OK. You've heard about blogs, and you've been told if you want to make an impact on the web for your business one of the best ways to do it is with a blog. But you have no idea what a blog is, or how it is supposed to help you.
So in this series of articles I'm going to tell you all about blogs. What a blog is. How to set one up. What to write about. How to get more readers, and how to get your blog noticed by the search engines like Google.
For starters let's just put it this way. Creating a blog gives you a chance to put your story out there in front of a lot of people. Your blog gives you a chance to develop an online personality and it gives you a vehicle for interacting with your readers and staying in touch with them on a day by day basis.
So the first thing you should try to do with your blog is to let your personality shine through. Don't be overly concerned with writing award winning articles. Write about stuff that your readers will find interesting and relevant. And go out of your way to put some of your own personality into your blog posts. If you can do that you'll be well on your way to creating a successful blog.
Before you can get your blog up and running you have some decisions to make. You will have to decide where your blog is going to be hosted, what software platform you are going to use, what your blog will look like, and several other things. We cover all these things in other articles and videos in this series, and you can find a link to the entire series in the resource box at the end of the article.
But for now, the biggest decision you have to make is the theme or topic of your blog. If you are a real estate agent and want to use your blog to promote your real estate business, the theme has more or less already been chosen for you. To attract readers and generate prospects you should be focusing on providing information about your local real estate market, interesting features of your community, and topics of general interest to home owners, home sellers, and home buyers.
You may already have a pretty good idea what kind of things you should write about in your blog. If not, just ask yourself, "What kind of information would my real estate clients and prospects be interested in reading about in my blog?"
Finding interesting material to write about is not always easy. Writing may be difficult for you, and you may find coming up with ideas a real challenge. But not to worry. There are short cuts for creating blog content, and here is one of them.
This is what I call the "blog skimming" technique. Use Google to find two or three other blogs in your niche that you find interesting. When you see something you like in one of those blogs, just create a post that contains a very short summary linking back to the original post, along with one or two original comments that reflect your own point of view.
But be careful when you do this. Don't just copy the original post as though it is yours. Make sure to give full credit to the original writer, and try your best to add a bit of original comment that makes the post your own.
While most bloggers make many references to other stories or resources they find on the web, a good blog is not just a rehash of items published in other places. Normally your blog posts will be a reflection of your own point of view - your take on the events. So your posts should contain commentary, criticism and your own personal insights.
This is a really important aspect of blogging. Express your own opinions and point of view and you are much more likely to get readers interacting with what you write. The more you do this, the better you will get at it.
As you know, building and expanding your business is about building relationships with customers and prospects. That's why a blog is so much more powerful than an ordinary static website. It not only lets you demonstrate how your business is unique, but it also shows you are interested in the people you do business with by inviting them to share their own opinions.
Rick Hendershot specializes in online marketing for real estate agents. For more free articles and videos about blogging see Real Estate Blogs or visit his blog called Local Web Marketing.