Contributed by Karen Highland
It seems like everyone has a real estate blog these days, as many real estate agents have joined the blogosphere over the last few years. ActiveRain has grown to over 250,000 bloggers, Zillow, Realtor.com, Homes.com and many other major real estate news sites have also started blogs. The space is glutted.
Just out of curiosity, I did a few Google searches of some common terms and found some astounding results:
- “10 Tips for Home Buyers” resulted in 47,700,000 web pages.
- “10 Tips for Home Sellers” resulted in 66,000,000 web pages.
- “5 Tips for First Time Home Buyers” resulted in 45,900,000 pages.
- “Top Ten Home Staging Tips” resulted in a mere 8,450,000 pages.
You get the picture.
The internet is full to the brim with great (and not-so-great) real estate advice. How can a real estate blogger stand out in such a crowded space? How do you get your genius noticed, much less ranked in an Internet search? If you’ve been a REALTOR® for a while, you have things to say, stories to tell and great advice to give. The secret is to move from generic to stand-out content. And what will make your content stand out? You will, by adding what is uniquely YOU.
Here are three tips for getting noticed in a crowded Internet, along with three examples to illustrate:
1. Personalize it. You can do a search and find any topic that has been overdone, so personalize it and make it fantastic and unique.
- Add a story to illustrate. Make the names generic, of course, but tell the story. (I like to use the names Fred and Wilma for my sellers, and Barney and Betty for my buyers. No chance of a client getting offended!) We all have stories that illustrate our brilliant real estate advice.
- Add your own sense of humor. People love to get to know you. You can do many things to add some wit. You can hide Easter eggs (do a barrel roll); you can add humorous asides; you can add witty images to illustrate your point; you can capitalize on current catch-phrases, pop culture, or old slang that everyone knows.
- Use your own everyday speech mannerisms. Shed the perfect textbook writing. Be yourself, and say what you mean. Infuse your personality wherever you can.
- Add your opinion to something that is a big topic in the news. People really want to know what you think, so go ahead and be opinionated. Not rude, just bold.
2. Make Your Images Count.
- Go big and bold. There are so many tools to enhance the images you choose. Canva is a great tool, especially for making a collage of images. Picmonkey is great to add words and stickers. Skitch is good for smartphone image editing. There are many more tools to make your images stand out. (Make sure you have a tool to minify your images on your website, so they don’t slow your page load.)
- Add multiple images throughout your post to draw your reader down the page. No one wants to wade through a “wall of words” when they get to your brilliant insights. They’ll just click away if you don’t draw them in.
- The internet loves memes. Go ahead, join the fun.
- Images will get many more shares on social media than plain text. Be sure to add a great image to your tweets and status updates. Use up every advantage that you can. Taking a little more time on the images you use will pay off.
3. Think about your reader. Consider the fact that they are in a hurry, scanning and clicking, looking for quick information to answer their questions. You are competing for their attention in a demanding world.
- Make your post scan-able, with lots of white space and well-placed headings. Make sure your reader can see your main points right away. Images are just as important as the words in today’s highly visual web.
- Think of these words: delight, captivate, entertain, inform, humor, enlighten, and illuminate. People can get the facts on Wikipedia, what they want is your expertise, opinions and personality.
- Go in-depth. Spend the time to go into details on an issue, especially if it is a topic that has been written about a lot. Add your insight and experience. Source credible studies and news articles.
- Every element of your post has the potential to delight, humor and captivate. Instead of “10 tips for X”, try a title generator and come up with something unique and trendy, like this: “10 Ways Buying Your First House is Like Winning at Game of Thrones” (I didn’t think of that myself). From your title, to your headings, to your images and your choice of words, you can add a touch of YOU. You may not be able to be so brilliant every day, but I’ll bet you can do it once a month if you try!
Being generous in your blog posts by linking to fellow real estate bloggers and highlighting their content when it complements your post will get you lots of blogger love. You’ll get social shares, links and promotion when you promote others. It’s the law of social reciprocity.
And as promised, here are three examples of delightful, inspiring, and unique real estate blog posts. See if you can pick up my three tips in each article:
- Bill Gassett has written posts that get a lot of social shares and traffic to his sites. He has a flair for infusing his personality. He goes in-depth with his post, Ways Home Sellers Get Pricing Wrong. Bill lays out his topic and carefully explains the rationale behind these mistakes and how they do harm to the seller. He also takes advantage of humor in his images.
- Greg Hancock has written a very witty post for his Berkshire Hathaway blog: Agents to Avoid. The main reason why I think it’s brilliant is that it’s a brand new spin on an old tired subject, “How to Choose A REALTOR®.” Even the graphic is enchanting. I don’t think I’m alone when I say I like to be entertained with a fresh approach.
- In this post, 15 BS Facts About Homebuying Everyone Thinks Are True, I employed as much humor as I could. I tackled several points that real estate bloggers have opined about over and over, with my own humor laced throughout. I love subtlety, and used it with images and Easter eggs. The post has received lots of social love and was my most visited page (after my home page) for the most recent quarter. And it was fun!
My parting words of brilliance: If you enjoy writing it, your readers are bound to enjoy reading it. So, if you’re not having fun, you’re not doing it right!
Karen Highland and her husband Chris Highland, The Highland Group with eXp Realty, are a real estate team in Frederick Md. Chris is the Regional Leader for eXp Realty. Karen is also the Director of Communications for their local association, FCAR, Frederick County Association of REALTORS. You can find Chris and Karen at Twitter, Google +, and Facebook.