Tips for effective blogging for business

Do you have a blog for your business? Why or why not? I’ve been blogging consistently for over five years, and it’s made a very significant difference for me. In fact, I’m coming up on post #1000 very soon here, and I’m excited about that. Anyway, about six weeks ago I spoke at Drexel University for a Sacramento Business Journal event about effective business blogging. I wanted to share the talk with you in case it might be useful. I give an overview of blogging and provide very practical tips for how to blog. This is not about SEO tricks, but about the nuts and bolts of developing solid client-centric content. This is good background fodder while working, or might be useful while driving or cleaning the house. Check it out below (or here), and let me know what you think.

I did this presentation with video and social media expert Kerry Shearer, and here is a shot of me in action (if you tied my hands, I probably wouldn’t be able to speak).

ryan lundquist blogging class - sacramento business journal


Some tidbits: In the video I mentioned the importance of developing a subscriber list, but I forgot to go into more detail. You can use a tool like MailChimp to manage subscribers. Also, this class was on both blogging and video. I mentioned in one part that I would show certain videos, but that portion didn’t make it into the video above. Here is the playlist of videos I showed during the presentation as examples of different types of videos you can make (talking head, scrolling photos, screencast, green screen, etc…). I played the first 5-10 seconds of each video.

how to create original blog content

How to come up with post ideas: Lastly, I mentioned my blog content cloud (see above), which is what I use to keep 20-30 post ideas in front of me at any given moment. I simply write down post ideas and keep them on a cork board above my monitor. One of the most important aspects of blogging is consistency, but one of the major hurdles for success is actually coming up with consistent content. That’s why this content cloud helps me thrive. Download for free and use as you wish.

I hope this was helpful.

Questions: Do you have a blog? Why or why not? Any other insight?

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Sharing, copying and real estate blogging

I attended a real estate social media class and the speaker said, “Just cut and paste other people’s posts into your own blog. Boom. Blogging in just a few minutes”. What’s wrong with that?

blogging image purchased and used with permission by sacramento appraisal blog - 530

Is cutting and pasting someone’s entire blog content and using it on your own site really sharing? Or is it something else? This is important for the real estate community and really any industry to understand – especially when we hear advice like the speaker gave above. Blogging can be a very powerful tool to help build an online voice for your business, but it’s important to do it the right way. I hope this will be insightful for you, whether you have a real estate blog or you’re considering starting one (go for it). Additionally, I hope this article will help clarify what I mean when encouraging others to share my content (see 5 ways you can share my stuff). When I say, “you can share some of my content”, some people hear “you can copy my posts verbatim”, but that’s definitely not what I mean. Mostly this is just about having good manners online and creating content on your blog that will help grow your business.

What is the difference between copying and sharing real estate articles?

It is copying when…

  1. You cut and paste without giving credit.
  2. There is no link back to the original article.
  3. You didn’t ask permission to share an entire article.
  4. There is no reason why your reader would need to read the author’s website because you included all of the author’s content on your site.

It is sharing when…

  1. You clearly give credit to the author where it is due.
  2. You link back to the original article.
  3. You have permission to share an entire article.
  4. You include a snippet of the article, insert your own thoughts and leave room for your reader to visit the author’s website (just like Doug did last week with one of my graphs). In most cases it is probably okay to share snippets of posts without permission as long as you clearly identify the original author’s words and link back, but be sure to know the author’s sharing policy and realize it’s still a good idea to reach out and ask the author.

The Bottom line: Make it your ambition to respect other people’s original work. If someone took time to create something useful, honor them for it. Don’t just use someone’s content so you can get more traffic on your site or compensate for the lack of time you’re willing to put into developing your own content.

blogging-tipsSome Quick Blogging Tips:

  1. Original: Write original posts. Cutting and pasting is not blogging.
  2. You: People want to get to know you on your blog, so be sure to balance sharing portions of other people’s content with developing your own.
  3. Target Audience: Who are you writing for? Knowing this will help guide what you write about and how frequently you write.
  4. Content: What do you know that will help clients and future clients? Your blog posts can simply answer questions your clients are asking.
  5. Resource: Make it your goal to share helpful information on your blog. Be known for being an incredible resource to clients and the general public. Look in your “sent” email folder for post ideas because chances are you’ve answered questions recently that will make for great blog posts.
  6. Rhythm: Be consistent with your posts, whether you write once or month or even multiple times per week. Readers should know what to expect from you.
  7. Other tips? Comment below.

BLOGGING RESOURCES: If you’re looking for some more advice on real estate blogging or wondering how to get started, check out Quick tips for real estate blogging or How to develop original blog content or 10 ways to be a spammy real estate person online. By the way, I’m speaking about effective real estate blogging at the NorCal Real Estate Expo in two weeks. I’d love to see you there.

