The holidays passed months ago, and so did your New Year’s resolution. It’s getting harder to lose the weight you used to need to throw around.
How many of us know that we will lose this weight that we find no comfort in?
The answer is hard to swallow. The answer is almost none of us. Not on our own, at least.
Creating a successful business blog is as difficult as getting back in shape after years of sofa-loafing.
The dedication, focus, confidence and effort it takes is not for the weak spirited and easily distracted. Below is a beginner’s checklist for those thinking of embracing the blog as a marketing tool. It is important to understand the commitment to being the author of a successful real estate blog, because starting and failing can reflect worse than never having started at all.
Personal Trainer –
Hiring someone to help you develop the skills, habits and systems for your success can be crucial. The investment itself leads to the accountability that will keep you focused. More importantly the knowledge that an expert can provide will help you avoid pitfalls, cut corners, and educate you on the “why” to support the “how”.
Community of Peers and Your Participation –
Blogging can be a lonely endeavor. Reaching out to others (commenting) on their blogs will not only help you develop invaluable relationships with your peers but the reciprocation, reverse traffic and inbound links are crucial elements to your success.
(Related must read: The Secret To Successful Comments)
Help Carrying The Load –
If you are sold that blogging is for you, then you should have no trouble selling it to someone else (besides your husband/wife who won’t ever get it anyhow). Blogging is writing, and writing is not always easy. Lighten the load with someone who shares your passion to educate your audience. In the end, the content is still yours.
(Related must read: 8 P’s To Blogging Success)
Trust That It Will Work –
No one would ever step into a gym and run five miles on a treadmill if they didn’t believe that they were actually burning calories. One of the biggest disappointments is seeing a blog dead on the vine after only twenty articles because no one came. There has to be foresight and trust that eventually people will come. We didn’t hit our stride here for 90 days, and now it’s ‘runner’s high‘.
(Related must read: Interview With A Real Estate Blogging Goddess)
Understand The Benefits –
There’s a new playing field out there. While the veterans are getting ‘back to the basics’ with canvassing, farming, open houses and cold calling an entirely new way of incubating your next client has emerged. The clients that you are working with trust you because of your knowledge, concern, passion, consistency, and understanding of their needs. Attract your next client for the same reasons. (Related must read: Is 12 Months Too Long?)
Core Topics –
Outline where you are headed with the blog. Breakdown your core topics by their value to your audience and your ability to produce content. Failing to have focus with your topics will create confusion among your readers making them less apt to ‘subscribe’ and will weaken the ‘weight’ of the categories as keywords in the search engines.
(Related must read: New To Business Blogs? and Your Blog Is An Army)
Content Generation –
Your topics need to revolve around what your audience wants and needs to know. Your articles need to come from the conversations you have with your consumer, not with you peers. The concerns, challenges, fears, confusions, objections and attitudes of your clients should shape your writing effort.
(Related must read: He Asked Me, “Why Am I Blogging?” and Of Blogs And Bricks)
Avoid Distraction –
Blogging about what is interesting to you will attract people like you. To develop a voice that your desired audience wants to read, you need to stay on topics they are interested in.
(Related must reads: 10 Things Not To Do On Your Real Estate Blog and Being Business Friendly in Business Blogging)
Blog topic search engines like www.Technorati.com and blogsearch.google.com have fantastic tools to research topics you are looking to develop.
How often is a my topic mentioned on the blogosphere?
Who’s writing on my topic?
Alert me when my topic is mentioned.
History of my topic.
Read Other Blogs –
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel to be successful. There were search engines before Google, there were video sites before YouTube, and there are other real estate blogs besides yours. The best advice you can uncover is to learn from those whom are already successful. Bicyclists study how Lance Armstrong rides his bike, they don’t start by trying to create their own style. The guideline: Read as much as you write. This is the hardest one to follow for me, but it has also the discipline that has made all the difference.
Your First Articles Are Not Going To Win Awards (or Clients) –
If you find yourself struggling to get through your first mile/article, don’t be discouraged. The first fifty are not going to be amazing articles. A year into blogging will have you looking back and laughing at your first go at it. “I can’t believe I wrote that,” “Wow, look how far I’ve come,” and “When did I write this crap?” are all common thoughts to me as I look back.
You Won’t Find Your Voice Until You Know Your Audience –
Great writer or not, it still takes time to find your market, your audience, your core topics, your voice. It helps to do some research and develop some structure, but ultimately it is the consistent effort that will be your beacon for success.
This is business, not hobby, ego, skill or community. Make time for it and it will not consume your life. Make time for it and it will grow. Make time for it and it will work. Plan 2 hours per (quality) article. Taking blogging seriously will make working in your pajamas the most important marketing effort you undertake.
(Related must read: How Often Should I Blog?)
Sense Of Urgency –
Delivering content is the job. If we haven’t posted an article in a few days, we start to panic. Responsibility, requests and life all get in the way. Nonetheless, your success depends on the content that you produce, the education you provide, the passion you emit, and the consistency you maintain.
(Related must read: Bloggers Block?)
Slow and Steady –
Every article you produce is not only another soldier out their fighting the good fight for you in the search engines, but also another example of consistent focus and knowledge to your audience. Staying consistent, even at a slower pace, is more advantageous than a sprint to exhaustion. Back to the analogy of weight loss: regular exercise as a lifestyle is much healthier than any crash diet.
(Related must read: Blogger Burnout And The Steps To Avoiding It)
I’m not going to go so far as to say, “It’s not the destination, it’s the journey.” There is great reward however in the act of blogging itself. Being determined will help you embrace the above, and it will help you grow so much as a professional. Developing your knowledge and sharing it with the world (who will come) in published form is tangible. No other marketing effort leaves behind such a resource for your past, present and future clients to experience.
To paraphrase Bob Stewart from Brio Realty: Blogging allows you to chronicle your knowledge so that you don’t have to demonstrate it over and over again.