To Blog or Not to Blog?

By Ron & Alexandra Seigel, Napa Consultants, International

To blog or not to blog? That is a very important question if you are a luxury real estate marketing professional and you are serious about surpassing your closest competitor. A blog can be a significant lead generation tool, which is the biggest reason so many agents and home loan consultants are jumping on the band wagon and launching their own blogs.

Here are the pros and cons about blogging in a nutshell:

The Pros: 1) Competently executed, blogging can help you create the perception, in the minds of your target market, that you are the leading authority in your field; 2) Blogging can significantly improve your search engine ranking, and; 3) Blogging can even help you gain celebrity status.

The Cons: 1) Done incompetently, publishing a blog can be like eating crawfish: a lot of work for very little meat; 2) If you do not like to write or do not have anything interesting, helpful or newsworthy to say about your marketplace (even with the assistance of a ghost writer) do not bother to blog, and; 3) You can bore potential readers and waste your valuable time that could be put to much better use.

Becoming a Self-Publisher

First, let’s demystify the blog by separating the medium from the message (or the content of your blog). As a medium, a blog is an interactive website that allows you to instantly self-publish (or post) time-stamped content such as text, photos, audio clips, videos and links to external content on the internet.

Your blog also allows visitors to post comments and forward your blog to their friends. Other blogs can be linked to your blog so your posts can appear in many places at once like a syndicated newspaper columnist. This interactivity is what makes blogs a social media versus printed newspapers, magazines or TV. There is a plentitude of free blogging platforms such as Google’s, . It only takes minutes to set up your blog and publish your first post. It is that easy to become a self-publisher.

The shift in power that is taking place in the world of traditional publishing represents an unprecedented opportunity to become a popular source of real estate or mortgage news in your marketplace through self-publication. Can you begin to see why the current market leading agents and loan consultants are vulnerable? A competitor can readily seize this opportunity to become the local expert, the go-to columnist that is repeatedly quoted in other publications and other people’s blogs.

Becoming a Syndicated Columnist

Now, let’s take a look at the message side of the blog equation. Have you ever watched Andy Rooney’s spot that is aired at the end of every 60 Minutes TV program? He usually gives a two or three minute commentary on something that interests him. His inimitable style is charming, humorous and witty. A very distinct personality is exactly what your blog needs if you want to stand out in a sea of blogs. Your blog needs a unique slant to build readership/viewership. Most importantly, it must be authentic.

A successful blog should be like a thoroughly engaging editorial or news column in your local newspaper that is somehow tied into the subject of real estate or mortgage services. The theme of your column must be centered on something that you are personally enthusiastic or even passionate about in order to sustain your own interest over time as a publisher/columnist. If the message is not newsworthy, entertaining, informative or a solution to their problems your readers will quickly lose interest, too.

Blogging for Dollars!

The more traffic you can generate for your blog the more leads you can generate for your business. To accomplish this you must promote it everywhere you promote your current website. It must be prominently featured in all of your collateral material. Your blog is the new local media in your field and you are the new syndicated columnist. That means you need to maximize the use of local publicity as well as internet publicity, especially if you are in a second home market.

Best of all, if your content is truly original and compelling it will generate word-of-mouth marketing. For some of your referral sources it is easier for them to forward a clever or informative blog post via email than it is to recommend your services directly.

Getting your blog to synch up with the search engines, e.g., Google, Yahoo and MSN, in order to achieve the highest rankings is paramount. This is where all of the hoopla is coming from on the subject of blogging. The search engines are continuously looking for new content so that their user’s search results continue to be relevant to the search query. If the content of your blog posts can consistently answer the question that searchers are typing, the chances of your blog being found first increases dramatically.

Be sure to submit your blog to the best blog registries. One example is Real Estate Blogs. It is a directory of real estate blogs and blog sites of industries affiliated with and serving the real estate industry.

Your search engine ranking for your website itself can steadily improve by blogging. Blogging allows you to add new content on a regular basis that is picked up by the search engines, versus the static content on your website. The more visible you become to the search engines the more you will be recognized as a website (and as a personality) worthy of a high ranking at the top on the search engines. This can take time.

To blog or not to blog? Do your due diligence before you decide. If your answer is yes, make the commitment to publish the best, market leading blog in your area. And, be sure to seek professional Search Engine Optimization (SEO) services. This is critical to your success. Good luck blogging for leads and for dollars!