Raise Awareness on the Web, Harness the Power of Blogging
I am stunned by the number of home builders and real estate agents who still don’t have a Web site. What are they waiting for?
A home builder or a real estate professional without a Web site is the modern day equivalent of a caveman refusing fire. A Web site helps your business, builds your brand and generates sales. If you are technology challenged, ask your kids for help.
For those of you already on the Web site bandwagon, take the next step and create a blog.
But what, exactly, is a blog? The term is short for Web log. A blog is an online journal or newsletter that is frequently updated and reflects the personality of the author. The activity of updating a blog is called “blogging” and the person who updates the blog is called a “blogger.”
Blogs have become very popular for people to post their opinions on everything from politics to pop culture. They develop cult-like followings and encourage members to post comments and interact with the writer.
This article you are reading was originally posted as a blog. It appears on my Web site and at the bottom of the article, there is a button for readers to post comments and questions.
What Can a Blog Do for Your Business?
A blog gives you an additional online avenue for people to find out about you.
Adding a blog to your online marketing arsenal increases your visibility on the Internet and provides another vehicle for potential buyers and sellers to connect to you. Think about a blog as an advertorial billboard directing people to your Web site, where they can find out more.
A blog increases your Web site’s rankings in the search engines.
Blogs are very popular with search engines like Google and Yahoo! because they contain editorial, and not promotional, content. Therefore Google and Yahoo! tend to rank blogs high in their search results.
Chances are your blog will get ranked higher in the search engine results than your Web site, so link your blog to your Web site. This will drive additional traffic to your Web site and increase your Web site’s ranking — Hint: Search engines like Web sites with multiple inbound links.
A Blog Adds to Your ‘Information Power’
Roger Dawson, the negotiation expert, delineates powers salespeople can use to control the negotiation process. “Information Power,” he says, moves you from salesperson status to expert status — a trusted advisor, a partner who is far more trustworthy and knowledgeable than just a commissioned salesperson. The editorial content on your blog will position you as a real estate expert and lend credibility creating “Information Power.”
How Do You Start a Blog?
It is easy. Most blogs are free or are very inexpensive (less than $100 annually) to set up, register and operate. Web sites like www.blogger.com will guide you through a few easy steps to register for a free blog template. You get to select the name of your blog, choose the screen colors and customize the contact information.
If you have average computer skills, you are skilled enough to set up a blog. It will take approximately an hour to create it. Set the blog’s filters to screen participant comments and require your approval before posting. This prevents inappropriate or unflattering comments from being posted without your permission.
The next step is to post your first journal entry. Topics could include:
- Tips For First-Time Home Buyers
- Financing Options for Home Buyers
- Tips for Moving Day
- What’s Hot in The Real Estate Market
The list could go on and on.
You also don’t need to write the great American novel — just a couple of well-written paragraphs that clearly establish your expertise. Link the posting to your Web site so readers can find out more information. If you aren’t a good writer, hire a freelance writer to ghostwrite for you.
There are really no rules about blogs, except that they should be updated frequently. Keep it professional, educational and not overly promotional. Otherwise, let your expertise and personality fly.
Meredith Oliver, MIRM, CSP is the president and founder of Meredith Communications, a sales training and eMarketing consulting company based in Orlando, Fla. Oliver has spoken nationally at the 2002 through 2006 International Builders’ Shows, the 2002 FAR Real Estate Summit and the 2003 Custom Builder Symposium. She hosts a monthly virtual seminar on eMarketing topics and is the author of "Log on to eLeads: The Ultimate Manual for Home Builders and Real Estate Agents Who Want to Convert eLeads to eSales." For more information, e-mail Oliver, call her at 321-285-1660 or visit her Web site, www.CreatingWow.com.
This article originally appeared in the November/December 2006 issue of Sales + Marketing Ideas magazine.
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