You know why blogging is important, so you’ve set up your website and have a blog … but now what?
What the heck are you supposed to talk about?
What can you say that would ever make people want to hire you?
Warning: what works might just scare the pants off you...
Because winning clients online requires something it didn’t used to: authenticity.
Being publicly open and personal is something that scares all of us, but it’s especially terrifying to entrepreneurs whose aim is to be and appear professional at all times.
When I first advise real estate agents to be personal and authentically themselves online, they usually fall into a stunned silence.
I can hear the gears turning as they try to invent a version of themselves that’s professional and shiny. Then, after a moment of thought, and perhaps stammering, they’ll adjust their tie, straighten their posture, and recite a sales pitch about who they are professionally.
“Oh yes, I have helped people sell homes in this neighborhood for fifteen years. I grew up here and know it well…” “I gave coffee mugs to all my clients last year”
Sorry, no. That kind of talk won’t woo anyone. It’s sales speak, and it doesn’t work.
Your goal may be to sell yourself, but you are not a product.
You cannot be summed up by a list of features. And people aren’t looking for that anyway.
What Are People Looking For?
Someone who understands them. Someone they like enough to invite into the highly personal process of buying or selling a home. Someone they trust.
The list-of-features approach won’t accomplish that. Think about it – have you ever liked or trusted your lawyer, accountant, or banker because they say they’re honest or have awards on their wall?
Whatever makes you like or trust someone is the same kind of thing your would-be clients need from you.
When they’re looking online for a realtor, people want to know what they’ll experience with you. Features – like contacts, sellers you have waiting, gadgets, special offers, and awards - are secondary.
Help them get to know you by being out there – real, authentic, and personal online. By blogging.
Who Are You? (That’s Your Edge)
Most people who hire agents will research online first.
What will make you stand out from the crowd? Who you are.
Potential clients may begin by looking online for information, but they choose to work with people they like, know, and trust. They base the choice on who they think you are.
What’s unique about you?
I’ll use myself as an example, listing my features and then separately describing who I am.
Take note of which one you respond to most.
Which one makes you like me more or feel more connected with me me?
My Features & Abilities:
One of my advantages is that I’m not a realtor, so not in competition with you online or off. I work with agents and invest in real estate, which means I can speak intelligently about the industry, and I’m a skilled listener and writer, which enables me to ghost write blog posts credibly – a service no other real estate blog offers.
Who I Am:
I’m a coach at heart – an encourager and helper. Sometimes too much (Oh my word, I’ve given so much coaching away to clients! I can hardly stop myself, I just love it too much!) On my personal website, I share my faith, with all its mess and beauty. The rawness of it terrifies me sometimes. I love marketing and business – friends will often roll their eyes or stare blankly in confusion at my reading choices. (You read business books for fun?? Weirdo…)
My voice doesn’t carry, I hate kale, and I order bacon burgers without bacon.
(I know… very un-Canadian of me. Shh, don’t tell.) I can laugh at myself and at life, don’t mind crying in front of others, and am pretty darn intuitive, which helps people feel understood. In short, I’m kind of awesome and weird. (And short).
See the difference? One engaged your mind, giving you facts and ideas to analyze. The other (hopefully) engaged your heart a little, making you raise your eyebrow, shake your head, smile, or feel like we could be friends.
Entrepreneurs often want to talk about the features and hide the rest. But it’s the personality that cultivates a connection. That’s what will entice people to hire you, more than any list of facts.
Repeat after me: your blog is not a feature sheet.
Look, I know sharing that is scary, but so what. A lot of the stuff you do as a realtor is scary. Push through the fear. I know you know how. On the other side you’ll discover how to create a vibrant blog that both demonstrates your likeability and also is of great help to your readers.
Remember: people may not remember what you did (features), but they’ll remember how you made them feel. (connection).
Challenge: Figure Out Who You Are
A. List personal things about you, even if you think the items are completely ridiculous and absolutely irrelevant. (I mentioned kale for pete’s sake. Because if you hate kale too, you might, for a moment, have felt like you’re not the only one bad-mouthing it in our current kale-crazed culture. You might have felt understood and even relieved. Ah, the power of personal sharing.)
Anything that comes up as more of a feature than a personal thing, throw it on a separate list and ignore it for now.
B. Once you have your list, pick out a few themes that you could potentially talk about with friends.
If you’re outdoorsy, there are all kinds of potential stories you might tell your friends. The time you saw a bear and thought you were a gonner, or the time you hiked with your kids and realized it was a mistake… lots of fodder there.
Same with parenting, mental health, travel, canning, politics, your love for cats… seriously. These are personal themes. And yes, it will create a connection with people.
One client, for example, shares stories from his life as cautionary tales, or simply as a peek behind the scenes, and readers eat them up. One of his most popular posts was about sitting on a sandwich (!?) and what it taught him about customer service. The posts about ‘how to host an effective open house’ or ‘five tips to increase your home’s value’ on the other hand, not so popular.
C. Post your themes in the comments for feedback, then come back and read more about how to make your realtor blog awesome.