‘Why Should I Write for You?’

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

Todd Carpenter, Managing Director of the Data Analytics Group at NAR I'm a twenty year veteran of the real estate and mortgage industry, focusing on technology that fosters relationships between professionals and consumers. I am a subject matter expert in data analytics, online consumer trends, enterprise social media strategy, listing data, agent ratings, and public facing MLS portals.

More Posts - Website - Twitter

  1. Good advice Todd. As someone who has done them all in the past, I think you nailed it. Before I commit now, I look at what my returns are and if that outweighs the time to write, I’ll jump in.

    Sometimes, I’ll write on other sites for nothing more than a few good backlinks 🙂

  2. I loved this one…”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.”

    Brilliant! Thanks Todd!

  3. There’s a big difference between regular contributor and guest author. I always liked writing on other blogs for a few reasons.

    1. I might be writing about something that my home blog isn’t interested in but the guest blog audience is.

    2. I might be looking for the additional exposure as you mention and a outside blog means I’ll be meeting and seeing new faces.

    It might be just me but I don’t sweat the backlinks and SEO side of it. To me, it’s more about the relationships.

  4. I agree on the back-links Mike. However, I think it’s something a blogger should consider offering if they are asking writers to write for free.

  5. Hi Todd ~
    Long time no see ~ since Inman SF in 2007?
    I have avoided all of this stuff with my blogging.
    My intent is to present unbiased, personally-written content to my audience.
    That principle has worked quite well for me.

  6. Phil,

    I agree that the most important place you can write is on your own blog.

  7. Yup, I sure can dig the Wham! concept. As a recent journalist and a non fiction writer my entire career, I recently entered the blog posting scene. It is interesting and sometimes fun; however, it not the “real thing.” (I.E. being the news and features editor on the staff of a newspaper).