The Death of a Real Estate Blog.

LiveToBlog-BlogToLive
This edition of the Tomato Collaborative Blog Article is an effort to tackle the topic of *gasp* Quitting Blogging.

Do you foresee an end to your regular blogging?
How does the story end?

Blasphemous, right?  I mean, are we not RE.net’s biggest proponent of, and cheerleader for maintaining a thriving real estate blog?  Darn right we are!

But we also recognize that:
1. Most Real Estate Blogs Will Fail.
2. Careers Change/End
3. Blogging Can Become an Unwanted Distraction from Business.
3. Some Have Written All They Want To Write.

Retiring – Quitting – Failing

I see 3 ways in which bloggers head off to pasture.
They retire, finally hanging up the keyboard, and perhaps their career.
They quit out of frustration, feeling that the reward of all their blogging hasn’t been worth the effort.
They fail, unable to keep up with the commitment to writing.

We threw the above topic to our blogging wolves on the Real Estate Tomato Matrix, and the following is my best effort to stitch it all together into a comprehensive post for your enjoyment.  For most, it was a challenging topic since blogging is the tattoo they proudly wear, knowing that for it to be removed, it would have to be cut from their being.

Quitting Not An Option?

Richard Silver set the tone:
“Once the Genie is out of the bottle, I don’t think it is possible to get her back in.  Bloggers love the attention, the comments, and the connections; living without blogging is not really living once you have begun the journey.”  He continues, stating that they only time to hang up the keyboard is when your “future clients, current clients, past clients, friends and family retire from asking relevant questions.”

Two-year blogging ‘veteran’, Chad Lariscy, looked at the prospect of giving up much more pragmatically. He has been feeling the pressure of continually having to come up with quality topics and content, and wonders aloud, “[h]ow long can I keep this up?”

It’s not just the frustration of delivery that has him thinking there may at one day be an end to the effort, it’s the prospect that the effectiveness may not reward to the level to which has grown accustomed.  But bury the blog?  “Never!  Content is King!  Leave it on there, refer back to it, slow down your posts if you like, but don’t “Cut off the Tail!”  To which Daniel Bates added his observation that “once you get Google excited about fresh new content it gets let down when you neglect it.”

Judy Peterson says “was thinking about a blogging exit strategy when [she] first started blogging about a year ago when [she] chose a url that could have some better trade in value than FabulousRealtorJudyPeterson.com.”  She continued  “So, go ahead, make me an offer I can’t refuse . . . someday!”

Riley Smith suggests we look to the leaders as an example:

“When one is contemplating whether or not it is time to stop blogging I think it is best to look at what the leaders of our industry have done. If somebody has already drawn out the course for success, why change it, you should imitate it.

When I look at the Ardell/Tomlinson/Boardmans of the world, it just confirms my belief that you cannot stop. Did they hang up the reins when they became #1 on the search engines or when leads started rolling in? No. You may be able to slow your posts down to 3 or 4 good quality posts a month, but you cannot stop altogether. Theresa Boardman, a leader in the blogging world, continues to post every day.”

Better To Have Not Started At All

Like a diet, you approached blogging with the best of intentions, inspired with the clearest of goals in mind, only to have it shelved for routines that took a higher priority.

If you never embraced the commitment that is regular content creation (read: writing), then you failed as a blogger.  Like a diet, you approached blogging with the best of intentions, inspired with the clearest of goals in mind, only to have it shelved for routines that took a higher priority.

Do you want the people who are looking to learn about you, to see this failure?

In this case, it is better to have not started blogging at all, or at least have it appear that way.  The action to take if you never successfully developed your real estate blog would be to delete the whole thing.  Remove it from the internet completely and request it to be deleted from Google’s index.

Exit Gracefully

In the case where you decide to throw in the towel after a strong, and regular blogging effort, it would be a shame to have all that content go to waste.

Instead of just exercising your frustrations by ‘up-and-quitting’, make a plan to take advantage of all your hard work and dedication.  You blogging effort illustrates your passion for the industry, your commitment to educate the audience, and your concern for your online profile.  It gives you a voice, it establishes you as the expert in your niche and it lets future clients come to trust you.  Even if, while you were blogging, it didn’t add up to generating the results you were hoping for, it would be a mistake to forfeit all those positives.

