Posts Tagged ‘Content’
After reading a great – and true – blog post on “7 Reasons Your Blog Sucks (and What to Do About It)”, I had to comment and share my thoughts. Blogging about real estate can often be frustrating: trying to generate interesting, consistent, and good-quality content frequently can be a daunting task. What’s more, that in the real estate industry, readers aren’t exactly actively engaging with blogs or becoming loyal fans and followers.
That’s not to say that this isn’t possible. Usually the problem is either lame content and not being consistent with your content. Don’t forget, it takes more than the bare minimum of just throwing content once a week up on your blog: you are competing for your readers – and potential customers – online attention. And if we know anything about browsing the web, the online reader isn’t a patient one.
Here are some top mistakes that we see non-real estate SEO clients make every day, and some tips on how you can think about blogging differently to overcome them.
1.) No content strategy goals
You either don’t have a goal, or are all over the place. Take a minute to think about where you are trying to go with your blog and what statement you want to make. Are you writing to build a brand, build influence, or increase your leads? Your goals will shape your blogging strategy, and you need to make sure this message is conveyed accurately internally.
2.) Internal resources aren’t organized
Who writes your content and manages your social media profiles? My guess is, you’ve got one person for your company that you hope is blogging at least once a week. Identify who this person or team will be, whether its a requirement of all your agents to post once a day, or you and an intern writing once a week. If you don’t have a blog yet, start small and test-run a Sequoia real estate website with blog feature for 6 months to see how your business benefits. Create a solid team, and compile data to have a common ownership of the blog within your company.
3.) Real Estate niche is undefined
As with businesses in general, its so much better to have a specialized niche. The same applies to your blog: the less your posts are all over the place, the less targeted your message and your audience will be. Think about your target market and what they want – now how can you solve their problems? What are they concerned about?
4.) Not listening to your audience or clients
We tell clients that blogging is the best way to assert yourself as an expert in your field of real estate. But how can you position your company as an educator if you don’t know what your clients’ problems are? There are great “listening” tools like Google Alerts or Radian6 that you can employ to be on top of the latest news and issues of your market. From here, you can generate blog material in reaction to what you read.
5.) Your blog is boring
Here is where we have to be honest. Many real estate agents and brokers are not really writers, and the content your blog pushes out reflects that. It may be worth bringing in some fresh perspective with younger interns or agents that have expressed interest in writing to help stimulate interesting blog ideas to give you different angles to pursue.
Try and be the journalist that attracts your readers’ attention. Stories are everywhere, from interacting with clients to your kid’s dentist appointments. You can also tie in a recent news event or real estate market development: and the faster you are with these, the better. Have a defined, committed point of view – and finish it off with a great headline, like a “How-To” post or “Are You Paying Too Much To Sell Your Home?”
6.) Lack of authentic material
People don’t care about press releases. Sorry. They want to talk and leave comments for actual people, not droning company robots. Here’s where speaking about your personal experiences really comes into play – “I just met with this seller, and ran screaming from the house…” These are memorable, and make people connect to what you are writing about. And, clients prefer to work with “real” people.
7.) No publishing system
We emphasize constantly that consistent blogging is horribly important. However, there is a system that should be put into place. It starts by monitoring relevant and trending topics, aggregating the “noise” into relevant topics, creative writing and editing, and ends with measurement with Google Analytics. You need to have this process in a calendar to make sure you meet deadlines consistently, and over time you will become more efficient as blogging becomes part of you or your team’s routine.
8.) No “BOOM!” Ending
Remember in high school when your teacher told you to write a captivating conclusion that leaves the reader in reflection of what they just wrote? Don’t leave your readers hanging. Pull it all together, and throw some punch in there. Also don’t forget to continue the momentum with a strong call-to-action.
So go forth and make your blog the best it can be. Social media sites move quickly, and every reader that bounces of your blog is another opportunity lost. Don’t be overwhelmed by this list: tackle one issue at a time, and over the upcoming weeks your blog will be back on track.
We all know that publishing content on a regular basis is an important aspect of your online marketing campaign. Boston Logic recommends that our real estate SEO clients blog at least once per week, and that those new sites try to blog twice per week to generate content faster so Search Engines crawl your blog sooner – when a site has 100 posts, that’s the magic number when the search engines start to pay attention.
So you’ve been blogging once a week since your site has launched. Things are going good. But when is the optimal time or day of the week for your blog post to be published? When will it be most likely to capture the most readers? Be more likely to be shared on Facebook or Twitter? Unfortunately, there are just as many answers as there are businesses. Each business has a different customers: so how do you go about finding out what works best for you?
1) Experiment. As David Friedman mentioned in his “What is an Online Marketer?” article, it’s all about tracking, making educated changes, and then measuring for success. If you have Google Analytics installed in your website, (which you should!) tracking is easy.
If you blog 0nce per week, take the next few weeks to conduct an experiment: try publishing on each weekday to see which generates the most interest or traffic. For example, blog next Monday. Then write a blog the next week on Tuesday. Keep going until you have a full week days’ worth of posting so you can measure your results. You’ll always have variables such as high-traffic topics, but it’s a good place to start.
