Start Real Estate Blogging, Part 1: The Best-Laid Plans Succeed
In the real estate world, where a broker’s attention is pulled in a thousand different directions, adding a new task seems like pulling a block from a Jenga stack. Blogging is the best way to generate original content for your business website. Starting one will strengthen your marketing efforts, not send it toppling to the ground. Use our approach to starting a real estate blog to start building success. The key begins not with writing a blog, but the plans.
1) Know why you are blogging
Most people date for months or years before taking the plunge and getting hitched. Approach blogging the same way. Really think about the reasons behind starting a blog. You wouldn’t jump off a cliff because everyone else is doing it, nor should you blog. It’s not for everyone, and in today’s marketing world there are other potential content strategies. What do you want to gain from blogging? Every blog needs an objective: to build a brand reputation, to generate website traffic, to have potential clients sign up for a newsletter. Define yours.
2) Be Invested Long-Term
Blogging is not a medium of instant gratification. Not even the most prolific industry influencers received thousands of hits on their very first blog post. With a little elbow grease and patience, the followers will come. Until that moment, blogging requires a willingness to stick it out through the tough times. Bloggers keep pounding at the keys even when it’s tempting to drop it like a New Year’s resolution.
3) Know Your Niche
You’ve determined a blog objective and are willing to invest the required time to create a successful blog. Excellent!
The best real estate blogs have a narrow purpose. The intense focus on a particular industry segment positions you as a thought leader. The question is--do you know your specialization? If you concentrate on a particular type of property or seller, write about that. For instance, CRM provider Clientlook blogs exclusively on topics related to customer relationship management: email strategies, how CRM boosts productivity, how to use CRMs more effectively, and so on. Broker Allen Buchanan specializes in location advice for CRE. Other broker bloggers have focused on investment properties, short sales, and foreign luxury buyers.
After determining your specialization, start checking where your audience goes online and socially. This is essential to your content distribution plan, discussed further down.
Select a Blog Host
Does your business already have a website? Your content management solution (CMS) might have a blog as part of its programming. Meet with your webmaster or search your template to find out; adding a blog might be as easy as activating a plugin or service.
If not, research blog providers. Not all are created equal. Wordpress is a popular beginner’s platform because it comes with programmed templates and is fairly easy to learn. A platform like Joomla offers free and paid blogging services. Other popular blog hosts with a range of subscription choices include Tumblr, Wix, and Blogger. Whoever the selected host, we highly recommend buying a domain. The blog address “sallydoe.blogspace.com” doesn’t reflect professionalism or industry leadership.
Specialization pinpointed, check. Blog host booked and template picked, check. Now what to write about? Before penning the first masterpiece, brainstorm a list of potential topics. To get the most out of blogging, find topics that will constantly drive interest to your website. These are “evergreen” topics, or content that never goes out of style. Example: “10 Ways to Boost Your Productivity.” Relevant topics like “The 3 Trends from CES 2017” are fine, but well-executed evergreen posts will attract organic traffic for years versus trending topics.
Turn to analytics to find the information readers in your niche are searching for. Your website may have analytics built in, or you can set up a Google Analytics account. Target your audience area and use the keyword planner to see the least and most common searches based on keyword groups. This data informs what blog topics will increase the chances of organic traffic.
Create a Schedule
Content calendars keep bloggers accountable from day one. Factor in holidays and special events into the schedule. Determine what topics will be published and set deadlines, both for your draft and hitting “publish.” Stick to the schedule to see results. Learn more about creating content calendars that work.
Have a Distribution Plan
Well-researched keyword-based topics are not enough to drive traffic to your blog. Content distribution is necessary for content marketing success. Again, before drafting your first post, plot a content distribution plan. How will you promote your content and drive readers to your blog? These channels include all owned platforms--social media networks, email newsletters, quarterly updates--and paid promotions like boosted posts and targeted ads. Create space in your content schedule to note how the blog post will be promoted.
Abandoned blogs are prolific on the Internet. As of 2012, 65% of all blogs hadn’t been updated in over a year. Don’t let your meet the same fate. Once armed with an editorial schedule, distribution plan, and set of topics, you are programmed to start blogging on the right foot. Head to the next blog in our series.