Recently, my friend Rob Hahn posted a great article entitled “Design vs. Content: Design Wins!‘. And I wholeheartedly agree with him! How many times have you left a blog due to eye strain from small print or out of pure confusion from all the flashing ads and shiny objects strewn about! There’s no denying that design plays a major role in Website attraction!
I love pretty things and sometimes crap content can be made to look so nice you actually stick around. But watch out, because shiny objects can mislead you and even hypnotize you into monthly payments in some cases! It’s happened to me! I love me some bling!
So while I think it’s crucial to consider blog layout, design, and user interface…we can’t forget our friends at Google or the readers placing trust in your guidance. The bling will always entice, but it’s the thought provoking, helpful, resourceful, and relevant content that keeps your readers coming back for more, or even subscribe! With all the rockin’ blog themes available, a nice blog design is the easy part. It’s coming up with content and being consistent that is the real task at hand.
I’ve found the best way to maintain regular blog posts and fight “blogger’s block” is by creating a content posting plan. This is really nothing more than making an on-going list of content or story ideas from which you can pick and choose to create posts from. If you want to take it a step further, you could schedule time to write, as well as “read & research”. But don’t plan too far ahead, because some posts may be timely depending on whether they are events or breaking news.
Here are some ideas to kickstart your own content posting plan, or just melt your “blogger’s block”!
- Write a Series of Posts: Take a big idea and break it up into several smaller posts. Be sure to link back to all the posts within your series.
- Client Q&A: Create a submission form for your blog. Pick a day that you regularly answer clients questions via your blog.
- Get Busy: Get involved with local businesses, interview business owners, share helpful businesses that are giving back to the community or can assist new homeowners with their services. Be sure to archive these posts in the form of a relocation landing page.
- Community Events: Post a monthly event calendar or list of events with all the local information and links. Check out 4 Ways to Add an Event Calendar to Your WordPress Blog.
- Seasonal Homeowner How-to: Post informative guides on how to clean out the gutters, winter prep your pool, holiday d?cor, spring cleaning, etc.
- Breaking News: Whether it’s local or national, twitter and other news sources can keep you up to speed with all the latest happenings.
- Know your niche & drip the tips: Whatever it may be (women homeownership, short sales, green building), drip your expertise out by expanding upon single tidbits of advice.
- Local Bargains & Coupons: Share discounts offered by local restaurants/businesses, online coupons for products & services, etc.
- Local Market Update: Give us your forecast, graph the changes, share local statistics, and provide some tips for adapting to this changing market. Check out Cyberhomes’ Market Forecast report – great resource!
- Interviews: Post short interviews with industry professionals, local business leaders, local heroes, etc. Include testimonials from past clients.
- School scores & more: Post recent test scores, school achievements (ex: Distinguished School), school events, etc. for high schools and colleges in your area.
- Neighborhood Spotlight: Showcase a specific neighborhood…the homes, parks, schools, stores…oh, and your listings too. Give us your top 10 reasons for living in each neighborhood. Interview local neighbors and connect with your farm at the same time.
- New laws affecting real estate: Each year share the new laws for your state/county, and/or provide updates as they occur in real time.
- Buyer/Seller Tips: Talk about the home buying process, share your best tips in post form.
- Fundraisers/Non-Profits: Support or share info regarding local fundraisers.
- Rate & loan updates: Get the latest info from your lenders and provide tips for buyers on finding the best rates, as well as the process for securing a loan.
- Favorites: Whether it’s a recipe share, book review, or new movie release…it’s okay to have an opinion!
- Photo posts: Show off the beauty and uniqueness of your area with photos. A single photo and a simple comment will suffice. Or get creative with a collage of photos taken in your market area or make a slideshow using Animoto.
- Video posts: Follow your home stager as she/he prepares a home, interview your local lender, tour local neighborhoods, or just share your real estate expertise.
- Investment insights: Post informational articles on how to select an investment property, interview of an analyst, local suggestions from your tax professional, etc.
- Friday fun: Put a smile on your reader’s face or just wish them a fantastic Friday with funny articles or YouTube videos, interesting signs, wacky but tasteful jokes, etc.
- Holiday hype: Share what’s happening in your area during holidays, give ideas for parties, recipes, fun traditions, tell a holiday story about your family, etc.
- Community callout: Whether you have Facebook Connect on your blog, a Facebook Business Page, or use Twitter. Create a post announcing your new page or group, and let people know where/how they can connect further with you.
- Consumer alerts: Clue your clients in to the latest information regarding FHA financing, loan modification rules, tax credits, etc.
- Polls: Pose a question, collect the responses and share the results!
- Storytelling: Explain a scenario whether real or hypothetical and how you would assist the situation with your expertise.
- Re-post: Think of it like a “retweet”, but for a blog post! If you find a post written by someone else that you love, cite them and build upon it by offering your own perspective.
- Invite a guest: Is there a lender you work with, home stager, local business owner that has something to say. Give them the opportunity on your blog!
- The Spin-off: Take your best blog posts a little further, by building upon them, updating them or taking one concept mentioned to the next level. You can even make a list of all your best posts on a particular subject.
- Liveblog: Going to an event? Share your experience as it happens (people you meet, products/services you encounter, interesting tips, etc.).
Let’s face it. For most of us it’s not really possible to write and post every single day. But it does become easier, the more you write. Try setting a goal to post every other day or at least twice a week. From my standpoint, I’d focus more on quality than quantity.