If you want to read an article about how to develop a killer blog that will quickly deliver numerous phone calls from clients ready to do business with you, then read no further – because I can’t help you.
On the other hand, if you are ready to commit time and effort – and lots of it – to the art of blogging in the hopes that someday it will pay off for your business, then I have a few tips for you. But as they say in ads, individual results may differ.
Why Do You Want To Do This?
You’re probably interested in blogging in order to generate business, which is fine. But if you are single-mindedly focused on this one objective, it’s going to show through in your writing. For instance, if there is anything that all the experts agree upon, it is that you cannot, under any circumstances, promote yourself in your posts. No one wants to read an advertisement or hear about your listings or your volunteer work. That’s boring.
Alternatively, it helps if you feel a real need to get interesting and important messages out to the world. Which leads me to….
You Better Like Writing
You’re going to need to publish blog posts once or twice a week. You might be able get away with once a week, but updating your blog regularly will help that website in terms of search engine optimization. In addition, most experts think you need enough frequency to motivate your readers to keep coming back and take you seriously; successful bloggers post at least once per day. But what would potential clients think about a Realtor who is writing blog posts all day? Find a happy medium, or outsource your blogging duties to someone else.
Even if you are a good writer, a decent post can take an hour or more to write; personally, I’ve spent three hours on some of my more thoughtful posts. Therefore, you better like writing. If it’s a chore, you won’t stick with it long enough to make it worth your while. According to Caslon Analytics, 60 to 80 percent of all bloggers give up in the first month, and 95 percent after three months, which leads me to…
Be Really, Really Patient
Just because you start blogging, that doesn’t mean that if you write it, they will come – at least, not in the first year. Most experts agree that in the first year you will pretty much be ignored. After that first year you will have a small following that may grow over time, but it will take a while longer before you start getting any phone calls. The average person who calls me as a result of following my blog has been following my blog for one year!
Find Your Voice
You’re going to have to decide what your online persona is, and, of course, it’s going to have to be something with which you are comfortable. Should you be casual or formal? Funny or serious? Should you reveal your real personality and beliefs?
Who Should You Target?
This is a real challenge. To the extent that you target one group you are by necessity excluding other groups. Focus on Streeterville and readers are unlikely to consider you an expert on any other part of the city. But then again, that way, you are likely to attract potential Streeterville clients. Similarly, are you going to write in a way that appeals to a certain personality profile? Which leads me to…
You Will Reap What You Sow
It took a while for me to realize that the people contacting Lucid Realty from my blog were very similar to me. My posts skew towards the analytical and critical, so not surprisingly, the people who call us who are my blog readers tend to be more analytical and critical. They really keep us on our toes.
Don’t think for a minute that you can repost some drivel about the market that your broker circulates to all their agents. Google’s algorithm can detect plagiarism faster than you can say the word and will bury your post.
How Focused Should You Stay?
A big question that comes up for all bloggers is whether or not you need to stay focused on your main topic – in this case, real estate. You have to decide that for yourself. It’s probably okay to occasionally post on something like Kony 2012 or your favorite charity, but if every fourth post is about the Bears or a cookie recipe, then no one will take you seriously as a Realtor.
Get Your Grammar Right
Every post potentially puts you in front of seven billion people – the world population – so you don’t want to embarrass yourself or give the impression that you’re not very smart.
Participate in the Blogosphere
All the “experts” will tell you that the best way to develop a following is to participate in other forums and blogs because Google gives you credit for linking to authoritative sites. That means reading and commenting on their posts and linking to interesting posts.
Learn Google Analytics
The best way to find out how you are doing is to install the Google Analytics tracking code on your blog and learn how to use this tool. It’s incredibly awesome at telling you what is going on with your blog (like what your readers click on and how long they stay), and it’s free!
Gary Lucido writes the Getting Real blog for ChicagoNow. He doesn’t claim to be an expert in all things blogs but he is reasonably pleased with his audience and the impact it has on his business. He also derives a fair amount of satisfaction from pontificating on Chicago real estate and the real estate industry – otherwise he wouldn’t be blogging or writing this article.