Blogging for business
In an email exchange last week with a new client I wrote that I have likely lost as many potential clients as I won over through my real estate blog. I was mostly kidding. I’m fairly certain that I have gained a lot more clients than I’ve lost through my online efforts. But the flippant remark got me thinking about blogging as a marketing tool.
Here are my thoughts.
Online marketing efforts
The internet is an under-utilized marketing tool available to all real estate agents (to all small businesses) yet few take advantage of having their own soapbox to stand on. Few create their own platforms.
It is a wonderful way to help others. From the internet we can find the answers to almost any questions we have. Last week, I took apart my dishwasher and replaced a water intake valve all because the internet made it easy to know what to do and where to get the spare part. I saved myself $100, maybe more.
Reasons to start a real estate blog
It took about four years of real estate blogging before my real estate blog generated any revenue. That’s a long time to be writing into a void. Most agents give up long before that, but don’t let that stop you. There are dozens of good reasons to start a blog.
- It clarifies your thinking, which helps you explain things to others.
- It can also serve as a holding place for knowledge you learn.
- Through google analytics, blog comments and chat widget conversations, you will find out what is trending, what people are interested in and what they are not.
- It has one of the best ROIs of any marketing effort. Blogs are easy and cheap to set up and maintain yourself, much cheaper with better ROI than geographic farming, print media blitzing, and less time consuming than holding open houses every weekend, joining networking groups, door-knocking and other traditional marketing efforts.
- Blogging brings in clients who already feel that they know you, like you and can trust you. Your real estate blog attracts clients who have connected with what you have written. In my case, I find that my clients are often very much like me. We have instant rapport.
Here are some blogging tips
(for agents (and others) who read this blog and maybe are thinking of starting one — psst, you should)
- Write about what you know and what you learn. Blogging is really about sharing your knowledge.
- Try to keep a simple schedule of once or twice a week. Do it for six months or two years and see if you like it. You have to like it. And you have to do it long enough to find your voice. It gets easier. I remember sitting down an writing my very first blog post (in 1999). It took me a half an hour to write 100 words. Now I can bang out 500 words in half an hour!
- Never write about current clients, no matter how obliquely. They will know it’s them. Better yet, never write about anyone, any client, any agent no matter how good or bad.
- Add value.
- Do not waste your reader’s time. Answer the question they came for.
- Don’t bait and switch. Give them what they want.
- There is nothing as boring as listening to someone tell you about a meal they ate or a dream they had. The same can be said for listings. Don’t bore your readers with over-used house descriptions. If I read about another listing with a view that is stunning or a kitchen that is immaculate, I’ll set my hair on fire!
- Be yourself. Don’t try to please everyone.
- Tell it like you see it, but be kind. You don’t have all the information.
- Do it yourself. This is your best chance to connect with potential clients. There are agents who pay for content. That is so obvious. When I see titles like, “Five ways to get your Waterloo Region home ready for winter”, I don’t think the agent is being authentic. They have purchased generic content and added a flourish of localness.
- Write about what interests you. Don’t worry too much about key words and SEO. If you write a lot about what interests you, the key words and SEO will mostly take care of itself.
- Write for your target audience. The whole world can read your blog but who do you want to read it?
- Don’t sell, sell, sell. Instead, help, inform, educate, advise.
Kitchener Waterloo Real Estate Blogs
There are a lot of Realtors in Kitchener Waterloo, maybe more than 2000 if we include Cambridge. That means that there must be a lot of real estate blogs, right?
There are a lot of real estate websites, but not that many real estate blogs. That seems like a huge wasted opportunity. The internet is the first place most people go to when they have a question. If 10% of the local agents had a blog then we would have 200 but I did a quick internet search and found fewer than 10.
What is not a blog?
Is posting the monthly statistics from the board (KWAR) a blog?
No. Not a real estate blog!
Is buying generic content from a content provider and then adding the words ‘Waterloo Region’ to it a blog?
No. Not a real estate blog!
Is posting your listings, open houses and sales a blog?
No. Not a blog!
Is having a standard real estate website with a blog tab a blog?
Yes. That can be a blog, if…
What is a blog?
According to my online dictionary a blog is a regularly updated website or web page, typically one run by an individual or small group, that is written in an informal or conversational style.
That’s a blog.
What year is it?
I suppose I’m happy that I and only a handful of agents across this big country of ours are serious about our real estate blogs. We’ve carved out our little corners of the internet. And while our colleagues fight it out, spending big money on bus wraps, note pads, paid reviews, excessive signage, magazine ads, and hiring others to do the work for them, we can keep on doing what we are doing, away from the fray, away from the scrum, aside from the generic, common, traditional, all-inclusive marketing that they do.