Building a Strong Internet Presence by Blogging - Real Topics that Drive Traffic and Generate Leads

By
Real Estate Agent with PREA Signature Realty - www.preasignaturerealty.com

BLOGGING AS AN INTERNET MARKETING STRATEGYBlogging for Business - Good Topic Selection is Key

When it comes to building an internet marketing presence, real estate agents should have a multi-prong strategy that includes a brokerage website, an agent website, a blog, listing feeds to search portal sites, participation in forums, and social networking sites.  Despite the growing popularity of blogging as a marketing tool by businesses generally, real estate agents still appear to be reluctant to embrace blogging as a marketing strategy to build their internet presence.  In the 2009 NAR Technology Survey, 8% of Realtors viewed "blogging" as "important" for generating leads whereas 20% of Realtors viewed "blogging" as "unimportant". 

WHY BLOGGING DOESN'T GENERATE LEADS (FOR SOME)?

So, why are Realtors so reluctant to embrace blogging as an internet marketing strategy?  In speaking at sales meetings at brokerages in the St. Louis area, I often receive two common responses to this question:

  • Category 1:  I often get comments that seem to indicate that real estate agents are intimidated by blogging.  The comments range from "I don't write well..." to "I don't have any great insights to offer" to "I don't have time to write articles" to "I don't know where to start" to "My broker doesn't provide us with a blogging platform."  
  • Category 2:  I often get comments that bluntly claim that "blogging" simply doesn't work.  Often, these comments start with "I tried it for a month..." and end with "it didn't generate any leads or income." 

There is often a common thread to these discussions.  In both cases, the failure to start blogging and the failure to continue blogging often is directly related to the failure to develop a blogging strategy, the failure to identify your target audience, and the failure to write dynamic posts.  Add into the mix the use of an inferior blog platform, the failure to understand keywords and the basics of search engine optimization, the failure to integrate your blog into your other marketing plans, lack of commitment, and poor execution - and you have a pretty good recipe for a disastrous, time wasting experience with blogging.

WHAT BLOG POSTS GENERATE LEADS?

Now, after my first 12 months of blogging, I decided to look back upon my 400 blog posts in an attempt to determine what topics seemed to generate views and comments, what topics seemed to elicit a comment or inquiry, and what topics seemed to generate traffic to my website, active leads and even commission income.  In conducting this unscientific review, there seemed to be certain categories that generated more interest.  However, interest in the form of comments and business generated from the post often were not mutually exclusive or even related.  Some of my posts that received few or even no comments often were the posts that generated substantial or meaningful traffic to my website, active leads and even commission.

So, after reviewing my posts, I found that almost all of my posts could be placed in one or more of the following categories:

