The Secret to Successful Blogging

Every successful blogger knows that there is one secret factor that every successful blog shares. No blog can succeed without knowing this secret.

What's the big secret?

So, What’s the big secret?

Well, I’m going to share it with you now, so that you too will be “in on it”. The secret consists of only a single word. DISCIPLINE.

Discipline, or more accurately, self-discipline, is the difference between having a blog that works for your business, and continues to engage your stakeholders – vs. having a blog that just stagnates online and falls further and further down search engine rankings.

Notice, that I didn’t say, “hard work”, “great writing”, or “technical proficiency”. These are all things that can make blogging easier and more effective, but none of these things, or the 50 other things that can lead to blog success, will make any difference if you don’t have the discipline to post regularly to your blog.

What do I mean by “post regularly”?

That depends on your business and your blog. In an ideal world, in which the typical self-employed business person has lots of extra time available, regular posting would mean posting a new blog article every day. But let’s assume that you (and me too for that matter!) are not blessed with unlimited spare time—that we actually have businesses to run and families to spend time with—what’s really reasonable?

In the real wold we want to post something new to our blogs on a weekly basis. The bare minimum to keep a blog “alive” is monthly blog posts.

As an aside, one of the core services that I offer is a “keep-alive” package that includes daily Tweets and a monthly blog post. Contact me to arrange this.

The weekly (or if you are really pressed for time, monthly) blog post is where the secret comes in. It is impossible to maintain a consistent blogging schedule if you don’t actually schedule the time to do it!

The secret is discipline, and the secret to discipline is scheduling the time in your calendar to sit down and write. I’ve posted elsewhere on this blog, some tips to help you write blog posts, even when you are feeling pressed for content ideas. There is always something that you can write about, and remember, not every blog post has to be (nor should it be) a sales pitch.  But you won’t have a blog at all if you don’t actually blog.

Pick a day of the week. Pick a time of that day. Don’t “pencil it in”—carve it in stone! Who knows where a bit more self-discipline could lead you? But at the very least, you will end up with a blog containing new content for your customers, clients, suppliers—and for Google search engine optimization.

Choosing (Social Media) Channels

Social media channels

Choosing the social media channels that will work best for your business is a tough choice. For the largest of businesses, the choice is actually easier than it is for smaller, entrepreneurial enterprises. The big boys have only once choice – participate in everything! But for those of us with more limited resources, it can be a bit more complicated; and confusing.

Choice number one is a “no-brainer”, but let’s get it out of the way right now. Every business, of every type, and of every size, needs to have some social media presence today. I’ve provided several reasons in other posts, and the research is pretty conclusive elsewhere too. In a nutshell though, choosing to opt out of social media is like walking away from a poker game with your money still on the table. Why would you even consider it?

Social media channels

But what channel(s) will provide you and your business with the best return on your investment of precious time and money. In a previous post I covered many of the nuts-and-bolts basics. Here’s a summary:

Which Social Media Channels Make Most Sense?

The answer to this question depends a lot on the nature of your business. I’ll provide a few suggestions.

  • Retail Business (B2C) The key to choosing the right platforms is in selecting the channels on which your clients are most likely to be found. For a typical B2C (business to consumer) retail store that should start with Facebook, and probably include Instagram too.
  • Professional Practice (B2C) For professionals that serve consumers a Facebook business page is also the best place to start. Since virtually all your customers are on Facebook, it makes sense for your consumer focused professional presence to be there too. [Also] all professionals, whether B2C or B2B (business to business) should also have an up to date LinkedIn page.
  • Professional Practice (B2B) B2B professionals need to be on LinkedIn, and more than that – to actually use LinkedIn. It’s also a good idea, even for a self-employed professional to have a blog—either on their existing website, or as a stand alone, that links to and from the website.
  • Other Business to Business  B2B businesses should concentrate their online marketing efforts where their business clients are most likely to be found online during business hours. And that’s going to be on the Web (as they search for products, services, and solutions to problems) and on Twitter, where many business people have their own Twitter feeds open on their desktops all day. Web-based social media marketing basically means blogging.

The take-away about social media channels is this:

  1. Your business should concentrate its social media presence in the channels that are most relevant to your customers and clients.
  2. Your business should further concentrate its resources to producing the kind of content that your stakeholders are most likely to respond to.

