Want to Be Your Own Blogger? Here Are 5 Tips on How to Get it Done

Dedicating yourself to creating content for your website and blog is a big commitment, but for some, it’s an endeavor to be relished! Some people have plenty to say, and the words will start flowing the moment they sit down at the keyboard.

We have a few things to keep in mind if you plan on doing it all yourself. But first, probably the most important thing to keep in mind is:

 
 

1. Plan ahead.

Whether you tackle one quarter at a time or an entire year at a time, it’s important to plan ahead. Set deadlines for yourself, and set time aside in your schedule to brainstorm, research, and write.

2. Create a written schedule.

It doesn’t have to be fancy—it can be written down in a notebook, or kept track of in a Google spreadsheet. No matter how you do it, keep an editorial schedule to stay on track. Write down when you’re going to create content, and when it will be published.

3. Batch content.

“Batching” refers to creating lots of content at once so you can roll it out over time. For example, “batching” is writing four blog posts in one day and then publishing one each week over the next month. Each week, you can focus on other parts of your business with the knowledge that your blog post for the week is done and ready to go.

4. Make a date with yourself and honor it.

Blogging time is sacred! You most likely will not “find time” to do it—you have to intentionally make time. Set aside one whole day each week or month and dedicate it to blogging. Don’t answer emails during this time, don’t write contracts. Treat this time as if it’s an important meeting that needs your full attention—because it is! You’re investing in your digital footprint, and it’s an investment with worth that will grow and expand over time.

5. Be realistic about the time it takes to blog.

If you’ve never written a blog post, you might want to try it before committing to completing a certain number of posts per month. For some people, it might be possible to create four info-packed, publish-ready blog posts in eight hours, but some people are going to need more like 14 hours, for example. Be realistic about how much time it will take, and if you have an admin, consider outsourcing as much of the work as possible.

It will take dedication and discipline, but it is possible to be your own blogger! (And if it’s not, you can always hire someone else to do it.) So bust out that calendar right now and schedule yourself some writing time. Good luck!


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Genuine Hustle: A Gathering of Community-Minded Agents

On November 10, 2016, Marguerite Giguere and Anne Jones hosted Genuine Hustle, a "gathering of community-minded agents" in Tacoma, Washington. Real estate agents came from all over the country (and even Canada!) to take part in the conference, a day packed with incredible speakers (see the complete list here!) and intensive breakout sessions the next day. 

This was the first real estate conference I had ever been to, and I also happened to be a speaker on a panel about content marketing and one of the sponsors—big thanks to Anne and Marguerite for giving me and Home Scribe Creative this opportunity! 

But before I get too much into the conference itself, as we all know, just a couple of nights before on November 8th, America elected our next president. It was an incredibly stressful day and night for me, and after the results of the election were in, I found myself in a state of shock, sadness, disappointment, and disbelief. I wasn't sure how I was going to have the focus and energy to participate in Genuine Hustle over the next few days, and I had to be up early the next morning to start preparing and meeting people in Tacoma the day before the conference. 

Who would have known that this was actually *PERFECT* timing for Genuine Hustle?! 

This gathering of community-minded real estate agents was uplifting, inspiring, and restorative. What an amazing group of people who truly care about the well-being of their communities and this country. In a time when I was feeling vulnerable as an American citizen, these people showed me sincere kindness and a feeling of safety, unity, and love. 

So you may be wondering... 

What exactly was so special about Genuine Hustle? And what does it mean to be a "community-focused" real estate agent? 

Community-focused marketing is really about being a part of the community that you work in. It's all about

  • having a real connection to your community
  • providing excellent value to your audience so people can see you as a trusted resource
  • attracting clients in a way that is authentic and sustainable over the longterm
  • being there long before someone even knows that they (or maybe their friend or family member) need you as a real estate agent.

It's about highlighting community members, local businesses, events, and important issues in your neighborhood through blog posts, videos, podcasts, social media posts, etc. It’s important to keep in mind that it won't work overnight, it’s an investment, and it needs to be treated like a priority in order for it to work. It's not easy, but as Marguerite Giguere says—"It's a long game, but it's the good game." 

So true, Michael Thorne and Jaclyn Ruckle! 

A photo posted by Stacie Staub (@staciestaub) on

A photo posted by Chavi M Hohm (@chavih) on

Throughout the day of the conference, we heard from a variety of speakers, each with their own unique take on building community as real estate agents. Michael Thorne presented on how to use video to become the "digital mayor" of your community; Amy Curtis had a post-election-fueled discussion with Marguerite Giguere on being authentic; Stacie Staub talked about how to build relationships through community events; Seth Price shared an amazing presentation on branding; Katie Lance talked about email marketing, and every single speaker that day shared a captivating presentation with real, actionable, useful information. 

