By Todd Carpenter, Director of Digital Engagement, National Association of REALTORS®
I wrote my first blog post about the real estate and mortgage industries on Jan. 27, 2005. Much has changed, but several truths about blogging have remained pretty constant:
Take all the training you want. Read every book. Learn from a lifetime of experience. Nobody will really care until you share that knowledge. Until I started my blog, I was just a good account executive for a lender. After I started it, I became an industry expert that other news organizations wanted to quote. People don’t want you to tell them you are an expert. They want you to prove it.
2. Have a business purpose behind every blog post you write.
I’ve written about this before. Beyond proving your own expertise to a reader, a great blog posts also serves additional business purposes. They could be designed to help you network with local businesses, or win in the search engines, or to build a library of FAQs you can reference later. Whatever it is, try to establish a business purpose for your posts before you write them.
3. Social networks come and go, but your Web site is forever.
There’s only one place on the Internet where you get to make all the rules. You get to decide when to ask for the sale. You get to decide if others can advertise next to your content. You get to decide who else gets to comment on your work. Where the platform’s very existence is assured. That’s your own Web site or blog. If you have put all your eggs in a basket where you don’t get to make the rules, what are you going to do when the rules get changed for you? A Web site or blog has to be the hub of all of your digital communications.
4. Great work doesn’t come free.
When it comes to hosting your blog or Web site, don’t trust them to a free site. You get what you pay for.
5. If you’re wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.
This comes straight from Dale Carnegie. People make mistakes. Life goes on. If you’ve found yourself in a position where you want to take something back, just say you’re sorry and take it back. It’s really that easy.
6. Become genuinely interested in other people.
I often refer to a great set of posts by Jeff Turner on listening as a strategy. Again, this is a concept from Dale Carnegie, who once said, “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.” The more time you spend learning about people in your community, the more you’ll have to write about.
7. Be willing to take risks.
Management guru Peter Drucker once said, “People who don’t take risks generally make about two big mistakes a year. People who do take risks generally make about two big mistakes a year.” Seven years after my first blog post, there are still dynamics at play in this new social world that are a mystery to me. I know that I will make more mistakes. I can’t let that stop me, and neither can you. Just try your best and learn from them.
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.