What kind of content do people respond most strongly to? The basic answer to this is surprisingly simple, the richer the media, the stronger the response. So, the biggest impact will be from video and audio—and that generally means YouTube, Facebook, and Podcasts. This is great if you happen to be naturally inclined to presenting in front of a camera, or speaking into a microphone. It that’s the case, your all set! Get in front of your camera (always look professional), record your video, and post it on your Facebook Business Page, your YouTube channel, and wherever else your customers will see it.

Unfortunately, not everybody is blessed with stage presence and a radio voice. For medium sized businesses that doesn’t have to be a barrier. You can hire professionals to produce your videos, and even use actors to “star” in them. For smaller businesses and solopreneurs, the challenge of using video might be insurmountable. That’s OK! Your customers are still online, and there are numerous ways to reach them.

In Why Inbound Must Change,  Meghan Keaney Anderson talks about some of the many ways available to reach people on social media. Her overall message of the article is a bit intimidating for smaller businesses, but that’s why I wrote the article you are reading right now. Rather than being intimidated into inaction, just review the options, and choose ONLY the channels that you think will work best for you and your business.

As entrepreneurs, we all eventually learn that we can’t do it all. But we also learn that, by concentrating our efforts where they are most likely to yield results, success is always within reach. Go forth and get social.

 

The Entrepreneur’s Dilemma

entrepreneurs meeting

entrepreneurs meeting

Social Media and the Entrepreneur

For the entrepreneur, solopreneur, or sole practitioner, it often seems that business life is divided into two phases. Either we have a lot of work (and sometimes money) but zero time – or – we don’t have enough work or money to invest in marketing initiatives (like social media) that will bring in more money. This “money but no time” vs. “time but no money” is at the heart of the Entrepreneur’s Dilemma.

In my work, helping entrepreneurs get the most impact from their online presence, I come across variations of this theme nearly every day. It seems that nearly all business people have come to recognize the importance of social media and blogging to their online marketing efforts, but too many of them excuse a lack of execution with some version of the entrepreneur’s dilemma.

It’s either,

I’d like to do more online but I can’t afford to hire someone right now, and I don’t understand it well enough myself

or

I don’t have time to do my own social media marketing. I’d hire someone today to do our social media, but I also don’t have time to teach them about my business

The end result of either of these scenarios is that opportunities to build the business and cement relationships with clients are lost. Lost opportunities represent lost money, and at worst, the result of weak customer relationships can mean business failure during the inevitable downturns in the business cycle.

So What’s an Entrepreneur to do?

The good news is that it takes only a little bit of effort to overcome the entrepreneur’s dilemma when it comes to social media marketing and blogging. Let’s start with the first scenario. “I can’t afford to hire someone, and I don’t understand it well enough myself“.

Money may be tight, but the good news is that you have time. So basically all you need is a little bit of knowledge, and the discipline to apply it, for a few minutes every day. The first thing that needs to be done is to decide what social media platforms make the most sense for your business. It’s easy to either get overwhelmed into paralysis by all of the possible options, or just as bad, to join every network out there and the do a half-assed job of maintaining them all. I’m guessing that you didn’t get to where you are in life doing things half-assed.

Which Social Media Platform Makes Most Sense?

The answer to this question depends a lot on the nature of your business. I’ll provide a few suggestions.

