Missy Caulk is doing a seminar at Keller Williams about blogging in real estate in the Ann Arbor market. Some impressionistic notes.
"Google likes fresh content" - static content with 10 years worth of stuff that is mostly the same.
Examples of real estate content - information about schools, neighborhoods, real estate issues.
Blog to learn, blog to grow, blog to share, blog for relationships.
"MIssy, you need to do more hyperlocal" = become an expert on that subdivision.
As people get closer to buying a home, their searches get more specific; move from "ann arbor real estate" to something much more specific, at the neighborhood level. If you're an expert on a neighborhood, then you can be pretty sure that someone will find what you write about that neighborhood.
Neighborhood: once a month send a postcard to a neighborhood, once a month write a blog post with statistics for that market, point the postcard to the link to the blog and tell people where to go to look.
How to get started:
Read - subscribe in rss reader (overflowing), figure out how it's done
Comments - when you start you might not get any comments; you will grow as a writer
When you write it's hard work - two hours to write a good post about a subdivision or golf course.
What to write about:
* about the communities
* about events in the area
* about real estate situations
* about your market
* about a closing
* share your listings
* answer questions that buyers and sellers ask you
* anything and everything
* interview people
Right now there's a lot of open spaces - you will be found. (but when those open spaces stop happening...)
Halloween events in Washtenaw County (Ed's blog came up) - haunted houses. Do you want to write about Halloween all the time? No - write a max 30% off-topic, 70% on-topic.
On Manchester, MI - non-profit animal rescue (Sasha Farm, 65 acres). - Missy wrote a piece about Manchester, MI and got a nice note from the director of the shelter, "nobody knows about us". (nb. this is the "long tail" of rescue animals).
Write about real estate transactions:
Be careful when you write about a tough transaction - hold off before posting. Don't post anything you don't want someone to read.
Flickr has creative commons licensed photos, follow the rules and you can use for free.
iStockPhoto - costs about $1 per photo.
Take your own photos.
Flip video - USB, post to Youtube, about $100.
Todd Waller: 1000-5000 links to a property, using video to expose a home in every possible space. (What good is it?) We want you all over the place (just happen to be in a "data surfing haze") on Oodle. Systematic, syndicated.
Write down questions from buyers and sellers
Take the email that you would send to one person and post it to the net (suitably edited of course). Not just for your own clients to see, but for new clients to see.
People love to be interviewed, anyone you want to talk to write it up.
Google for a "completely different reason" and you pop up.
Less is more - 50, 60 words. Just get it out there.
Be real, be yourself, be authentic. Be real, find your voice, be you.
Relate to the consumer - be transparent. Who you are. Things which are standardized are boring, boring, boring. Buyers and sellers want to work with people who they like.
Buyers take eight months to make a decision - they read about how you do things online, and by the time you meet someone in person they know you (and trust you).
Write for the search engines
If you're getting started, don't think about this AT ALL.
The search engine platforms make a difference.
Don't stuff in keywords, write in natural language.
People search for lots of things, including things you wouldn't happen to write about specifically. If you have a lot of content, relevant for a "crazy search that somebody does". (Ref "Long tail" in real estate.)
Key words should always go into the title. In Active Rain, the first four words get used in the filename of the blog.
Put text in the alt tags of the photo; put meaningful names in the photograph's name.
Recommend: Lee Lefever's Common Craft blog
Don't have a wall of words - boring.
Practice reciprocity - comment on blogs you enjoy, make relationships. Comment back when someone comments on you.
Active rain specific
Join groups, chit-chat (...)
When you post, you can add a post to a group - things show up on the sideboard for a few minutes.
Blogs she reads