While blogging is an essential part of any real estate agent’s inbound marketing strategy, it can do more harm than good when mistakes are made. Mistakes can actually hurt your credibility and reputation. An easy way of looking at it is to ask yourself, “Would I want to buy a house from someone whose blog seems unprofessional?” The answer is no.
But don’t let the high stakes of blogging discourage you. Blogging is an excellent way to become a thought leader in your field, connect to your target market and promote your brand. Address these seven common blogging mistakes, and reap the benefits of a successful social marketing campaign.
Blogging Confidential Information
No one likes their private information posted on the Internet, yet real estate agents make the mistake of bragging instead of blogging. According to Jon Schildt, Insurance Broker at Calculated Risk Advisors, “While blogging errors are usually benign, funny or occasionally embarrassing, they can take a decidedly more litigious turn. One former client of mine bragged on a blog how they trumped up a particular house’s neighborhood appeal and was able to convince an out of
town couple to purchase the house. The couple happened to read the blog post and threatened to sue the real estate agent for breaking the duty of care owed to them as clients. It took many hours of the real estate agent’s time to smooth things over!” Avoid violating people’s privacy or getting sued by leaving names and business transactions out of your blogs.
Dissing Other Real Estate Businesses
The old adage “if you have nothing nice to say don’t say it” works for blogs as well. According to real estate personality and associate broker and Realtor®, Herman Chan, “There is nothing wrong with a strong point of view (after all that is the basis of a good blog), but keep it professional and light. If you trash a competing listing across the street, trust me, your own listing is going to get trashed. While you want your blog to inform and entertain, leave trash talking at the door because it has a way of coming back full circle.
Forgetting to Post Your Blog
Do you forget where to post your blog? According to Fred Glick, broker and owner of multi-state licensed real estate brokerage U S Spaces, Inc., “My biggest blogging mistake is that I forget I have a blog and I put a post on Facebook where only my Facebook audience can see!” Blogs can appear on your website, in newsletters, on your Facebook profile page and on your Google+ profile. If you find yourself forgetting where you normally post your blog, keep a content calendar handy. Write down where and when your blogs need to be posted. Because people don’t use every social media network out there, you need to post your blog in several places so that a larger pool of potential clients can see it.
People don’t want to read about how much money you made last year, your success rate or even your family’s vacation in Tahoe. According to Bill Handy, vice president of Digital Engagement, “Keep your blog focused on real estate – the market, how to rehab with before/after images, updates on mortgage rates, after move-in tips, etc. The topics are plentiful, but they need to be focused on what your audience/customers are looking for or need.” Steer clear of writing blogs that focus on your professional and personal success. You want to establish yourself as an expert in your field and not use blogging as a bragging contest.
Poorly Formatted Blogs
People like to scan information to see if they want to invest time in reading a blog. Give your reader the chance to quickly read your blog by creating a clear format.
- No headlines.
- Long paragraphs.
- No bullet points.
- No images.
Look at successful blogs to get some formatting ideas. You can use one as a template to keep your blog looking organized and professional.
Many real estate agents do not follow any type of blogging schedule. If you find yourself posting blogs without any consistency, you are really missing the boat. People follow blogs the way they watch the evening news or read their favorite weekly magazine. They want to know that new information is available to them at the same time each week. If you post blogs erratically, they won’t remember to follow you. To prevent making this mistake, schedule time every week to write your blog. Consistency shows that you take blogging and your real estate business seriously.
There’s a good chance that you’ll get caught if you use someone else’s content. Stealing other people’s blogs is a quick way to a bad reputation. According to Joshua Dorkin, founder and CEO of Bigger Pockets, “I often see blogs simply stealing content and using it as their own. Many bloggers will just grab and re-publish posts via an RSS feed … thinking that because they got [it from] a feed, it is OK to use. This is nothing but theft and is a fast way to 1) lose your reputation, 2) lose your website and 3) violate your Realtor® Code of Ethics. Using someone else’s posts without permission is a violation of the law, and the penalties for doing so can be very steep, so don’t do it!” Of all the blogging mistakes, stealing content is probably one of the most prevalent and serious. Often, real estate agents steal blogs because they don’t have the time to write. Take some time to write your own original content. It will help your social media campaign and it will also boost your reputation.