  1. Retail Business (B2C)
    The key to choosing the right platforms is in selecting the ones on which your clients are most likely to be found. For a typical B2C (business to consumer) retail store that should start with Facebook, and probably include Instagram too. It’s not difficult to do both, because Instagram photos can be configured to show up automatically on your Facebook page. Just remember, that you want to set up a Facebook “fan page” for your business, that is separate from the page you use to communicate with your friends and family.
  2. Professional Practice (B2C)
    For professionals that serve consumers a Facebook business page is also the best place to start. Since virtually all your customers are on Facebook, it makes sense for your consumer focused professional presence to be there too. The biggest issue with Facebook is that business pages can be difficult to find, especially in the early days. Facebook offers the opportunity to pay for page ads to show up on targeted Facebook feeds. This can cost a few dollars, but can be done fairly inexpensively, and Facebook offers amazingly granular targeting, so you’re going to get huge bang for your buck there. All professionals, whether B2C or B2B (business to business) should also have an up to date LinkedIn page.
  3. Professional Practice (B2B)
    Here’s where Facebook becomes pretty much irrelevant! While every consumer is on Facebook, business users are on Facebook mostly for outreach to consumers. Trying to reach the right people at a business of any size, using Facebook, is probably going to be extremely unfruitful. Make sure you have Facebook page anyway – but don’t spend much time or energy there once you do. Just a quick check to respond to any comments or questions. B2B professionals need to be on LinkedIn, and more than that – to actually use LinkedIn. What do I mean by, “actually use”? Log on every day. Comment on interesting posts by other people. Post updates and ideas of your own using the Share an Update link, and better still, write the occasional article using the (what else!) Write an Article link. It’s also a good idea, even for a self-employed professional to have a blog—either on their existing website, or as a stand alone, that links to and from the website.
  4. Other Business to Business
    For any B2B business that goes beyond the solopreneur level, IE/there is more than one employee, the suggestions for best platform change. Having an up to date Facebook business page is still a good idea, but as with my suggestion (above) to B2B professional, it doesn’t make sense to do more than keep it current and monitor it – unless it becomes very busy. B2B businesses should concentrate their online marketing efforts where their business clients are most likely to be found online during business hours. And that’s going to be on the Web (as they search for products, services, and solutions to problems) and on Twitter, where many business people have their own Twitter feeds open on their desktops all day. Web-based social media marketing basically means blogging. Blogging requires the most input, in both time and money, but a good blog is by far the most effective tool for inbound marketing. Unlike the ephemeral nature of Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram (etc.), you blog posts are permanent. Blogging means that every new post adds more content to your online presence, and makes you increasingly important to search engines like Google and Bing. Using Twitter, in combination with your Blog, is like putting Batman and Robin to work for your business! Set up your blog to display your Twitter feed, and use Twitter to promote your blog posts.

Let’s Talk a Bit More About Scenario Number Two

You’ve read the section appropriate to your business type, and you’ve decided where to concentrate your social media marketing efforts. But you still don’t have time!

OK. My first and smart-ass, thought is just, “make time!” But since I’d never say anything as smart-assy as that, let’s talk about other options. The best option is to hire a person or an agency to manage your social media for you. If your business is big enough, with the human and financial capital to justify $4000 to $12,000 per month, you can probably stop reading, and start shopping now. There are a lot of good agencies that can fill all of your social media marketing needs, including post writing, account management, metrics measurement, etc.

Here’s where my own self-promotion kicks in!

I, and people like myself, offer social media services specifically intended to help busy professionals, solopreneurs, and entrepreneurs, get maximum benefit from social media presence. In a nutshell, I offer the same services as I suggest that entrepreneurs should use themselves. I set up, manage, and maintain ONLY the social media platforms that make will bring the biggest return for the smallest possible investment. Typically that means, I can charge only $500 to $1000 per month instead of the $4000 to $12,000 per month typical of the bigger agencies.

Want to learn more? CONTACT ME

Jobseeking and Blogging

Jobseeking

There is a lot to think about while we are looking for a job. Jobseeking is a tough job. It’s a world of resumes and rejection letters, of occasional interviews, and too much insecurity—and too many “helpful” people offering too much “useful” advice!

For most people, social media seems to serve mostly as a time wasting distraction from the real business of looking for a job, and blogging seems like the ultimate in self-centered vanity. But that is not how it should be.

Perhaps the most difficult part of jobseeking is networking. It can be tough to network when we are out of the natural networks formed in a workplace. Blogging and social media are the keys that can open up new networks. The important thing is to use our blog wisely, with purpose, and determination.

So where does one start, and what can one do?

Let’s start with Facebook

If you’re not already on Facebook, get on it today. And if you are already using Facebook, remember that nearly every potential employer is going to take a look at your Facebook profile. If your profile is hopelessly personal and full of party pix or politics, change all your privacy settings to make that profile as private as possible. Then set up a Facebook “Fan Page” in your name that contains all the information that you’d like a potential employer to see. If you don’t have a Facebook profile yet, just use your newly created one as a home for the kind of posts that you’d like a potential employer to find.

NOTE: Personal pictures, family posts, friends comments, are all OK on Facebook. The goal here is not to make Facebook look the same as a blog or LinkedIn; it;s to have the kind of Facebook profile that an employer will think, “Gee, this person seems like they’d be a great fit here.”

