Part of our web design process involves creating a site map, which is a basic site outline, and then running through it with the client to make sure it will mesh with their target audience.
But there’s one page on the site map that usually – almost always – elicits a heavy sigh.
“How do you feel about a blog?” We ask.
Cue expected sigh. “I’d love one… but I never know what to write!”
It’s not just you: Realtor blogs can take a lot of time and effort to maintain, much less use effectively. Idea generation doesn’t come easy, especially without a general blog strategy.
But here’s the good news:
It’s easier than you think to create a good real estate blog. You can gather a lot of inspiration from the many amazing realty blogs that are out there right now.
Why have a blog?
Maintaining your blog has some key benefits that you don’t want to miss out on.
- Moving your website up search engine results pages
- Showing off your real estate expertise, which attracts clients
- Showcasing your personality, which attract clients
- Building brand awareness
- Get more inbound leads
You can do it too!
How do you get ideas and write great blog posts that build your business?
- Identify – and write for – your audience
- Post regularly
- Choose timely topics
- Add valuable detail
- Use images and graphics
- Have an opinion
- Offer something
Lesson #1: Write for your audience
We’ve touched on this a number of times over the last few months – you can get our in-depth tips for doing a good audience analysis here and here.
Instead of repeating the steps for how refine your audience, I just want to say that it’s something you have to do. You can’t write for “everybody”. Your niche is a big audience – I promise. It’s bigger than you think. Pick your niche and write for them.
Who does it best: GeekEstate
GeekEstate is “The Premier Technology and Internet Marketing Community for Real Estate”.
Yeah, it’s a very specific topic. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a large audience for it; Realtors and real estate marketing is a massive topic with lots of practitioners and students like looking for helpful information.
Takeaway: Pick something that you know better than anyone and focus on it. Then, choose your ideal client and write on your subject like it’s for them. Don’t worry, everyone else will find you. And, interestingly, you’ll find much more to say on a subject when you’re diving into it.
Lesson #2: Post regularly
Posting regularly improves your website’s rankings, your blog’s credibility, your clients’ perception of you. You don’t have to post every day, or even every week. However often you choose, do it regularly (I’d recommend about once a week, depending on your schedule).
Who does it best: Harvey Kalles Real Estate Brokerage
Harvey Kalles updates their blog every week, on the same day, with in-depth analysis and well-written pieces. It’s landed them on a few high-traffic Best Real Estate Blog sites, which helps with exposure, improves inbound leads, and their site’s SEO rankings.
Takeaway: If you can’t commit to posting on the reg, hire someone to do it for you. Not everybody has the time to regularly update a blog, but there’s no reason to leave it languishing unused on your site. We can help!
Otherwise, you can outsource your content to different members of your team. In fact, you should definitely share the load – not only will your posting volume increase, but your blog will feature fresh ideas and unique perspectives with a team-content approach.
Lesson #3: Choose timely topics
There are two kinds of blog content: evergreen, which is content that’s useful year-round and doesn’t expire, and topical content. While some people think you should only post evergreen content, it’s important to have a good variety.
Time-sensitive content, like monthly market reports, new legislation explanations, or detailed listing posts signal that your blog is up-to-date and therefore reliable.
Who does it best: BuzzBuzzHomes
BuzzBuzz Homes has been around for a while, and they’ve branched out and created different factions of their brand, including news and regional content. They do a great job of mixing evergreen content and timely news.
Time-sensitive content is “urgent” for readers, which is a major psychological drive for clicks. Your reader can go find “Best Brunch in the City” at any time, but the housing correction is happening right now. They have to read about it right now!
Takeaway: Don’t be afraid to address the news right away. Get blog topic inspiration from newspaper headlines, radio stations, government legislation, construction updates, and more.
There’s a content strategy called “newsjacking”, which is when you jump on some breaking news to be one of the first people to post about it. People searching for a little-covered topic online will likely find you, so it’s worth it to be first!
