August 9, 2011

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Your Blog – Own it and go Local

We’ve talked here about blogging techniques and also vlogging, but I wanted to explore a little further, how you can make blogging work for you as a lead generation tool.

Whether you work for a large agency or are a sole trader, you should look at blogging as a proactive piece of personal marketing. That’s not to say that you should be blogging about personal things however. Quite the contrary. A business blog should be about your business - which in real estate terms should include listings, marketing activities, local news and businesses, industry news and information about the area in which you operate. Collectively these pieces of information, all written by you and injected with your personality, become a form of personal marketing. It’s not up to your boss or broker to create a blog on behalf of your business - you need to do it and own it. You can then take it (and the leads it generates!) with you wherever you go regardless of who you work for.

We know that a huge proportion of buyers are starting their real estate research online. But importantly, sellers are also looking on the internet to find out who comes up first in local searches and they are checking out to see how listings are presented. These are the people you can attract by having a great blog. So how do you do that?

Don’t stuff your posts full of keywords and use the term ‘real estate’ in every title, but do pay attention to what people are clicking on and how they’re finding you. Use traffic stats and search engine analytics to make you aware of how people are coming to your blog and what topics they’re interested in. Give them more of what they want! It pays to be mindful of SEO when posting and constructing your blog but don’t be a slave to it otherwise your writing will appear contrived and unnatural.

Sellers are looking for an agent they can trust and who has great knowledge of their area. Your blog can demonstrate these qualities without having to overtly state them or use tired old testimonials. By writing in a familiar way about the local area and using properties you’ve sold as examples in stories about types of marketing or neighbourhoods, you can build up credibility without looking like you’re beating your own drum.

It’s important to vary your posts too, and write consistently. This way, once you’ve piqued someone’s interest they’ll hopefully return for more - and you’ll have something new and interesting to offer them each time they return. You don’t have to write great tomes, (as discussed before it’s best to keep them short and sweet) but you do need to post regularly. Once a day is preferable, as long as you have something interesting to say. Your blog can be a fantastic source of leads once you build a loyal following, so it’s worth dedicating an hour each day to keeping it alive. [Do a quick stocktake of your daily activities to see if what you are doing at every point is contributing to building your business. You might be surprised to find that replacing a current marketing activity with an hour of blogging could pay off handsomely.) You'll benefit from building a stockpile of interesting posts on days when you have more time and are feeling particularly creative, so you can drip feed them to your blog on a daily basis.

Writing about local businesses can be a great source of referrals and leads. By building a picture of your local community via your blog posts (not creating overt marketing pieces for local businesses!) you can help generate an empathy that will endear you to local residents. People love reading about themselves and others that they know and recognise from their own community. It is perfectly feasible then that your name could be top of mind when one of these people needs an agent to represent them or a family member.

Pictures reach out to people and have a magical way of connecting concepts and reality. In particular, the dream of a new home or renovation can sometimes feel like just that - a dream - so use lots of photos on your blog to illustrate the reality. Anyone interested in a particular area wants to see it, not just read about it, so make sure you include photos of the local area and activities as well as photos of current listings and properties you've sold. Using a site like Flikr to host your photos can be a great way of marketing and generating traffic to your blog. Use interesting captions and tags to categorise your photos; you might be surprised by the path some people take to find and read your blog.

Use other social media channels to promote your blog and connect locally. If you're using Twitter and have local followers, your local information could be of interest, so make sure you let them know when you're posting. Use a business Facebook profile to also promote your blog.

Most importantly, remember to post about things you know about, care about and speak with some authority on. Honesty and integrity in writing for business purposes is crucial. Your blog is out there on the web for anyone to view so ensure it represents you in the best light.

[image: flickr/Arbron]


Related posts:

  1. 10 Reasons to Start a Real Estate Blog
  2. Top 10 Tips for Writing a Blog
  3. Four Ways to Promote Your Blog
  4. How Blog Comments Can Generate Leads
  5. Agent Strategies: Hyper Local Blogging
  6. 10 Local Content Ideas for Your Website
  7. Bloggers Get More Website Hits
  8. Website Spotlight: Finding Your Blog’s Balance
  9. How to Choose the Right Title for Your Blog Posts
  10. Ten Niche Marketing Ideas for Your Website

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