NorCal RE Expo Presentation Times

I hope this was helpful.

Thank you for being here. I sincerely appreciate it and I am truly honored when you share my content too (within the confines of my sharing policy of course). Seriously.

Question: Any insight, comments or blogging tips to share?

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5 things I’ve learned about blogging after 907 posts

I started scratching out blog posts almost five years ago, and I’ll admit I’m excited to hit post #1000 at some point next year. Along the way it’s been fun to build great relationships, learn, share information, earn some new clients, get speaking gigs and gain attention from local and national media. There are surely many ways I can improve, but I am proud to say I’ve had staying power thus far, and I think I’ve learned a thing or two about running a successful blog for business.

image of typewriter - purchased by Sacramento Appraisal Blog through 123rtf dot com

The truth is so many blogs start out strong, but then drop off the face of the earth for one reason or another. Yes, there is a season for everything, so inevitably some blogs will die. That’s okay. Yet if you want to have stamina and find success for your blog, I might suggest considering a focus on the following core issues. These are things I believe are key ingredients for a successful blog. Enjoy.

5 Essentials for Running a Successful Blog for Business

1)  Be original: Take the time to craft your own thoughts. Who are you and what do you know that will help or entertain your audience? Let readers get a sense of your personality and expertise. Share photos, video or words. Do what works best for you and your readers, and be sure to not copy and paste other people’s articles and consider them posts.

2)  Know your audience: Who are you writing for? What types of people and business do you want to attract? This is your target audience, and each post should keep this group of people in mind. You are not doing hardcore sales, but rather focusing on providing helpful information (be a resource). What questions are your clients and potential clients asking? Share information like this by posing an issue and then simply providing the answer. In fact, check your sent email folder for post ideas because you’ve probably already answered some questions recently that can turn into fantastic posts. Remember, each post doesn’t have to be home run, but if you get on base here and there, eventually you’ll score runs over time (connections and business). If you cannot quickly say who you are writing for, it’s time to give that some thought. My audience? I write for real estate agents, home owners and the real estate community in general.

target audience - image purchased by Sacramento Appraisal Blog from 123rt dot com 2

3)  Be consistent: Having a regular blogging rhythm is important so readers can know when your posts are going to show up. I write two to three posts a week, so my subscribers know what to expect from me. I know multiple posts each week would be exhausting for some, so I might suggest starting out with once a month, bumping it up to twice a month and then maybe once a week. If you want to be dominant in your niche online, you simply have to find the time to create new content and do that with some sort of frequency – even when you feel too busy. Remember that regular posts keep you in front of your target audience, they build your expertise and search engines like to see fresh content.

4)  Get organized: I would not be able to write regularly if I woke up each day and thought, “hmm, what should I write today?” This is why I created a blog fodder sheet that helps keep 10-20 post ideas in front of me at any given moment. This single-page as shown below hangs in my office on a cork board behind my computer screen, and I use it to jot down post ideas whenever I have them. I also keep a few folders on my desktop called “Things I’ve seen lately” and “Market Trends” to help keep a running group of photos and stats that might work at some point for future posts. When you get into the rhythm of blogging, you’ll start to think, “oh, that’s going to be a great post”, and you can simply save a photo or thought for a future time when you’ll actually write it. This system is simple and it’s worked extremely well for me to be more organized, save time and stay focused on my target audience. Download blog fodder sheet on Slideshare.

blog fodder sheet

share-posts-on-social-media5)  Get Face Time: Part of being successful online is finding ways to connect your business offline. Blog posts, tweets and Facebook statuses can be great for connections, but it’s also important to be intentional about getting in front of clients regularly. Yes, I mean in person. Go to lunch, join a committee, serve on a board, give a presentation or drop off coffee and scones. Just do something. As an example, this year I made it a goal to teach classes and speak in at least one real estate office per month (I ended up doing two per month), and I’ll say it was very good for business. Why? Because I was able to share helpful information in person, answer questions and build connections. In all cases strangers became acquaintances at the least, but in some cases they also became blog subscribers and then clients.

Did I mention anything revolutionary? I’ll be the first to say no. That’s good though because it means virtually anyone with a little focus and intention can be a successful blogger. Yes, it is a time commitment, and I won’t water that down. But putting in the time to become a dominant trusted force online can be profoundly rewarding (and fun).

Thank you: By the way, thank you to all who have subscribed and followed the conversation on my little corner of the web. I’m humbled by that and I greatly appreciate it. If you’ve been tinkering with blogging yourself, send me an email or share the link below. I’d love to see what you are doing.

Questions: Any other blogging essentials or tips to share? What have you learned along the way? Also, do you have any creative ideas for me on post #1000?

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