It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.
It seems like every week there’s a new report that shows why the housing market is rebounding, or why it’s sinking even further. Just this week we saw new home sales in November drop 11%, while existing home sales rose 7.4%. Predictions of how this (and other factors) will affect values is anyone’s guess! When people ask me what I think the market will do, there is only one prediction I can make confidently: The housing market won’t rise as fast as it fell!
If Robert E. Lee were alive today and selling real estate he’d proclaim “The Market shall rise again!” He’d be right. And when the market does pick up, whether it’s 2010, 2011 or 2017, you need to be ready for it.
Right now is an opportunity to use new tools such as Blogging and Social Media to build your reputation as a trusted resource and establish your credibility as an expert. As you gain more readers and followers you can stockpile your trust now so when the market does turn around you are poised to take advantage. Maintaining an “online presence” beyond a simple, static website will build your reputation as someone that is knowledgeable and helpful.
When deciding on what your blog will focus on, think about the type of readers you want to attract. Notice I said readers and not clients. You shouldn’t try to sell your services or listings to your followers. Every “Social Media Guru” has their opinion on how much you should promote yourself in the context of your blog. Shameless self-promotion won’t provide any value to the reader and eventually they’ll get turned off and ignore you. Keep it relevant and you’ll be OK. The key is finding just the right balance.
Your blog shouldn’t be all things to all people. It should be geared to the types of people you’d like to connect and work with or to build your reputation in a certain area. If you do half your business in a certain area or type of client focus on that! Here are three areas to consider:
Do you work in a specific area? You could focus your blog on your city or even down to a neighborhood or subdivision.
2. Client Type
Think about the types of clients you work with most. You could focus your blog on topics of interest to first time buyers, downsizing retirees, commercial/retail, distressed/bank/short sale sellers.
Going “green”, Healthy/Active lifestyle or Outdoor living are all topics you could cover, and how it relates to what to look for in a home or home improvements.
Whatever you choose to focus on, write from the Real Estate perspective. I read a LOT of real estate blogs that only focus on real estate. Your blog should be a source of information for your clients, not your competition. Unless your blog is just a hobby your ultimate goal is to grow your business.
Build your reputation as a resource in whatever area you choose so when your readers do decide to enter the market, you’ve established yourself as a knowledgeable resource. You’ve already built up a certain level of trust that you can leverage to get their business.
If you build it, they will come… eventually.
Don’t worry about promoting your blog in the beginning. Work on your writing style and find your voice. If you send people to a blog with just a handful of entries they aren’t going to put much value on it and probably won’t come back. Keep it focused, relevant and creative and readers will find you. After you’ve established yourself and built up some valuable content you should start actively promoting your blog.
Write whenever you can. If you have fits of creativity write several blog entries at once and stagger when you publish them. A steady stream of content will keep your readers interested and increase your search engine rankings.
You should read and follow blogs similar to yours for ideas and inspiration. If you find a great article post a summary and link to the original site. Don’t be afraid to send your visitors to someone else! If your readers think of you as a resource for information they’ll come back to you.
Most importantly, Have fun!
Yes, writing can seem like a chore sometimes. It’s perfectly ok to mix things up and write about something completely off-topic from time to time. When you see your view counts and followers start to grow the effort will be worth it. Nothing will beat the first time you introduce yourself to someone and they say “Oh yeah, I know who you are, I read your blog!