Speaking of LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the jobseekers best friend. It’s imperative that every jobseeking person has a LinkedIn and profile, that the profile is complete, and it is always kept up to date. If you’re serious about finding work, do it today. We’ll talk more about LinkedIn, and Facebook soon, in our next section…

About Your Blog

OK, now we’re ready to start blogging. Having an employer friendly Facebook page, and an up to date LinkedIn profile, is only the preparatory groundwork for our real mission. What is our real mission?

To have an online content magnet that sets us apart from all the other people looking for the same kind of jobs that we are.

Since money is probably more precious than time while looking for employment, an exception to my general rule that every blog should have a unique Domain Name and URL can be made for the jobseeker. If you can afford 8 or 9 dollars a month for yourname.com, I recommend that you go for it, but if money is tight, you can always use yourname.wordpress.com. Don’t get fancy or cute with the name of your blog. You are the product that blog will be pitching. Make it obvious. Make that clear.

How Can a Blog Help me with Jobseeking?

This, of course, is the question that you’ve been waiting for me to answer!

Remember what our goals are—to build our network AND to be the person that potential employers want to hire when they find us online.

We’ve already accomplished part of that goal by having our name in the URL and in the title of our blog. The next thing we need to do is start writing blog posts. What to post? The blog is to help us land a job, so our posts should emphasize the kinds of skills that we have to offer potential employers. If your an IT professional, blog about IT. Are you a marketing professional? Blog about marketing. If you’re a lawyer, blog about the law.

What if I find writing difficult?

Not everyone finds writing easy. Maybe you are someone that finds writing difficult or intimidating. You can still blog! Here are few tips to get you started blogging—even if writing doesn’t come easily to you.

  • Start your post with an image. Pictures a re captivating. Take a photo, or find an image that illustrates a point you’d like to make. Don’t be a pirate! Always acknowledge the source of your images, and link back to the web pages that host them. Most bloggers are happy to share with people that help bring traffic to their websites.
  • Share an interesting article from another blog. Post a brief (no more than a few sentences) from the article, add your own value to the article with some thoughts of your own. And (as with images) always link back to the article on the original website.
  • Write an article about a company you’d like to work for, or one of their products. Remember, you might want to work for one of this company’s competitors too. Always be positive, never write anything negative about any person or company. Stick to benefits and value propositions.
  • I’ve talked a bit more about this here.

Getting Readers, or Why we Started with Facebook and LinkedIn

You knew we weren’t finished with social media right? Now that we have a blog, it would be nice if we had people visiting it, and reading our posts. We can probably assume that the people that might want to hire us upon receipt of our resume will visit, but what we really want is to get in front of people that don’t get our resumes or applications before visiting. Here’s where our accounts on Facebook and LinkedIn begin to serve double duty.

Every blog post should be shared on LinkedIn and Facebook. Post a brief excerpt, just enough to tweak interest, and then a link to your blog article. Oh, and while we are on the topic of social media, don’t forget to add your blog URL to your Facebook and LinkedIn profiles.

Now Start Blogging and go Get That Job!

Social Media Marketing: DIY or Paid Professionals?

Facebook Twitter Blogging

Do it yourself, or pay a professional? The question comes up every day for self-employed professionals and entrepreneurs. For most people, most of the time, the answer is relatively straightforward. Unless you have expertise in the task that needs to be accomplished, it’s better to pay a professional. But when it comes to social media marketing, the answer can be less straightforward.

Self-employed people, unlike bigger organizations, are selling more than just a package of generic products or services. We are selling OURSELVES. We know that the factor most important to our clients is the personal service and expertise that we offer. Our advantage is ourselves. We are the value-add, the differentiation, the x-factor, that sets us apart from the competition. It follows then, that the best person to put that differentiation out there on social media is you.

AND THERE LIES THE DILEMMA

How do we leverage the strategic advantage that is ours alone, with the fact that most of us are not professional marketers and writers?

