Blogs Posts Live Forever

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Real Estate Agent with Healdsburg Sotheby's International Realty

Amy HahnDonna Harris

Two Agents Who Sparked A Spirited Debate

There was a recent post about "no time for blogging" by Amy Hahn with an interesting rebuttal from Donna Harris. I thought both posts along with their comments created a dialog that defined what we expect on the best days here. The collective wisdom of authors and commenters always provides new insights about our business and the characters we get to interact with. I wanted to expand on a side topic from the "no time for blogging" debate.

 

To Blog or To Take A Break...That Is the Question.

Briefly, some argued that taking a break from blogging was harmful to marketing efforts. That was in opposition to the tongue-in-cheek original post that success in generating leads and business was a good reason to stop blogging/marketing. I will stipulate that nobody thinks stopping marketing completely is a good business practice. On the other hand, I am prepared to make the case that taking a break from blogging isn't the end of the world.

First a tiny background. I've been posting regular HTML pages online since 1995 so I have a lot of legacy content. By that I specifically mean pages that have been in the same location on the internet for more than ten years that still get traffic. Some of them score very highly in Google search results, partly as a result of longevity.The fact that content can endure on a scale of years leads to an important blogging tactic:

Write for the Future

One of the big surprises to me is how many new users find my old content and think it's new. There are a couple of simple explanations. First, as young people grow into adulthood, they start to go online to look at real estate (in addition to music, friends, sports, etc.). Since this is a topic they may never have looked at before, all of the content is new to them.  Secondly, as people move from one part of the country to another, they naturally start to look at local content in the area where they will be moving. You have a chance to capture both the new adults and the relocation people as your new clients if they can get to know you through your writing.

A lot of your content is necessarily going to be time sensitive. Current listings need to be updated and eventually removed from the site when they sell. On the other hand, a great 4th of July parade that happens every year in YourTown can be a good excuse for writing a post that survives past this month. Revisiting your 4th of July post to update photos each year won't be hard. Changing the dates for the "Blessing of the Fleet" or "Town Picnic" is a simple update that can keep your main writing and images current for years. The same thing is true of lists like Farmer's Markets that might require modest updates, but which can live on your site for a long time. Keep to your regular blogging schedule, but try to think of some topics that will let you create content that you can bank on even while you're on vacation.

What the Other Guys Do

While you are planning your longer term blogging efforts, pause for a moment to think about the alternatives to blogging that you could be spending your time and money on. Email is a useful tool, and flyers are almost mandatory for the initial introduction of a new listing to the market. I don't think any of us would do away with either technique. Sometimes they can even have enduring value. I have had several occasions when people have produced a letter that I wrote years ago as the reason they called me. Still, once an email is sent or a letter dropped into the postal money pit, it's over. If you get a couple percent response rate, you're doing great. The same energy expended in writing a blog post and you have a message that could be indexed for new users to find in Google for years.

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Re-Blogged 1 time:

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  1. D B 02/02/2010 01:14 PM
Topic:
Real Estate Sales and Marketing
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Rainmaker
155,283
Ted Tyndall
Davidson Realty Inc. - Saint Augustine, FL
I will help You find the Home YOU want to Buy

Dave, I agree it is a marathin not a sprint. However, I agree with brad tha there is nothing wrong with a short break.

Feb 03, 2010 04:13 AM #58
Rainmaker
1,487,216
Lyn Sims
RE/MAX Suburban - Schaumburg, IL
Schaumburg IL Real Estate

I'm on Donna's side, you can't stop doing what is turning out to be successful.  It's what realtors always complain about - the up and down cycles.  Tired of the roller coaster?  Then you have to be continuously prospecting!  Whatever that might be that brings in business.  Sounds like a rookie mistake that Amy is making.

Good post.  That isn't a ferret on Amy's shoulder is it?

Feb 03, 2010 04:19 AM #59
Rainmaker
117,024
Jason Burkholder
Weichert, Realtors - Welcome Home - Lancaster, PA
Associate Broker, Realtor, e-Pro, CMS

Thanks for the thoughts, it's touhg to post consistntly when you get buys but I'm trying to make it part of my routine, it definitely pays off in the end!

Feb 03, 2010 05:55 AM #60
Rainmaker
406,610
Marian Goetzinger
Pine Knoll Shores Realty 252-422-9000 - Pine Knoll Shores, NC
Crystal Coast Real Estate NC

Dave,  Great post.  I think you did a great job of clarifying. 

 

Lyn,  The animal on Amy's shoulder is actually the Wells Fargo Pony, there because Wells Fargo is the sponsor for NAR.  Amy won the pony at a national convention where she served on a national panel of experts.  Amy is far from a rookie.  She was Rookie of the year in Carteret County in 2007 but by 2009 she earned REALTOR of the year.  If you read her posts you'll see why.

Feb 03, 2010 06:22 AM #61
Rainmaker
708,831
Kimo Stowell
HI Pro Realty LLC RB-21531 - Honolulu, HI
REALTOR Associate® RS-76763 - Honolulu Hawai'i

Aloha Dave,

Thanks for the post. Ive taken a hiatus from blogging myself to work on some other web projects. What I have noticed is the dramatic drop in visitors to my blog site. Surprisingly though, there hasn't been any dramatic change in my website visitations.

Peace,

 

Feb 03, 2010 07:03 AM #62
Rainmaker
1,719,736
Lottie Kendall
Compass - San Francisco, CA
Helping make your real estate dreams a reality

Hey, thanks Dave! I hadn't thought about updating old posts. (Maybe that's because I don't have a huge inventory behind me--yet!)