Lesson #4: Be specific
This goes hand-in-hand with addressing your specific audience and posting timely content. Specific, data-driven blog posts dive into a topic and explore every piece of it. Have too much to explore in one post? Likely, you’re not being specific enough.
Who does it best: Better Dwelling
In this example, Better Dwelling dives into the rise of single-person occupancy in condos in a few of Canada’s main urban centres. The audience: people who make money from selling homes to selling people. And even more niche: the post is heavily data-oriented, lending credibility to their topic and addressing the info-lovers in their audience.
Takeaway: Use data. As a Realtor, you have access to information that others don’t. You can take that information and build a blog post around it, asking yourself, who should my audience care?
Lesson #5: Hierarchy your content
Some of your content will be better than others. Maybe it appeals to a larger audience, or contains great imagery, or is a top-notch listing you want to share with the world.
Whatever it is, organize your blog home so that you’re promoting your best content.
Who does it best: the BREL team
BREL puts their best-ranking content front and centre with a dedicated slider on their blog page. These posts are hand-picked by BREL’s team based on what has done better in search engine results and contains current data (see #3!).
Clients who visit the blog are more likely to click on this convenient, tailored content. Since these hand-picked pieces are timely, well-researched, and related to search data, users are likely to read more, which goes on to improve BREL’s SEO.
The takeaway: Your blog home page shouldn’t just be a list of your most recent blogs. Hand-pick your best content for display to make sure you’re funnelling readers to what suits them best.
Lesson #6: Use images
Images break up your text, making your blog posts easier to read, and causing a visitor to spend more time on each page of your site. This, in turn, boosts your Google rankings and increases the number of visitors who stumble on your site by accident.
Who does it best: Great Colorado Homes
Someone on Great Colorado Homes’ team loves making graphics. Every blog post has a fun, bright, and interesting infographic with unique data that lends credibility to their written content.
These graphics are always marked with their branding, so no matter where those graphics end up, it always points back to Great Colorado Homes. It’s a marketing tactic!
The takeaway: Graphics are worth your money and time. If you want to make your own, software like Canva makes it easy. Otherwise, hire someone to help churn out graphics or graphic templates that you can fill in with your own data over time. Presto – fascinating blog posts that are fun and interesting.
Lesson #7: Be opinionated
I love opinionated blogs. It’s so refreshing to read a real perspective or controversial point of view among a sea of informational posts on the same topic.
If you’re writing about a hot topic, choose a controversial opinion. I promise, nobody will think less of you for it – instead, it shows potential clients that you’re honest and trustworthy.
Who does it best: Toronto Realty Blog
I swear, I hate-read this blog once a week, easily. I disagree with David on a lot of things, including his choice of writing style, blog design, and general cantankerous approach to real estate. And yet, I still go read his posts.
He’s fascinatingly transparent. Uniquely so. I mean, he has a blog post titled “Greed is good…..Right?” That’s six elipses. In his title. Why!?
The takeaway: Fascinating is better than boring. Perspective is better than boring. Even bad can be better than boring.
By better, I mean more effective at nurturing leads, generating brand interest, and bringing clients in.
So, share your honest thoughts!
Lesson #8: Offer something
The heart and soul of a great blog post lies in its benefit to the reader. Readers are selfish – they’re browsing your blog because they want something.
You can help them out by showing them how to solve a problem, or get better at something.
Their benefit right there in their name: get bigger pockets! The Better Pockets blog offer real, tangible advice that a reader can immediately turn around and implement. In this case, they’re solving the problem of living in a “rat race”. Who doesn’t want to escape the rat race? And with a simple apartment, no less?
The Takeaway: Think about what your post will give to a reader. Then, structure your post around that benefit. Ensure you’re hitting all sides of the topic, including exactly how to implement whatever you’re suggesting. What do you know best? How can you help your reader?
Does this sound like a little too much time and effort for you? Here’s another question: How about getting someone to do it for you? Our dedicated content team writes effective, audience-assisting content for you, from sourcing, to posting, to comment moderation. Ask us how!