Realistically, there are only two options available to the typical entrepreneur:

  1. Do it yourself, and turn your weaknesses into strengths, by letting your personality shine through your writing and marketing quirks. This is actually not nearly as hard as it seems. Big companies pay professionals thousands upon thousands of dollars to “sound” authentic on social media. By definition, everything that you post on your own is already authentic! That in fact is the biggest reason that social media marketing succeeds. IMHO (in my humble opinion), the only reason NOT to do it yourself, is lack of time. An as an entrepreneur, time is always hard to find.
  2. Pay a professional to help you stay on top of your social media marketing. This can be accomplished in a few different ways. The easiest, most expensive, and IMHO, least effective way, is to outsource the entire process to an online marketing agency. I posted an example in a previous article, but in a nutshell, you end up paying a lot of money, getting much more than you really need, and losing the one thing that you sets you apart more than anything else – your individual voice – your authenticity.The better way forward is to hire an entrepreneur, just like you. Someone capable of speaking with same kind of authentic voice as you have AND who knows how to leave room for you to take part in the conversation. The service that I offer other entrepreneurs is specifically designed to be very affordable, and to offer enough to make sure that the social media presence of your business is consistent, ongoing, and professional. I post to your blog, to your Facebook page, and to your Twitter account. And I make myself available to help you post too, and help you choose any other platforms (like LinkedIn or Instagram or YouTube) that you might consider using in order to boost your presence.

Read my other article

or

Contact Me Now

 

 

Social Media Account Management

social media icons

What is “Social Media Account Management”?

Essentially, a social media account manager, or management service, looks after the social media needs of an organization. That service comes at a cost to the organization, and will nearly always include at least Twitter and Facebook. Larger organizations will have greater needs, and specialized organizations will have special needs.

The following quote offers some insight into what organizations in the private sector typically pay for social media account management services.

Creating a comprehensive strategy for social media marketing and outsourcing all work for all channels (with a minimum of two social networks) costs anywhere from $3,000-$20,000 per month, with the industry average settling between $4,000-$7,000 per month. If you want the social media agency to start the accounts from scratch and consult on a 4- to 12-month contract, you’ll pay between $3,000-$15,000 per month. What do they mean by channels, minimum of two? That’s just a fancy way of saying that the cost includes both Facebook and Twitter…I’m betting there’s probably an upcharge if your company wants Google+, too.

The Content Factory

Social media account management services are included in the social media marketing packages of agencies like The Content Factory. They provide great service, but their services often come at a cost that the typical self-employed professional entrepreneur can’t afford.

What about Buziness.com?

We offer a set of services designed to be a perfect fit with the needs of nonprofits, charities, and NGOs.

The goal of Buzzyness.com is to enable nonprofit organizations to manage their own social media accounts. To make that process as cost effective and simple as possible, we work with organizations to determine which social media platforms offer the most value to their unique requirements.

How do my prices and service compare with other agencies?

I’ll be blunt. My prices are significantly lower than the agencies and companies set up to service for profit organizations in the private sector.

The following example is not meant to show how for profit companies get “ripped off”, or how a big social media agency will “rip off” your nonprofit. It’s actually easy to see that by paying a lot of money, an organization can expect a lot of very good service. The issue, of course, is that the typical small to mid-sized non profit organization is being run on a budget that makes this level of service unaffordable. (My prices)

Example:

The Content Factory ($8000/month)

*The Content Factory positions itself as a lower cost alternative to the big agencies.

For $8,000 per month, here’s a rough outline of the social media marketing, digital PR, web content writing and content marketing you can get with The Content Factory – and we’re also able to negotiate a smaller package for a smaller price tag:

  • 3 blog posts a week. We’ll develop a keyword strategy that targets all of the search phrases you want to rank for. From there, we’ll build out an editorial calendar that systematically targets your keywords, while also offering informative, actionable and interesting content to your readers.
  • Monitoring of Twitter for related keywords, then pushing links/tweets to those talking about relevant topics. If people are tweeting about it, I’ll get an alert and can tell ’em all about your company
  • Getting relevant Twitterers to follow you – We hunt you down several hundreds of followers a week, targeting users by location, number of followers, number of updates, bio keywords and tweet keywords.
  • Daily Twitter updates (an average of 7-10 per day, focusing on interacting with thought leaders, journalists, existing and potential customers, etc.)
  • Managing the Facebook page – 2-3 updates per day, with a focus on sharing content from thought leaders and complimentary, non-competing businesses.
  • Facebook ads – Facebook ad campaign management with a $250 monthly budget built into the rates (you get ads, without being paid extra for them).
  • Google+ and LinkedIn management – With daily updates
  • Reddit Advertising – A mixture of posting, commenting, and generally being active in the community (or specific communities of your choosing). Reddit marketing is flexible, and heavily dependent on what your business does.
  • Custom social media graphics – At least 2 per week
  • Consistent PR – Our clients have been featured on the Today show, CNN, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Wired, TechCrunch, Fox Business…the list goes on and on. Not a month goes by that one of our clients doesn’t get major national press coverage, and it’s a huge addition to social media work.
  • One press release per quarter – We’ll help you make news to make the news.
  • Helping you write articles, then pitching to major publications – One per month. Our clients have written articles that have been featured on Forbes, Business Insider, The Huffington Post and a variety of other influential publications.
  • Contest creation/management as needed. We’re big fans of contests, because they can draw all kinds of people to the site who would’ve never found it otherwise. Plus, they’re great for website traffic.
  • Social bookmarking submissions like woah. We submit to sites that nobody thinks of, but they certainly drive traffic. We also submit links to Quora, StumbleUpon, Reddit, etc.