  • #1 - HyperLocal Neighborhood Posts:  These posts focus on a single city, neighborhood or even street and ranged from market reports and available properties to neighborhood news and events.  Often, these posts received the fewest number of comments.  However, these posts generated the most inquiries, leads and income.
  • #2 - Market Reports - These posts focus on market statistics ranging from single year reports to ten year summaries on existing home sales, housing starts, and more.  These posts generated the least number of comments but delivered the most traffic to our website.
  • #3 - Legislative/Regulatory Update Posts:  These posts focus on regulatory and legislative issues on national, state and local levels and ranged from annual legislative updates to commentary on pending legislative proposals to summaries of current regulatory changes - particularly related to FannieMae and FHA lending guidelines.  Often, these posts had the largest number of comments which developed into a healthy debate on the issues at hand.  Although these posts didn't seem to interest consumers in general, the posts did generate interest from other real estate professionals - particularly on LinkedIn Groups.
  • #4 - Business Profile Posts:  These posts focus on restaurant reviews, profiles of neighborhood businesses and an occasional interview with a neighborhood leader.  These posts provided some of greatest exposure for our brokerage.  More importantly, these posts developed relationships resulting in some joint marketing and referral business and enhanced our reputation as neighborhood specialists.  Also, these posts served as good content for customers who were relocating to the neighborhoods that we serve.  
  • #5 - "How to" Instructional Posts:  These posts focus on sales training, technology, and social networking sites.  Often, these were multi-part series.  These posts were the most highly read by my own agents, assisted in the recruitment of new agents, and resulted in a number of speaking engagements with professional associations, civic groups, and other real estate brokerages, title companies, and other real estate professionals.  These posts served as great introductions to other real estate professionals in the area.
  • #6 - Research Posts:  These posts were based on real estate related research studies conducted on a range of issues.  Often, these posts were related to current events or trends and included commentary that often generated widely divergent opinions on the validity of the studies, missing data, etc.  These posts generated interviews and inquiries from journalists.
  • #7 - Either/Or Posts:  These posts were generally designed to compare and contrast particular services, loan programs, etc.  These posts didn't seem generate too many inquires but were well received by existing customers and clients.
  • #8 - Reblog or Link Posts:  These posts were often used because of time constraints, involved a specialized field, or were just so well-written that they needed to be disseminated to my readers in their original form.
  • #9 - Lists/Best Of Posts:  These posts focus on top or best of lists prepared by national news magazines, foundations, etc.  It is difficult to determine the impact of these posts had - except that they promoted the areas that we serve.
  • #10 - Best Practice Posts:  These posts generally started as "rants" and were often toned down after further reflection.  Occasionally, these were direct or indirect responses to other posts read on a specific issue.  Although these posts weren't intended to generate direct business, these posts were extremely effective in explaining our business philosophy and practices.
  • #11 - Motivational Posts:  These posts were often focused on staying motivated in a down market.  Again, they didn't seem to generate much business.  However, often they were the most enjoyable to write and were often used in connection with sales meetings.
  • #12 - Satire Posts:  These posts were intended to highlight specific positions and to tell a story using a combination of humor and sarcasm.
  • #13 - Informational Posts:  These posts generated a good deal of non-real estate related business and often suffered from being too technical or too long.  However, these posts used hypothetical situations to describe how such situations and issues could or should be addressed.  The posts often explained our approach and problem solving skills.
  • #14 - Video/Photo Posts:  These posts generated occasional requests for re-use of the photos.  If we were grading these posts, we would probably give it an incomplete.  Too few posts to truly get a good read on the impact that they could have.
  • #15 - Listings Posts:  These posts were difficult to track when using Html from other sources.  When the posts were based on direct content as opposed to html code, the posts improved our placement for select keywords on Google search results. 
  • #16 - Public Service Announcements:  These posts were intended solely to show support for a particular issue.  Often, they were only tangentially related to real estate.  However, they were intended and received as "we care about you" statements. 

So, before you say blogging doesn't work, first answer this question:  Did you post original content for a clearly defined audience with a good value proposition and a concise call to action that offered a personal insight, a tangible benefit for the reader, or an interesting, unusual or controversial slant on a current event or issue?  If you can't answer "yes", then the blogging experiment may have failed because of poor execution or planning and not because blogging is "unimportant" as a marketing tool.

If you are a real estate professional and are new to blogging, the time is now to sign-up for an ActiveRain blog.  There is no better real estate community or more supportive blog platform to learn the basics of blogging and discover some great tips on how to make blogging work for you and your business.

Need a speaker to discuss the blogging and lead generation for real estate professionals?  Contact Ryan Shaughnessy at PREA Signature Realty at 314-971-4381 or send an e-mail to Ryan@PREASignatureRealty.com.

 

 

Posted by

________________________________________________________________________________________________

PREA SIGNATURE REALTY

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PREA Signature Realty is a full service brokerage located at 1709 Park Avenue in the Lafayette Square neighborhood of the City of St. Louis.  PREA Signature proudly serves the following city neighborhoods:  Lafayette Square, Soulard, Benton Park, Benton Park West, Downtown Loft District, Forest Park Southwest, Central West End, Tower Grove East, Tower Grove South, Compton Heights, Shaw, The Hill, Dogtown, Carondelet, Holly Hills, St. Louis Hills, Dutchtown, and the Other Historic Neighborhoods of the City of Saint Louis, Missouri. 

The opinions expressed herein represent the opinions of the author only and do not reflect the opinions of PREA Signature Realty.  All photos and written content were produced by PREA Signature Realty.  All Rights Reserved - PREA Signature Realty (2009).  This content may not be reproduced or reprinted, except for Active Rain re-blogging, without express written permission of PREA Signature Realty.

