This time last year I wrote an article that listed 10 professional new year’s resolutions for REALTORS®. This year, I’m refining that article to highlight a single resolution – the most powerful one: WRITING

New year’s resolutions are great – the start of a fresh year is a perfect time to have a list of personal and professional items to work on. We all know how overwhelming that can be though. If we had to point out the #1 thing you should focus on this year to increase your website traffic and build your business, it would be to simply write more.

Write more blog posts, more facebook posts, more Instagram posts, more ads, more ebooks and whitepapers, more buyers guides, etc! And focus on quality – quantity alone is not good enough. You will need quality written content, and a lot of it. Don’t just blog about your weekend every week – people don’t care (sorry to be so blunt!)

Good content + good consistency is the winning formula. You can’t just pick one.

Also, don’t be a robot. Tell stories, become human, let people fall in love with who you are and why you do what you do. Let your brand shine through your writing, and don’t be afraid to enjoy the creative process of writing.

This suggested new year’s resolution has two separate targets:

  1. Search Engines
  2. Humans

There was a time, years ago, when “writing” on the internet was not so sophisticated. Search engines were still relatively new and easy to fool. Web designers would include a list of keywords at the bottom of their page, and format the font of those keywords to match the website’s background colour (aka invisible text.) You could only see these keywords if you highlighted them. (PS. This is a “Black Hat” SEO tactic… not good, never do it)

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Black Hat SEO - Invisible Text
Sites like this one used to use Invisible Text to fool popular search engines. If you try this now, your domain will be blacklisted online.

This worked because of the lack of sophistication in the algorithms of popular search engines. Those days are long dead.

Nowadays, Search Engine algorithms have evolved to the point where there really is no fooling them anymore. Google is smarter than people at this point, so don’t bother trying to fight them – it’s much easier to work with them. The evolution has made it so that authenticity in writing is able to shine, while spam-like content keeps being pushed lower and lower in the ranks.

So in other words, write for the Humans, and the Search Engines will also love your writing.

Writing for real estate agents
You'll be having a lot of these moments this year!

The top search engines have weaved very tight rules into their algorithms (and a lot of them) over the years. Now, you really need to produce great content on a regular basis if you want search engines to serve up your website pages at all. Either that or you need some pretty deep pockets for advertising – even then, if the content you’re promoting sucks you’re just burning your marketing budget to no avail.

Let me give you a scenario:

  • REALTORS® Jim & Emily both have $1,000 advertising budget for the month.
  • Jim creates an ad that sends people to their website homepage. The ad reads “Excellent Real Estate Agent.”
  • Emily creates an ad that sends people to a blog article on their website. The ad reads “5 Tips For Keeping Your Condo Warm This Winter.”
  • When you click Jim’s ad, the homepage of their website shows you their photo, name, some contact info, a brief generic write up and maybe a few listings.
  • When you click Emily’s ad, their blog article shows you a title which matches the ad copy, as well as a few relevant images and the article, wrapped in Emily’s website design.
  • Jim targets people searching for keywords like “Real Estate Agent” and “REALTOR®” in their area.
  • Emily targets people in their area who are searching for keywords like “Winter Heating Tips” and “Condo Heating” in their area.

Now let me ask you some questions…

  1. Who’s ad do you think received more clicks?
  2. Of the people who clicked the ads, how long do you think Jim’s visitors stayed on the site vs. Emily’s visitors?
  3. Did Jim or Emily’s visitors view a relevant page upon clicking the advertisement?
  4. Did Jim or Emily provide something useful and informative?
  5. Are Jim or Emily more likely to have their page shared by visitors?
  6. Are Jim or Emily more likely to be bookmarked by a visitor?
  7. Do you feel more expertise and credibility from Jim or Emily?

I hope you see where I’m going with this… Emily is the clear winner. I’m not saying that their ad or article was world-class or anything, but it will definitely attract more relevant traffic – and thus qualified leads – than Jim’s efforts.

