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Should you be blogging?

Blogging has become as much of a buzzword as “hash tags”. But much like hash tag, many people don’t really understand the purpose of it. Realtors are told “you should blog.”  But why?

To answer this let’s look at what blogging is, its purpose and why Realtors blog.

What is blogging?

It is simply a modern term for writing, which can be published on a blog on your website, a blog on someone else’s website or on a stand-alone blog. Its purpose is to get people to read it and establish yourself as an expert.

Sounds great right? Write a blog, people read it, they will think you’re an expert and contact you.

While creating a blog and writing content sounds easy, there are a few realities to consider (don’t worry – it’s not all doom and gloom):

  • Just because you write a blog doesn’t mean people will read it. The concept of writing a blog and having thousands of people of read it is lovely, but unfortunately naïve. In order to have people read your blog you need to promote it on social networks, through advertising, with search engine optimization (SEO) on Google and or other forms of promotion.
  • Many real estate salespeople are blogging to increase their Google ranking. This can work if done on a regular basis, but it takes a fair bit of blogging to do this. Numbers vary depending on the competition but it can take hundreds of blogs to improve overall website ranking. And it takes many blogs for individual stories to rank (unless they are for a very specific local keyword without much competition).
  • People searching the topic in your blog could be anywhere in Canada, the continent or the world. This is especially true if the blog is based on non-local keywords (for example, “10 ways to stage your home” or “How to enhance curb appeal”).
  • Most people read a blog and leave. If you look at the analytics of blogs, most people read the blog content (which they found on an Internet search or through a social media post), then leave. Simply put, they wanted that information but nothing more.

How to blog with a purpose:

Hopefully the above didn’t scare you off too much. Blogging can be a useful tool; it just needs to be done with purpose. To help get the biggest bang for the buck (or effort if you’re writing them yourself, which is great if you have the time), here are a few tips to get you started:

Pick local keywords.

Blog about local topics that are likely to come on Google searches and be popular in social networks in your area. For example, “The top 5 condos in Edmonton” or “The best schools in Fredericton”.

Topics and format:

Choose topics that people are interested in, such as upcoming events, charities, neighbourhoods, schools and market updates (and what that means for them). Then choose a writing format that will grab their attention. List-style blogs are generally the most popular, as are how-to, thought leadership, interviews, cheat sheets, checklists and controversial topics.

Do it regularly.

To be successful in blogging you need to build momentum. By posting often you can build a following/readership. More people will share them – and possibly most importantly, many people won’t contact you until they’ve seen your work at least a few times.

Be an expert.

Don’t copy content. Many salespeople have companies that post content to their blogs regularly. However, this is too often copied content, meaning it shows up on more than one site. This can lead to your website being penalized by Google, so you won’t show up in Google searches. It also tends to be generic and doesn’t define you as an expert. Hiring someone to do your blogging for you can be a powerful tool, but if it isn’t expert-defining original content that will get your blogs found and respected, then it isn’t an effective use of time and dollars.

Guest blog.

Posting on your own blog can build your expert status in your own circles…but guest blogging (posting on other people’s blogs or other media sites) can introduce you to entirely new circles. Finding the best guest blogging opportunities can be difficult, but a good way to do this is to search your city’s name on Facebook and look for the publications with the biggest followings (and for bonus points the ones with the most social engagements, which generally means higher actual readership).

Promote your posts.

If you’ve created the blog posts on your own website blog or dedicated blog, you’ll need to promote them to get them read more. This means not only sharing on your social networks (which reaches your own contacts/friends), but also doing promoted posts, asking friends to share it and doing SEO.

Have a call to action.

Possibly the most important aspect of this article is to add a “call to action” to your blog post. This means adding something to it that encourages people to interact with you. This can be a lead-generation form, including your phone number and encouragement to call, or a link to your highest-converting website page or blog post. Just be sure to make it persuasive –because you worked too hard to get someone to your blog post to not have him or her take the next step!