Do You Write What YOU Want, or What CONSUMERS Want?

Real Estate Agent with Solutions Real Estate CA DRE #01490977

Screen shot of some of my statistics - Jeff DowlerThere is amazing diversity of articles here on ActiveRain from an equally impressive group of folks in all areas of the real estate business. People create post from a broad range of perspectives covering all sorts of topics related directly, or indirectly, to the business as well as articles that have nothing to do with real estate at all.

How do you decide what to write?

Do you write what YOU want or what consumers want?

It seems that some folks are writing for the points. Plain and simple. Not many, but some (people, that is). That's fine. I'm steering away from the points issue - lots of controversy and too many other articles on them. Nuff said. And it's not what this is about.

My question resulted from looking at my statistics all the way to Post #1. I was curious to see what articles were commanding the greatest attention and if there was a pattern.

There was.

Are you paying attention to your articles that are getting the most attention from consumers and which are resulting in calls or emails, or the ones that garner the most points (i.e., those that get featured). I would expect you are writing about the things that you enjoy, for not doing so takes away the enjoyment of blogging and expressing views and opinions.

Is there value in writing for consumers? The statistics would suggest so. A few examples:

  • Virtually every community article (San Marcos, Carlsbad, Cardiff, Encinitas, Encinitas) or post about a housing community (La Costa Greens, La Costa Ridge, San Elijo Hills) had thousands of clicks (not just views in the blog roll), in the range of 2500 to almost 11,000 for one very popular community. Exceptions were articles written in the last year or so tended to be in the 1500 to 3000 click range. Some of these got very few comments in contrast.
  • Articles about buying, selling and those sorts of topics tended to garner 1000 - 3000 clicks.
  • Market reports were usually showing 1000 - 2000 clicks (with fewer hits for more recent reports) so clearly there is consumer interest in having this information. Probably real estate folks too.

Entering Encinitas, California - Jeff DowlerI don't know how these compare to other folks, and perhaps these numbers are not all that impressive. I was also curious about one consumer article on short sales back in 2007, to see how popular it was. Almost 39,000 clicks on that one, and many of the comments were from consumers which is not typical. Clearly this was, and remains, a popular topic.

The data supported what I had thought, that posts about housing, the market and communities were of greatest interest to readers, many of who I suspect are buyers and sellers. Yes, a number of articles written for the AR community got lots of hits, too. That's flattering, certainly, but the ones that are greatest interest are those that grab lots of consumer attention and provide what they actually are looking for.

Given we now know that "there are over 9 consumers hitting the site for every one member" (see Jonathan Washburn's terrific article from the other day) it pays to keep in mind what consumers might want. Yep, you can get lots of points for writing articles that get featured, but those may not be the big point earners if one considers clicks.

Why not take a look at YOUR statistics - the link is on the LEFT hand side of your blog on your profile page under your Points Summary.

What are YOUR big click earners? What article yielded the most clicks. Why not share it hear - it might be interesting for all to see.


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Christine Donovan
Donovan Blatt Realty - Costa Mesa, CA
Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M

I find that market reports get a lot of hits though very few comments.  Occasionally, I do get a comment on them from a consumer.

Jan 16, 2009 03:35 PM #63
Sharon Alters
Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty - 904-673-2308 - Fleming Island, FL
Realtor - Homes for Sale Fleming Island FL

Jeff, at first my posts were venting, then a few community pieces, then some perspective and some more venting, and now I want to write both to the public and to the AR community. The friends I've made here are so special, it's hard to imagine not writing posts they will want to read but SEO is important here, so I'm going to do both.

Jan 16, 2009 03:39 PM #64
AMBER NOBLE GARLAND - Top Real Estate Expert, Property Tax Appeal Specialist & Author
Strategic Marketing Expert & Relocation Specialist Serving New Jersey and nationwide! - Marlboro, NJ
- The Agent You Can Trust To Deliver REAL Results!

Jeff, I have to say I agree with you. I am transitioning into right more consumer focused posts, and am finding that I enjoy that. I will continue to write motivational posts if something "moves" me to do so. A healthy balance of both is good. Btw, your "short sale" post stats are amazing!

Jan 16, 2009 04:00 PM #65
Joanne O'Donnell
Chic Home Interiors - Oakland, CA

Jeff, what an interesting post. I think it is important to keep your own interest up to write what you believe in - connect to... but if that's all you do, it is arrogance at it's finest... why are we here? to socialize via proxy or to build business? but how do we achieve this? by building community.

Jan 16, 2009 04:56 PM #66
Gary Woltal
Keller Williams Realty - Flower Mound, TX
Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth

Jeff, I write to PEOPLE whether they be peers or consumers. I think like with Localism you can obviously zero in and target just that area. It just depends what you want to do. You can be a single voice or a wide variety if that more suits your taste.

Jan 16, 2009 05:34 PM #67
Catherine C Capasso
Catherine Cornelia Real Estate - Eastchester, NY
Cottage or Castle, What's Your Dream!

I started making Active Rain and Social Networking a major part of my marketing in June, 2008. There are so many things to write about. I greatly appreciate knowing what the consumer is interested in reading. This will help me write content that the consumer will be interested in and I will try and have something that will interest the members of the Active Rain Community as well.

I find this site to provide the single best source of information on real estate. There is so much information available on the web that it is refreshing to know I can get the majority of what I need to know about new trends and the market reaction to them here on Active Rain. Thanks.


Jan 16, 2009 11:09 PM #68
Barb Szabo, CRS
RE/MAX Trinity Brecksville Ohio - Cleveland, OH
E-pro Realtor, Cleveland Ohio Homes

Jeff, Thanks for sharing your personal info. I've fallen into a pattern of about half and half real estate info. vs non real estate info but I may have to rethink that.

