Do you know what Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices calls their agents?
Real estate advisors. Not experts. Not agents. Advisors.
A couple of years ago, I had the chance to hear Allan Dalton speak, the former CEO of Realtor.com. He made one argument. You should not be competing against other agents. If you want to demonstrate value, your only focus is helping the consumer. Advising them.
So, how does this translate to a real estate blog?
Content is advice. As an advisor, you need to insert yourself where consumers will be. Online. A real estate blog achieves that goal. Of course, though, there’s one hurdle. Writing.
Big phrases like grammar, sentence structure, and formatting scare the bejesus out of us. And we haven’t addressed what to write about yet, either. There are hundreds of mechanical components to writing a captivating blog post — a post that captures attention and generates leads.
Looking at it all-together will only paralyze you. But don’t worry. I’m going to break down a real estate blog’s most critical components into snackable writing tips.
What to Write About
In my experience real estate blogs typically make one mistake. Every post is another “Featured Listing” or “Open House” article. Agents love to show off their listings.
So, where is the value you’re offering?
Jack the Homebuyer, who has never bought a house, isn’t sure what his budget should be. But he’s looking. Does a “Featured Listing” blog post help him? Not really.
Writing a blog post starts with the same exercise every time. Picture your ideal reader. Think about what makes him (or her) happy. What makes him nervous or shake his head? Start a conversation.
Imagine the questions he is asking. And answer these questions with your blog posts. This is what you should write about. What are the most asked questions from your clients and leads?
You should have a dozen ideas just from that. If you’re still struggling, I’ve listed out a few random ideas to explore:
- 7 Neighborhoods Homebuyers are Ignoring, but You Shouldn’t
- How to Turn a Weatherworn Home into Hot Property People Want
- A 3-Step Formula for Finding the “Magical” Home You’ve Dreamed Of
- Best Neighborhoods to Move to in [CITY]
- How to Make Homebuyers Salivate Over Your House
- 9 Warning Signs to Look for Before Making an Offer
- Nervous About Making an Offer? Here’s a 4-Step Plan to Ease Your Worries
- If You Buy a Home This Month, You’ll Save [$XXXXX] Today
For more suggestions, check out this post. If you want to flex your design skills, consider infographics.
Writing valuable blog posts is about connecting the dots, as Steve Harney would say. Make them feel comfortable through the real estate process. Show the impact of their decisions. Translate data into something meaningful.
Writing the First Words to a Blog Post
Stephen King writes 3000+ words a day. The guy is a machine. You need to be more human. Before beginning, take a moment to think about your reader. How can you empathize with him (or her)? What struggles are they experiencing?
Start with their struggle. Then offer an answer. And lastly, reassure the reader.
Picture yourself writing to one person only: your imaginary friend. This keeps your writing conversational, empathetic, and seductive. These are the three elements to convert a reader into a real estate lead.
Begin a conversation. Write the first sentence that comes to mind. Breathe. Then edit.
Look for opportunities to introduce sensory words. Make the reader feel what you are saying. Spewing cold, hard facts will sound like you’re a robot. Details are only one-half of the equation. Sprinkle in emotion (where you can).
Here’s a guide to sensory words. Click Here >
Grammar: What are the Rules?
Ignore grammar rules. You heard me right. Language is about understanding one another. You can break grammar rules. I’ve done it 7 times already in this blog post. What you should be paying attention to is readability.
Don’t feel constrained by your high school English teacher. Write an easy-to-read blog post, where the ideas are clear and concise. Cut sentences in half if you need to. End with prepositions. Start sentences with and or but. Use contractions.
If you need help, I suggest using the HemingwayApp. It’ll show you when sentences get too long or too hard to read.
The Trickiness with Adjectives
Adjectives are sly-dogs. There’s a balance to be maintained when writing. Too many adjectives slow down readers, since they make sentences longer. But adjectives can be fun, too. They can help people picture (or feel) what you’re saying.
This is why I suggested using sensory adjectives earlier in the post. Forget the drab, phony adjectives corporate writers use, like “best-in-class” or “cutting-edge.” Snooz … Conjure emotion with words like creepy, serene, vibrant, or fuzzy.
See the difference:
- Delightful > Nice
- Thundering > Loud
- Ravishing > Beautiful
Pro-Tip: Remove the word “very” from your writing. This is where more impactful adjectives can be used. Instead of “very good,” try “brilliant.”
Tips for Avoiding Wordy Phrases
Prepositions. Those include for, from, at, including, like, on, before, after, but, between … the list goes on. These are the words that show the relationship between two nearby words. Example: “A boy from the ghetto.”
In a sentence, you don’t want more than 4 prepositions. When you use 3-4 prepositions in one sentence, it becomes hard to read. Harder to read blog posts = less leads created.
In other occasions, be wary of wordiness. Fluff words that add no value. Here’s a list:
|a majority of||most|
|a number of||some, many|
|in order to||to|
- Wordy: I am of the opinion that the statistics pertaining to this month will indicate an upward tendency.
- Concise: I think this month’s statistics will show an increase in growth.
A List of Words to Use in Small Numbers
Here are some words to cut or use sparsely in your writing …
- Totally, completely, literally
- Definitely, certainly, probably, actually, basically
These words can be substituted easily with better words while others only slow down the reader and don’t add much value.
For more instructions on writing blog posts, or developing an editorial calendar, check out the following videos.
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