By Jaime Westman

If you’ve heard that blogging is essential to your marketing plan but haven’t put fingers to keyboard yet, perhaps you need a nudge. Pardon my elbows, but here goes. This idea came to me after I was alerted to a series of webinars focusing on real estate blogging. The first – surprise! – was on getting started.

Generally, there are two types of posts – those geared toward peers and others targeting consumers. The style, language, content and professionalism will vary according to the intended audience. You can be a little edgier and use inside terms when writing for other professionals but that might not work for the general public. It’s always a good idea, however, to have good sentence and paragraph structure and to be as professional as possible. Once posted, your words are out there, and typos and improper grammar won’t reflect well on you no matter your intentions or target audience.

Other tidbits to keep in mind:

Read all about it: Before you write, read what other agents are blogging about. Don’t do this to copy them but to get ideas and to see what styles are effective. Also, if you’re a fan of certain magazine writers or other bloggers figure out why that is and try to emulate those styles as best you can.

Reel them in: You have about 10 seconds to capture the imagination of a reader, so putting some words or sentences in bold type will at least get important words noticed. If that proves to be captivating they’ll likely continue reading.

Keep it fresh: It’s easy to get stressed if you feel like you’re running out of topics. To avoid that, write your goals and ideas in a planning calendar to stay motivated. You’ll be surprised how easily ideas pop into your head when you jot them down.

Be relevant: There’s a wide mix of personalities out there so it’s best to keep your blog relevant, productive and helpful. Every post won’t be a home run, but as long as you’re giving readers something of value, answering a question or starting a discussion, chances are it will be appreciated and your blog will be revisited.

Be local: Sometimes it’s fun to write about events your clients or readers might want to attend. It’s a great way to be seen as a source of information and can be a subtle way to show off your areas. If you sell homes on a waterfront, highlight activities going on at the beach, or if some of your listings are near a major park, pick weekend events there for people to go to. Always think of ways to inform and promote.

Think links: Giving your readers more on a certain topic is always a good thing. Links accomplish that and help in other ways, too, because you don’t have to write as much. Let other articles support your stance or provide avenues for discussion.

Be the expert: Your content should establish you as the go-to person for real estate needs in your city. Neighborhood content with specific keywords will get you noticed and place your blog higher on search engine lists, but that’s a topic for another day. (See how that works?)

Next: How to maximize your SEO potential

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