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Can I Pick Your Brains on Blogging?

45 posts by 16 users

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Karen Margrave Moderator

Developer from Orange County, California

Nov 15 '12, 12:56 PM


To all of you bloggers, I know some of you have blogs that are highlighted on BP, are your blogs also part of a blog that you do seperately in your business, or do you do them only for BP? Do you write a blog that goes with your website?

How do you decide upon content for your blog? Do you have a theme that you go with for a while, or choose random issues that are connected with your business etc.? How far out to you plan your blogs?

As most of you know I am involved in real estate development and construction. Once projects are built, we sometimes handle the lease space out, and then sell buildings/units to investors, etc. I'm just not sure what type of content works best for my type of business. The point of my website is basically to give potential buyers/investors someplace to see who we are, what we are currently working on or have coming up, pick up potential buyers/investors, and future tenants. Not sure what segment of the business to highlight in a blog.

I read many of the blogs written by BP members, and they're very good. Just looking for pointers, opinions as to whether or not blogging is worth it, how often you do them, etc...whatever you can share will help me, and others. Thanks everyone!



Karen Margrave, Parlay Investments, 1st American Construction
E-Mail: [email protected]
Telephone: 949-933-3955
Website: http://www.parlayinvestments.com
PARLAY: definition: to increase or otherwise transform into something of much greater value


James Vermillion Donor

Real Estate Investor from Lexington, Kentucky

Nov 15 '12, 01:17 PM
3 votes


Karen,

I do not consider myself an expert blogger or even an above average one, but I enjoy doing it and find it has many benefits. I only blog for BP (never even thought about blogging until after I had been a BP member for a while and started my own member blog to write about things as they came up). Now, I write for the Bigger Pockets Blog exclusively.

As you know, I do sometimes go with a theme (I have done several 3 on 3 posts and have several more planned) while other times a write about things that have come up in my business and and I feel should be highlighted. I focus a lot on articles/posts that new investors would find particularly helpful, as I am still new to this myself and hope I am able to help others.

I can tell you several of the benefits I have enjoyed:

1) It makes me think about my own way of doing business. I think of it as a report card of sorts because when I am writing advice for others it forces me to think about if I am following that advice myself.

2) I have received business opportunities because of the articles I have written, which is always nice.

You have had many fantastic forum posts on BP, so if you are looking to use your website blog to show people who you are, read through your previous posts to get ideas (all you will have to do is expand them into blog posts).



Medium_kvJames Vermillion, K&V Investing
E-Mail: [email protected]
Website: http://www.kandvinvesting.com
Invested in the Bluegrass!


Joshua Dorkin Verified Donor

BiggerPockets Founder from Denver, Colorado

Nov 15 '12, 01:21 PM
1 vote


Karen - I know you're not asking me for my opinion, but I'll give it regardless, and hopefully others will chime in as well.

The keys to being successful in blogging are:
- Having a Consistent Message
- Having a Voice (opinion/angle)
- Being Informative
- Being Well Written
- Giving Your Readers What they Want and More
- Not selling out

I've read hundreds of articles on blogging and have been doing it for over 7 years now; I've seen people come and go, but the people who last and build an audience are those that follow the above list.

We have many bloggers here who blog on both their own site and BP, we have others who just blog on BP, and of course, there are many bloggers who only blog on their own sites. There are costs and benefits to all 3 options.

The greatest benefit to starting with us is that you've got a built in audience. This is where investors hang out and as such, if you're writing quality content, those investors will naturally see what you're writing, without needing to hunt around online to find it.

Do I think blogging is worth it? Yep.

The guys that I consider quality bloggers in this and other niches, have all built a solid business around their blog. The investors who do it get leads and close deals. The agents that do it get clients and listings. The lenders who do it get customers to lend to.

That said, like anything else, it takes work and determination. But, if you go for it and stick it out, the odds are in your favor.



