To Blog or Not to Blog?Posted on October 9, 2013 by
“I blog because I have something to say.” ~ Eddie Huang
Do you have a blog? Have you ever thought about starting one? For a while there, you could be shunned if you didn’t have a blog. Every Tom, Dick, and Alice had a blog. Heck, even my second cousin Flora, the cat lady, had a blog. All God’s children had a blog! Thankfully, the hype has subsided. But the potential benefits of blogs – and pitfalls – are still there.
I’ve done some blogging myself, with mixed success, and in doing so, I’ve developed some ideas about what works and what doesn’t. Since I’ve been reexamining the idea of blogging as an investor, I thought I’d share my thoughts with you here.
As you know, I like to start at the beginning, and I’ll bet at least one of my readers doesn’t really know what a blog is. A blog is simply an online journal or diary. That’s pretty much it. Beyond that, each blogger decides what his or her blog is going to look like.
But first you’ve got to decide if blogging is for you.
Let’s cut to the chase: If you’re thinking about blogging, start with a reality check. Blogging is not a quick road to fame and fortune. A blog takes quite a lot of time to write and maintain, and you’re unlikely to get a quick return on that investment. This is true even if you have money-making advertising links on your site. Blogging involves building your brand over time, and it can get overwhelming. The last thing you want to do is sacrifice your primary activity – buying and selling houses – because you’re bogged down trying to write today’s post.
So how do you decide whether to enter the blogosphere?
Well, first, make sure you have something to say, and that you know how to say it well. You don’t have to be a great writer if your content is strong. But it’s got to be good enough to understand and build credibility. If need be, find someone who can help you write and edit.
Second, know why you’re writing a blog. What’s your goal? What are you trying to accomplish? Do you want to entertain? To teach? To market yourself? To share your own personal experience about flipping houses? To share your opinions about pressing issues like new regulations? To post pictures of your cats, like Flora? All of these are fair game for a blog, and you don’t have to narrow it down to a single theme. But do have a purpose, and center your posts around that purpose.
Third, think about your audience. Who are you trying to reach? New investors? Home sellers? Professional real estate agents? Private lenders? Be clear about who you’re writing for, and make sure you can create good posts aimed at your target audience. If you want to reach more than one audience, by the way, count on creating a separate blog.
Finally, read lots of other real estate blogs. Google “real estate blogs” or “real estate investor blogs.” Read the posts that look interesting. And be sure to read the comments following those posts. Find out what you like and what you don’t. What makes you want to read someone’s blog? What kinds of titles get your interest? What kinds of blog entries get the most comments? Do you like long articles or short? Opinionated blogs, or straight news? What looks professional and what looks cheesy? The more you know about other people’s blogs, the more you’ll know what to do with your own.
Once you’ve taken these steps, you’re ready to make a decision to start blogging. Choose a format that fits your personality, your audience, and your goals. There are lots of possibilities ranging from the very professional to the purely personal. Your blog needs to fit you. That’ll make it as much fun to write as it is to read.
Next month, I’ll show you how to post great entries, get your blog noticed, and grow your readership.