Six Real Estate Bloggers Exemplifying Blog Voice

To finish out my series on blog voice, I’ve picked some real estate professionals who exemplify writing with personality. Forget the plain-jane business-casual tone many bloggers adopt in the real estate industry. There’s nothing wrong with a conversational feel, but if you want to be distinct and memorable, zeroing in on that blog voice is key. See how these  real estate bloggers attracted a dedicated audience thanks to a strong voice.

Duke Long

This commercial real estate broker is infamous in the industry for his frank blog. Duke Long’s blog is blatantly honest, or, as some might say, “lacking a filter.” The tactic is polarizing, but in a humdrum world of commercial real estate blogging, Long’s powerful statements have cemented his reputation as a CRE tech leader.

Jeremy Neuer

Real estate agent Jeremy Neuer tagged his blog Neuerspace as “Commercial Real Estate with Personality.” He and I clearly are on the same wavelength about the copycat boring real estate blogs. Neuer infuses his blog with anecdotes and sports references that help connect with his audience and put a new spin on the industry.

Jonathan Schultz

Jonathan Schultz is another CRE Tech guru, as you will see when visiting his blog. What I like is his slant: there’s tech, but many topics discuss work life and human motivations. The bold statements right in the titles grab your attention, like “Are YOU Holding YOU Back?”

Coppola Cheney

Here’s a different example: a corporation with some pizzazz instead of an individual. What I like about real estate consulting firm Coppola Cheney’s blog is it sounds like you’re sitting over coffee discussing the market. The voice is knowledgeable, but casual. Occasionally they connect what’s happening in the industry to their lives, a strategy that makes their brand approachable.

Mark Ferguson

Mark is another blogger that exemplifies how going personal works. He brings you into his world of real estate investing, rehabilitation, and running a brokerage. Readers appreciate honesty and he does it very well on Invest Four More.

Coach Carson

Another real estate investor speaking from personal experience, Coach Carson creates his voice through metaphors and anecdotes. His guest interviews are excellent as he asks insightful questions of intelligence people. Not everyone has that talent. Read Coach Carson’s blog here.


Read the full Real Estate Blog Voice Series.

1- Understanding Your Blog Voice

2- Why Should You Care About Your Blogging Voice?


Need help crafting your blog voice? Let’s chat!

Why Should You Care About Blogging Voice?

I recently wrote about understanding blogging voice and how real estate bloggers can find theirs. During the process, an important question cropped up: why should you care about your blogging voice?  Is it really important to your real estate content marketing efforts?

The Blogging Voice Challenge

Take this challenge: read five of your competitor’s or service provider’s blogs. Include your brokerage’s blog. You don’t need to read the entire blogroll. Pick one or two articles that seem interesting. When you’re done, wait a day and see if you remember any of them. I’d bet most likely not, but if you do, it’s probably because that blog had something special to leave a lasting impression. The special sauce? Chances are, it’s the voice!

Why You Need to Find Your Blogging Voice

Everyone has read something that has induced a page coma: when your eyes scan the page but nothing sticks. Maybe you’ve read something just to fall asleep. Conversely, you have probably read something gripping from start to finish, whose suspense caught you still turning the pages into the wee hours of the night. Another article literally made you laugh out loud. Why can’t those qualities follow through in a blog?

Maybe you’re not a jokester. That’s okay. Some people can paint such a clear picture with words about any subject that it sucks in its audience. Perhaps that is your style. Others adeptly connect complex topics to real life scenarios. This, too, is a valuable skill and way to generate a unique voice.  Some people write with a no-nonsense style, and there are readers that appreciate cutting to the chase.

Many big brands have the same voice. They are trying to be business casual: conversational, politely informal, and quick to read. That’s not to say their content isn’t valuable or worth reading. I simply mean after a while, they all sound the same. You, as an individual, can be distinct and rise above the corporations, by finding a unique blogging voice and writing with a distinct personality.

Stay tuned for our next blog, which will have examples of real estate professionals with strong blog voices.

 


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Understanding Your Blog Voice

I find one question often trips up new clients. In fact, most of the disconnect I see with first draft expectations boils down to an inaccurate understanding of voice. Whether writing it yourself or outsourcing to a team, you must have a clear understanding of your blog voice to create a cohesive brand.

What is voice in writing?

Voice is tricky. When we read, the words take on a personality. This “personality” is formed from the grammar, rhythm, and word choices writers make. Writers use character adjectives to explain voice. For example, if I said, “this article sounds like it was written by a professor,” that likely means the writing is bogged down by jargon, complex sentence construction, and advanced vocabulary.

Why the voice disconnect?