And then of course, there was the content marketing panel that I was on, led by the content marketing-expert Chavi Hohm of Team Diva Real Estate. I was also on the panel with Sharon Steele of The View From My Porch and Garret Hunt and Tyler Chism of LiveinEverett.com, all real estate agents who are delivering valuable community-focused content to their audiences in different ways. 

Then, there was me—not a real estate agent, but as someone who has a lot of experience working with agents on blogging and social media strategy. I shared what it can look like to outsource your blogging by sharing Marguerite Giguere's website MovetoTacoma.com as an example.  (I work with Marguerite on her blog and social media.) I also shared five tips for creating a content calendar, which Katie Lance conveniently tweeted:

The day ended with a talk from Nate Bowling, Washington State's 2016 Teacher of the Year. Nate's talk was titled "Intersecting Paths: The Tangled Knot of Race, Class, Education and Real Estate," and it was probably my favorite part of the day. You can watch the entire talk below (and if you want to check out any of the other talks form the day, follow Genuine Hustle on Facebook!). 

The day after the event, people who wanted to stay could gather for breakout sessions on specific topics. This was a chance for people to dive in deeper on whatever interested them most—video marketing, social media, race in real estate, etc. 

I have pages and pages of notes from the event, but this blog post is already long, so I'll be sharing those later! For now, I just want to say thank you to Anne Jones and Marguerite Giguere for planning and hosting this incredible event, and thank you to everyone else who made this once-in-a-lifetime event possible!

- Alyssa 

5 Easy Ways to Make the Most of Your Blog Posts

Making sure your real estate website is packed with excellent, lead-generating content isn’t easy. Each new page, listing, and blog post can take a long time to brainstorm, research, create, publish, and promote.

So whatever you do, don’t let your hard work go to waste!

Here are 5 easy ways to make the most of your blog posts:

1. Take advantage of social media. 

Share blog posts on ALL of your social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, etc.). Consider automating some of these actions, or adding them into your blogging workflow.

2. Install “share” buttons. 

Make sure your readers have a way to “share” your blog posts right from the posts themselves. “Share” buttons at the top and bottom of the page are popular ways to do this, and allow readers to post directly to Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and more.

3. Include links to your blog posts in email newsletters.

Include links to blog posts in your email newsletters! Better yet, include pretty photos and excerpts from your blog posts to entice people to click.

4. Reference older blog posts in your new posts.

Linking back to old blog posts to give context or additional information is a great way to avoid having to rehash information you’ve already shared. It also keeps people reading and exploring your website!

5. Re-share your old content. 

Some blogs are only meant to be relevant for a short amount of time, while others will be valuable for years to come. For these “evergreen” posts, be sure to share them again, although not right away—wait a few months, or even a year. If they still contain useful content, you’ll want to be sure people have another chance to view them.


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7 Rules For Sharing Your Real Estate Blog Posts on Facebook

Do you have a beautiful blog post that you just hit the “Publish” button on? Woohoo! Congrats. Blogging can take some serious time and effort, and you don’t want to let that go to waste! 

Sharing your blog posts on Facebook is one excellent way to get the word out and gain a larger audience. Here are 7 tips on how to make your blog post look polished and professional in the newsfeeds of thousands: 

1. Always use a relevant photo! 

Generally, a photo from your blog will automatically populate the link once you post it to Facebook, but Facebook gives you the option to change the photo. Choose a new one if you think something else represents your blog post better. 

2. If you have a video, use that instead of a photo. 

Upload it directly to Facebook so it plays automatically in people’s newsfeeds, and include the link to your blog post in the text portion of the video post. This is a great way to capture the attention of potential clients—many real estate agents still don’t utilize video, and this is a chance for you to show off your amazing social media skills!

3. Delete unnecessary links.

After you paste your URL into the message field and the link “populates” (i.e. a thumbnail preview of your blog post appears below), delete the URL from the message. It makes your post look cluttered, and there’s no need to include it when the preview will link to your blog.

4. Keep text clean and concise. 

Try to keep things short and succinct. Tell people key details about the blog post that will encourage them to learn more. We recommend no more than 3-4 sentences. If it suits the post, consider asking a question that users can answer in the comments to encourage engagement and conversation. Also, avoid using LOTS OF CAPS and lots of exclamation marks to attract attention!!!!!!!!!!!!! (See? It’s kind of annoying!) 

