Preamble: I originally wrote this post for two purposes: 1) a submission to the new Real Estate Weblogging 101 site (born this morning, it already contains a wealth of invaluable info); and 2) it fits in with my topic for this afternoon’s First Southwest Real Estate Blogging Conference. I present it here for those unable to attend the conference, or unable to get past all the gems already up at REWeblogging 101.
People — usually real estate agents (yes, they are people too) — frequently ask me, “Why do you blog?”
The short answer, one that leaves many scratching their heads, is “Because I have to”.
I need to write. I don’t know why, it’s just always been that way. I don’t write well enough to become the next mega-best selling author. I don’t want the deadline pressure of writing a column in traditional newsprint. So a blog is the ideal venue for me to write. For whatever reason, people seem to read what I put here. God only knows what possesses them to keep coming back.
Invariably after I say, “Because I have to”, the next question is, “But does all that blogging get you CLIENTS?”
The short answer is yes, it does. If I had to, I could produce documented evidence of procuring buyers, sellers, and even a small developer that became clients — paying clients — from what has been done with The Phoenix Real Estate Guy.
The immediate follow-up question from Mr. or Ms. Aspiring Real Estate Blogger then becomes, “How do I get clients from my blog?”
That is a difficult question to answer. I could spew thoughts and opinions on Search Engine Optimization. The simple fact is if no one can find your blog, no one will read it. Hence, no one will contact you to help them buy/sell/invest in real estate. I could write a post on SEO that would rival the length of War and Peace. If you want SEO info, just Google “SEO 101” and you’ll be presented with a lifetime of reading.
I prefer to answer the “How do I get clients” question from a more philosophical perspective.
Real estate is a “people business”. Yes, people chose a real estate agent based on their experience, qualifications and knowledge (incidentally, a real estate blog is the perfect medium for displaying all three of those qualities). But they also tend to chose an agent because they connect with them on some personal level.
So there is your short answer: connect with your readers on a personal level.
How do you do that? Let me count the ways…
Be you. Don’t try to be something you are not — it will come across in your writing. If you hate statistics and charts, don’t blog about statistics or put charts in your blog. If you love stats and charts, blog it!
Blog “off topic“. I’ve had many well intentioned people tell me my blog “lacks focus”. Some “experts” say a real estate blog should be about real estate — and nothing else. To those experts, I say, “fooey!”. I picked up a buyer client through a blog post about Vanilla Pepsi of all things. I’ve been contacted by potential clients from a post about my cat for Pete’s sake. Why did someone contact me from these posts that clearly have nothing to do with real estate? Because for whatever reason, someone could relate to them. Because they showed these folks that there is more to their potential agent than a brain full of home sale stats, knowledge of contracts, and other various and sundry real estate related subjects.
Be opinionated. No one wants a robot for an agent. They want an agent they feel comfortable with. They want an agent they can relate to. Humans relate to other humans that have similar thoughts, feelings and opinions. I wrote a post on some tragic “accidental” drowning deaths of children in the Phoenix area. I did not hold back, at all, my thoughts and feelings on the parenting skills of those involved. I received more than one private email from people telling me I had no right to say someone should go to prison. I received even more emails from people that agreed with me. Could I have lost a potential client from that post? Certainly. Could I have gained one? Absolutely. But I am not going to sugar coat my feelings and write a politically correct post in an attempt to appease everyone. That post expressed my feelings and people can either take it or leave it. I don’t compromise my feelings to try to gain clients.
That last sentence brings up an important point… TRYING TO GAIN CLIENTS. I’m of the opinion that if you blog for the sole purpose of gaining clients that you will likely fail miserably. Blogging is not easy. It takes time. It is difficult to quantify the benefits if you measure it solely in cashed commission checks. If you blog only to gain clients, it will be apparent in your writing — it’s going to feel “forced”. People are smart. If they feel like all you are trying to do is reel them in, they will run away in droves. Blog to learn, to become a better writer, to increase your web presence, to share your knowledge. Do those things, do them well, and clients will come.