To help make sure we’re always on the same page, every month we send our clients a monthly update with the following information:

  • New Twitter followers and interesting interactions
  • New FB fans and interesting interactions
  • Google Analytics traffic reports
  • Number of blogs/articles written (with stats to match)
  • Feedback quotes from social networking sites
  • Links to media coverage we’ve gotten you/your company, social shares
  • Whatever other info/stats you want us to keep track of
  • Goals/milestones achieved
  • Tasks slated for the following month

So, that’s what we do and how much we do it for – you can click here for a much more thorough rundown of everything that’s included in our packages. In the interest of full disclosure: our rates are significantly less than the industry average, and it’s entirely possible that larger online PR agencies have more contacts and resources than we currently have access to.

Unfortunately, for a typical small or localized nonprofit a budget of $8000 a month exists only in the realm of fantasy. However, if your organization can justify and afford that amount, the Content Factory actually offers a heck of a lot of service for that amount of money.

So What Can a Nonprofit do?

There are a couple of options open to organizations on tighter budgets.

  • Look for volunteers
  • Hire a student
  • Hire a recent graduate
  • Hire a professional social media manager
  • or…

CONTACT ME

We can talk about an affordable solution that offers the best of both worlds. Professional guidance, informed decision making, appropriate account setup, initial training, and customized ongoing support options to fit every budget.

Real Estate Blogging, for Agent’s Eyes Only

Real estate is a great topic for a blog

Very few independent professionals put more time, effort, and money into marketing than a real estate agent. And, nearly every agent enjoys considerable support for their marketing from the brokerage firm that employs them. Brokerage support usually includes some web presence, but is that presence really enough to support your own marketing efforts as an independent agent?

Many real estate agencies also have a blog. The agency blog is a fabulous tool for the agency, and is helpful to agents as a group or team. However, because of the agency blog, many agents don’t think that they should have blogs of their own. Relying exclusively on the agency blog represents a lost opportunity for the agent.

The agent/brokerage relationship can be complicated at times, since there are always going to be a mix of mutual interests, compatible interests, and sometimes even competitive interests. Here is the root of the relationship complication:

When you do well, the brokerage does well. Obviously then, your brokerage wants you to do well. And that’s great!

BUT

Your brokerage does equally well when any other of their agents does well too. There is not much incentive for your broker to help you become more successful than your peers.

As an independent sales professional, it is necessary to distinguish yourself, independently. The “free” blog on the agency website does not help you to separate yourself from the pack. If your brokerage has one, good. It’s better than nothing. But it is not enough.

There are many real estate companies with excellent blogs. And these blogs bring people into the firm’s orbit. Chestnut Park, in Toronto, has a good blog, that helps the agency stand out. But Chestnut Park has over 300 agents, how much can the “corporate” blog help any one of them individually?

A Blog Just for You

There are two approaches to independent;y blogging for sales people with contractual and/or employment relationships with a parent organization, such as a real estate brokerage firm.

  1. The Direct Approach
  2. The Indirect Approach

The Direct Approach

This is pretty straightforward. As a real estate agent, you set up your own blog, under your own name, and start blogging about your work as a real estate agent, your experiences with the properties, and kinds of properties you sell, etc. Basically you become a real estate blogger, blogging about your work and your passion for that work.

