For those of you who have “Create a Blog” on your 2013 To Do List, you know that creating the blog is just the first step. Last week I covered the great things that a blog does for a website. This week I want to talk about developing a blogging plan and give you some ideas to write about.
To really capitalize on your blog, you must have a blogging plan to actually write and post content on a regular basis. I recommend developing a schedule of posting once a week at a minimum – and the key to success is to have a set day when you do this.
For example, if I didn’t have a set schedule for posting the Zebra Report every Thursday and instead had a more-flexible schedule of “post Zebra Report once a week”, getting this task done every week would be problematic. Having a firm weekly deadline is important for not only getting it done but for establishing a pace for developing the content.
If you are the type of agent who is a bit intimidated by the thought of sitting in front of a computer and having to generate a blog entry, then it is important to lay out a schedule of blog ideas that you list on your task management system so you can mull this around in your head before you ever even sit down at your computer.
It can look like this:
- Wednesday, January 23:
Blog post – December 2012 and December 2011 median home price comparison between the two months.
- Wednesday, January 30th:
Blog post – Seller Q&A: Answer a question you have been asked this week on selling.
- Wednesday, February 6th:
Blog post – July 2012-January 2013 available inventory graph and summary.
- Wednesday, February 13th:
Blog post – Buyer Q&A: Answer a question you have been asked this week on buying.
I keep my posting schedule simple. In the above, I post each Wednesday and alternate between a statistic from the MLS (you can look at inventory, home prices, days on market, homes under contract, etc) and answering a question. Isn’t that easy?
Below are some ideas for creating blogging plan with easy-to-create blog content.
1. Updates on pending or recently-passed legislation. For example, the fiscal cliff legislation recently passed – a great opportunity to post a blog on what this means for buyers and sellers. The mortgage interest tax deduction is another opportunity to create content around an issue currently up for debate.
2. Home-owner “help” blogs are fantastic. Consider highly searched-for topics and frame those up in the form of a question (as this is how many people search for information). For example: “How do I get ready to move?”, “How do I learn more about a homeowners association before I move?”, “How do I winterize my home?” are good examples of “Help” blogs.
3. Take the “help” blog to another level by highlighting a niche market. For example, if you are working waterfront, you can highlight changes to the rules and regulations around buying and selling waterfront. Using the same model as the “help” blog, imagine “What do I need to know about waterfront and septic systems?” or “What do I need to know about accessibility and owning waterfront?” as example titles.
4. Highlighting features of particular developments you work with if you are working in new construction or with a geographical farm. Examples include proximity to local services, recreation opportunities, community parks and more. For example, if your farm is close to “Moorage Park”, you can write a blog post on the features of the park and proximity to the neighborhood.
5. Market trends, analysis, and forecasting. Depending on your MLS, you may have monthly statistics available in an easy-to-use summary format. But don’t make the mistake of only including the stats or graph. Be sure and write a few sentences explaining what the stats mean for potential buyers and sellers. Here are four easy stats to pull:
- Median home prices or average sales prices (make sure you are comparing the same information!)
- Days on market
- Available inventory
- Homes under contract
There are a variety of ways to show this information:
- Show a trend for the last six months
- Show year-to-date this year versus year-to-date last year
- Show last month (such as December 2012) versus the same month in the previous year (December 2011)
6. Praise for local contractors that you work with (such as inspectors, lenders, title reps, escrow reps, etc). Let them know when you do this, as it is a great way to get back-links and build relationships.
7. Homeowner, condo association, or neighborhood association meeting notes. If you have a geographical farm or niche market, consider attending the neighborhood meetings to form friendships and be a resource for getting updated information out.
8. Chamber of Commerce, entrepreneurial group or business networking group goings-on. Keep your community updated about things they need to keep their eyes out for in terms of new business and developments. If you make a regular and professional habit of it, ask your group’s webmaster if they are willing to link to your blog.
9. Blog about both upcoming community events and recaps of events. If you have a WordPress website, you can even add a free event calendar to your website with a plug-in. It’s easy to do and great for developing a community of return visitors!
10. Information about local charities, events, and recognizing local organization leaders. This is a phenomenal opportunity to make connections with local leaders and highlight the organizations which are important to them. And if you write something about a leader and highlight their organization, they may link to your blog, expanding your readership.
11. If you work with aging baby-boomers, retirees and the elderly, then showcase your connection to the community. Consider writing about special considerations when buying or selling a home for this generation and what physical features in a home they should keep an eye out for.
12. Q&A. One of the easiest things to write about is simply answering a question that may have come up lately. You could cover anything from what is required for carbon monoxide detectors, how the Mortgage Debt Relief Act extension applies to them, or even how many homes an average buyer looks at before making a choice. If you start jotting down the questions you get in a week, you should find that content options are very easy to come by.
If you’ve never blogged before it can seem like a daunting task, but with a plan of action and a few ideas to write about it can be a cinch. You can easily turn blogging into a powerful online lead generation tool and establish yourself as the real estate authority in your community. Leave me a comment with your blogging question, success story or word of encouragement for new bloggers. I may answer your question in an upcoming Ask Denise segment!