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January 18, 2019

Is There a Blog in Your Future?

Ask any 10 REALTORS you know, "What's a Blog?" and you'll likely get a variety of responses, including a few "What’s a what??"

Contacts Create Contacts

Selling real estate requires constant contact with people. “Contacts create contracts.” Since the average term of home ownership is something like five to eight years, what method or methods do you use to keep yourself and your name in front of people? Prospecting consumes a good amount of time for most successful real estate professionals.

While the traditional methods of participating in community and church activities works well for many, blogging can increase your Internet presence and fit nicely into your web site and Internet marketing strategy. It can be very cost effective and for many, actually a very enjoyable way to prospect and keep your name in front of people. After all, the secret to success in marketing is no secret at all, whether you are Coca Cola or a one person real estate business, you work (and often pay) to keep your name (and brand) in front of people.

What’s a Blog?

The term Blog is “shorthand” for Web Log, a type of web site content that is updated on a regular basis. It is different from the “usual” website in that it may contain information written and submitted (posted) by various contributors in addition to the owner of the blog. A blog can be a one-sided or a multi-sided Internet “conversation.” When you comment on a blog, the comment remains attached to the blog, usually for public viewing. An e-mail alert is usually sent to the blog owner to notify him/her that there is a comment from a reader. This is a feature that makes a blog interactive. Authors can respond via additional notes or comments on the blog and/or via e-mail.

"A Blog is the web site you always wanted." Today, a blog, a domain, and an IDX solution can provide the marketing side of a web presence for many REALTORS® and the cost in dollars is nominal, there is, however, the cost of time.  Blogs often mix candor, informality, opinion and links to related information. A blog is much easier to work with than a usual web site or web site template. No programming skills are needed to create and maintain a blog, just content. Actually, if you are able to send informative e-mail messages, then you’ll have no trouble “blogging.”  Do you have a subject or a passion you want to share with the world? Start your own blog.

A blog is an ideal vehicle to showcase your expertise, interests and personality. Today, it seems like everyone is jumping on the blogging bandwagon. Blogs written by politicians, musicians, novelists, sports figures, newscasters and other notable figures can be found in the “blogosphere.”  Millions of Americans are now “blogging.” If you can think of an idea or subject, you can probably find a blog about it. These personal Internet journals have taken the Internet by storm. Thanks to easy-to-use programs and websites, the most technically challenged person can create a blog. 

Blogging has now reached the real estate industry and they can be used a number of ways, which will be explored later in this article. A blog is the perfect Internet publishing tool for some people but not for everyone. It is very easy to start one up, although it takes a certain discipline to seed it and keep it going.

Tips for Prospective Bloggers

1.  Understand what a Blog is and what it can do for you.

A Blog is a web publishing tool in the form of a frequently updated, online journal that blends personal opinion and factual information with observations and links to other resources. A Blog can showcase your expertise and afford you an opportunity to differentiate yourself from other real estate professionals. You can blog about your community, restaurants in your community, charities you support, or anything about which you have an interest or a passion. It does not have to be about real estate.

2.  State the Purpose of your Blog.

Your Blog can serve many purposes. Clearly state what it is your Blog intends to accomplish. Is it to position you as the neighborhood expert? Is it to service your clients and prospects? Is it to network and share helpful information with your hobby groups/clubs? Define your blog’s goal. Will it position you as the neighborhood real estate expert? Will it service your clients and prospects? Will it help you network with other real estate pros or with fellow hobbyists? Maybe you can set up and maintain a blog for an organization. Every REALTOR association and WCR Chapter could use a blog as a means to get information out and to solicit input and conversation, and at no cost and requiring no technology skills.

3. Think of yourself as a tour guide.

Imagine that your role is to direct the attention of your audience to compelling content. They'll appreciate your efforts to filter news and information on their behalf. Use it to update clients with new properties minutes after they are listed.
Plan to add new postings every week (every day is even better). Fresh content will not only maintain the interest of your audience, it may have a positive impact on search engine optimization rankings.

4.  Encourage participation and community generated content.

Include a Comments feature that enables your audience to append their comments in a threaded discussion. Make your Blog interactive. People will return if they are submitting posts and asking questions and that is what you want, participation, both active and passive.

5.  Add links, photos, video, permalinks, blogrolls.

In addition to the text message, you can include links to relevant resources; photos, even videos, give added dimension to your Blog. Be sure your Blog software offers a "permalink" feature that enables you to create a unique URL for each posting. Add links to your favorite Blogs, called a Blogroll.

6.  Use RSS Feeds.

RSS stands for Real Simple Syndication and is a means of easily distributing your Blog content so that it appears on the desktop of anyone with a RSS reader that subscribes to your Blog feed. If you are not familiar  with a RSS reader, download one to your desktop and subscribe to a few news feeds and some Blog feeds. Be sure your Blog software has RSS Feed capability.

7.  Arrange postings by Categories.

Blog postings appear with the newest at top. Use the Categories feature to help organize your postings and make it easy for readers to locate topics of interest.

8. Promote your Blog at every opportunity.

Create a link on your website; include the URL in your signature; and reference your Blog in all your advertising and marketing. When you publish an exceptional article, be sure to send the "permalink" URL to your sphere of influence - you can use a third level domain for this purpose.

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