Video may have killed the radio star, but it hasn’t killed the written word, just yet! Blogs continue to be consumed by the masses daily and are a great way to grow your real estate brand (and website). But how do you make blog writing a regular, easy and fun part of your real estate marketing activities?
You know, it’s still faster to consume information by reading or scanning words – especially when you’re looking for a specific piece of advice.
Whenever I am trying to find the answer to a question or problem online, I find myself clicking links where I’ll have the option to scan written content more often than links which require me to sit through an entire video.
Tip: use Google search and then CTL+find to locate answers in a piece of text!
That said I still love video, and interestingly my video content, or vlogs, typically start out as a written blog and subject matter that I’ve previously explored in depth.
“Blogs, or web-logs as they were originally known, were invented in 1998. Today’s video version is a vlog!”
Before blogs came along the closest equivalent would have been a diary or journal.
Did you ever write a diary? Maybe you grew up reading The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole (or was that a British thing?). Personally, I never had the patience or interest in writing about myself and my daily happenings.
Real estate blogs and why you need one
Business blogs, on the other hand, have been a fantastic marketing tool for both me and my real estate clients. They keep you in the know and are a fantastic marketing tool for building your business and brand reputation.
Even better, a blog can become a vlog, or vice versa a video can be transcribed as a blog as well as exported as a podcast. That way you’re tripling your content marketing output from the same original piece of advice and sharing that content in several formats appeasing everyone!
“Blogs grow your real estate website, increase its visibility in search results and drive leads from social media. Basically, blogs help you get found!”
In fact, I love blog writing and content creation so much that it’s become a core service within my social media marketing agency. At Hoole.co we have a whole team dedicated to blog writing for our clients; which include individual real estate agents and real estate agencies.
Writing a blog can often help you cement an idea, or extend your own real estate knowledge. It’s a great way to keep yourself technically proficient. Think about all the legislative changes you must be across and the CPD training that you take to stay in the know as a qualified real estate agent.
“Use your real estate website’s blog to answer questions that property owners ask you daily – they ask the same questions of Google search too!”
If you were to take some of these complicated topics and distil them down into a more simplified version, using layman’s language that property owners or investors would understand, you’d be on the road to writing great blogs and providing home sellers with valuable real estate insights.
My seven tips for crafting fabulous blogs
So, to help you get started, I’m sharing my top seven tips for writing awesome real estate blogs.
These are techniques that my writing team and I use on a daily basis with our client’s blogs. In fact, today’s blog started out as an email shared with a real estate client of mine!
1. What’s your key message?
Think about the key message that you want your readers to walk away having learnt when they’ve read your real estate blog. Often you start out with a great blog title, idea or angle that you want to share.
Out of all my steps, defining the message is the most important because time spent upfront considering what you are hoping to convey will result in a great piece of writing that people will want to read.
2. Pre-plan your blog structure
Once you have your topic and key message, consider how you could share your information in an informative and concise manner.
First decided, how long your blog will be.
Unfortunately, as more and more people share content, the length of content appearing on the first page of Google search results has increased.
Long-form content, therefore, should be between 1000-1500 words and have no more than 4% repetition of your target keywords. Otherwise, the search engines will think you are stuffing keywords into your blog and not being authentic, and your website’s relevancy score could be downgraded.
“Just like any good DIY project, measure twice, cut once – use the same principal on your blog!”
This said, a nice short ‘to the point’ piece that’s around 600-words in length can also perform well when shared via social media and your email list. Shorter articles give your readers something palatable that highlights top-level concepts without needing to go into the nitty-gritty.
With your copy length in mind, break out your blog into an intro, three or four or more sub-headings and a conclusion. (The more sub-headings the better as people like to scan). Then jot down bullet point notes under each section to outline what the content needs to cover.
Pre-planning is a great way of keeping yourself or your ghostwriter (if you are outsourcing the writing) on track.
3. Too much to say? Write a series!
If you have way too much information to share (which is often the case when you know your subject matter), the smart thing to do is split the topic across a couple of different blogs. You then have a follow-on topic to discuss next week!
