How to (Re)Start Blogging: Real Estate Website Tips for Procrastinators
By Andrew Rapp
About Inbound Marketing
It’s been three months since your last blog post. Writing another one for your real estate website is perpetually on your “to-do” list, shuffled to the bottom week after week. You know you should get back at it … but the longer you wait the harder it is to resume. You have now become one of the silent majority — the procrastinating bloggers.
People avoid writing for many reasons: writer’s block, a lack of ideas, insecurity, and simple procrastination. Whatever the cause, getting started again can be terribly difficult. But a blog is the cornerstone of an inbound real estate marketing strategy — particularly for new agents — so producing blog posts is a must.
First, it’s much easier to resume writing if you alleviate any guilt over your lack of productivity. Feeling guilty only makes it harder to sit down and begin typing. Remember this: Most people never even attempt to write regularly. And, of those who do, having prolonged periods of inactivity is the norm, not the exception. So, you’re not a failure. In fact, you’re perfectly normal.
Still, normal isn’t what we’re shooting for, is it? We want you to be one of those super agents who bangs out blog posts regularly and develops an audience of prospective leads through their beautiful real estate website. Let’s look at a few strategies for getting back down to business and cranking out some blog posts.
Strategy One: Read your real estate website.
Most people with real estate websites never read them. You get so used to working in the back-end administrative area that you never visit the front-end and view your website the way others do.
Start like most readers will: Type your name into Google, and click through to your homepage. (If you aren’t coming up in search results, you’ve got bigger problems than an idle blog, so fix those first.) While on the homepage, click through your menu items, imagining yourself as a prospective buyer or seller.
If you haven’t been updating your blog or anything else on your site, you’ll notice something quickly: It’s kind of boring, right? A real estate website without fresh content just doesn’t hold users’ interest. And if you’re finding your own site boring, expect readers to feel the same way.
Use this as motivation to post something new. It’s easy to forget there are live human beings reading what you write on your blog, so remind yourself how great it feels to put something out there and have it read by others. Just getting back in touch with that feeling of connecting to readers is often enough to get things started again.
Strategy Two: Write about writing.
This tactic is particularly helpful for the heavy-duty procrastinator — the person who hasn’t written for months, feels guilty about it, thinks they stink at writing, and can’t come up with any ideas. If you’re in that boat, this one’s for you.
Sit down for 30 minutes and write something that won’t even go on your blog. You’re going to write this for yourself and no one else. You’re going to write about why you don’t write. Start with this sentence: “I haven’t written anything for my blog because …” Then, just go with it. Write at least four paragraphs, and cover all the reasons you haven’t been writing. Don’t write about the excuses (“I don’t have time.”). Instead, write about the feelings (“I don’t think I have anything to say that people care to read.”)
Once you’re done, save the file, put it away, and schedule some time in the next day or two — but not any longer — to write your next blog entry. When you sit down to write that blog entry, read what you wrote about why you don’t write. You’ll find something marvelous happens: You’ll read all your reasons for not writing and think “So what?”
“I don’t write very clearly.” So what? “I don’t write because it’s embarrassing that my blog hasn’t been updated in six months.” So what? “I don’t write because hardly anyone was reading my blog.” So what?
There’s probably a scientific explanation for this phenomena, but regardless of the reason, it works. You’ll find your reasons for writing seem pointless, and getting back to writing is a breeze.
Strategy Three: Lower the bar.
It’s easy to get in a not-writing rut and lose sight of all the options you have for blogging. If you’ve always produced 1,000-word musings on the current housing market, you can fall prey to the misconception that the only way forward is another 1,000-word blog post.
Blog posts take many forms, all of which can be interesting to readers — if done well. Try to jumpstart your posting by picking a format that requires less writing, like newsjacking or curating content.
“In the new economy, information, education, and motivation are everything.”
— Bill Clinton
You can also use the real estate blogs of others or social media posts as a jumping-off point to get things rolling. Find a recent post from someone you admire or find interesting. Excerpt a portion of what they’ve written for your post (of course, be sure to credit them as the source), and offer your take on why their post was compelling. You can do the same thing with social media conversations that are drawing lots of attention. Excerpt some of the better comments (again, attribute the source) and explain to your readers why they’re spot-on.
This strategy works well because it’s often hard to write “in a vacuum.” When you feel like no one is listening, it’s hard to motivate yourself. But joining into an existing conversation is energizing. An added bonus of this strategy is that you can co-opt the readers of the existing conversation: Be sure to notify the writers you’ve cited about your blog post and encourage them to respond in their writing. You can take advantage of their existing audience and keep the conversation going.
Strategy Four: Give yourself a deadline.
Some writers just need a deadline. No matter how much they try, without a hard and fast publication date, they won’t get to work. Again, it’s easy to consider this a weakness: to feel like a failure if you can only get writing done with a deadline.
The truth is that many excellent writers are deadline-driven. There are many different styles of working. Some writers do their best if they have everything done well in advance, while others do their best with a deadline looming over their head. Think back on your past writing, whether it was for your blog, a school term paper, or even a letter to a friend. If you’ve typically written at the last minute, that might just be your work style.
Fortunately, getting writing done ahead of time is not a prerequisite for it to be interesting and engaging. Of course, some forms of writing require advance planning. Researched writing, like that school term paper, suffers when it’s rushed. But some writing, including blog posts, can actually benefit from being more “off the cuff.” Just be sure to pick topics that are well-suited to quick writing. Opinionated or anecdotal pieces are often fresher when written quickly.
The trick is making your deadline real when their isn’t a cranky teacher or editor waiting on you. If you really need a deadline, writing one in on your calendar isn’t going to cut it. No matter how earnestly you swear to yourself that you’re going to abide by it, a self-imposed deadline lacks teeth.
The solution? Make yourself accountable to others. Put up a short message on your real estate blog telling readers that you’ll have a full post up on Friday. Announce the same thing on your social media accounts. Not only will you be under-the-gun to get that blog post finished, you’ll have an audience waiting to read what you’ve written.
Strategy Five: Write something you like.
Writing a blog should be enjoyable. If it’s feeling like a chore, and that’s why you’re procrastinating, then something is awry.
This usually happens when writers feel like there’s something they “should” be writing, rather than choosing something they want to be writing. If you have a preconceived notion that your real estate blog should be this or that, instead of writing about what really interests you, it’s no wonder you’re not enjoying it or getting much done.
Forget about your real estate blog for a minute and write down five subjects you love to discuss. Maybe you love reading and would love to talk about a novel you just read. Perhaps you’re an exercise buff and enjoy comparing routines with others. Anything is fair game at this stage. What’s important is identifying topics that motivate you.
Now, go back over that list and for each topic think up three ways the subject could be made engaging for your readers, and applicable to potential customers. If you like novels, write a blog post on the best books that were set in your city. For the exercise buff, write about the best places to walk or jog in the area. Whatever your interests, you’ll find writing on a topic you enjoy is vastly easier.
If you want some great real estate blog examples, check out these winners.
What do you do to keep yourself motivated? Share your views with us below!
Published on September 22, 2014
Written by Andrew Rapp
I'm the Managing Editor at Placester, where I oversee the creation of great content that helps real estate agents be successful in their careers. When I'm not clacking away at my laptop I enjoy walking all around the great city of Boston.