Make your real estate marketing copy the best it can be

By
Services for Real Estate Pros with Marte Cliff Copywriting

How can you make your real estate marketing copy the best that it can be?

Different methods work for different people, but here’s one that has worked for me – and may work for you as well.

Take time to write good real estate marketing copyThe first thing to remember is that in most cases, good real estate copy demands an investment of time, as well as thought.

Once in a while you’ll get inspiration so clear that you can write it in minutes, but for most of us, it doesn’t happen often.

So – onward.

When you sit down to write, whether it is a web page, a blog post, a real estate prospecting letter, or even an important email, you have some idea in mind. You have a message that you want to get across.

If you’re at all like me, you might sit there for an hour debating on how to get started. What point is most important and most “grabbing?” I face this quite often when writing agent bios.

If you’re writing a real estate blog post, perhaps you can’t even think of an appropriate headline. Or – you have a headline that reflects your idea, but no first sentence and first paragraph to kick it off.

Don’t worry.

Just start writing. Start with whatever you’re thinking at the moment – whether it’s at the beginning or somewhere else.

Do not edit as you go. Do not try to make those sentences perfect. Just write.Just write that first draft

Accept the fact that you might be right in the middle of one thought when another one pops in. Make a note of the new thought and keep going. If it fits, you can use it in another paragraph later or add it to a previous one.

Caution: When you make a note, add a detail or two. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked at a note and wondered what the heck I was thinking when I wrote it.

When you write a sentence and think “That’s not right,” leave it there. Those “not right” sentences often act as a catalyst for sentences that are absolutely right.

For example: I sometimes write emails for a client who has a difficult home seller. I’ve never met the man, but based on his texts and emails to her, I don’t think much of him. Sometimes in my first draft I tell him why he’s an idiot. And sometimes, when I’m working to refine the message, those sentences help me see what I need to say in a gentler, more persuasive fashion.

 

“The first draft is just you telling yourself the story.”

― Terry Pratchett

 

Once you’ve got all your thoughts on the topic written out, begin sorting. You may be pleasantly surprised to find that the most important point you had to make is right there, in the last few sentences you wrote.

How does that happen? As you write, your mind keeps working on clarifying your thoughts. By the time you get to the end, you’ve “got it.”

Take that most important point and shift it to the beginning. It is the idea that will grab your readers and entice them to read the rest.

Now put the rest in some sort of logical order, so everything going forward supports the main idea.

Should you find that some of what you’ve written doesn’t fit, don’t throw it away. Save it in a new file. You might find that it will serve as the basis for another page, post, or letter. This, by the way, could apply to the headline. Sometimes I find that I’ve gone in a different – better – direction and the headline no longer fits. If this happens to you, save it for another day.

NOTE: I have a folder labeled “ideas” where I store such things. If you don’t already have one, I do recommend it.

Remember the old adage about speech-making: “Tell them what you’re going to tell them; tell them; tell them what you told them.” With that in mind, recap your most important point at the end of the piece.

And… since you’re very likely writing something promotional, remember to add a call to action.

time to edit that real estate marketing copyNow it’s time to edit and proofread. If you have awkward sentences or if the sentences in a paragraph need to be re-arranged, now is the time to do it. It’s also time to check for spelling and word usage errors. Even people who write for a living have been known to write “there” when they meant “their.”

And typos – just a few days ago I was reading a novel and came across the word “attention.” However, it was spelled “atttention.” Typos happen to everyone, and even professional proofreaders don’t always catch them.

Getting someone else to proofread your copy is always a good idea, but we don’t always have that luxury. We have to do it ourselves.

I’ve found that changing the format helps me catch my mistakes. After a few experiences with copy vanishing when I wrote directly into a program, I always write first in Word, save often as I’m working, then cut and paste. Sometimes errors jump out at me when I transfer the copy and review it online before hitting publish. Or – sometimes right after. Thank goodness for edit functions!

QUOTES OF THE WEEK

 “You can always edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank page.”
Jodi Picoult

~~~

“Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.”
Louis L’Amour