If you are lucky, you will get full support for this direct approach from the broker that employs you. They might even set up your personal agent’s blog on their website. You get to blog your own content, and to distinguish yourself as an independent expert, on their dime.

If you are less lucky, you will be faced with technical and procedural barriers, or told to let the agency handles all inbound marketing, and you should just forget about it and leave it to them. Hmm…

The Indirect Approach

Blog about something else! One of the nice things about blogging (and social media) is it allows us to build our personal brand. The people that buy real estate have many other interests, just like the people that sell real estate. There are amazing opportunities to build your brand through other interests. Are you interested in architecture? Blog about the architecture in your city or town. Interested in history? Blog about local history and historical sites in your city. Do you like to bicycle? Start a blog about the best cycling routes in your city. Into gardening? How about a photo blog of the best gardens in the neighbourhood.

Every blog post lists the author. That puts your name on top of every article you write. And of course every post should also contain a link back to your bio on the company website.

By blogging about a passion one step removed from your vocation you build your brand and boost your visibility. You offer value to your clients. You expand your web presence beyond your employer’s website. You let people learn about other aspects of your personality and interests, and become someone that they look forward to hearing from.

Why Blog at All?

Whether you choose to blog directly about real estate (or your industry specialty), or you choose to blog about something else, blogging is a fantastic way to reach out to your current clients, and to potential new customers. A blog may not result in an instant increase in new closings, but it is a great way for you to distinguish yourself from the crowd (in a very crowded field) and great way to provide something of value to the people you care about.

My last post offered a short list of 7 Benefits of Blogging, if you haven’t read it yet, check it out. Remember the goal of blogging is to make yourself memorable as a source of valuable content for the people most likely to engage your services and buy your products.

…make yourself memorable as a source of valuable content for the people most likely to engage your services

~ Allan Revich

7 More Reasons for a real estate agent to blog:
(even if you blog about something besides real estate)

  • Homebuyers (and sellers) think of you first
  • Reach potential new listing clients
  • Reach potential new purchasers
  • Rank higher in Google
  • Enhance your reputation
  • Share your knowledge
  • Stay ahead of competition

7 Reasons to use my Secret Marketing Trick

Listicle graphic

Click bait listicles might be annoying, they might be huge time wasters, they might even make us angry—sometimes at ourselves. But love them or hate them, they are a secret that is here to stay.

Listicle graphic
Quantifying the Clickbait and Linkbait in BuzzFeed Article Titles

The thing is, headlines using lists, or offering secrets revealed, take advantage of human nature. We can’t help noticing them, and we cannot help ourselves from being curious. The Internet is getting more crowded every day, and it is getting harder and harder to get attention, and to hold attention. In that crowded environment marketers and bloggers must adapt or face extinction. Some of us (like me) would rather do neither, but reality turns out to be non-negotiable.

What is a Listicle?

In a nutshell, when you combine the words, “list”, and “article”, you end up with the new word, “listicle”. So, a listicle is an article that consists of a list, and the explanations for each item in the list. Listicles are easy to read online, and the headlines promoting them, make great clickbait.

What is Clickbait?

Clickbait (or click bait) is a slang term for an online image or headline, that attempts to be so engaging that the typical internet user finds clicking through it, irresistible. Headlines for listicles (see above) are the most common form of clickbait, often accompanied by a suggestive image—that may, or may not actually be relevant to the article.

Why should you use this secret human weakness?

  1. It works
    OK, this is so obvious, I could have left it out—but it’s still the number one reason.
  2. Clickbait is hard to resist
    We post content to our blogs with the hope that people will read it. Anything that we can do to increase the chance that someone can benefit from our wonderful content is good.
  3. People like lists
    Lists organize information and make it easy to digest.
  4. Listicles are easier to write than articles
    It is difficult to constantly come up with new ideas, and then to organize our ideas into articles suitable for posting to a blog. Writing in the form of a list can be easier than writing in sentences and paragraphs.
  5. Lists are easy to read
    Reading from a screen is still less comfortable for many people than reading from a printed page.
  6. Lists are easy to come back to
    Bookmarking a listicle page offers an instant advantage when searching through our bookmarks for later refrence.
  7. Enjoy guilty pleasure
    Maybe this isn’t actually a good reason? But what the heck! If you’re going to feel guilty about manipulating the Internet, helping people find and read your content, isn’t really such a bad thing. Is it?

