Our Weblog at toddfryer.com is new and many of our colleagues and friends think it’s great that we are embracing the Online Channel and using Social Media to reach wider audiences so that we can ultimately have a broader market for our Clients. They also express curiosity and concern about how they can develop fresh content for a Weblog on their own. So, we decided to tackle this thorny issue that affects so many Realtors and others who wish to use the Web to share their stories and ideas. As is so often the case, the ‘secret’ to success lies not in what we need to begin doing but in what we need to quit doing.
1. “I am NOT a Writer” - Quit thinking that you are! It’s OK, just say “I am NOT a writer” to yourself a few times before you sit down to write. We put so much pressure on ourselves that we freeze up and writing just does not happen when you are frozen. Accept and admit what you already know to be true. You weren’t cut out to be a Writer and the good news is that you don’t have to be one in order to write well. We aren’t writers either but we accept the challenge and are open to making mistakes. We have notions in our heads that being a writer means that you have a wellspring of great ideas and a never-ending flow of perfect words to describe our every sentiment and idea. This is not so. Writing more often than not is a tediously mechanical process which actually begins with the mental organisation of ideas. In many instances, the end is not in sight and there is no clarity about how to actually weave everything together from the outset. It is right at this juncture when most people throw in the towel before they ever begin. Surround yourselves with a few trusted allies who can help you to proof your work, give you good feedback and generally act as your editors.
2. “I am a Marketer” – Quit thinking that you are not! A Realtor is a marketer before anything else. We must apply the same spirit of marketing and promotions to blogging as we do in showcasing our Client’s properties. How do you do this in written form? We all know about the amazing power of signage when showcasing a home. With your blog, learn the awesome power of ‘titles’. How you title something is often more important than what is written. Customers see your signs well before they ever see inside the house, readers will see your titles well before the post. In addition to titles, understand the structure and layout of the promotional network you are dealing with. It’s far and wide so you will have to do some research to determine where you should be and which tools are likely to yield benefits. You should also think about how you will promote your Weblog and your other online activities offline. Even big companies get this. Even though Netflix is an online company, it still does TV ads to drive people to its online portal. In short, think of your Weblog as a new listing. Develop a marketing and promotions plan just as you would a new listing. Then stick with it and success will come.
3. “I can write about (almost) anything” – Quit thinking that everything has to be about Real Estate! Although you are not a writer, most assuredly you have opinions about lots of stuff. You are probably accustomed to sharing your opinions with others. Being in the business of Real Estate demands that you enjoy sharing information with others. It’s really no different with writing your posts. Just think about all the things you care about. It’s much bigger than Real Estate. It’s the exact same for your audience – they also care about more than just Real Estate. It’s not about reaching lots of people, it is about being authentic. To be authentic in your writing you need to make yourself vulnerable. You need to be comfortable having an opinion and expressing it. Now, by default that means some people will disagree with your opinion. Guess what? That is the start of a conversation. Pretending that all you care about is Real Estate simply makes you seem fake and undervalues your communication with your audience. Now, because you can write about anything doesn’t mean that you should. We are not referring to the obvious toxic topics that you should stay away from – things like politics, religion and things that are polarizing or likely to be so. We are referring to things that you are not comfortable with. Unless you are willing to do a little bit of research and leg work do not purport to write a review of a place you have never visited. Do not write about highly technical areas that you really know very little about. Do not write about things that you are really uncomfortable with. You may have visited a wonderful Italian restaurant with your family and had a great meal but that does not make you an authority on Italian wines. Know your limits.
4. “If I write it they will come” – Quit thinking that writing is all you have to do! They won’t. Writing is an important step but it is only the very first step. There are lots of things that you will need to think about once you have completed that masterpiece post. Here are but a few: Who do you want to read it? Who will actually see it? What action do you want readers to take (note: picking up the phone to call you is NOT on the list) – Sharing your post should be #1. Think of a ‘share’ as having the same value as someone visiting your Open House on a sunny Sunday afternoon in the summer. How will you syndicate your post across the World Wide Web? In fact, just like the other aspects of your business, the hard work begins after you open the doors. So when you decide to publish that is when the work really starts.
5. “I’ll try it and see what happens” - Quit thinking that ‘trying it’ will work! You may try and succeed but it is better to be committed and fail. There is something magical about being committed. Throwing all your chips in, removing a plan ‘B’ from the equation, somehow it sharpens your focus and channels your energy. Something else happens when you commit – You remove other options and you tend to do a better job executing, simply because you have to. If we could leave you with a single thing for you to quit doing, it would be to quit ‘trying’ and become committed. This is not only applicable to your Weblog it is also relevant to your business as well. Both business and blogging are full of trials and challenges, disappointments and disasters. The only way to succeed is to be so passionate about it that challenges begin to appear as opportunities.
To your (our) Success!