During initial client consults, I’ve had people say they want an informal or casual tone.  The first draft is delivered, and in the reviewing remarks, it becomes clear they wanted something else entirely. A response might be that the content seems too basic, delivers a surface-level grasp of content, or needs more data. What the client is really expressing a desire for a different voice. They would like something more business casual, like discussing the industry during a conference panel. Their audience is familiar with the industrial jargon and trends; these can be used casually during the writing.

When coming up with your content marketing program or when getting ready to draft your blog, really put some thought behind what you want your blog to sounds like. You may have heard of the content marketing term “persona.”  I find creating personas a viable exercise, especially if more than one person will be working on your marketing. Having a document that gives a clear understanding of the company voice is invaluable. I particularly remember reading one detail from a “Social Media Persona” document: “The individual is in with the latest trends; they are likely to buy Warby Parker and Bonobos.”

Advice for understanding your blog voice

I recommend giving some solid thought to your blog voice. Create a persona. While you don’t necessarily need to go so far as to describe where your content marketing character is going to shop, don’t boil it down to just one or two words. Describe the person behind the blog. Determine if it will be in first or third person. If you would like to be more formal, how formal do you want to be? Are you looking for a more scientific blog devoid of opinions?

Consider this:

If you want your blog to position you as a thought leader, your voice might be:

  • Professorial. Shown through data and research.
  • Positive. Upbeat language showing excitement for new developments.
  • Confident. Self-assured opinions about industry directions backed with research.

If you want your blog to appeal to a luxury audience, your voice might be:

  • Formal. Likely third person.
  • Sophisticated. Write naturally with advanced, but not obnoxious, vocabulary.
  • Confident. No wishy-washy suggestive language like “should be” or “might.”

If you want to appeal to a millennial audience, your voice might be:

  • Business casual. Discussing the industry without showing off jargon.
  • Fun. Use clichés or pop culture references.
  • Informal. A first-person that addresses the reader.

For one of my clients, I think, “upbeat, cheery, positive” when I write. They want their content to be knowledgeable, but in person they are extremely friendly and easy to talk to. Their excitement is palpable. Their blog combines a deep knowledge of the local residential real estate industry with an approachable personality. It’s what is most natural for them.

As you can see, there’s a lot that goes into understanding your blog voice. My final word of caution: don’t try to be something you are not. If you’re trying to adopt a bubbly, youthful persona when that’s just not you, your marketing effort will fail. Make the blog voice natural to your brand and business.

 

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The Invisible Time Behind Crafting Blog Content

Behind every word you’re reading is a thousand more you cannot see. That’s why many new blogs fail: as new writers get going they realize how time-consuming it is to run a blog. I call this “invisible time.” These minutes are the ones you, the creator, experience in crafting blog content, but the audience never considers.

Dear reader, consider the work behind the code on this very page. Besides the words, work for just this post included:

  • A carefully crafted header
  • Time in outlining and revision
  • Proofreading through an automated grammar check
  • Sourcing and editing images into the right format
  • Adding alt text to Images for SEO
  • Using a widget to program SEO, including writing a meta description and header
  • Adding appropriate related inlinks
  • Proper formatting with headers and for mobile devices.
  • Promotion on social media

This blog is a 500-ish word anecdotal style post. There’s no deep research or outlinked posts. No interviews with thought leaders. No photo shoots.

Let’s break down exactly what “invisible time” could entail:

Before Blogging

A great blog starts with preparation. For a typical 500-word, quick-spin content blog, I budget 25 percent of my work time to researching. This means finding and reading multiple sources, including ones that don’t contain relevant facts needed for the writing. Preparation means verifying statistical information. Sometimes this is tracking down the original source of the data from a mention in another blog, others it’s finding a second reliable source with the same information.

All this gathered data must be organized into a form that makes sense. Usually, that means an outline.

Writing the Blog

The first draft is usually the easiest step. Take the outline and just write. Don’t dwell on quality. Occasionally, information gaps become apparent. Then it’s back to research.

Polishing the Blog

After drafting comes revision. Good writers re-read their work for awkward phrasing, active voice, and general proofreading. Again, this takes time. Sometimes revision identifies gaps in information that could require more research.

Additional Blogging Duties

What else goes into blogs? Beyond planning and revision, there might be:

  • Keyword research. This helps identify topics mostly likely to resonate with your audience and search engines.
  • Imagery. Blog search engine rankings, readability, and social media promotion benefit from high-quality related images. You’ll have to find the right image(s), make sure they’re free to share, or purchase the rights.
  • Social media promotion. Different platforms require different content styles to maximize their reach.
  • SEO optimization, which could require more revision if not accounted for in the beginning.
  • Uploading. The act of uploading requires more time than you think. Something could go wrong with the formatting. Add adding categories and tags, links and related posts, meta and summaries, and time adds up.

