The Baby Steps of Blogging -Getting Started Blogging

Posted by: Joseph Ferrara on June 27th, 2008

1. Read Before You Write

What I always advise real estate professionals interested in getting started blogging is to go out and read other real estate blogs. You’ll have no trouble finding them. Just Google “real estate blogs” or type in your market followed by “blog”.

Reading other blogs will give you a sense of the topics discussed, the presentation, and the various writing styles of bloggers. The more you read the more you will know what folks are saying, and how they’re saying it. Some bloggers write short posts, others expound into treatise length. Many use images and video, some do not. Some are heavy on facts and figures, others heavy on opinion and their experiences. When done right (and I use that word loosely), the blogger’s voice -— their personality -— comes through the writing.

And that’s what you should strive to do -— find your voice and get it out there.

Besides, reading blogs gives you the visceral feedback of what you like and what you think sucks. (Avoid the stuff you think sucks.)

2. Talk Before You Walk

Don’t stop with reading the blog posts. It is also important to read the comments to understand how conversations are taking place and how the author is engaging his or her readers. You will find some folks let it all hang out in the comments, while others require you to button up your lip properly. Get a sense how tight a ship you want to run.

When you feel comfortable, join the conversation and make your own comments to blog posts you like or find interesting. Try to go beyond “Great post there, buddy.” Try to add to the conversation. Give your perspective; perhaps provide examples from your experience. Be positive.

Try not to piss anyone off, especially the blog post author. You will see there is a blogging etiquette. If you want to disagree (I don’t advocate that early on for newcomers to a blog), do it by first acknowledging the other’s point of view. For example, “I see your point, but my experience has been….” Offer supporting facts to back up your comment.

3. Leap into Loving Arms

Once you feel comfortable enough to give blogging a go -— it’s relatively painless—start in a place where there are others to give you support, encouragement and guidance. A community like ActiveRain is good for those first stepping out into the blog world. The community is very supportive and welcoming to newbies.

Another great place to get started is here at HomeGain with a free Agent Blog, provided as part of the AgentView marketing program.
Now, you should know I’m a little biased towards HomeGain’s Agent Blogs. For one thing, I am the resident Professor hired to help the agents improve their blogging. I share tips and techniques I have learned over 2 ½ years blogging and talking to other real estate bloggers. I’m also available to answer any question an agent may have on the subject.

The reason I decided to sign on was my belief that just handing an agent a blog may not be the most efficient way to go about it. Yes, sure, they will learn by trial and error over time (maybe a long time) but why not try to flatten that learning curve by offering my help. Also, I believe the HomeGain website may offer more consumer visitors to the agents’ blogs.

Well, that’s it for the sermon and self-promotion. Regardless where you go to start a blog, give it a try. I wish you all good luck and hope your blog grow up to be a success.

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Comments

13 Comments on “The Baby Steps of Blogging -Getting Started Blogging”

Louis Cammarosano

I think starting with a HomeGain blog where there is already some traffic helps. Then keep blogging there and follow Joe’s blog school advice and you have a good shot at driving a good number of visitors to your HomeGain blog

Real Estate

I am anxious to start a blog on our site and there was some great information here. How do you get tons of people to come to your blog to read it?

Joseph Ferrara

Real Estate,

There are many ways to get visitors to your blog. Here’s one way: Send a notice (mail/email) to your mailing list that you are now blogging to offer information on the local market– include a sample post(s) with links. Ask if they would like to receive free updates via email.
Also, add your blog URL to all marketing materials. That’s a good start. Good luck RE.

Brad – Dakno Web Design

I agree about reading and commenting before writing. Most bloggers try to jump out there and blog without first studying the top bloggers to see what they are doing right. It’s funny to hear their reaction when I tell them this. It’s typically something like… “I can barely make time to write on my blog. Now I have to fine time to read and comment on other blogs also?”

Joseph Ferrara

Getting started blogging is much easier when you read and comment first. Link your comments to your website– your comments will get indexed in the search engines and someone may follow it to you.

Jay Thompson

“How do you get tons of people to come to your blog to read it?”

First, you don’t need tons of people reading. You need the right people reading.

Don’t get discouraged, it takes time.

Link out to other blogs, read and comment, submit to blog carnivals, be active in other aspects of social media.

BLog regularly and consistently, and the readership will come.

Eric Blackwell

@Jay- Your point about regularly and consistently is HUGE IMO… You cannot build up a regular following if you do not post regularly and keep the perspective fresh.

I’d also agree that for someone totally new to blogging, it makes sense to follow a blogging community like HomeGain’s so that you get an actual ‘FEEL’ for how blogging conversations take place.

Being able to do that is important in helping you find your own authentic voice.

Laurie Manny

It is very important to identify who you are speaking to on your blog.

If you speak solely to other Realtors, that is who will frequent your site. You will receive reciprocal comments, you may even net a few referrals. If this is what you want for your blog then by all means go for it.

If you are starting your blog to attract consumer (buyer/seller) traffic, then be sure to target your writing to that market. Ask yourself, “If I were a buyer or seller searching and reading real estate on the internet what information would I find valuable?”

Consumers are not known to be big on commenting, but they sure do contact you if they like the information you are providing.

That is the point of blogging to the consumer, to drive traffic, create leads and to close sales.

Ken in Elgin, IL

“How do you get tons of people to come to your blog to read it?”

Don’t make this your goal. A blog can be very successful with only a small amount of “the right people” reading it. Who cares about the masses when your target might only be 500 households (hyper local blog) or maybe 50,000 residents for a citywide blog. The key is to make sure that your target audience knows about you and is willing to interact.

Getting in front of your target market might take mailings, door hangers, getting local businesses to post fliers, and other more traditional marketing. This is really true of a brand new blog as it might take some time to gain rankings.

Joseph Ferrara

Laurie is absolutely right. Your audience, if you want to be contacted by buyers and sellers, should be buyers and sellers. And you should remember to have your contact information (phone/email) easy to find on your blog.

Joseph Ferrara

@Ken
By all means market your blog via traditional marketing. Online marketing opportunities should not turn professionals one dimensional.

Ki in Austin

Also while you are reading other bloggers in addition to learning about blogging its a great way to learn about real estate. I have learned a lot from other bloggers out there in the re universe. When I talk to clients I feel more knowledgeable about the latest developments in the real estate industry because of reading other blogs.

Real Estate Taxi

When it comes to blogging you just need to feel comfortable with that fact that some people may not like your mindset. You learn quick, that they arent the people your writing for, your writing for the people whom find your interesting.

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