“Should I start a blog?”
It’s a question just about every marketer has considered. Indeed, most have gone a step further: Today, nearly three quarters of marketers are using blogs to promote their brands. For many of these people, this strategy is paying off. In fact, companies that blog actively generate 67 percent more leads per month than those that don’t blog at all.
Still, the real estate industry lags behind the rest of the marketing world in embracing blogs. In 2013, only 12 percent of real estate agents had a blog, and just 17 percent of agents cited blogs as an important source of leads.
So why the hesitation? Some agents figure they don’t have what it takes to write a blog. Others simply don’t see how spending more time at their computers and less time out in the field can help them sell more real estate. Whatever their reasons, agents are right to be skeptical: Blogging is a serious commitment that demands lots of time and energy. If you’re going to launch one, you need to have a very strong motive for doing so. With that in mind, here are some of the wrong reasons to start a blog:
The Wrong Reasons
“Everyone else is doing it.” This is the classic bridge-jumper mentality. Yes, as we’ve said, lots of marketers are using blogs, but this shouldn’t be the only reason you decide to write one. Blogging is a way to distinguish yourself from everyone else, not join them. If you’re going to blog, do it because it suits your individual needs and goals.
“It’s a quick way to get more leads.” Think about the blogs you read every day or every week. How long have they been around? How many posts have they written? Hundreds? Thousands? Blogging can be a very effective way to drive qualified prospects to your site, but it won’t happen overnight. Just like building your brand as a real estate agent, it takes time to build a blog that wins an audience over.
“It’s just another strategy for selling real estate.” This is a myth that many active bloggers entertain. While strategies like targeted advertising or paid search aim to attract a mostly passive audience, a blog demands quite a bit more from its readers. This is a good thing — after all, an active reader is also an active lead. But readers don’t come to your blog to be sold to. They come for useful and engaging content that offers real value beyond your sales message.
“Have a very good reason for everything you do.”
— LAURENCE OLIVIER
So, what are the reasons you should start a blog?
The Right Reasons
Increase traffic to your website. Blogging will help you achieve this in two different ways. The first is clear: Great content gets noticed and shared. The second, however, is less obvious. A typical agent website only has a few pages, and the content on these pages rarely changes. Google and other search engines, however, prefer sites with lots of data they can analyze. That means more pages and a steady stream of new content to crawl and index regularly. Blogging gives you an easy way of making search engines happy, which in turn will help more searchers find their way to you. It’s no wonder that small companies with 200 or more published blog posts get over eight times the traffic of companies with 10 posts or less.
Increase leads and improve conversion. It’s easy to say you’re an expert. Look at any agent website, and you’ll find a “bio” or “about” section touting their years of experience and unparalelled service. But a good blog provides proof that even the best home page can’t touch. Plus, by publishing new and interesting content all the time, you give visitors a reason to come back. That means more opportunities to convert. Need proof? Per dollar, content marketing strategies like blogging produce roughly three times as many leads as paid search.
Deepen customer loyalty. Repeat business and referrals are keys to success for many agents, but they’re by no means guaranteed. In 2013, just 12 percent of buyers and 22 percent of sellers chose someone they’d worked with previously. Meanwhile, 42 percent of buyers and 34 percent of sellers found their agent through friends or family. This shouldn’t be surprising — it’s easy to forget about your agent when it’s been years since you worked together. Blogging can help you stay top-of-mind with past customers, reminding them of your continued expertise and helping you drum up more business.
Learn what your audience cares about. In addition to traffic, leads, repeat business and referrals, blogging also offers the deeper reward of getting to know both yourself and your audience. Creating content can help you find and hone your strengths as a salesperson, understand your customers’ points of view, and identify better strategies for delivering on their needs and wants.
If you’d like more resources, check out our Ultimate Guide to Real Estate Blogging.
What inspires you to blog? Let us know in the comments below!