Content is the cornerstone of your online presence and your brand’s biggest ambassador. Done right and shared frequently, it will deliver visitors to your website where you can work your conversion magic.
Writing isn’t easy for those who don’t do it every day. But you don’t need to bend it like Dostoevsky or Shakespeare. Once you realize that, you free yourself of that little nag in your head that tells you that you suck at writing.
Let’s take a look at some of the basics, as applied to your blog posts but transferrable to most website content.
Know your audience
It’s crazy to try to target every conceivable real estate consumer in one blog post. You won’t succeed.
Before setting fingers to keyboard, take the time to think about to whom your topic will appeal. That is your audience for this particular post.
That’s the person you’ll imagine as you write. For instance, when writing a post on downsizing, your audience is most likely:
- A homeowner
- A member of the baby boomer generation
- Someone who owns a large home
- Someone who needs help both selling and buying
Draw an imaginary picture of this person, sitting at his or her computer reading your article. Keep that picture top-of-mind while writing.
Remain focused on the topic
Nothing will tick your readers off more than a snappy title luring them into reading a post that ends up having little to do with the title. The anger will be worse if your post offers no solutions and few answers.
Their anger toward you is well deserved; you’ve effectively ripped off their time.
It’s a common problem with folks who don’t write for a living. A solution to this is to create the title of your piece last.
Then, when you’re finished writing and you proofread it, determine your main theme, come up with a brilliant title and remove anything in the post that strays from it.
Short and simple
This rule applies to sentences as well as paragraphs and even words.
Don’t use a $5 million word when a $2 word will suffice
- We will accompany you – We will go with you
- When you relocate to – When you move to
- The optimum time to buy (or sell) – The best time to buy (or sell)
- Obtain a mortgage – get a home loan
- Purchase a home – Buy a home
The same holds true for sentences and paragraphs; keep them short and easy to read.
When a visitor lands on your blog post, it’s the visual appeal that he or she will notice first. If your post appears too wordy, too challenging to read, the chances are good your visitor will leave.
Aside from that snappy title, one of the best ways to “trick” them into staying is by making the post appear to be a quick, easy read. Use the following in each post:
- Lots of white space. You can get this by keeping your paragraphs short – no longer than five sentences, but shorter is better.
- Bullet points
- Numbered lists
- Stand-alone quotes
- Proof and edit – a couple of times
Congratulations! You’ve got yourself a first draft. Keep in mind that
“The first draft of anything is sh#$”
According to the late Ernest Hemmingway.
Now, you need to hone that blog post. Read through it, looking for spelling, grammar and punctuation mistakes. Then, check it for factual and logical errors. Ensure that claims you make are backed up by facts.
We found the perfect example of a logical error on a New Jersey luxury agent’s blog. He opens it with a question, asking the reader if he or she is considering “knocking down the walls of an existing property.”
As opposed to a non-existing property? Hopefully, had the agent proofed his post, he would’ve caught this. Obviously, he didn’t proof.
After making your edits, read the post once more for flow. Organize the information so that each thought leads logically to the next.
Then, set it aside for a few hours and repeat the process. You may be surprised how many mistakes you missed on the first-read.
Your final task is to share your content — in as many places as possible.
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