Today’s “ask an expert” guest post comes from Bill Gassett, a popular real estate blogger who shares his tips and tricks with buyers, sellers and other agents. This article is an excellent resource for both agents looking to start a real estate blog and those who already have blogs that they’d like to amp up a little!
Blogging can be a fantastic way for real estate agents to increase business and establish a positive image with both potential clients and other professionals. But for blogging to work well, you have to do it right. Just writing random blogs whenever you feel the urge will not get you the results you want. You need to be smart and strategic about how you blog, what you blog about and the way you get your blog out to the world. The most successful bloggers write extremely well and know how to market their content.
These same content providers also understand the kind of information consumers are looking for. A great real estate blog will generally answer questions that people are searching for online.
7 Ways To Make Blogging Work For Your Real Estate Business
1. Pick a great platform
You have a lot of options when it comes to blogging platforms. One of the most popular platforms for business blogging is WordPress. You can use WordPress to write and publish your blogs – all for free.
WordPress is so popular because it gives you all the tools you need to write your blog, add pictures or video, tailor the blog for SEO (search engine optimization) purposes and publish it. WordPress is also customizable. You can add headers, graphics and other customizable features that make your site stand out from a sea of competition. If you are at all interested in starting a real estate blog, you should give WordPress a spin.
2. Write about topics that encourage both local and national interest
Blogging is all about attracting an audience. When choosing your topics to write about, you should think on both the local and national level if you want to draw the most readers. You don’t have to hit both in every post, but you should try to work in both local and national topics over time.
When writing about housing prices, you could talk about how your local prices compare to the national numbers. Sometimes you can write about local neighborhoods, while other times you can write about general real estate topics that apply anywhere, like how to prepare for a buyers home inspection. How many times do you think a homeowner may have asked this question either prior to putting their home on the market or right after accepting an offer? The answer is lots! This leads to the next blogging tip for real estate agents which is to answer popular questions you know people are typing into Google or another search engine.
3. Answer questions that people are asking Google
Buyers and sellers all head to the Internet now when they have a question about real estate. Most of them ask Google before they even think about asking a real estate agent. You want your blog to pop up in the results when these people do a search, so it makes sense to try and answer their questions with your blog. Google offers tools to find out about the most searched terms, tools that you should become familiar with if you want to target as many people as possible with your blog.
4. Become a local expert
You want to stand out among all the other agents writing blogs. One of the easiest ways to do this is to become an expert on your local communities and neighborhoods. You probably already know a lot about your area. That’s information that people are probably looking for online. Write blogs that cover your local knowledge. If people think you are an expert on the area where they want to buy or sell, they are more likely to hire you as their agent. One of the best ways to create business is to have real estate community pages for all the cities or towns that you cover locally. This is an exceptional way to show that you are the “go to” real estate agent in the area.
You may be wondering what a great community page looks like? Here is an example of my real estate agent’s guide to Framingham Massachusetts. If you were not from the area and were thinking about buying a home, wouldn’t you find this information helpful? You might even consider picking up the phone if you were selling a home in Framingham as well.
5. Get familiar with social media marketing
Social media is one subject that every real estate blogger needs to be familiar with. There are a lot of different channels that people are using now, including Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, Twitter and LinkedIn. You will want to establish a presence in online communities like these, because they are a perfect platform for advertising your blog.
One thing to keep in mind as you start to work with social media – people are not participating in social media communities because they want to be sold to. They are there to connect with other people and to get information from companies and personalities they like. Avoid hard selling yourself, unless you want to be ignored or avoided. Instead, become a useful member of the community, offering knowledgeable advice and helpful information. Over time your efforts can yield big dividends.
Here are some tips for real estate bloggers using each of the top social media networks:
Pinterest: Here is a guide on how to use Pinterest for Real Estate. Pinterest is one of my favorite social platforms because of the continuous nature of how something can get shared for an extended length of time. This is unlike any of the other social sites where the bulk of articles being shared lasts a couple of days.
Google+: Without a doubt Google+ is one of my favorite platforms for building relationships with other agents. It is much like Facebook but with a much more professional flair. You can really excel at driving tons of traffic to your blog by connecting with other fellow professionals. Here is a guide on how to use Google+ for real estate.
