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3 Things You Need To Know and 1 Thing You Need To Be To Blog Successfully

Having begun blogging in the summer of ’06, I found that many considered me one of the so-called pioneers in ‘online’ real estate. Frankly, I think that’s both true, and completely false. True, cuz inside the tightly defined real estate community I was a pioneer. Even now some of my local agent buds are taken aback when learning I’ve been blogging over five years now. On the other hand, the real pioneers in real estate blogging were doin’ their thing online back when I thought it was cool that I knew how to send email — and no doubt before.

What’s funny is when my friends ask me why? When I tell ‘em how much my blog has produced in terms of closed business — skinned cats — they’re almost always a bit incredulous. Then they try to be Columbo with questions designed to appear innocent, but based upon obvious disbelief. Sometimes it’s been comical.

Why some blogs work and the vast majority don’t

Before beginning, it’s important for readers who don’t know me or of me, to realize that I’m President for Life of TechTards Anonymous. I know virtually nothing about SEO. If you were to find ‘key words’ in any post I write anywhere, it’s an accident every time. … _ _ _ … is the only code I know.

Content is King! is the battle cry for blogging, though recent history shows many who’ve valiantly tried to discount that principle. I’m here to tell ya, with whatever respect is due blogging detractors, content is King of the blogging universe — at least of the one in which I live. And please, pretty please with sugar on top, don’t come up with the whole, “Yeah, Jeff, but you’re in investments — it’s different for you.” crappola. It’s not. There are literally hundreds of real estate investment sites lookin’ to create business, most, at least in part through blogging. I’m not the Lone Ranger, the exception that proves the point.

House agents who blog, and write solid gold content consistently are succeeding wildly. Ask Greg if he thinks his company’s site would do as well as it does without his priceless content.

Fact is? You must actually be pretty damn good at what you do, or it simply won’t have legs. Apply cliché #27 here — ‘not rocket science’, etc. Any business coming my way via online efforts is exclusively from blogging, no exceptions.

I bring it up now as an encouragement to those who’re genuinely expert at what they do. Blog well, consistently, and often. Share your experience, your hard learned lessons. Explain how things work in a way that isn’t Romper Room revisited, or, for you younger folk, not Mr. Rogers. What do I mean? Stop writin’ in terms that’re either profoundly in search of a Duh!, or cartoonishly simpleminded. As bloggers we’re not the only three digit IQs in the room. Explain things the way experts in any discipline would — in plain English, but not as if their audience just made it through kindergarten unscathed.

I’ll use another industry to illustrate.

I know a local clothing designer who, in another life was a well known interior designer in the midwest and east coast. She’s done all my offices for me, and any local listings I take. How good is she? Every time she’s finished one of my offices, the other tenants line up to be next. My listings? The next one she stages takin’ longer than a week to sell will be the first. She’s a bona fide expert.

I once watched her explain to a client selling an income property why she was having him spend five figures just to prepare for the market. 60 seconds after she began talking you could see the change in his attitude. He was dealing with someone who flat knew which way was north on the map. He stopped her in mid sentence, grabbed his clipboard, and began taking notes.

That’s exactly how effective a blog is when the writer is truly a master at what they do. You can’t fake mastery. People see that before it crests the horizon. But, I know there’s one more reason you’ll throw up to me to obviate the positive potential of a blog.

“People pick agents they already know, or through networking.”

True enough — no argument there. It’s my contention, however, that that is now, and has been changing the last several years. Those who bombard us with the mantra about how, ’124% of homebuyers/sellers begin their search online’, can be assumed to be factual. But as that has become the norm, it also means, by definition, that they’ve also been discovering which agents know their stuff.

How better to learn that than through reading thousands of words that agent has written — and on subjects buyers and sellers are starving to read?

Folks will use an agent to find them a house, or sell their home for them, cuz their buddy at work, brother-in-law, or trusted neighbor gives them the heads up. But if during their time online they run across you, an agent giving them one killer informational post after another — turning hopelessly confusing issues into completely understandable procedures?

I guarantee you: An acceptable percentage of them are gonna make your phone ring, or your email ding. People like feeling comfortable — and nothing makes us feel more comfortable than vastly superior knowledge, expertise, and experience on display. Said another way . . .

What makes us more comfortable than a real pro, who explains things we don’t quite get, in a manner leaving no doubt all bases have been covered, and that this ain’t their first rodeo?

If you can look yourself in the mirror and confidently say you’re that agent — you need to be blogging, and should probably start some time around 4:30 yesterday afternoon.

Blogging works

You don’t need to know anything more than I do. I know how to type — what I’m talkin’ about — and how to push ‘Publish’. If you can do those three things consistently, your blog will also fill your office with cat skins. Like the man said — “It ain’t rocket science, folks.”