If the end is eminent, and yet you plan to stay in real estate, I suggest you do the following:

1. Write your Swan Song.
Don’t just go out without a final word.  Write your final masterpiece that wraps up your efforts, and bids farewell to today’s and tomorrow’s readers.  Stuff it full of clear calls to action, showcase links to your most valuable posts, and by all means, as Ro Troia begs, “leave the door open to one day blog again.”

2. Put Together A Downloadable eBook or Series of eBooks
Your blog’s content is it’s value.  By wrapping that content up into an easily to download eBook, you have magnified the perceived value, and created a powerful call-to-action that will generate you leads.

Developing an eBook from your blog articles can be a huge task, but it doesn’t have to be, to make it work for you.
Here are a couple of quick tips to get started:
– Choose only evergreen content.
– Develop a comprehensive table of contents.
– Create ‘chapters’ from your categories.
– Copy/Paste content directly from web to a single Word doc.
– Re-read all the articles that you plan to publish and remove the garbage.
– Add segues, images, anecdotes, etc to improve the flow for the reader.
– Include strong calls-to-action to improve its value to you.
– Make sure that all font styling is uniform.
– Come up with a strong title for the eBook.
– Design a cool and attractive cover graphic.
– Link the eBook graphic to a page where your reader needs to provide a valid name/email to receive the eBook.
– You could even take it to hard copy, and publish it of you really put something excitingly comprehensive together.

3. Please Automatic Calls-To-Action at the Bottom of Each Post (advanced)
– To download your eBook
– To read your final article
– Etc (Home Search, CMA, Contact)

Sell the Whole Thing

Blogging for Dough“Realtors Never Die, They Just Become Listless.”
You’re retiring; hanging up the closing hat.  What to do with that blog that you have been loving, writing and living off of for the last few years?  Ben Roberts and I would sell it, seriously.

100’s of pages of SEO’d content, fantastic results in the SERPs, books worth of resourceful content, a faithful readership, 1000’s of inbound links… it’s all worth a lot.  In some cases, it’s worth more than you think.  There is a ton of value in years of work, all neatly packaged into a comprehensive database of content.  But, it’s also only worth what someone is willing to pay you for it.

If you have commandeered a successful blog for the last few years, undoubtedly your online social reach is spectacular.  Well before you sign off for the last time, start shopping around the idea of selling the blog outright.  If you play your cards right, you can get great exposure on the RE.net for such a bold move, increasing your chances at a obtaining fair price in exchange for your opus.

A few design and content edits, and you can have some lucky blogger picking up right where you left off.  Rod Herman imagined that having a co-author join you as you phased yourself out would make for an easy transition, and a smooth sale of the site.

Or, if you aren’t looking to let anyone else take credit for your copyrighted content, I would refer to the idea of creating an eBook above.  Bruce Lemiuex sees the value in  using it to generate leads that you can sell, or refer which will generate you income for years.  Passive income is never a bad idea.

My favorite quote from the hundreds of lines of collaborative effort:
“The day I stop blogging, my last blog might be called ‘Tales from the Crypt.’” – Ro Troia

And in the words of the snarky Mr Ryan Rockwood:

Question:
When can you quit blogging?

Answer:
About 4 seconds after you realize you have a better option.

Until that day, type on my dear blogger friend. It’s not a bad gig to be stuck with. It’s genuinely a lot of fun. It’s a cool way to engage with your community. And blogging knocks the socks off cold-calling! But don’t kid yourself, the difference is in degree not kind.

Suggested Reading (hat tip Daniel Bates)
If your Blog Disappeared, Who Would Miss It?

Tomato Co-Authors

Armyoftomatoes2Richard Silver – Torontosim.com
Daniel Bates – MyMcClellanville.net
Chad Lariscy – TheFrontPorchView.com
Ben Roberts – ExitRealEstate540.com
Rod Herman – HomeSection.com
Ruth Marie Hicks – The Westchester View
Ro Troia – BlogTheRockies.com
Judy Peterson – MainlinePAToday.com
Bruce Lemieux – MocoRealEstate.com
Ryan Rockwood – RockysMLS.com
Kathy Torline – Colorado Springs Vintagte Homes
Riley Smith – RealEstateCoconut.com
Ines Garcia – MyWestonBlog.com

Thanks to all for your participation.