And there you have it. As promised. Seven Reasons to use This Secret Marketing Trick

Does my small business need a blog?

Blogging on a laptop

Every business needs a blog. And here’s why:

Establish yourself as a knowledge leader. Blogging is the perfect platform for sharing knowledge and passion with the people will benefit from it. A blog is good for you, good for your customers, and good for business. Blogging is an affordable and cost effective marketing tool for businesses of every size and type.

7 Benefits of Blogging

  1. Blogging builds businesses. A blog is as important today as website was a decade ago, or as a Yellow Pages listing was thirty years ago.
  2. Blogging helps us uncover our strengths and clarifies our own thoughts, and improves our ability to express them.
  3. A blog serves as a repository of knowledge. Your clients are not the only people that can benefit from an organized and searchable knowledge base. You can also revisit past posts for refreshing your memory!
  4. Being a blogger demonstrates expertise. People like to deal with experts. Your blog is your portfolio of expertise.
  5. Search engines like blogs. Search engines now favor sites that contain high quality data – information that is current, fresh, and relevant. Blogging means that you are constantly increasing both the quantity and quality of content on your website.
  6. A blog is the critical core of every online, inbound marketing campaign. Your blog contains all of the high protein ‘meat’ of the marketing meal plan. It serves as the base station of your online and social media marketing campaign.
  7. Blogging allows for community building with your stakeholders, including, customers, potential customers, related businesses, the public at large, even competitors. Being at the heart of a community has always served small businesses well. From sponsoring the local Little League, to supporting local charities, community building is good for business, good for ourselves, and good for society. Online communities are as important as local “real-world” communities. Blogging fosters community.

Need more than 7 reasons? Here are 50 more! (OK, they aren’t all gems, but if you needed more reasons after the seven really good ones that I just gave you, well this fellow [Marcus Sheridan] came up with 50)

Geez! You need even more reasons to blog? Here are 15 more good ones that are NOT just about marketing, business, and selling.

BTW, When you have enough reasons, and you agree that your business needs a blog—Contact Me.

What is Inbound Marketing? What is Content Marketing?

Inbound marketing. Content Marketing. Everybody’s doing it, right? But what exactly is it that they’re doing? These terms are everywhere we look now. But what do they mean? Are they the same thing?

Inbound marketing and content marketing are not the same thing, even though the terms are often used interchangeably. Oddly enough though, even though they are not the same thing, they can still be used interchangeably, because they are both accomplished the same way.

The whole idea of “content marketing” and “inbound marketing” is to provide useful and interesting content to your customers and potential clients.

Content Marketing

This refers to the information, data, ideas, etc., that you produce and publish, for the benefit of your audience. The most common platform for content publishing is a Blog. Blogging allows us to easily publish the kinds of things that our customers are likely to appreciate.

Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action. ~ Content Marketing Institute

Inbound Marketing

This refers to the idea that by publishing our content, our desired audience will come to us, because they find value in our content. Our sales funnel is being filled by people dropping into it because they’ve chosen to, not because we’ve gone out and chased them into it. And how do we accomplish this amazing feat? By blogging of course!

Inbound marketing is about using marketing to bring potential customers to you, rather than having your marketing efforts fight for their attention. Sharing is caring and inbound marketing is about creating and sharing content with the world. ~ Hubspot

Blogging

Publishing a blog, and publishing new content on it as frequently as we can, is the best way to effectively promote our business benefits to the people who we want to reach. Blog articles are actively sought out by millions of people every day. Some of them are our customers and potential customers. It makes a lot of sense for our business, to put content on the web that our audience wants to explore. Our blog can either be part of our website, or stand on its own, with its own URL (web address). Having a separate blog is perfect for sales professionals whose main website presence is managed by their employer, for example real estate agents, mortgage brokers, investment advisors, manufacturers reps, etc.

Is Blogging Enough?

Blogging is where we begin. Once we have a blog, we are faced with a new challenge though. Getting noticed.

A blog is far and away the best home for our great content, and it is important that we help our customers find all the great content we’ve just provided for them. The most effective way to promote our blog is by using social media, like Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, etc. Social Media Marketing is an important aspect of our Content Marketing strategy. More on that later.

Just so’s ya know… I include Twitter account setup, and Twitter blog integration to all of my blogging clients. Contact me to learn more.