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