Medium_bp-squareJoshua Dorkin, BiggerPockets
E-Mail: [email protected]
Telephone: 877-831-4704
Website: http://www.biggerpockets.com
Get your logo in your signature too! Upgrade to PRO Today at http://www.biggerpockets.com/pro


Dean Letfus

Real Estate Investor from Memphis, Tennessee

Nov 15 '12, 01:58 PM
1 vote


Hi Karen. I have blogged for 7 years and gained clients round the world as a result. I believe consistency is the key. I blogged everyday for years and would get emails if I missed a day.
If you want it in multiple places write multiple blogs as duplicate content gets downgraded in google. Use back links to sites that are not yours and use interesting or provocative titles. And lastly use tags consistently and have a tag cloud on your home page.



Al Williamson

Multi-family Investor from Sacramento, California

Nov 15 '12, 04:20 PM
1 vote


Karen M. I think it would be interesting to collect emails of folk interested in investing in your projects and share construction updates, construction photos, highlight cool energy saving/LEED features as the go in - explain the benefits. That way, when it's time to lease/sale, you'll have some engaging content for your target customers to consume.

Best to you.



Medium_leadinglandlord180x180pxAl Williamson, Leading Landlord
E-Mail: [email protected]
Website: http://leadinglandlord.com
Helping Landlords Increase Their Income and Equity


Jerry Puckett Verified

Wholesaler from Irving, Texas

Nov 15 '12, 04:46 PM
1 vote


Karen M.,
I'm pretty much a newbie Blogger, and I've only blogged on BP...if I blogged on my own site, I doubt anyone would see it! But @Joshua Dorkin is right on when he says that blogging done right will generate business. My last few posts have just about doubled my sideline business...

But I think @Al Williamson steered you in the right direction. I tend to explain things to my clients over and over by email. I finally got it into my head to say it one good time and make an article of it. In other words, collect and expand your emails, and get in the habit of posting regularly. That will be a good consistent source of extremely relevant material. Two things Google loves: Fresh and Relevant!



Medium_untitledJerry Puckett, New Refined Images LLC
E-Mail: [email protected]
Telephone: (214) 699-7565
Website: http://marketlikeawholesaler.com
I help Investors buy wholesale | Direct Mail & Internet Marketing


Karen Margrave Moderator

Developer from Orange County, California

Nov 15 '12, 05:06 PM


Thanks guys! Some great advice. @James Vermillion funny I didn't even think of your 3/3 as a blog. @Joshua Dorkin Your wisdom is always appreicated, and in fact one of your posts is what inspired me to delve into the subject. All of you have unique perspectives, and I appreciate you sharing, I'm sure others will too.



Karen Margrave, Parlay Investments, 1st American Construction
E-Mail: [email protected]
Telephone: 949-933-3955
Website: http://www.parlayinvestments.com
PARLAY: definition: to increase or otherwise transform into something of much greater value


Sharon Vornholt

Real Estate Investor from Goshen, Kentucky

Nov 15 '12, 05:13 PM


[/b]
[b]

Originally posted by Karen M.:
To all of you bloggers, I know some of you have blogs that are highlighted on BP, are your blogs also part of a blog that you do seperately in your business, or do you do them only for BP? Do you write a blog that goes with your website?

How do you decide upon content for your blog? Do you have a theme that you go with for a while, or choose random issues that are connected with your business etc.? How far out to you plan your blogs?

As most of you know I am involved in real estate development and construction. Once projects are built, we sometimes handle the lease space out, and then sell buildings/units to investors, etc. I'm just not sure what type of content works best for my type of business. The point of my website is basically to give potential buyers/investors someplace to see who we are, what we are currently working on or have coming up, pick up potential buyers/investors, and future tenants. Not sure what segment of the business to highlight in a blog.

I read many of the blogs written by BP members, and they're very good. Just looking for pointers, opinions as to whether or not blogging is worth it, how often you do them, etc...whatever you can share will help me, and others. Thanks everyone!

Karen-

I tried doing a blog on BP along with my blog, and it is just too much work. Your blog should be about what you do; what you know and love. You can do "themed" posts that you break up into parts like part 1, part 2 etc. You can also do random posts. I often look here on the forum to see what folks have questions about, and I will get an idea from those questions and write a post.

