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.