Don’t get caught wearing the Bad Idea Jeans
This perceived shortcut comes in many forms, and they are all shortcuts to failure.
Having your webdesign company provide content for you.
I am often asked if we provide the service of helping our clients with some canned content to help their site get off the ground, or to fill in those slow times. They go on to explain that we should have content that is basic real estate information for the consumer, such as: “10 Things to Consider Before Selling Your Home”, “Closing Costs Explained for the Buyer” or a “Moving Checklist”.
This reminds me of the ‘Free Reports” that template website companies include for their clients.
The main challenge with this content is that it is not original, and the search engines consider it a duplication of something they have seen 1000s of times before. This is a great way to weaken the authority of your blogsite in the search engines.
The second issue is that this general/evergreen content is nothing but overused drivel that offers no indication to your visitors that you care about their real needs.
So no, we do not offer canned content to pad your blog.
Republishing “Real Estate News” as blog content.
Republishing duplications of content that has already be indexed by the search engines is generally a very poor marketing strategy.
The basic sense is that the search engines want to provide the best search experience for their users, and posting multiple websites with the same content is counterintuitive. As a result the search engines will either filter the content to not appear in the results, or even adjust their indexing and ranking of the sites that contain the duplicate content. That’s bad. You do not want the search engines diminishing your value as a result in their indexing because this will affect not only the articles that you have copied, but rather the value of the entire website.
The damages done to your blogsite by copying/pasting content off the wire go beyond suffering in the search engines for publishing duplicate content.
Your ideal reader, most likely, has no interest in national real estate topics. So by filling your pages with information that is of little use to your target audience, you are basically proving to them that you do not understand their needs, nor care about providing something of real value.
At a minimum, if you can’t resist using RE news as content, you have to give it the old-college-once-over (uniquely edit it) and provide some value with a unique opinion.
Using a Ghost Writer.
So you need original content… why not hire someone to do all the heavy lifting?
Because blogs work only when they are an extension of you and your expertise.
Imagine sending someone else, other than you, out with your new client to view homes, answer questions, negotiate offers, coordinate the involvement of 3rd parties, etc. As convenient as that would be, you know that as an expert agent, you are best suited to initiate, build, maintain and honor the relationship with your client. They trust you, because you are so involved in the experience.
Blogging works the same way. In order for your audience to trust that you are the agent with whom they must be working, they need to feel that you care about their needs, and that you are involved in the experience. By having someone else play the role of “content creator’ then you are unable to establish that relationship directly. In the end, this will work against your goal of forging relationships with potential clients through the internet.
Having a ghost writer help in those busy times… or to help edit your skeleton articles can certainly be acceptable… just never lose sight of the fact that the blog is an extension of you, and not just a receptacle of content, for content’s sake.
Using Syndicated Content
Services like BringTheBlog.com offer the promise of delivering real estate and mortgage related content to your blog automatically.
Although this content can be somewhat customized to your local area with dynamic keywords, therefore making it appear more unique and applicable to your readers’ interests, it is clear that it falls short of being a reliable shortcut to blogging success. The same reasons that the above short cuts fail apply here: duplicated content, lack of personalization, and failure to connect with your target audience.
BTB claims that it isn’t meant to be used as a crutch for bloggers, but rather as a way to fill in the voids, and to inspire content that can be customized to each user’s needs. What I see happening, however, is the tendency to rely too much on this service for content. As a result your blog muscle atrophies from non-use and the sound strategy of the blog being an extension of you goes out the window.
There can be huge benefit to blogging your listings, as long as you go about it sensibly.
If, however, you think that your blog is an extension of your featured listing page and you fill successive posts with MLS content, you will fail to connect with any reader.
Before publishing listing info on your blog, ask yourself: “Will my ideal reader want to see this?”
If you want to ensure that they do, then you need to write something beyond the MLS speak.
Use the listing as a teachable moment; what can be learned from this home that is on the market?
Home improvement returns?
Home value comparison to the neighborhood?
There are a ton of oppoertunities to leaverage a listing as a blog article, but it starts with creating value and connecting to your reader.
After that, you can reap all the SEO benefits of posting the listing address, pricing, amenities etc.
Leave the inspiring quotes, cryptic messages, weather observations, puns, lolcats, rhetorical questions, general announcements to no one, etc… to your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn profiles.
Consider why people are coming to your site in the first place: Looking for answers to their questions.
New readers most likely came in through the search engines, feed their need with content of real value.
Your repeat visitors probably already have a social media connection to you where they can see your personality pool over.
Your blog should be the mothership of your expertise, treat it that way.
Hone the skills it takes to attract the right audience and then make them trust you.
Decide who you are going to write to.
Consider what their real estate needs, fears, anxieties and excitements are.
Schedule the time to create and publish pithy content about the latter for the former.
Be original for Pete’s sake.
If you want to master these techniques alongside a personal trainer, contact us right away to schedule a session.