Jan 16, 2009 11:22 PM #69
Jim Crawford
Crye-Leike REALTORS® - Atlanta, GA
Jim Crawford Atlanta Best Listing Agents & REALTOR

Great post, and lots of great answers here.  I write what I want, and try to provide realistic information for consumers.  It is an open book Blogging, and transparent topics...that I feel matter.  I do very few 'Member only" Blog posts.

Jan 17, 2009 01:03 AM #70
Bill Gillhespy
16 Sunview Blvd - Fort Myers Beach, FL
Fort Myers Beach Realtor, Fort Myers Beach Agent - Homes & Condos

Morning Jeff,  Thanks for a well thought out and presented analysis of click traffic.  Helps us point our marketing in the right direction.

Jan 17, 2009 01:06 AM #71
Karen Fiddler, Broker/Owner
Karen Parsons-Fiddler, Broker 949-510-2395 - Mission Viejo, CA
Orange County & Lake Arrowhead, CA (949)510-2395

I'm trying to balance both....points for exposure and knowledge for consumers. My blogs are all things a potential buyer can see. I enjoy meeting and networking with other realtors, and get some great ideas, but at the end of the day, it's the clients we need to appeal to. k

Jan 17, 2009 01:20 AM #72
Teresa Boardman
Boardman Realty - Saint Paul, MN

I love that question. I write what consumers want about 4 days out of the week. At least one day a week i write what ever I feel like writing. The other two days are either written by two of my neighbors or they don't get wirttin at all.

Jan 17, 2009 04:46 AM #73
Kari Battaglia, PA
PalmerHouse Properties - Nokomis, FL
Buy Sell Love Florida

I write stuff that I think other people will find of value.  It is very satisfying to me when I see that many people have read my posts.  The calls and emails are bonuses.

Jan 17, 2009 09:18 AM #74
Tom Davis
Harrington ERA,DE Homes For Sale, $$ Save $$ Buy Today ! - Dover, DE
FREE Delaware Homes Search!, $$ Save $$ - Find Homes! Delaware Realtor

Yes Jeff,

Awesome tips to remember by!  It would be a good idea to brainstorm some articles to write up and also check the click throughs on your blogs!  Great suggestion for all agents!


Tom Davis.

Jan 17, 2009 04:00 PM #75
Mike Henderson
Your complete source for buying HUD homes - Littleton, CO
HUD Home Hub - 303-949-5848

I haven't figured out what to write yet.  Other than to realize that I have too.  I want people to read what I write and say, "Hey I've to hire that guy!"

Jan 17, 2009 04:09 PM #76
Lyn Sims
RE/MAX Suburban - Schaumburg, IL
Schaumburg IL Real Estate

Jeff, excellent post and right on topic with what I've seen in my own blog.  Was pondering this the other day about who so many people are writing for, top spots on AR (ego) or for the consumer to acquire business!  I go for the consumer foremost and then things that I think 'someone out there' in the internet world might find interesting or funny!

The most popular posts are about property taxes & how to appeal your taxes in surrounding counties, market reports, state of our area economy, home prices in our area.  Surprising hits are the 'apple picking (over 6000 views!), pumpkin patch, ice skating and a post about my sisters dog's sickness on 'Lepto' (fatal).  So I personally try not to decide anymore what will be popular but it is consumer based.

Thanks for bringing this to light, it's a good way to gage your readers and their interests - not yours!

Jan 18, 2009 12:54 AM #77
Laura "Ole" Olesen
Sky Realty - Austin, TX

Great info! I appreciate you digging up the stats and letting the numbers do the talking. (PS I grew up in La Jolla and now am in Austin. I loved seeing the Encinitas sign! :)

Jan 19, 2009 06:17 AM #78
Kelsey Barklow
Hurd Realty - Johnson City, TN

Great post. I'm concentrating on Localism now because that's where it's at! But I do like writing for my fellow ARers too.

Jan 19, 2009 12:29 PM #79
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

I like to write info for comsumers, that's the whole point isn't it?  Every now and then I will look at the stats and I'm surprised at what gets the clicks - like you say, info about communities, etc.

Jan 22, 2009 07:56 AM #80
Frances Sanderson
Bean Group / Franklin - Franklin, NH

Hey Jeff,

Congratulations on being in the RE/MAX spotlight today as a result of this blog post! It didn't go unnoticed ;-)

Frances Sanderson, Franklin, NH  RE/MAX REALTOR®, Certified EcoBroker®

Jan 30, 2009 05:32 AM #81
Jenny Kotulak
RE/MAX Real Estate Centre Inc., Brokerage - Oakville, ON
Broker - Oakville Ontario Real Estate

Hi Jeff,

O.K. so you have this post in a post so I will be the first one to get the comments going again.

I have always noticed that my localism posts about the different areas in my community were getting the most hits.  I couldn't understand this as I didn't think AR realtors would be interested, in fact I always wondered if there was a way to post to localism only.

So does that mean that people other than the AR folks are reading them?? I am just a little fish in the big pond here, being a Canadian AR blogger.  I know my chances of referral business are slim, and the points don't really mean much to me.

I like the statistics, as you have pointed out it helps to determine what is of interest.  I often wonder if the time of day you post means anything??

The benefits I have seen from AR are increased SEO, access to an amazing research library and great people.  If only we could get credits for the continuing education we receive :)

Jenny Kotulak


Mar 06, 2009 01:05 PM #82
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The Southern California Relocation Dude
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