By Todd Carpenter, Director of Digital Engagement, National Association of REALTORS®
A friend of mine came to me yesterday asking if I thought it was a good idea to write for a high profile blog/site in the real estate industry. My answer was, “It depends.” You need to ask yourself what you hope to get out of it, and ask that blogger if he can deliver on the return you are working for. Here are some motivations to blog for someone else:
Blogging for pay: I get paid to blog here. It’s part of my job duties at NAR. This isn’t new: I was paid to be a blogger all the way back in 2006. It’s more common than you might imagine. If bloggers want your contributions enough, they may be willing to pay you for your efforts. Don’t buy into the idea that they are doing you some kind of favor. You are more than making up for their generosity with your content. It’s worth asking if they are willing to pay you for your work.
Blogging for your résumé: I wrote for the Inman News blog for a year. The main reason I did it was to be able to put it on my résumé. In this case, Inman paid me in social capital. Depending on your long-term goals, it might be worth it for you to blog to boost your professional credentials. Of course, once you can put it on your résumé and the returns on your efforts start to diminish, you may find that it’s time to move on. Don’t worry about letting that blogger down. If they are paying writers in social capital, they should be used to the turnover.
Blogging to build a relationship: This is one of the best opportunities for real estate bloggers. There are local bloggers who write about community concerns, charities, events, or their own businesses. They have the same struggles you do in coming up with good content. You can help them by blogging for them. I used to tell loan officers that one of the best ways to connect with real estate agents is to offer to blog for them. There are people in your community who are in a position to refer you real business. If you can find a way to help them with blogging, it could be the best “paying” blogging gig you could ever hope for.
Blogging for exposure: The most common carrot that bloggers waive when recruiting writers is exposure. If this is your reasoning for joining a blog, I caution you against it. First of all, few blogs really have the ability to provide the exposure you’re looking for. Doubt me? Just ask to see their traffic reports from Google Analytics. But beyond that, you will always be the other guy who sang in Wham! when you blog for someone else. Every blog has its star, and you are not it.
Guest blogging: Instead of becoming a regular contributor to a blog, you might consider offering occasional guest posts. These posts build relationships and increase your exposure without the forcing you to commit to regular contributions. The dirty little secret of most group blogs is that they need your content more than you need whatever they are likely to be offering. Don’t be afraid to be non-committal in how often you will post. If it’s not important to your résumé, sending a blogger an occasional guest post is often the best arrangement.
Todd Carpenter, Senior Manager of Industry Engagement at Trulia Previously the Director of Digital Engagement for The National Association of REALTORS®, overseeing the association’s communication strategy on its social media channels. He's also been a real estate and mortgage professional since 1992 and created the first broker-focused mortgage blog in 2005. Todd is an industry pioneer in leveraging the social web.