Why, though? How?! Allow me to explain…

1. Why did Emily’s advertisement receive more clicks?

Their ad headline is much more descriptive, and explains in much more detail what kind of information you will find if you click. “Excellent Real Estate Agent” is way too generic of a headline – and doesn’t actually tell you what you’re going to view upon clicking… What exactly IS an Excellent Real Estate Agent and why do they need it? People don’t buy what you do they buy why you do it… Emily gives us a better idea of why, whereas Jim only lets us know what!

Why did Emily’s visitors stay on their site longer?

The visitors who were looking for things like “Winter Heating Tips” or “Condo Heating” found exactly what they were looking for on Emily’s blog. If the article takes 5 minutes to read, then the average time on the page is going to be somewhere close to that. However, those who were searching for “Real Estate Agent” or “REALTOR®,” and who actually ended up clicking on Jim’s ad will not have any reason to stick around for too long. A generic home page is A) not typical of an “Excellent Real Estate Agent” and B) is not a good landing page for your ads.

Why is Emily doing a better job of targeting prospects by using keywords such as “Winter Heating Tips” and “Condo Heating”?

It is much easier to rank well for long-tail keywords like Winter Heating Tips because there is far less global and local search queries for that than there are for the word “REALTOR®” or “Real Estate Agent.” If you are trying to rank high in Google for the search term “REALTOR®,” I wish you good luck – you’re going to need a miracle. However, you have a much higher chance of catching a big fish in a smaller pond with long-tail keywords, like Emily has used.

Why is it important that Emily provided something useful and informative?

These days everybody has a website and an online presence. Some of my friend’s pets have more followers and friends than I do. How do you stand out amongst all the content and information? Used to be you could get away with just being present online… these days it takes more to capture the attention of potential leads. That’s where useful and informative content comes into play. Anybody can say they are excellent… but not everyone can prove it.

Why is Emily more likely than Jim to have their page bookmarked or shared by a visitor?

Not to say that nobody will ever share or bookmark Jim’s homepage… however there would need to be a good reason to do so. Is there a resource available on the page? A listing that someone is interested in? Okay great… Jim MIGHT get bookmarked or shared. However, Emily has a much higher potential for being shared or bookmarked because of the nature of their written content. Their blog post is useful to condo owners (local and global,) and has the potential to make people look intelligent if they share it. People will share content that aligns with their beliefs or makes them look intelligent or informed online… you could help make others look good by association with your written content!

Why does Emily exude more expertise and credibility than Jim?

Imagine going to a cocktail party where everyone you meet keeps telling you [tactlessly] how awesome they are, and listing their accomplishments. I have a feeling you would get pretty tired of that party. Now imagine someone walks in who is full of awesome personal stories, tidbits of neat information, relevant jokes, and is generally a great conversationalist. That person is going to come across much more Awesome than the people who just keep saying they are Awesome. Credibility and expertise are earned in a similar fashion – you can’t just say you’re an expert. You have to prove it if you want anybody to believe you. People have really strong BS radars these days – we are always being sold on something, so we’ve adapted. If you produce BS written content, you will get BS results – if you produce credible, expertly written content, you will get recognized as a credible expert.

The Dojo is Challenging you to write marketing content every week this year

Before letting you go I’d like to leave you with a writing challenge:

I challenge you to add a new content writing strategy to your marketing mix for 2017, and I further challenge you to stick to it for all 52 weeks of the year – if you want to see results, that is.

Last year, we blogged once every week and that resulted in a ton of new website visitors and customers for RealtyNinja. Last year our blog traffic was up 500% over 2015 – this year, we’re going to write EVEN more… more website pages, more social media posts, more PDFs, more articles (our own and guest posts) and so much more. We want you to experience the same awesome results we did through blogging every week – thus the writing challenge!

If you do decide to participate in this challenge, I’d like to follow up with you every so often to see how things are going and to offer any assistance. Please comment on this post below, and let me know how you intend to participate in the challenge; how you intend to inject some more written content into your online presence! I’ll be in touch ;)

Thanks, Ninjas! Have an awesome day and an even more awesome year!