LinkedIn: LinkedIn is another great place for a real estate agent to get traction for their blog, yet most agents don’t know how to use it properly. Here is a great field guide on how to use LinkedIn for real estate. See some handy tips on what to do and what to avoid on this professional platform.
Twitter: Without question many real estate agents don’t know how to use Twitter all that well. Twitter can be a fantastic tool for drawing people to your blog when used properly. Here are some tips for real estate agents on how to use twitter the right way!
Facebook: Facebook is still the most popular of all the social networks, so as a real estate blogger it makes sense to use this site as a way of making your blog more visible. Here are some excellent tips for using Facebook as a real estate agent. Finding some of the most popular real estate groups on Facebook is another great way to skyrocket your blog’s visits.
Never underestimate the power of social media for your blog. This form of communication is getting stronger every year. More and more people are spending significant time using social channels!
6. Build relationships with other real estate bloggers
As you start building your blog, you should try to establish positive and mutually beneficial relationships with other real estate bloggers. Links are an important part of SEO, and a friendly mention from another blogger can drive a lot of traffic to your blog. Again, the online community – including your peers – can be a great help in building your online presence. Building solid relationships with others should be a big part of your real estate social media planning.
Alternatively, you can easily develop a bad image that will hurt you unnecessarily if you are known to be unpleasant to deal with. You want to be loved, especially by your peers – at least if you want to maximize your business. In fact, the only reason I am writing this article here at the Point2 blog is because of the relationship that has been built between us.
(From the Point2 editor: And we are so thankful for that, Bill!)
7. Learn The Basics of SEO and Content Marketing
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of optimizing your website for search engines. You want Google to bring up your blog on the first page of search results, if you can manage it. This takes time and some effort, so don’t expect it to happen overnight. But if you learn how SEO works and put it to use in your blog, you have a much better chance of getting your blog in at least the first few pages of search results. SEO is something that never should be discounted. Understanding and using solid SEO tactics is where you can take your blog from being average to exceptional. You can have the greatest blog content around but if nobody finds it, you will be missing opportunities. Learning both onsite and offsite SEO strategy is important.
Remember: Blogging Is Content Marketing
Content marketing is the act of creating content – blogs, articles, videos, etc. – that people want to read and watch. You are trying to meet a need that people have, and ultimately become a trusted source of information on real estate. It is marketing by giving away great material for free. You build your image or brand, and eventually people come to you for your services. Who wouldn’t want to use their favorite real estate blogger as an agent?
Content marketing can also be used to further the reach of your blog content. There are some great standalone platforms that are fantastic for driving additional people to visit your blog. Two of my favorite content marketing platforms are Scoop.it and Storify. Each of these platforms can be used to magnify not only your content but other favorite blog posts or people who have linked to your blog. Doing the same in one of these places is an ideal way of saying thank you and strengthening a bond.
Want to see what I mean? Check out my Scoop.it Real Estate page and my Storify Real Estate Pages. Notice how on each of these platforms you can share content you have already created and add additional thoughts on the subject. Those that are interested can follow the topic back to your blog!
There are so many other places where your blog can gain additional exposure besides what I mentioned here. These blogging tips will be a great start, but you should always be on the lookout for additional opportunities.
Updated January 25th, 2017, by Point2 editor Mircea Laslo:
Bill’s blogging guide has been one of our most visited articles, and we have no doubt it has helped many agents set up their blogs and social media content flow, to great success. And since Bill finished his write-up with a mention of plenty of other ways of getting exposure and traction in the online content marketing world, we thought we’d add the leading trend shaping up in 2017, just to keep the information in the guide up to date:
Video content is taking over online media, as many existing platforms now offer the option to post or stream video. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have all opened up to live video content, and there are new platforms like Periscope, which make streaming your experiences easier than ever.
What does this mean for agents? Well, virtual tours and streaming open house events are now entirely within your grasp, and it would be a crying shame not to take advantage of this on your blog and social media platforms. After all, people respond much more to images and film than to words! Video content also makes it much easier for people to put a face to the name when it comes to local recognition. Here’s a handy guide to vlogging for real estate agents.
Above all else understand that gaining actual business from your real estate blog takes time. Don’t expect that you will write a few articles and buyers and sellers will be beating on your door within weeks. Like anything else blogging is hard work – it takes time to get noticed and gain recognition from others.
Share a link to you real estate blog below, and we’ll take a peek!