5. Spend money to make sure your post is seen.

 “Boosting” or “sponsoring” a post on Facebook is the best way to ensure people—even those who already like your page—see it. Depending on the content and your audience, even just $5 can go a long way toward getting your blog post in front of hundreds or thousands of people. 

6. Edit the title and featured text. 

After you've copied and pasted a link into your Facebook post, it may or may not have auto-populated correctly. The good news is that you can easily edit both the title and featured text. (The image on the left shows you exactly what we mean!) We recommend that the featured text offers a preview of the blog post's text.

7. Proofread your text.

 Finally, take a final look at what you’ve written. Read it out loud, have a friend check for errors, and then… hit “post”!


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4 Tips For Utilizing Words on Instagram

Believe it or not, Instagram isn’t just about the pictures! 

In fact, in able to really take advantage of Instagram, you’re going to have to put some good ol’ fashioned words to work! Of course, one single photograph can go a long way, and it’s essential to have a stunning photo to showcase a home you’re selling. But when it comes to Instagram, that’s only part of the game. 

Here are a few tips on how to make words work for you on Instagram:

1. Make sure your profile is complete.

Is it clear who you are and what your business is all about? After a glance at your bio, it should be clear to people who you are, where you work, and what types of real estate you specialize in. 

2. Use hashtags to help users find your photos. 

Instagram uses hashtags to allow people to “search” for photos. Because of this, it’s incredibly important to both use hashtags and choose the right hashtags to go with your photos. Luckily, Instagram has made choosing the right hashtags pretty easy. 

As you enter the “#” symbol and start typing a word, Instagram will try to guess which word you’re typing. You’ll be shown a list of possible hashtags, and the number of photos tagged under each one. Use this list to start building a list of your own commonly used hashtags. 

Not sure where to begin? Take a few minutes to explore other Instagram accounts! Which hashtags are other Realtors in your area using? But of course, it’s not about just copying others: Consider how you can improve upon what others are doing and make it your own! 

3. Your text should be informative, short and succinct.

Include key details about the photo that will encourage them to learn more. We recommend no more than 3-4 sentences.

4. Be sure to include a relevant link.

You should always provide a way for people to learn more about the property you’re posting photos of, but Instagram does NOT allow users to post live links in photo comments. Instead, each time you want to share a link, you’ll have to go to your Instagram profile and paste it into the “website” section. Then, in your text, you can say “Link to listing in profile!” and people will know what to do.

We want to see your awesome real estate photos on Instagram! Tag us in a few of your favorites, and follow us for writing inspiration, tips and more:

Follow us on Instagram here! 


3 Easily Avoidable Mistakes You MIGHT Be Making in Your Listing Remarks

We have spent A LOT of time going over listing remarks. In fact, we’ve read thousands of them. We’ve noticed a few common mistakes pop up again and again. Avoid these amatuer mistakes to be sure that you and your home listings shine!

1. Unnecessary capitalization. 

Many people (ok, especially Realtors) seem to have a knack for capitalizing words that absolutely do not need to be capitalized. Here’s an example: “Located in a Stunning neighborhood, this Luxurious, Custom home…” 

We understand that these words are meant to emphasize how truly stunning the neighborhood is, and how awesome and fancy the home is. But in the end, they’re distracting, and just plain incorrect. (Need a simple refresher on when to capitalize words? Click here!

2. Empty call to action statements. 

Listing remarks have word and/or character limits, so every word really counts. Saying things like, “You don’t want to miss out on this home!” or “This is a must-see condo!” are unnecessary and a waste of precious space. They sound heavy-handed (and kind of desperate!). Your listing photos and information-packed remarks will say this stuff in other ways, so there’s no need to repeat it. 

3. Basic spelling and punctuation errors. 

When there are easily avoidable errors in your writing, you run the risk of looking like you rushed it. Potential clients may wonder “Is that the kind of Realtor this person is? Someone who rushes things and won’t put care and consideration into my listing?” 

This is probably NOT who you are! Take the time to slowly read (out loud!) your listing remarks; you’re bound to catch simple mistakes on your own. Better yet, have a friend, colleague, assistant, or professional editor proofread them for you! 

 View more like this on our  Instagram ! 

View more like this on our Instagram


Need helping writing your listing remarks? We can do it for you! Our simple submission process makes it quick and easy:

 
 

Home Listing Blog Post Example: Remodeled Condo

To see an example of a blog post we wrote about a home listing, scroll down! We received this submission from a real estate agent, and all they had to do was send us a link to the listing online.

All listing links must:

  • Be public.
  • List the home’s basic features (number of bedrooms and bathrooms, any additional features and amenities).
  • Feature photos of the listing (so we can describe it accurately!).
  • Include listing remarks.
  • Include any additional notes about which aspects you would like emphasized.

