7 Things I’ve Learned in 7 Years of Blogging

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:

1. Knowledge is learned, expertise is imparted.

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

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.

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  1. I need to get better at #2. Thanks for posting!

  2. Hi Todd ~
    I’m sure you will recall meeting @ Inman SF awhile back.
    All good advice.
    You have been blogging slightly longer than me ~ my first post was 9/16/06.
    I now have more than 1,100 posts and post daily.
    No self-serving sales talk, no overt personal promotion, no bragging.
    Just helpful insights intended to help consumers understand how real estate really works vs. how people think it works!

  3. If course I remember meeting you Phil. I interviewed you for Blog Fiesta as well. Good times. You’ve been doing it right for a long time!

  4. Todd, Great post. I always love reading your thoughts. And like a great red wine you’ve obviously matured very well during those 7 years of blogging. And not surprisingly. point 7 is my favourite point in the post.

  5. Great post Phil, I have been bloging since 2010 and with every article i publish i notice i am providing more and more value for my readership….bloging has been the best think i have done not only for myself but for my business as wel.

  6. Really good advice, Todd. All of it. I think #1 is the biggest challenge for a lot of people: Sharing expertise feels like they are giving away trade secrets. But it’s not it’s establishing credibility and building trust!

    Those who see it that way will really differentiate themselves, and get ahead.

  7. Hi Todd, These are really succinct and well put. Too many of us forget our business purpose and post on topics outside of our core mission. Thanks for the reminder to knock that off!

  8. Great reminders, Todd. #3 and #4 can’t be emphasized enough. Our Reno Realty Blog is also approaching seven years.