Finding the day your blog is most trafficked is a good start – a more advanced experiment, and ideal for those who blog every day, would be to find out what time of day would be best for you to be blogging. If you’ve found the best week day already in the previous experiment, start the process over again by blogging once during each time of day and measuring the results.
2) Tips and Data. Experimenting to find out what’s best for your personal blog is the best way for you to get the most accurate results. However, there have been studies conducted to help point you in the right direction when it comes to days and times to blog. Thanks to our good friends at Hubspot, we have some great findings to help point you in the right direction:
The best time of day to get shared on Facebook: 9am
The best day of the week to get shared on Facebook: Saturday
The best time to get your blog read: Morning
Also, take a look at this great image Hubspot created. Based on this data, we can see that most blog post views activity (people reading your blog) seems to take place in the late morning every day – Hubspot reported in a “When Do You Read Blogs?” survey that 80% of people who read blogs answered in the mornings. This also seems to be true for links to your blog and blogger comments.
Another interesting visual is that the most heavy commenting activity seems to take place on the weekend, and a bit on Mondays.
If you take these tips as a starting point and then experiment to find out what works best for you, you will be able to improve your own real estate online marketing presence. Don’t have time to worry about blogging or real estate SEO for your website? Contact Boston Logic today to find out what we can do for you!
In a recent research webinar presentation from Hubspot on Inbound Marketing, one of the most impressive data revelations was the amount of leads that corresponded to the amount of blogging the company did.
As you can see from the graph below, the numbers are quite impressive – those who blog daily receive 89% more leads than those who only blog once a month (49% customer acquisition). These numbers also happen to back up what we always tell our real estate SEO clients: blog consistently and regularly! It can sometimes be difficult to get clients to blog at least once a week, but when you blog once a month, not only does it not impress the visitors that come to your site, but you will also get less leads. And we know that leads for real estate brokers and agents is extremely important.
This also begs the question, “But HOW can we blog multiple times per day?” It’s really a matter of getting into routine and a mindset. Make a time commitment to blog as soon as you wake up, or to blog when you get home from work – and make it fun. You’re the expert: blog about what you think your clients want to read about while assuring your expertise as a real estate agent or brokerage.
Blogs also don’t have to be lengthy books of content and text: in fact, users prefer smaller blogs which contain helpful information for them. Being in real estate, consider the amount of questions you get from buyers and sellers: if these are in email form, you can literally copy and paste their question and response into your blog – done!
Blogging and real estate SEO are as easy as ever with our Sequoia real estate websites and integrated WordPress blogging system. If you are interested in a new real estate website or wish to inquire about our SEO services for your real estate website or blog, contact Boston Logic today!
Graph Source: The 2011 State of Inbound Marketing, Hubspot
While working with one of our real estate marketing clients earlier this week, we were trying to get them on a consistent blogging schedule. As a brokerage, the contact I was working with was going to assign agents to blog for the main company at least twice a week – which is exactly what we recommend for new real estate SEO clients.
In doing this, the client wanted to pass along information on blogging without overwhelming the agents. She was wondering if there was some sort of “blogging format” to follow while writing, and I composed one for her and thought it made great content for a blog post of our own!
Blogging is easy to do, but if you are not experienced with it, it can be helpful to have some sort of simple structure to follow as you get started. I’ve made this outline that you can reference for the next time you blog for your company: and for you veteran bloggers, it may be helpful to check this out and make sure you are following these blogging best-practices!
Simple Blog Post Format
1. Title of Blog Post. This should be accurately reflecting the text to follow, and you should try to use one of your SEO keywords if possible.
2. Intro Paragraph. This is where you introduce the topic of your post. If you are writing about an article you’ve read, cite the reference here, write the reason you are writing the post, or why the content is relevant to your expertise or market.
3. Blog Content: 2-3 Paragraphs. This is the meat of your blog post. Here is where you elaborate more about the topic that you’ve introduced with your blog title and intro paragraph. Optimize the content with your SEO keywords wherever possible, create internal links to other places on your website, and include relevant information and facts to assert yourself an expert in your field of real estate. Also include links if your reader needs to go somewhere else to read more information, such as an MLS listing on your website to read more.
Important: DO NOT copy and paste anything from the internet! Google punishes duplicate content on websites – you must re-purpose the content to make it unique in your blog post. Wikipedia articles are not your friend.
4. Add an image to break up your text. All blog posts should contain at least one image to help break up your text content and make it appealing to readers. Pull an image related to your text: for example, if you are writing about a featured property, pull an attractive picture from its MLS listing. It is also great for SEO to optimize your images: place keywords in the image title, alt text, and description of your image – bonus points if you can make the image a clickable link to a relevant page on your website.
5. Conclusion. Here is where you add a personal note of conclusion to the content you have written. Here is a great place to write your opinion on your topic…why did you write this blog post? What does the reader have to learn from it? How does this content relate back to you and your business?