Feb 03, 2010 11:19 AM #63
Rainmaker
190,466
DEBORAH STONE
Balboa Real Estate San Diego, CA - San Diego, CA

it would be great to post daily to my Blog.The reality is 3-5 times per week and that takes alot of effort. I have discovered that I am a pretty decent writer and my blogging gets better and better. So it's a win-win for sure. You just have to make sure you are not behind a computer screen 7 days/week.

Feb 03, 2010 12:22 PM #64
Rainmaker
144,599
Markita Woods NMLS#196099
Fairway Independent Mortgage - Woodbridge, VA
Queen of Mortgages - FHA, VA, Conventional, USDA

Thanks Dave. I have to keep that in mind "writing for the future" as begin my Blogging career!

Feb 03, 2010 01:54 PM #65
Rainmaker
203,781
Eric J
Eric J - Dream Home Financing - Freehold, NJ
Dream Home Financing

I wish the google ranking of that post lasted forever. I often watch some of mine fade back in the rankings after a few weeks.

Feb 03, 2010 02:03 PM #66
Rainmaker
418,256
Tom Bailey
Margaret Rudd & Associates Inc. - Oak Island, NC

Lynn #1 has me pegged. I agonize over every sentence. I sure wish I had spent more time studying English when I was young. Writing even a few lines is very hard for me. I try to write a small response to every thing I read on AR. I am hoping that by doing this at some point in the future I will get the courage to write a blog. The really bad part about my poor writing skills is that my mother was ahigh school English teacher.

Feb 03, 2010 02:37 PM #67
Rainmaker
271,396
Dave Roberts
Healdsburg Sotheby's International Realty - Healdsburg, CA

Tom - I think more people feel like you than you know. I'm working with several agents in my office to encourage them to blog, but they're just not comfortable writing. On the other hand, they're all great talkers. One of the tricks to writing when you feel the agony you mention is not to write. Talk instead. Just use your phone or a tape recorder (if you can find one) to talk about a topic that you would otherwise want to write about. Then either play it back and type it yourself or ask someone to write down what you recorded. It may be because your mom was a teacher that you are having a hard time living up to her standards, but telling a blog story into a recorder is just writing without bothering with the keyboard.

Feb 03, 2010 03:22 PM #68
Rainmaker
656,867
Joetta Fort
The DiGiorgio Group - Arvada, CO
Independent Broker, Homes Denver to Boulder

I actually see posts that can be broken up into several and spread out over a week - same work, more online presence.

Feb 04, 2010 01:24 AM #69
Rainmaker
168,773
Aaron Silverman
SuccessfulRental.com, Bluewater Property Management, LLC and Lowcountry Turnkey Properties, LLC - Charleston, SC
Improving Real Estate Experience through Education

Technology makes us connected all of the time, and we (myself very much included) do not know how to relax and take a break from work.  When you take a break from blogging, say in your last blog that you are taking a week or two offer and mention the benefits of taking a break or something like that.  That gives your regular readers notice you are taking a break and when to expect new subject material.  Enjoy your time off.

Aaron

Feb 04, 2010 04:11 AM #70
Rainmaker
146,002
Kate Wheeler
Country Homes and Land Murphy NC Realtor - Murphy, NC
CCIM - Murphy NC Real Estate for Sale

Dave - Your post really brought home a few key points for me.  #1 was about posting "timeless" pieces that can be easily updated...great timesaver while still being relevant!  #2 was your point about new people coming into the community and finding old posts that they've never read before.  I live in a resort and second home area and we're always having new people come into our area - new prospective readers for those old posts. 

Feb 04, 2010 04:14 AM #71
Rainer
285,973
Mark Montross
Catamount Realty Group - Burlington, VT
Listing and Buyer Specialist

Dave, thank you for thr tips. I am new to Active Rain and trying to fit the time for blogging into my schedule as I know it is important.

Feb 07, 2010 01:33 AM #72
Rainer
63,224
Sonja Adams
Samson Proprties - Purcellville, VA

Yes, the long term blogging effect is certainly very exciting!

Feb 08, 2010 10:52 AM #73
Rainer
117,648
Beverly of Bev & Bob Meaux
Keller Williams Suburban Realty - West Orange, NJ
Where Buying & Selling Works

Blog for the future. Think of it as being a Bridal Magazine. Really...just think about it. Bridal Magazine can regurgitate the same content over and over again with the same ads because they are always getting a new "crop" of readers. Once you get married(or not) you don't look at them any more, but those that are about to, will start.

Feb 10, 2010 01:05 PM #74
Rainer
212,084
Anthony Ebright - NMLSR ID #247647 Purchase and Refinance Mortgages
FHA, VA, Conforming, Jumbo - Wells Fargo Home Mortgage - Santa Rosa, CA

Dave, it's no wonder you've earned the title "the professor"! I've been gone too long.

Feb 11, 2010 01:25 PM #75
Rainmaker
271,396
Dave Roberts
Healdsburg Sotheby's International Realty - Healdsburg, CA

Anthony, glad to see you back in comments. I hope your absence was due to lots of loans.

Feb 11, 2010 02:54 PM #76
Rainer
135,626
Matt Robinson
Professional Investors Guild - Pensacola, FL
www.professionalinvestorsguild.com

Great thought!  We need to be more conscious of not "dating" our posts too much, and trying to make them apply both now and in the future. 

Feb 12, 2010 05:25 AM #77
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