For more information, visit our website at www.PREASignatureRealty.com or contact Ryan Shaughnessy at 314-971-4381 or send an email to Ryan@PREASignatureRealty.com

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Re-Blogged 14 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Darryl ODonnell 10/20/2009 01:26 AM
  2. Larry Brewer - Benchmark Realty llc 10/20/2009 01:40 AM
  3. Nibal Elsaadi 10/20/2009 01:40 AM
  4. Pankaj Sampat 10/20/2009 03:20 AM
  5. Pankaj Sampat 10/20/2009 03:27 AM
  6. John Occhi 10/20/2009 03:41 AM
  7. Hector G. Diaz 10/20/2009 06:12 AM
  8. Dana Devine 10/20/2009 06:43 AM
  9. Mark Rienzie 10/20/2009 07:01 AM
  10. Jay & Jewell Kaiser 10/20/2009 07:41 AM
  11. Laurel Stone 10/21/2009 04:19 AM
  12. Jim McCormack 10/21/2009 10:53 AM
  13. Pamela Justice 10/26/2009 04:13 AM
  14. Michelle Silies 01/08/2010 07:28 AM
  15. Jeffrey Richman 11/07/2011 12:37 AM
Topic:
Real Estate Sales and Marketing
Groups:
RealtorsĀ®
The Art Of Marketing You
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Tags:
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Rainer
229,238
Ryan Shaughnessy
PREA Signature Realty - www.preasignaturerealty.com - Saint Louis, MO
Broker/Attorney - Your Lafayette Square Real Estate Partner

Kathryn - I'm glad it helps.  We all get stuck at times.

Mike - Thanks.  I'm glad it helped.

 

Oct 25, 2009 10:58 AM #119
Rainer
50,512
Jim Gilbert
Sky Realty - Austin, TX

Good reporting of your blogging experience. I have bookmarked it for future reference.

Jim Gilbert, www.HeartofAustinHomes.com

Oct 28, 2009 02:57 AM #120
Rainer
229,238
Ryan Shaughnessy
PREA Signature Realty - www.preasignaturerealty.com - Saint Louis, MO
Broker/Attorney - Your Lafayette Square Real Estate Partner

Jim - I hope it helps.

Oct 28, 2009 02:09 PM #121
Rainer
229,238
Ryan Shaughnessy
PREA Signature Realty - www.preasignaturerealty.com - Saint Louis, MO
Broker/Attorney - Your Lafayette Square Real Estate Partner

Jim - I hope it helps.

Oct 28, 2009 02:09 PM #122
Rainmaker
27,846
Dawn Pratt
Orlando, FL
East Orlando Real Estate

Great post! I used to live in Lafayette Square on Mississippi and in Soulard on 9th way back when. I miss da Lou!

Oct 29, 2009 05:37 AM #123
Rainmaker
27,846
Dawn Pratt
Orlando, FL
East Orlando Real Estate

Great post! I used to live in Lafayette Square on Mississippi and in Soulard on 9th way back when. I miss da Lou!

Oct 29, 2009 05:37 AM #124
Rainer
229,238
Ryan Shaughnessy
PREA Signature Realty - www.preasignaturerealty.com - Saint Louis, MO
Broker/Attorney - Your Lafayette Square Real Estate Partner

Dawn - The neighborhoods have only got better with time.

Oct 29, 2009 12:16 PM #125
Rainer
229,238
Ryan Shaughnessy
PREA Signature Realty - www.preasignaturerealty.com - Saint Louis, MO
Broker/Attorney - Your Lafayette Square Real Estate Partner

Dawn - The neighborhoods have only got better with time.

Oct 29, 2009 12:16 PM #126
Rainmaker
647,533
DeeDee Riley
Lyon Real Estate - El Dorado Hills CA - El Dorado Hills, CA
Realtor - El Dorado Hills & the Surrounding Areas

Ryan,

Using your post here for the Scavenger Hunt Contest- a post giving you Blog topics.  I had it bookmarked!!!! 

Thanks again,

DeeDee

Oct 31, 2009 05:59 AM #127
Rainmaker
335,337
Sally Lawrence
Advantage Real Estate - Tehachapi, CA
Broker, CHS, e-Pro, SFR, REALTORĀ®

Ryan,

Thanks for the great list of blog topics!  I'm just getting (re)started in real estate sales and am devoting a fair amount of energy to incorporating technology in my business.  I always think that the time investment upfront to organize tech solutions pays off.  So, blogging is on my to-do list and to date I've been making lists of possible topics and writing some generic posts so that I can have something in the can in case I can't write a post in a timely manner.

