I have been a real estate blogger for almost eight years. But how many months or years I have been at it is irrelevant.
What really matters is that I have written thousands of blog posts over the years. Each one of them is out there on the Internet working for me 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
I continue to write posts, which is even better than having had a blog a long time ago that I haven’t updated in a while because I started something new.
Even though my business blog is mostly about real estate, the target audience is consumers — not real estate agents or the real estate industry in general.
My goal is to attract readers who are looking for someone just like me to help them buy or sell real estate in a specific geographic area — and yes, there are consumers looking for someone exactly like me. My target audience is finite and smallish.
The whole point of having the blog is to demonstrate to prospective clients that I am knowledgeable, and to build trust — which isn’t easy over the Internet. When I meet with prospective clients, they sometimes quote my blog posts. I know they are paying attention.
My blog brings a steady stream of serious buyers and sellers, not a tsunami of leads with email addresses like firstname.lastname@example.org.
When the market is active, I get a lot of traffic — not because my blog is better, but because there are more people searching on real estate-related topics.
When the market is slow, I get less traffic. I won’t brag about the huge amount of traffic I get in the spring real estate season, or about the fact that I get more traffic now than I did in the fall of 2011.
Most real estate blogs fail because the owners don’t put fresh, relevant content on the sites on a regular basis. Then they give up too quickly when they don’t get instant results. It is much like old-school farming, which only works with prolonged effort and consistency.
Real estate agents read about that one blogger who got a lot of business right away and who became rich and famous. That can happen, but it’s fairly rare. Maybe it’s never happened, or only happened once.
A steady income derived from a steady stream of contacts because of a steady stream of posts is more realistic.
There is no shortcut or magic system for getting results from a blog. It’s hard work and there are no guarantees. In fact, don’t even consider blogging if you don’t think you will love it enough to keep at it.
It’s not hard to create a blog that really stands out and that gives visitors a sense of place. That’s because third-party websites and brokerage websites make everything look the same.
The section about New York City looks just like the section about Anchorage, Alaska. The websites themselves look kind of similar, generic and impersonal.
I offer highly personalized services to my clients and I want my websites to reflect that. There are a zillion sites with “homes for sale” listings and generic real estate advice, but not very many local sites with local real estate information.
So far this year I have closed, or will soon close, seven transactions from business that came directly from blog readers. There are transactions in the pipeline, current listings and appointments on the calendar because of the blog.
I am on track to have at least 12 transactions this year just from people who read my blog. If I sold $1 million homes, that would translate into $12 million in sales just from blogging.
Now that the housing market is recovering, real estate agents are asking about blogging. Blogging works if you generate relevant, useful content. Frequent and original content is best. The demand for content is high, as people need something to “like,” “g+,” “pin” and “tweet.”
There is no one-size-fits-all easy system for a successful real estate blog. What a real estate blogger writes about will depend upon business goals, target market, blogger interests and personality.
101 topic ideas for your real estate blog:
A story about your neighborhood.
Write about a business.
Go through your email; is there a question or comment from one of your clients that can be made into a post?
Listen to your buyers; their comments and ideas make great blog posts.
Listen to your sellers; answers to their questions are blog posts.
Conversations with other agents.
Architecture or housing styles in your area.
Historic buildings, homes or landmarks.
Market statistics for your area, including average prices and absorption rates.
Write to or about a demographic.
Take a picture of something ordinary in your neighborhood and write about it.
Take a walk, and take pictures as you go.
Local events or festivals.
A lender who did a great job.
Things that go wrong with real estate sales.
Gardening and landscaping.
Your city council.
A new development.
Real estate industry news –- with your own unique commentary.
Consumer hoaxes and scams.
First-time homebuyer programs.
Working with seniors.
Working with baby boomers.
Buying a foreclosure.
Selling a foreclosure.
“Rehabbing” a home.
Home energy conservation.
Equity stripping scams.
Real estate companies.
Transportation and parking.
Paint and painting.
The homebuying process.
The home selling process.
Book review of a real estate-related book.
Real estate laws.
Real estate terms.
Moving with children.
Moving with pets.
Places to eat.
Places to shop.
Commentary on local news stories.
Commentary on local public policy.
Tell a story about a client who was fun to work with.
Write about what it is like to be a Realtor.
When taking classes find something you learned that could be used as a post.
Write off-topic humor.
Landlord or tenant issues.
How to sell a house.
How not to sell a house.
Local public art.
Review websites on local or real estate-related topics.
Trends in kitchen design.
Area events for children.
The local zoo.
Where to play golf.
Advice for FSBOs.
Local real estate market trends and observations.
Types of mortgages.
Attend a public meeting and write about it.
Weekend getaways close to home.
Real estate apps.
Fair housing issues.
There are probably 100 more I could add to this, and maybe I will. Blog posts do not need to be lengthy or wordy, and there is no perfect length. There are so many things to write about on a real estate blog especially for those who sell real estate or work with clients, and, yes, these ideas can be put on an editorial calendar. It isn’t too late to start a blog. In fact there is almost no competition in most markets and plenty of business to go around. Happy blogging!
Teresa Boardman is a broker in St. Paul, Minn., and founder of the St. Paul Real Estate blog.