Finding the Right Real Estate Writer

Your blog is your brand. How could you turn it over to someone else? How your real estate blog possibly be as good as without you writing your ideas?

As someone who’s worked with macro and micro-managers, I can attest: you can outsource your real estate blog. The key is finding the right real estate writer to work with you. The right person might produce content good as you, if not better. Why?

Real estate copywriters are:

  • Knowledgeable about the industry
  • Focus just on delivering quality content for you
  • Deliver content on time and consistently
  • Help generate new ideas

Tips for Finding the Best Real Estate Writer

The challenge is hiring the perfect fit for your blog and your management style. Before starting your copywriter or blogger hunt, consider drafting a profile of the ideal candidate. The perfect writer varies person to person. Characteristics to consider:

  • A writer knowledgeable in your area. Think residential, commercial, or the local market.
  • Someone with excellent research skills as they’ll be drafting data-backed and informative blogs.
  • A writer who can craft an amazing blog from just a few notes or a working title and link.
  • A blogger who adapts the content to your tone and audience.
  • A marketing-style writer who can sell through their copy.

In addition to thinking about the writer, come up with a game plan for your relationship. This will be based on your personality style. Hands-off bosses might want a writer to just go with it. Hands-on editors want more detail provided during the idea phase and more discussions over multiple revisions.

Ask yourself, “How much time will I have to support the writer?” In the beginning, naturally more contact is required to discuss the process and the work. After the relationship is established, how often to you expect to work with the copywriter? Daily, weekly, monthly, as needed?

Additional Real Estate Blogger Tips

If your real estate niche is extremely specific, say medical commercial real estate or real estate investing abroad, you might want a subject matter expert. That would save time training the writer in your industry content.

A final piece of advice: don’t be afraid to take a chance on someone. Many writers work remotely and have never visited your local market. That doesn’t mean with the right guidance they couldn’t craft compelling copy. The wealth of online information makes it easy to learn about neighborhoods, markets, and metropolitan areas. If you don’t want a full commitment right away, hire them for a test blog and see how it goes.

When you’re ready to find a winning real estate writer, numerous job panels and boards exist. Each has its disadvantages, as we’ll discuss in the future.


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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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What’s the Future of Blogging?

In the face of expanded video content, is blogging a dying medium?  I don’t think so. It may be a changing medium, but it’s not necessarily a dying one. The future of blogging for content marketers remains optimistic, even as we explore other content types.

The Blog Types

There are numerous blogging trends in the industry.  You have the microblogs: super short-form, less than 250 words with an abbreviated style. Running counter to these are long-form blogs, which are broken into indexable sections, dive deep into content, and rank high on LinkedIn. In the middle is the traditional blog of approximately 500 to 750 words detailing a specific subject, paired with images, broken into small sections, and carrying a voice unique to every author.

The Relationship Between Other Content and Blogs

But what about all the other content forms dominating the marketing industry? Podcasting, video content, video blogs, infographics…. I see these other content types as complimentary.  Each can be paired with another content type and gain the benefits that go along with it.

How can these different content types compliment blogging?

  • A 2-minute video on a subject can tease to a blog that tackles the topic more in-depth.  That blog can link to an infographic that dives deeper into relevant related data.
  • A blog can be a transcription of a podcast, with each linking to each other. The transcription adds indexable content for search engines. Your audience will have the choice to read or listen, based on their personal preferences.
  • A microblog pulls content from and refer to a free, downloadable white paper.
  • A long-form blog can promote the content found in a webinar series.
  • An infographic perfect for social media promotion can tie back into a blog.  

There’s no right or wrong answer. Writing is a malleable art form that can change to meet our needs.

Do Blogs Work?

What does research say? Data shows more value comes from long-form blogs that cut through all the content clutter. These blogs delve deep into a topic. They tend to be published less often, but end up chock-full of keywords that search engines love and precision readers appreciate. Neil Patel discusses in detail the value of long-form content as evergreen material and what you can do to produce it.

Even if blogging isn’t for you, the ability to understand its value and how it can help your other content marketing efforts will help you strategically plan your content marketing program. For instance, if you intend for your blog to host only videos, pairing those videos with transcripts or with short summaries will help sell the video. Search engines will index that text to help consumers organically discover your content.

As long as people have ideas to share, the future of blogging remains bright. Millions of posts continued to be published every day, including this one.

Need help with your real estate blogs? Let’s talk!

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Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

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.