This begs the question of how to effectively manage time.  Your post was written more than 10 days ago and I just got time to see it today!  There's got to be a way to find 36 hours in each day.

Oct 31, 2009 07:15 AM #128
Rainer
229,238
Ryan Shaughnessy
PREA Signature Realty - www.preasignaturerealty.com - Saint Louis, MO
Broker/Attorney - Your Lafayette Square Real Estate Partner

Dee Dee - Plan to take a look at your scavenger hunt post.

Sally - It takes regular effort to blog.  In my opinion, it is worth it because it produces leads.  I know the feeling - some days there just aren't enough hours in the day.

Nov 01, 2009 09:51 AM #129
Rainmaker
190,666
DEBORAH STONE
Balboa Real Estate San Diego, CA - San Diego, CA

Ryan

I found your post very informative. I also am amazed at the helpful insights so many in the AR community have given out to everybody. I have learned so much in the past year!

Blogging improves over time. I shudder at some of my earlier posts. I realized that writing, like any skill, improves  with practice. I also enjoy the "journaling" aspect of Blogging. It is somewhat therapeutic to be able to share ones thoughts and ideas with a like-minded community.

 

Nov 03, 2009 10:32 AM #130
Rainer
229,238
Ryan Shaughnessy
PREA Signature Realty - www.preasignaturerealty.com - Saint Louis, MO
Broker/Attorney - Your Lafayette Square Real Estate Partner

Deborah - Blogging does develop and improve over time.  Similar to you, I find it both interesting and therapeutic.  Read my first few posts... you will see the change in style and content.

Nov 03, 2009 10:53 AM #131
Rainmaker
242,126
Jenny Durling
L.A. Property Solutions - Los Angeles, CA
For Los Angeles real estate help 213-215-4758

Thanks for the insight into what has been working for you. I've heard similar information from other agents that hyper-local and market statistic posts tend to generate the most business. I absolutely believe in the power of blogging to bring business i just have trouble finding the time to do it daily.

Nov 04, 2009 05:04 PM #132
Rainer
229,238
Ryan Shaughnessy
PREA Signature Realty - www.preasignaturerealty.com - Saint Louis, MO
Broker/Attorney - Your Lafayette Square Real Estate Partner

Jenny - We all have difficulty finding time.  Sometimes, I get in the groove - other times it is a rut.  Just have to keep plodding ahead.

Nov 08, 2009 03:51 PM #133
Rainmaker
47,843
Kim Dillon
Creative Eye Home Staging - West Chester, PA

I saved this until the New Year to help me with my determination to do better with blogging in 2010.  Thank you for such an informative post.

Jan 06, 2010 11:29 PM #134
Rainer
63,280
Sonja Adams
Samson Proprties - Purcellville, VA

Excellent Post...it does pay to look back to see what part of your marketing plan is successful, doesn't it?  I'm surprised that the hyper local posts were more profitable than the market reports...great information!

Jan 20, 2010 03:56 AM #135
Rainer
697,968
Christine Farkas
Keller Williams Western Realty - Bellingham, WA
Awesome Customer Service Experience

Awesome...so glad to have stumbled upon this post. Blogging has certainly come a long way! It has become a highly effective technique being used by many as part of their online marketing efforts. It's a great way to promote a business. Thanks for the insight!

Apr 23, 2011 11:35 AM #136
Rainmaker
360,936
Jeffrey Richman
Immediate Home Solutions - Wesley Chapel, NC
Lease/Purchase Specialist & Unclaimed Money Player

Hi Ryan,

I just ran across this post while doing a search on blogging.  Great info, thanks...

Nov 07, 2011 12:40 AM #137
Rainmaker
843,984
David Popoff
DMK Real Estate - Darien, CT
RealtorĀ®,SRS, Green ~ Fairfield County, Ct

Ryan, even though this post is from 2009 it still rings so true in todays world and work environment, thanks.

Nov 07, 2011 12:49 AM #138
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Ryan Shaughnessy

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