A big part of our business is getting people to pay attention to us. To earn that attention, there are all kinds of tactics and trips, but if I told you that sitting on your rear end and writing 300 words could generate new clients, would you do it?
OK, I’ll get to the point; this blog is about, well, blogging. More specifically, it’s about blogging to increase awareness and make you more attractive to more potential clients. Let’s start with some compelling numbers about why blogs can be an effective tool for achieving these goals:
- Featuring a blog on your website gives you a 434% better chance of dramatically improving your ranking in search engines
- Companies that prioritize blogging are 13x more likely to achieve a positive ROI on all their marketing dollars spent.
- 6 out of 10 U.S. consumers have decided on a provider or product after reading their blog.
- Companies that blog get 97% more links and traffic to their website than those who don’t blog.
- After 21-54 blogs, small businesses see website traffic increase up to 30%.
These numbers paint a compelling picture of why you should blog, but even these stats don’t provide the whole story. Blogs have become an attractive way to tell stories about ourselves, our businesses, and the services we provide. They can be visual and written in our voice, and can tell stories about a house and its character, an undiscovered neighborhood, or even the dream of homeownership. Stories click with people and make them want to learn more. In our business, we can use blogs to tell those stories and engage with people who want to find a Realtor® they can trust.
The beauty of blogging is that in addition presenting a very approachable, human picture of ourselves, they are also among the most effective digital marketing tools for increasing awareness and driving qualified prospects to us. As we know, before a customer can work with you, they have to be able to find you. The statistics about blogs helping with your search engine success cannot be ignored if you want to show up in search results and maintain a sustained digital presence. This comment from digital marketing expert Jes Gonzalez explains this very well:
“…having an online presence can make or break a business, especially for small business owners. Because I was able to find the website and all the product and service information effortlessly, I was happy to book an appointment. Further, I booked my appointment online, at a business I’d never heard about, in a building I’d never seen. That day, the owner secured a new customer that she wouldn’t have had otherwise…”
The message is loud and clear: you need to do things that will improve your odds of being seen and seen in the right context, and blogs are an important tool in doing that.
You should know that blogging, while cost-effective, does take some effort. You’ll need to maintain a continuous effort to make it successful. Note that 47% of people will read 3-5 blogs before taking the first step towards engaging with a service or product. Blogging doesn’t need to be hard, but it does require some discipline. There are some important best-practices to follow in order to get the most benefit from your blogging effort; these tips in particular, should provide some tactical help:
- Publish at least one blog per week.
- You can likely use the blog capabilities that your website host service provides. If not, consider using WordPress to publish blogs.
- Push your blogs in your social media channels. Our blog about increasing engagement within your own network offers some insightful, actionable tips.
- Use a scheduling tool to plan out when you will publish blogs. A spreadsheet works, but I use a free service called Trello, which is clean and easy to manage.
- If you have a hard time writing, consider different formats. Maybe you can interview clients about their experience in their new homes. Or maybe you summarize data about neighborhood restaurants and shops.
- Brevity is preferred. Keep your blog to about 300-600 words.
- If you’re strapped for time (and you probably are), you might want to consider contracting with a ghostwriter who can help you maintain a regular cadence of blogs.
But before you get started, consider how to approach your blogging so you can ensure a consistent, interesting, compelling experience for your users: Writing can often be an exercise in staring at a blank screen waiting for the words to pour forth. Like anything we do, we’re more likely to be successful at it if we have a plan and stick with the things we know well and really enjoy. With that in mind, start with an outline, and know that you’re going to likely go through multiple iterations and editing rounds until you get your blog just right. When all else fails, remember this formula: tell ‘em what you’re gonna tell ‘em; tell ‘em; tell ‘em what you told ‘em.
It will help if you make a list of the things you know and like about your business. Maybe you specialize in relocations or know a few specific neighborhoods really well; emphasize those in your blogs. If you like those things, you’ll do a better job writing about them because you’ll be engaged in the topic. But also keep in mind that if you are terrible with numbers or don’t have a good track record with connecting clients with mortgage brokers, don’t use the blog as a place to try to demonstrate a fake love of interest rates. You want to be authentic and informative, so make sure you know the topics and themes that are meaningful to you. Your readers will recognize and appreciate that authenticity. Most marketing material uses a certain type of voice; in our business, it tends to stick to the facts. But with a blog, we can use a more informal voice. For most of us, that conversational tone is actually easier to write, but it’s also easier for our readers to read. One of the reasons blogs are so successful is that they are a departure from the standard marketing material we encounter every day.
One way to get this style is to speak, out loud, the things you’re trying to communicate. Talk them through and listen to the style you use. Look at successful bloggers and copy their style. James Altucher is one of the world’s most popular bloggers; his style is very casual. Brene Brown is fairly informal, but more traditional in how she writes. Take some time to search for bloggers in topics you like and try out their style and tone. Writing isn’t always easy and the creative juices don’t always flow. However, after enough practice, you will find that it becomes easier and easier. You’ll also discover that your blogs and stories connect you with new people and help you generate more potential revenue. Once that happens, you’ll realize that getting out 300-600 words every week ain’t so bad!