Ask yourself, is your real estate blog educating people that are new to the topic or is it going to be a detailed piece on one aspect of the process? And, can that subject matter be broken down to further sub-topics yet again?
The great thing about writing a series or a set of blogs that follow on from each other – one after the other – is that it’s a great way to get people to spend longer on your website. Something that Google loves, hence helping your overall website SEO and relevancy score.
4. Find yourself a ghostwriter
Not everyone is good at writing, and most real estate agents just don’t have the time to put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard as the case may be. So my advice is to get help!
The good thing about getting help from a professional copywriter or content creation team is that most of my points today will be taken care of by them (or us if you use our services!).
As a real estate agent, you hold the ‘technical expertise’ cards. You know what questions property owners typically ask or what to know, and these questions make for the best blog ideas!
“Match your technical real estate knowledge with the talents of a wordsmith.”
Your role is to educate your writer on the topic and help them understand the approach you take with your clients, and most importantly give your writer (and readers) tidbits of useful information that only an agent would know.
Your copywriter is the wordsmith. They do the heavy lifting in relation to writing the piece – making sure your real estate blogs are well structured and a pleasure to read.
Your copywriter should also be adept at extracting key information from you over the phone. The more information your writer can gather from you up front, the less rework or disappointment you’ll experience when your draft blog is delivered to you.
Remember it takes two to tango, so make sure you put the effort in upfront to share your knowledge.
5. Include break out comments
As much as we’d like to believe that our followers will read each blog from top to bottom, many will skip through the article, looking for key learnings. So…
“Include break out quotes, to make sure key points you want to share are big, bold and obvious!”
Just like that!
6. Make sure you’re found – with social, search and SEO
It’s not just Google that needs to see keywords and phrases to know what you are talking about, your social media followers and email subscribers will be more likely to read an article if it references the location where they live.
Always try to reference and relate your real estate blog topics to the local suburbs and region in which you sell homes.
“There’s no point creating a blog if nobody can find it, half the challenge is making sure it’s seen!”
Also, make sure you refer to vendors as home sellers, homeowners, and include terms such as home sales, selling your home, property, real estate, real estate sales and so forth. Alongside the key terms and phrases relating to the topic you are covering.
There, I’ve just explained what SEO (search engine optimisation) is all about. It’s making sure you use the best words that relate to the subject you are talking about. Easy right?
Another trick of mine is to change words such as “this” or “it” because these can often be changed to be more specific keyword about the topic at hand.
Also, keep in mind that it might be better to use the word ‘home’, rather than house or apartment as that’s a catch-all.
And don’t forget the property investors, they are people too!
7. Timebox your efforts to meet deadlines
It’s easy to spend hours reworking an article, but we’re not writing a masterpiece or aiming for a Pulitzer Prize!
So, don’t spend too long on each blog. Learn to give yourself a max of 30 minutes to one hour to really think through a topic and do some research to see what’s been covered before. Or if you are writing it, 2 to 3 hours max. Yes, that’s how long a good blog (that humans will want to read) can take to write!
“It’s more important to get good content out on a regular basis than perfect content out sporadically.”
So set a regular time slot aside to either write your real estate blog, or brief your copywriter, and stick to the deadlines, because when these slip the process becomes less pleasurable for everyone involved.
Also, produce blogs at a regular time and day each week and Google and Facebook will start indexing, which means “looking for your blog” over time, which is an even bigger plus!
And, I am going to reiterate step one and two. If you spend your efforts upfront planning your article, then the blog will need less time at the end to review.
Be consistent and don’t despair
As highlighted, not everyone will read your content, but more often than not they will scroll past it in their social news feed and see it appear in their email inbox – that is what will keep your brand front of mind!
When a title or intro strikes a chord with your followers, they’ll read. When home buyers are researching the sales process for their property, they’ll find your content and read. So keep on sharing your knowledge, because blogs are a vital tactic in promoting yourself as a real estate agent and building your digital brand.
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