6. Call-To-Action. Now that you have written this great blog post and have credited yourself as an expert in your field, give yourself the credit and include your contact information. Back to the featured property blog post example, a sample call to action would be: “Interested in finding your next home in Boston, Massachusetts? Contact John Smith of Boston Logic Realty today!” Here you can include a link to your direct email address so that potential leads may contact you.
And that’s it!
Ready for a sample call-to-action?
As a real estate web design and online internet marketing company, Boston Logic can assist you in all aspects of running and maintaining your real estate business. Contact Boston Logic today to find out how to make the most out of your online presence with our real estate SEO services and cutting-edge real estate website technology.
Website “content” has shifted from being not as important as the website design to now front and center for digital marketing. So what does having a “Content Strategy” mean for your website and how can you use it?
Engage Through Conversation
Brands now seem to be attracted to the latest format or platform (“There’s an app for that”, anyone?) whereas a few years ago brands wanted nothing more than to have something of theirs go “viral”. But content shouldn’t be overlooked: great content creates conversations, conversations help you engage with people, and in this Social Media World, engaging with people is the only hope for brands to survive.
So while forming a “Content Strategy” can be difficult due to differences and individual factors, here’s a more streamlined 10-step process for you to check out.
Setting principles for your personal brand is a pretty basic branding idea: having these established will allow for discussion to take place centered around your authenticity, humility, and transparency. Now’s also the time to define your “client-engagement” policy. Set some principles. Doing so allow the brand to have a healthy and robust discussion around authenticity, transparency, and humility, as well as an opportunity to define the engagement policy. You need to be aware that brands cannot control when conversations end, so brands must make a continual investment in this ongoing endeavor.
2. Business Objectives
So…why are you doing this? State your objectives and link them to metrics where you can set targets and define a budget.
3. Brand Purpose
Here you delve a bit more into what your brand stands for within its “substance”. Focus on the topics that are important to you, and identify your position on certain subjects. What is your point of view? What’s your story? What’s your purpose? And most importantly, why should people care about you and your brand?
The best brands often identify an “ideal”, which can be an interesting direction to go into: for example, Fanta believes the world would be better if we grew up less and played more. How can you apply this thinking to your real estate brand? What would you like to see? This is a great way to give your brand a purpose and give you something to anchor your future content to – and remember to continuously back up your brand ideal with evidence!
4. Content Value (Social Currency)
This “social currency” determines what value that your content delivers directly to people. The direct value of content can be broken down into four types:
- Entertainment value. Currently, advertising has taken a huge focus on this type of content value “currency”. People like to be entertained, and ideas that can be parodied spurs much conversation.
- Knowledge value. Business to business knowledge provides much content value within select industries.
- Monetary value. Actual monetary value can be applied through PR via promotions and competitions.
- Utility value. Phone apps and the latest in real estate website features fall into this category, and with the increase in intuitive real estate websites, apps may be a viable option to look into.
So who will produce all this great content for you? If you are a brokerage, you may have more choices than you may realize.
- Your Agents can be an effective choice for content creation. The US online shoe retailer Zappos.com encourages all staff to use Twitter and adds a competitive element: a leaderboard that ranks Zappos staff according to their Twitter following.
- Industry Peers by simply sign-posting people to relevant, interesting stuff: this goes for websites for both brokers and real estate agents.
- User-generated content (UGC), crowdsourcing, and co-creation is pretty self-explanatory and can also be a viable option.
Whats the distribution strategy for your content?
- Brand media: your real estate website, email, and events (i.e., open houses?)
- Earned media: influencer networks, communities, or the media
- Paid media: I think we can guess how to get this.
It’s important to control the balance of these spaces, and experiential and social spaces work really well together. Another aspect of consideration is the question of social destination: not a lot of brands can pull this off. If you don’t have enough support, it may be difficult to get this going – and you’ll be spending on generating useless traffic. It may be more beneficial to your brand to get involved with communities that already exist, so do your research!
Formats that are appropriate to use include pictures, blog posts, videos, presentations, tweets, or Facebook. You can also repurpose your content into different formats: if you have an upcoming open house, use the same topic in a series of blog posts, announcement on your Facebook, Tweet it, and maybe make a video out of the Open House itself to throw up on YouTube. Make sure that your content is in a format for people to easily share!
Conversations aren’t campaigns: they can’t be turned off. You should have a consistent content schedule (i.e., blog 2x per week) and keep it rolling. Take into account ad hoc and reactive content to what is going on around you to your pre-planning. Setting up a schedule will also ensure a constant stream of content. Be creative: experiment with different content and build on peaks of interest with similar material.
9. Social Agents
You’ll need someone to manage your brand outposts. Someone needs to be responsible for managing your brand outposts and managing your conversations. They should also be able to build relationships, redirect questions and suggestions, and ultimately be responsible for your social brand. This “person” can be a team of real estate agents for your brokerage, an intern, all agents, on an outsourced real estate SEO company.
10. Active Listening
It’s not enough to simply produce content, you need to be an active listener with your brand to gauge the reaction to your content. Track the conversations that you start, which ones you want to join, and create a metric to track your progress in regards to your objectives, targets, and budgets.
Questions, thoughts or strong feelings? Feel free to comment with your feedback!