Although much has been said about Active Rain's ranking power lately, ranking a blog post on Active Rain can still be done if you follow some basic steps.
1) Try ranking for a long tail term and not a head or short term.
Examples of long tail terms:
homes for sale with pool in (area)
homes for sale with in-law apartment in (area)
lakefront homes for sale in (area)
Examples of head and short terms:
homes for sale
homes for sale in (area)
2) The Title of your post should contain your target term; for example, Homes For Sale With Pool In Quincy, MA.
3) The SEO Title of your post should contain your target term; for example, Homes For Sale With Pool In Quincy, Massachusetts.
4) The Meta Description should contain your target term and related terms written differently; for example, Search the latest homes with a pool in Quincy - Both, inground and above ground.
5) The body of your post should be at least 500 words long, but longer is better. It's best to consolidate two short similar posts into one, than having two short posts.
6) The body of your post should contain keywords and terms related to the main term; for example, Quincy, Massachusetts, MA, Mass, pool, pools, inground, above ground.
7) The body of your post should contain images with the file names and alt tags containing keywords related to the main term.
For example, an image of an inground pool could have the alt tag, inground pool in Quincy MA, and the file name, quincy-ma-inground- pool.jpg
8) Videos are a good addition to a post also.
9) Link out to relevant pages, for example, a page on your website listing homes for sale with a pool in Quincy, MA.
Be specific with your anchor text, your link should be something like "Click Here For Homes With A Pool In Quincy, MA".
Link more than once from the blog post with a variation of the above link, for example, "View The Latest Homes With An Inground Pool"
10) Link from other old posts or pages that you have to this post. You can use your own website, a partner's website, AR posts, AR comments, etc. Please don't spam AR - do it where it makes sense and helps make your point.
Don't just link once to it, link to it again in a couple of months, six months from now, etc.
11) Re-visit the blog post in a couple of months and add something to it - a new image, new paragraph, a chart.
By the way, these tips are not only for Active Rain posts, they'll work with any website.