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  • 24 comments

    24 Comments so far

    1. Pat Vredevoogd Combs September 16th, 2011 6:42 am

      Fantastic Post – I needed that push this morning as I’m staring at my computer figuring out my next post and wondering “is this worth it?” Thanks

    2. Ben Fisher September 16th, 2011 7:33 am

      Couldn’t agree more. I’ve only been real estate blogging for 4-5 months and I’ve already attributed one sale to it and a few more in the pipeline. Consistency has been key for me. That and hearing my clients tell their friends “he runs a great blog you should check it out”. You just can’t beat that.

    3. Jeff Brown September 16th, 2011 9:24 am

      Hey guys — If it helps, I blogged like a slave for just over six months before I got my first client. After that the floodgates opened wide. Don’t know the dynamics behind that, but other bloggers have consistently told me the same chronology hit them, more or less. Also, I suspect that time lag may be shorter now. Good luck to you both.

    4. Benjamin Bach September 16th, 2011 10:30 am

      As always, as smart as you are bawld :)

    5. Jeff Brown September 16th, 2011 10:32 am

      Thanks, my Canadian friend.

    6. Benjamin Bach September 16th, 2011 10:32 am

      eh!

    7. John Rowles September 16th, 2011 11:14 am

      Jeff, the quality of this post attests to your skills as a writer. Combine expertise with knowing how to communicate it in a way that makes readers want to read, and you have the necessary ingredients for a successful blog in any category, and one that will generate business in real estate.

      My issue is with the social media carnival barkers who use the example of your success to hawk “social media strategies”, complete with WordPress, attendant real estate plug ins, and “training” — as if the ability to write can be taught via WebEx.

      The training is necessarily boiled down to a buzz-word laden formula: “Be ‘hyper-local’! Put the name of the neighborhoods you want to work in this META box! Write something, anything, at least three times a week! Rinse! Repeat! Its Just. That. Simple!”

      And even if an agent is a capable writer, how many will stick with it for 6 months? 60-90 days in its not working but, oh, you mean you didn’t post links to your blog posts in Facebook or Tweet them? No wonder its not working for you!

      Giving 1,000 average agents 1,000 logins to WordPress is no different than giving 1,000 monkeys 1,000 typewriters — sure, they can bang on the keys, but who wants to read it?

      Those of you who are the exceptions to the rule are just that — and its no coincidence that you also tend to produce better listing content, which is still the content that 99% of the audience is most interested in.

      When people find you through search and land on one of your listings, your blogs give ample evidence that you know what you are talking about, and that can make all the difference for that minority of home shoppers who don’t already know an agent. That is a great advantage.

      Its just not an advantage that can be mass-produced, shrink wrapped, and billed to Visa on a recurring monthly charge.

    8. Jeff Brown September 16th, 2011 11:32 am

      Can’t think of much to add to that, John.

      Do I think solid writing skill/style helps? You bet. But vanilla still works well if the content is superior. People know ‘real’ when they see it.

    9. Matthew Collis September 16th, 2011 1:50 pm

      Great post! We just published an article recently called “Learn How to Deepen Your Relationships Through Social Media”, if anyone is interested. Here is what we think:

      One of the key benefits of using social media, blogging, and ensuring your presence is all over the web is search engine optimization (SEO). When people use a search engine to search for your services, for example, Loft Specialist in South Florida, you are more likely to come up in the search results. An important point to note here is that when you write and publish a blog post, make sure you’re optimizing your post. This means ensuring your posting contains key words, a call to action at the end if appropriate, an alt tag (a tag that describes a photo you’ve inserted), and anchor text (when you hyperlink keywords so that a reader can click and be taken to your website).

      The link to the article is http://blog.ixactcontact.com/learn-how-to-deepen-your-relationships-through-social-media

      Hope this helps!

    10. Dan Connolly September 16th, 2011 8:52 pm

      Jeff you know more about SEO than you think. Keywords? Your post are full of them. You nail the topic and people know it and they give you props for it, and the search engines know it. That’s all there is to it.

      Oh there are tricks that some use that will work for a while, but real knowledge and careful explanation will build trust and at the end of the day that is all that really matters. That’s all that matters to the potential clients and that is also what matters to the search engines.

    11. Jeff Brown September 16th, 2011 9:29 pm

      I get what you’re sayin’, Dan, and don’t generally disagree. By necessity I’m forced to use words search engines apparently like. But I give it no thought. Taking a bit of license with what you said, Dan, it appears you said:

      Solid, high quality content = efficacious SEO. :)

    12. Mark September 17th, 2011 3:15 am

      In order for a blog to work, there are some factors that have to be met first:

      1- Is it talking to the right people or community?
      2- How it’s unique from all the ones around?
      3- Does it have content that’s not available elsewhere?
      4- Is it marketed via the right channels?