All these steps account for the “invisible time” that makes blogging a more time-consuming effort that you might not consider when launching your blog. Luckily, solutions like Power 10 Social with experienced writers exist to help busy professionals with crafting blog content for any medium.

5 Ways to Reinvent Your Real Estate Blog Content

Get creative with your expertise! You don’t need to just write blogs. Different content types appeal to different audiences. Repurposing blogs into new content forms creates new avenues of reaching potential customers. And who doesn’t like expansion? Next time you’re not looking forward to clicking away at the keys, try these alternative content types to reinvent your real estate blog.

Video

Produce engaging visual content with video, both pre-recorded or live. Added bonus: statistics show videos receive more content traffic than blogs. Practically every major social network supports video: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Periscope, etc. Keep in mind some networks do restrict length. Plus, viewers prefer short and sweet to lengthy.

Podcast

This content form has made one impressive comeback. Users like to stay informed while multitasking: driving in the car, making breakfast, doing chores. Make the most of your podcast. Conduct interviews with industry colleagues, offer customer advice, and other important tidbits. Check out these podcasting tips from Social Media Examiner.

Infographic

Taking data-heavy blogs and transforming them into a mobile-friendly graphic encourages audience engagement. Infographics appeal to us because they’re visual, are quick to scan, and contain valuable nuggets of information. The best infographic content should be: evergreen, informative, and factual. Careful to keep the design streamlined, and remember to cite your sources. Check out one of our infographics, Social Media Hashtags for Real Estate, or how start building an infographic for free.

Downloadable PDF

Turn your blog into a helpful, downloadable PDF that clients could take with them. For example, a house inspection tips blog could become a house inspection tips checklist. Visitors love free offers. It makes you seem more approachable. Free content says you are more interested in helping people and not viewing clients as a paycheck.

Ebook

Have a series of related posts? Curate them into an e-book to offer website visitors. Ebooks serve as evergreen and unique content. Capture the downloader’s email address for your email list and keep serving them with exceptional content.

Looking for more ideas to reinvent your real estate blog? Talk to me at Power10Social about how we can help you craft real estate content.

Making the Most of Your Real Estate Photos

You’ve paid for them. They’re loaded on the MLS and into your marketing program. Now, how do you make the maximum visual impact with your real estate listing photos? Social media extends the life and reach of your photos. Consider the following social media marketing options.

Facebook’s Countless Methods

How you can pitch your photos knows no bounds on Facebook. Before you go down this path, a few things first: 1) for maximum impact, you’ll need paid advertising. Facebook’s continuing news feed changes downplay content from businesses, like real estate agent pages; 2) familiarize yourself with the video ad specs, including length limits; 3) have a targeted marketing plan.

Once you’ve addressed the above, it’s time to market those photos. On Facebook, you can create a photo album, a photo carousel, a slide show, or a canvas.

One of my clients loves the slide show option. The dynamic scroll makes a strong visual impression and the feature rotates up to 10 pictures. Music and captions can help elevate the slide show, but I’m not a fan of Facebook’s available music options for real estate.  

A photo album could be a great way to market an especially notable listing. A typical 3/2 family home wouldn’t catch as much play here as promoting an album from a luxury property or an expansive commercial listing where you truly want to show the scope and features.

The photo carousel requires a destination link. If your property has a specific marketing website, this could be an excellent promotion for driving traffic.

Twitter Photos

Twitter allows you to upload multiple photos, but it’s best to stick with the best 1-3 shots here because Twitter is such a quick medium. You have two choices: use photos to highlight details included in the 240 characters or use a photo with details not described or hashtagged. I would edit the photos to include a short text overlay on a key idea. Examples: #privateyard, #remodel, NEW LISTING!

Instagram Photos

This image-first platform is ideal for showcasing incredible residential or commercial property shots. Use the mobile app and editor to post a single photo or several shots for scrolling photos. If you choose to upload more than one, the first image must be stunning enough to invite the scroll.

Other image-editing apps, like Canva, allow you to create an Instagram-optimized visual post with multiple images in one shot. For an extra kick, purchase a sponsored post to highlight your best-performing property photos. Remember, Instagram works best with high-quality or striking images so choose wisely.

Pinterest

What, Pinterest for listing photos? Yes, you can! The best way to draw business via Pinterest is by creating specific, location-based boards. If you’re interested in going this route, I recommend reading this blog by Kate Ahl about Pinterest and real estate marketing. Her interview with Lynn Pineda is chock full of great tips.

Email Campaign

A targeted email campaign is a real estate agent’s secret weapon. The key word is “targeted.” Today’s sophisticated CRMs and databases should be able to handle that part for you. The second part hinges on great email design. The leading image should have that “wow” factor that encourages the opener to continue scrolling and finally clickthrough to the property’s website. Carefully curate the photos chosen for the email campaign. Keep the text to a minimum and let the visuals do the talking.