~~~

“If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it. Or, if proper usage gets in the way, it may have to go. I can’t allow what we learned in English composition to disrupt the sound and rhythm of the narrative.”
Elmore Leonard

~~~

You may not enjoy writing…

That’s OK. You can hire someone like me to write your real estate web pages, your prospecting letters, and even your blog posts. I also write emails for one client when she’s too busy to find the right words.

However, there are times when you have to do it yourself. When you need to write a reply to an email within the next hour or two, you might not have time to contact a real estate copywriter and ask for help.

So just do it. Follow the steps outlined above and begin writing.

When you do need help, get in touch. You may not enjoy writing, but I love it – and I love helping agents succeed.

Road signs and clock images courtesy of Stuart Miles @ freedigitalphotos.net
Laptop and coffee Image courtesy of punsayaporn at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Comments (15)

Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Marte- you must have been talking to me and I'm rereading this again. I find that I spend the most time in thought...trying to pick a topic and the direction I want to go. Once I have that, it's a bit easier but I'm going to take your tips and apply them. 

Oct 01, 2018 07:24 PM
Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

Hi Marte... great suggestions. I also keep a folder with ideas to refer back to. And your point that time needs to be invested is well-taken... I'm always amazed by people who say they can "push" something out in 15 minutes. Everything I write here or anywhere else takes way longer than that to as you say "polish" it to the right state.

Oct 02, 2018 05:01 AM
Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

Carol Williams hi Carol... my first (hopefully not last) nomination of the week for Second Chance Saturday.

Oct 02, 2018 05:01 AM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Kathy Streib That thinking part can take way too much time. And I agree, sometimes finding the topic takes the most time of all. I'm in that space this morning, trying to come up with a topic for the Thursday message.

Nina Hollander If I don't capture those ideas immediately, I lose them. I've also found that I need to write more than a couple of words. Otherwise, when I go back I look at them and wonder what on earth I was thinking. Thanks for the suggestion to Carol.

Oct 02, 2018 08:36 AM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Marte

I found this very helpful, and reassuring to know that writing does not always flow the way we would like...that's certainly my personal experience more times than not.And sometimes I think I spend far too long trying to get something just right.

I try to write down my ideas, or when in the car to record a note so I don't forget (which I would).

Jeff

Oct 06, 2018 01:47 PM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Jeff Dowler, CRS - I don't think anyone can make their words flow right every time. Sometimes, yes - but certainly not always. It takes a bit of work.

As for writing things down - I MUST. My "forgetter" always works overtime.

Oct 06, 2018 08:11 PM
Debe Maxwell, CRS
www.iCharlotteHomes.com | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
The right Charlotte REALTOR!

I have such a struggle with words some days - others, it just flows...sometimes TOO much so! LOL

I'm forever coming up with an idea and then go back to it and it sounds riduclous! 

Great post, Marte. I hope you're having a wonderful Sunday!

Oct 07, 2018 11:57 AM
Debe Maxwell, CRS
www.iCharlotteHomes.com | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
The right Charlotte REALTOR!

I just read your page about bios on your website, Marte. Great information and I totally agree that the consumer can relate to us via those bios. I'll have to take a look at mine and maybe reach out to you to get the ball rolling on a new one!

Oct 07, 2018 12:11 PM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Debe Maxwell, CRS Thanks for the chuckle. Every now and then I'll get what I think is a good idea. Then I start to write about it and go nowhere - finally saying "What was I thinking?" and deleting the whole thing.

About the bios - Yesterday I listened to a short clip from Joshua Boswell about why some people make it and some don't. One of his points was about establishing trust, and the first thing he talked about was showing people that you are somehow "like" them. I liked that, since giving readers places to connect with the agent is one of the things I try to do with bios.

In his video, he mentions mirroring their voice and body language - things you can't do in writing.

Oct 07, 2018 12:27 PM
Debe Maxwell, CRS
www.iCharlotteHomes.com | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
The right Charlotte REALTOR!

Oh, great point about mirroring their voice & body language, Marte. I do pay attention to body language and I'm not thinking of mirroring, but I am thinking about how to respond to that language. Thanks for that tip, Marte!

Oct 07, 2018 12:33 PM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Debe Maxwell, CRS It was an interseting presentation - if you'd like to hear it, it's at https://app.thespeakersart.com/charisma. Seems to me I had to scroll through a lot to get to it, because of course it's just part of a larger training.

Oct 07, 2018 01:07 PM
Pat Starnes-Front Gate Realty
Front Gate Real Estate - Brandon, MS
601-991-2900 Office; 601-278-4513 Cell

I learned this tip from you and think of you whenever I use it:

"You may be pleasantly surprised to find that the most important point you had to make is right there, in the last few sentences you wrote."

I spent time today editing and rewriting a difficult email to a client. It pays to save it, walk away, then return when your tone may be softer.

Oct 07, 2018 04:20 PM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Pat Starnes-Front Gate Realty - I agree. Sometimes walking away for a while is a wise idea. I sometimes write emails for one of my clients, and I think the reason sometimes is she wants a softer tone - but is too annoyed to pull it off. (She has one client who is a real stinker.) Other times it's just that she's busy and can't settle her brain long enough to write something persuasive.

Anyway - I'm glad if my suggestions help you!

Oct 07, 2018 10:02 PM
Jan Green - Scottsdale, AZ
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Marte - you are such a gem!  Good for you for showing us all the best way to write.  I've not always caught every typo, so I'm sure others have seen them.  I've typed in Word then copied and pasted into a post. Makes a lot of sense to see our typos first!  

Oct 10, 2018 08:10 PM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Jan Green If we write much, it's a sure bet that we won't catch every typo. I read a lot of books, and I often find typos. If major book publishers with paid proofreaders can't catch all of them, I won't beat myself up when I miss one now and then.

Oct 10, 2018 08:32 PM