      I have a funny story to tell:

      When i started blogging i knew nothing about SEO or internet marketing in general. I just started a blog about something i’m interested in and i kept filling it with great content, videos…etc. After a while i learned some IM stuff and started other blogs that are based on SEO. What’s choking is that the first blog i created when i knew nothing is still generating more then every other blog i created after. This reveals a crystal clear message which is Content Is Really King!

      Thanks;
      M Mark

    13. Jeff Brown September 17th, 2011 10:07 am

      Hey Mark — Using a food analogy, you discovered that great buns, world class seasoning, and the best cheese in the world are worthless if there’s no burger in your burger.

    14. Jeff Brown September 17th, 2011 10:09 am

      I would love to hear what readers, and especially BHB contributors have to say about recommending Active Rain to bloggers. Thanks

    15. Brett Cairns September 17th, 2011 12:39 pm

      Agree Jeff. Blogs are another way to let people know a bit of what you know. Quality content that is relevant to your target audience is important

    16. Danny Welsh September 18th, 2011 12:51 pm

      Great post Jeff. Always insightful and informative. Great stuff.

    17. Jeff Brown September 18th, 2011 1:08 pm

      Much appreciated, Danny.

    18. Teyona September 19th, 2011 2:35 am

      So compelling Title that drives me to your blog. It’s really a good read.Valuable and useful to us bloggers.Thanks Jeff! You always write a good read stuff.

    19. Jeff Brown September 19th, 2011 8:22 am

      Danny and Teyona — What a nice way to hit Monday running. Your kind words are very much appreciated.

    20. Brandon Patton September 26th, 2011 7:33 pm

      Do you think that the Web Developer that created your web page and blog platform matter? I just finished getting a web page from The Real Estate Web Masters and they devloped a LEC 6 page for me that has a blog within the IDX feed. I paid big bucks for this page and I Realy like it but I want to learn how to do the SEO on my own becuase their SEO prices would sink me. They are asking $2500 a month for SEO and they want a one year commitment. I am all about return on investment so if I thought this was the one basket to put all my eggs in I would do it but I am dragging my feet because I do not want to make a decision that I will regret. They are a very reputable company but I think with a little guidnece I could figure out the Articles writing and the blogging.

      Who is a good company to submit articles too?

    21. Jeff Brown September 27th, 2011 9:01 am

      Hey Brandon — Excuse my smartass first response, as I’ll also point you to some real help.

      What does President for Life of TechTards Anonymous mean to you? :)

      OK, I’ll be serious now. There is a plethora of highly qualified web types with years of hands on experience who contribute to this site or are habitual readers. I’m thinkin’ Greg may have something to chip in on this question.

    22. Greg Swann September 27th, 2011 10:56 am

      Hey, Brandon: Now that you’ve dropped five figures on REW, I don’t want to tell you you’ve made a mistake. But you can learn to do your own SEO in no time. I do none, for what that’s worth. Ordinary content creation, if you hew to Jeff’s advice, will do 80% or more of what you could get from a paid SEO just by itself.

      Going forward, you will be adding sites, so learn how to install and deploy WordPress.org blogs.

      So you know, most of the people selling blogging ideas are full of shit. Your visitors don’t want a buddy, they want a solution to their real estate problem. They don’t care what you ate for lunch, they don’t need you to tell them where to buy fine wines, and they certainly don’t want to watch you wasting your days schmoozing with other realtors.

      To the contrary, as Jeff makes very clear, a confident exposition of real expertise will sell and sell and sell.

    23. james September 27th, 2011 11:05 am

      I love your post. Blogging works and I have been getting all my buyers and sellers from my internet marketing. I am a believer on blogging and working my leads that come my way. Just keep at posting relevant content regularly.

    24. brandon patton September 27th, 2011 4:59 pm

      I have a WordPress blog but the problem was that nobody offers a word press idx search for my mls that is crawlable. Diverse solutions along with an Agent Image custom WordPress was an option but I could not get diverse solutions to cover my mls. So REW seemed the best option. If you were in my position would you blog on the REW platform or Blog on a very generic WordPress platform?

      I am new to this but I have been putting in some effort. I have spent hours and hours on Active Rain and just submitted my first ezinearticle. Also, do you use press releases?

      Thanks for the advise although I don’t understand the president comment at all that was over my head. I am just trying to get started in a smaller market that should not be that hard to compete in.