5 Dos and 5 Don’ts for Better Blog Copy

here are ten simple rules for attracting an audience and getting them to come back for more

In real estate, it may be “location, location, location” but in the blogosphere it’s “content, content, content.” You’re not writing just to hear yourself think or see words on the screen. You want audience. You want followers. You want people who have you on their Favorites list and click on your link every morning to see if you’ve posted anything new. So here are ten simple rules for attracting an audience and getting them to come back for more. First, the dos:

  1. Do make it entertaining. Your readers already know you’re a Realtor and your primary purpose is to sell property. It’s an old cliché that people want to buy but they hate to be sold. So stop selling and give your readers something fun and interesting that will add value to their day. You might post a funny poster or photo, a checklist of what to do before a home inspection, or a menu from that hot new Italian restaurant. Grow your audience and your sales will follow.
  2. Do make it personal. We’re talking about relationship-building here. You want your first-time reader to “like” you (and not in the Facebook sense). You want to be someone they’d like to grab a cup of coffee with. If you already have a following, then you want them to feel comfortable and at home, ready to relax and chat for a minute. Become a pleasurable habit, like that little nibble of dark chocolate after dinner. Let your personality shine through your writing. Imagine sitting around a table chatting with friends. Tell them what’s on your mind.
  3. Do be an authority. Building a relationship with your readers is all-important, of course. But once you’ve done that (or even while you’re doing that), they must feel confident that you know what you’re talking about. You are THE subject matter expert when it comes to short sales, or lakefront lots, or whatever your niche happens to be. Drop nuggets of valuable information at least once in every post.
  4. Do make it sound good. One quick way to determine if your copy is readable: read it out loud before you publish it. Even experienced writers use this trick to make sure their writing flows, that it’s not wordy or repetitive, and that it holds the reader’s interest. If you can read it aloud to someone else—even better. Honest critique can go a long way toward refining your writing style.
  5. Do make it look good. Blogging is a visual medium, so be visually appealing. That starts with your page design. There are plenty of services that offer templates, some designed specifically for Realtors. They’ve been tested and refined, so you don’t need to spend time reinventing the wheel. Illustrations grab the reader’s attention, especially if they have an element of humor or curiosity about them.

And now for the don’ts.

  1. Don’t be negative. Now there’s an oxymoron for you! What we mean is to reframe everything in the positive wherever possible. For example, instead of saying “Don’t leave clutter and personal items on your counters when you’re getting your house ready to show;” you could say “Box up at least 50% of what’s on your kitchen and bathroom counters before a showing or open house.”
  2. Don’t be sloppy. I read a blog post just yesterday that blew my mind. It must have lost something between the writing and the posting, because half the words had no spaces between them! After the first paragraph, I gave up trying to figure it out. The guy must have noticed this—it was too obvious. But he didn’t take the time to fix it. Sloppy work does not create followers.
  3. Don’t skip the proofreading. Most word processing programs have spell check and grammar check functions. Use them. They won’t catch everything, but they will usually capture the worst errors. Learn the rules of good grammar. Know the difference between commonly confused words. For example, “The right to bare arms” has a far different meaning from “The right to bear arms.” Hint: the second one is guaranteed by the constitution; the first is not.
  4. Don’t be an isolationist. You can’t be a good writer if you’re not a good reader. You don’t come up with bright ideas in a bubble. Read good writing so you develop a sense of style. Skip the National Enquirer in favor of the Wall Street Journal. Go online and see what other bloggers are saying. And write, write, write—it’s the only way to get good.
  5. And finally, don’t go it alone. If you don’t have time to write, don’t feel you’re a good writer, and don’t necessarily want to become one—find a professional who is and let them take over. We’ll have more about this concept in a near future blog, so stay tuned.

Think these Dos and Don’ts have merit? Tweet them out to your people and see what they have to say.

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