I do a lot of market reports. That's pretty much an understatement - probably 80% of my 563 blog posts to date have been market reports. And I can tell from some comments, and a couple of e-mails, that my motivation for focusing on these may be misunderstood.
I am not writing market reports because it's an easy way to bag some points. I'm not doing them to delight my subscribers, even though there are readers that follow them carefully. I'm not writing them because it's an effective way of directly attracting clients. And I'm certainly not doing them because they're fun to write - it's a lot of hard, tedious work, even with templates for my graphs.
I'm writing market reports because it's the best way I have found to get our IDX website, on page 1 of Google searches.
These reports provide frequent new content and content-relevant backlinks from my AR blog. So in the sense of useful results, Google is my most important reader. I structure my reports to maximize search results - I want Google to like me and put me in front of buyers who are looking for homes in our market. But I also take care to write them well - I do want to keep those who care about these matters well-informed about what's happening in the marketplace, and doing them regularly certainly helps keep me up to speed as well.
Here's how it works:
Our IDX website highlights the three biggest cities in our market area - Fort Collins, Loveland, and, as of the beginning of May, Greeley. Each of these cities has it's own search page, and each of those pages, in turn, has 16 pre-set search pages, which include both category searches like 4-bedroom homes, foreclosed homes, acreages, etc., and searches for specific neighborhoods, like Fossil Lake Ranch, Harvest Park, etc. (We also have an advanced search function, which lets buyers search the entire MLS.)
The pre-set searches provide the categories for my market reports. So, for instance, I'll do a market report for 4 bedroom homes in Fort Collins, and I'll link it back to the search page on our IDX website for 4-bedroom homes in Fort Collins. Since it's from ActiveRain, Google sees this as an authoritative backlink and gives the website page some juice. So when a home buyer does a long-tail search looking for 4 bedroom homes in Fort Collins, our website will get good placement. How good? For Fort Collins and Loveland, for 31 searches incorporating our category keywords, we had 29 page 1 results the last time I checked (and I check frequently).
Here's what it looks like:
So, to stay current and keep pleasing Google, I post market reports regularly. In addition to the seven communities in our market area, each of which gets it's own overall monthly market report, I'm doing 45 category reports, in groups of 15 a month. I think being consistent and regular is important, and I'm going to keep doing these until it doesn't work anymore.
And because I don't want to be a dull boy, I really enjoy the opportunity to write about other stuff - and pretty much any other stuff will do, as long as it's fun.