to bed with the iPad” are pretty much destined to get me in trouble with her pediatrician. I’m hoping that during a global pandemic, “I am doing fine.”

Comparing this scenario to the entrepreneur world, often times your business is your baby. You have worn many hats to keep it alive. You have built the concept and ideas, nurtured the products and services with sweat, tears, and maybe some laughs. You have spent countless hours researching, experimenting, and trying processes and marketing tactics that work for you. You have been asked to “pivot” this year like so many others (sick of that word? Me too).

Here are some ideas for revenue growth as an entrepreneur (or at least, ideas worth considering if you haven’t already):

  1. It’s about the questions you ask yourself. How does your product or service help or serve others (vs. solely asking how do I get more customers?) This may lead to new ideas or income streams.
  2. Consider a collaboration or a partnership – even if they seem like the competition. “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” – African proverb
  3. Stop inadvertently shaming the competition by critiquing what they do. It’s really obvious on your Instagram. Try changing the narrative to how you help others.
  4. Revisit the poem All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten and re-visit it often. “And it is still true, no matter how old you are – when you go out into the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.”
  5. Join a community, celebrate others’ success, and try to share some positivity without being asked to do so. Ideas include: Likes/endorsements, recommendations on LinkedIn for your vendor contacts, positive Google or Yelp reviews for fellow small business owners.

It seems like we really could use more kindness and empathy right now. So what if we look for the help and support of others in our entrepreneurial universe versus comparing and defending our different way of doing things?

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Opinion Editorials

Can we combat grind culture and injustice with a nap?

(OPINION EDITORIALS) A global pandemic and a climate of racial injustice may require fresh thinking and a new approach from what grind culture has taught us.

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Sleeping cat with plant, fighting grind culture.

Information is delivered to us at warp speed with access to television, radio, and the internet (and more specifically, social media). We are inundated with messages. Oftentimes they’re personalized by something that a friend or family shared. Other times we manage them for work, school, or just keeping up with news. Many entrepreneurs already wear many hats and burn the midnight oil.

During this global pandemic, COVID-19, we have also seen a rise in awareness and attention to social injustice and systemic racism. This is not a new concept, as we all know. But it did feel like the attention was advanced exponentially by the murder of George Floyd on Memorial Day 2020. Many people and entrepreneurs felt called to action (or at least experienced self-reflection). And yet they were working at all hours to evolve their businesses to survive. All of this happening simultaneously may have felt like a struggle while they tried to figure out exactly they can do.

There are some incredible thought leaders – and with limited time, it can be as simple as checking them out on Instagram. These public figures give ideas around what to be aware of and how to make sure you are leveling up your awareness.

Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, Director of the Center for Antiracist Research – he has been studying anti-racism and has several books and interviews that help give language to what has been happening in our country for centuries. His content also delves into why and how white people have believed they are more than people of color. Here is a great interview he did with Brené Brown on her Unlocking Us podcast.

Tamika Mallory – American activist and one of the leading organizers of the 2017 Women’s March. She has been fighting for justice to be brought upon the officers that killed Breonna Taylor on March 13. These are among other efforts around the country to push back on gun control, feminist issues, and the Black Lives Matter movement.

Brené Brown – research professor at the University of Houston and has spent the last two decades studying courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy. She has been listening and engaging on how racism and our shame intersect. She also speaks about how people can reflect on themselves and where they can take action to better our society. She has some antiracism resources on her website.

With all of this information and the change in our daily routines and work habits (or business adjustments), what is a fresh approach or possibly a new angle that you haven’t been able to consider?

There is one social channel against grind culture that may not be as well-known. At an initial glance, you may even perceive this place as a spoof Twitter and Instagram that is just telling you to take a nap. But hold on, it’s actually much smarter than that. The description says “We examine the liberating power of naps. We believe rest is a form of resistance and reparations. We install Nap Experiences. Founding in 2016.”

It might be a great time for you to check out The Nap Ministry, inspired by Tricia Hersey. White people are called to action, and people of color are expressly told to give time to taking care of themselves. Ultimately, it goes both ways – everyone needs the time to recharge and recuperate. But people of color especially are being told to value their rest more than the grind culture. Yes, you’re being told you need to manage your mental health and include self-care in your schedule.

Through The Nap Ministry, Tricia “examines rest as a form of resistance by curating safe spaces for the community to rest via Collective Napping Experiences, immersive workshops, and performance art installations.”

“In this incredibly rich offering, we speak with Tricia on the myths of grind culture, rest as resistance, and reclaiming our imaginative power through sleep. Capitalism and white supremacy have tricked us into believing that our self-worth is tied to our productivity. Tricia shares with us the revolutionary power of rest.” They have even explored embracing sleep as a political act.

Let this allow you to take a deep breath and sigh – it is a must that you take care of yourself to take care of your business as well as your customers and your community. And yes, keep your drive and desire to “get to work”. But not at your expense for the old grind culture narrative.

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