What in the world is a blog and why do people blog?

Blogging can be compared to being a columnist for the “internet times.”  Also, blogging can be your journal that you share with a few people or the world.  A blog can include text, letters, photos, video’s or links to other websites.  Just about anyone with access to the internet can create a blog for free.  We used to get our new from “trusted news sources” consisting of major TV networks, radio, and newspapers.  Our world has changed.  In this new millennium, most of our news comes from individuals on the internet.  Even major news media rely on bloggers.  Open the front page of any newspaper and there will be lists of blogs on news, sports and entertainment.  CNN quotes micro bloggers from Twitter.com.

Real estate agents now have an opportunity to connect with family, friends and prospects giving them current information and sharing their interests.  We used to send out newsletters and then emails.  But, a blog can be interactive, easily accessible, include photos, videos and links, and it can be forwarded to others easily.  It can be updated daily or weekly without feeling like you are harassing the prospective real estate client or your friends with extra mail.  They can read it when they want and as often as they want.

How much do blogs cost?

Blogs are free on the internet on a large number of sites.  You can go to WordPress.com, typepad.com and Google blogger.  There are real estate sites that host blogs including ActiveRain.com.  And, there are hundreds of other sites where you can get help, blog templates and hosting for free or for a minimum charge.  Start with free blogs and find your voice.  Experiment to see what feels comfortable.  You don’t’ have to even tell anyone you started blogging until you are ready to share your blog.    After you have been blogging, then you might want to consider moving up to your own custom hosted blog and purchase a domain name which can cost less than the price of your first cell phone.

Why should you start a blog?

People want to work with people that they know, like, respect and trust.  A blog gives you the opportunity to connect with people in your sphere of influence in a way you never may have before. You can educate your prospective clients, keep your name in front of them, and establish yourself as a successful real estate agent.   Your blog will help you create a relationship with prospective buyers and sellers.   It will help you generate leads from them.

What should you blog about?

Many real estate agents feel compelled to write about real estate topics.  You can choose one topic that interests you or you can have a general blog on real estate.  Topic areas can include:

Educating the Consumer. “The closing process in explained.”

Financial Info.  “Interest rates have been relatively stable.”

Neighborhood Info.  “Crossing guards needed near the grade school.”

Listing Basics.  “How to get top dollar when you sell your house.”

Buyer News.  “Great deals available for first time buyers in new condo complex.”

Top 3 List.  “Top 3 coffee shops in this neighborhood.”  “Top 3 books I’ve read.”

Fear Factors.  “Sellers that wait can increase risk of forclosure.”

My stories.  “My last buyer moved from Australia.”

Real estate news stories.  “Tax break  for first time buyers soon to expire.”

You can also choose to write a blog on other topics and highlight your real estate info at the bottom!  Topic areas can include:

Theme days.  Can be luxury house, something blue, holidays

Photo blog.   Can include photos of area or even a quiz about where it was taken

History of area.  Can include some historical fact

Video.  Can be one your record

Quote of the day. There are millions, billions of quotes. Some move us more than others.

Humorous jokes. There is nothing better than laughter

Poll of your readers. Take a poll of their opinion once a week

Top 3 blog.  List top three of something

Knitting or sewing blog. This can have a quote or photo or a tip of the week

Fantastic Fishing Blog.  You might love to fish of have another hobby and have info to share

Weekend Blog.  What is happening each weekend in town.

Try to tie in your blog post to something real estate related.   For example:

I have been fishing for more clients this week.

My last buyer inspired me to choose this quote today.

This historical house was sold last year.

When do you blog and how much time is this going to take?

Consistency is important.  People need to see new posts when they go to your blog.  Add a new post about twice a week at a minimum.  Many people post once a day and sometimes more.  You can have a theme day that can keep you on track.  And example is an “ABC day” where you post something that has to do with the Letter of the week.  Some people spend hours and hours working on their blog.  It is best that you work on it for about 1 hour a week.  Every agent can fit that into their schedule!

Who will read your blog?

It is most important that you connect with your sphere of influence.  This includes your family, friends, past clients, prospective clients, and people that you are associated with like in a club.  They need to be fans of your blog.   You can stand up at a Mariners Baseball game and toss out boxes of business cards to market yourself.  Most people will just ignore the cards or throw them away.  Some will glance at it.  The chance you’ll get a call and create a relationship with a prospect is slim to none. You have more of a chance of getting a real estate sale by having a relationship by chatting with the strangers around you sitting at the game.  It is the same for blogging.  You can hope people around the world read your blog.  You can hire someone for thousands of dollars to improve your “SEO” (search engine optimization) but your blog will be most effective if you are followed by your sphere and people that share similar interests.  Then, they might tell someone else who tells someone else.  That is the most powerful form of marketing called “word of mouth.”  To get people to read your blog email them a little note about it with a link.  Add your blog to Facebook.com.  Tweet about your blog on Twitter.com.  Add the name of your blog to your business card.  Connect your website to your blog.  You will be surprised at the number of people that will follow your blog!  That, in turn, will build your sphere and grow your business.

Send me a link to your blog!!!