Home Listing Blog Post Submission Email

Home Scribe Creative,

Hey! I have a listing that I’d like a blog post written about. Here is the link: [link to public, online listing]. Thanks very much!
-Jane Doe

It’s as simple as that! Below, you’ll find what we wrote based on Jane’s public, online listing:

Remodeled 2-Bedroom Condo in Capitol Hill’s Historic Brickstone

Tucked away on the second floor of the historic Brickstone building, this breathtakingly beautiful 2-bedroom vintage condo boasts a prime location in Seattle’s popular Capitol Hill neighborhood. Located at 3456 N 17th Ave and built in 1912, this freshly remodeled residence offers a seamless blend of historic charm alongside fabulous modern amenities!

Poised to meet your every need, this 800-sq-ft. home is ready for everything from evenings of lively entertainment with family and friends to relaxing nights spent with a good book and a glass of wine in hand. The formal dining room offers the ideal location for your next dinner party, replete with a contemporary chandelier and one-of-a-kind, slate-colored wooden floors. Fashion and function await in the living room, a dynamic space that boasts handsome, generously sized built-in shelves that have been refurbished from original wood. Additionally, a sturdy armoire provides plenty of space to proudly display cherished art, keepsakes, and favorite books.

When it’s time to whip up something delicious, the newly remodeled kitchen offers a trendy space to spend time in. Shining white shelves, cabinetry, and appliances exist as the pinnacle of modern sophistication, providing both eye-catching style and ample counter and storage space for all of your needs. Charm and elegance are further elevated by countertops of deep, chocolate-hued wood and updated stainless steel accents. A dining nook—adjacent to a window offering lovely views of mature trees and lush foliage amidst the cityscape—is perfect for a quick bite before work or a slow, lazy weekend morning.

In the master bedroom, you’ll find more of the Brickstone’s classic touches—a solitary pane of original, hand-crafted stained glass dresses the top of an expansive window, and the built-in mantle and fireplace completes the room, ensuring that vacation-quality relaxation is within reach anytime!


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Can I Call Myself a “Realtor”?

Good question. We see this word used incorrectly all the time. Whether or not you can use it is pretty simple:

If you ARE NOT a member of the National Association of REALTORS®, then you don’t even need to worry about this—you are simply not authorized to use the marks or even the word “realtor.” However, you can call yourself a “real estate agent,” “real estate broker,” etc. 

If you ARE a member of the NAR, the National Association of REALTORS® website has a fantastic resource regarding the use of “REALTOR®” with their registered trademark symbol (®). We highly recommend that you check it out, as there are a lot of rules. 


Tip: Just remember that unless “real estate agent” is being used as a title and is followed by a person’s name, then there is no need to capitalize it. 

Correct: Real Estate Agent Jane Doe is amazing!

Incorrect: I’m looking for a real estate agent. 


(Disclaimer: We’re not attorneys and we don’t claim to give legal advice. We are purely concerned with correct word usage and style guides!)


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How to Properly Punctuate Years

This rule is simple!

1990s = Correct

1990’s = Incorrect

Uh oh. Are you guilty of adding in that unnecessary apostrophe? This mistake is SO common that you’ve probably seen it enough to think, “Well, not EVERYONE can be making the same mistake, so adding the apostrophe is probably correct.”

Unfortunately, everyone is making the same mistake. Over and over and over again. It’s kind of like using the word “literally” when you don’t literally mean “literally.” (See what we did there…)

Years come up a lot in real estate writing. Here are a few examples:

“Built in the 1880s, this historic home…”

“This neon orange shag carpet gives off a chic 70s vibe you’re sure to love…”

Ta-da!


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Numerals in Real Estate Writing

When it comes to real estate writing, we believe there are all kinds of exceptions to be made.

Many style guides have strict rules about when to spell out numbers versus when to write numerals. But we believe that in order to make things easier to read and scan for your potential clients, it’s a good idea to only use numerals.

See the difference:

Using numerals:

This 2-story home features 4 bedrooms, 3.5 baths, and a 3-car garage.

Writing out numbers:

This two-story home features four bedrooms, three and one-half baths, and a three-car garage.

But whatever you do… don’t mix and match! If you choose to use just numerals, stick with it through the entire blog post, listing description, etc. The key is consistency.

The exception:

If you’re using a “number” word but it’s not referencing a quantity, then we think you should write it out. For example: “One day, this retreat could be all yours!” It would look silly to say “1 day, this retreat could be all yours!” Right? Right!


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