I would look at it like this; "What do I do, and what do I know that I could teach other"s? Just write short articles about the components of your business. I don't know what platform your site is build on, but can you add a blog component to your existing site? You showcase what you do there so a blog component would work very good.

If you can't do that, set up a self hosted wordpress blog and link your blog posts back to your site. That will work very well too. You can call me sometime and we can talk about this if you want to.

In a perfect world you would be ahead a couple of weeks on your posts, but when you have a business it's hard to maintain. I would just strive to do at least 2 posts a week when you are beginning. 3 would be better, but at least two.

Sharon



Karen Margrave Moderator

Developer from Orange County, California

Nov 15 '12, 08:41 PM


@Sharon Vornholt Thank you, I was hoping you'd weigh in.



Karen Margrave, Parlay Investments, 1st American Construction
E-Mail: [email protected]
Telephone: 949-933-3955
Website: http://www.parlayinvestments.com
PARLAY: definition: to increase or otherwise transform into something of much greater value


Sean H.

Landlord from Pennsylvania

Nov 16 '12, 04:43 AM
1 vote


Karen,

I am in charge of company's blog (non-REI related). The best advice on finding topics to talk about I can give you is to think about questions that your potential customers are having about your product, then answer them in a blog post. How to's, Versus, and articles that talk about price are huge hits in terms of customer visits.

I can speak with great authority that since we have started blogging, we have seen our business nearly double, and if we get all of the work we have bid on, triple again within the next two years. This is mainly because no one was doing it in my industry, but as you can see from the other posters, there is still plenty of room in real estate for great content.

Two great resources for information on business blogging and internet marketing that I have used to help me get started and find motivation to keep it going are:

blog.hubspot.com

www.thesaleslion.com



Sean H., STH Landholdings, LLC
[email protected]


J Scott Moderator Donor

Real Estate Investor from Ellicott City, Maryland

Nov 16 '12, 05:02 AM
2 votes


Hey Karen -

My take is that your blog needs to be about two things:

1. Topics that will appeal to the specific audience you're trying to attract to the site. If you're trying to attract customers for your construction business, write about topics that would appeal to people who would be buying construction services. As someone who buys construction services, I like to see lots of pictures, I like to learn about the construction process, I like to see the scope of work a contractor has the ability to perform. These are all things you can highlight on the blog -- pictures of projects, commentary on the process and scope of the various projects you're working on, discussion of the technical nuances and interesting things you see on your projects, etc. If your target audience is someone else, figure out what they want to see and write about that.

2. Topics that you can get excited about. I've written several thousand blog posts over the past 4 years, and I would have given up a LOOOONNNNNGGGGG time ago if the subject matter I was writing about wasn't interesting to me. You have to like what you're writing about or the motivation will disappear very quickly.

I also find that posting consistently is key. Don't post every day if you can't keep it up (I did that for 2 years before I almost burned out), but try to post at least twice a week.

Lastly, try to do something different than everyone else blogging on the same topic. If you can do something to stand out, people will notice. For my blog, I go into gory financial details on my projects -- as far as I know, nobody was doing that before I started blogging, and I have a lot of people who have been coming back to my blog for years because that's the information they want to see and nobody else provides it (at least nobody did before I did :).

Josh had a great list of keys to successful blogging. Stick to those and you'll do great.



Medium_lishproplogoJ Scott, Lish Properties, LLC
E-Mail: [email protected]
Website: http://www.123flip.com
CHECK OUT MY BIGGERPOCKETS BOOKS: http://www.biggerpockets.com/flippingbook


Brandon L.

Homeowner from Camarillo, California

Nov 16 '12, 11:50 AM
1 vote


Hi Karen,

A lot of good points have already been brought up and @Joshua Dorkin and @James Vermillion nailed it.

I wanted to give a little feedback on what I have been doing. I was blogging on BP (although I have been slacking big time in the last few months), and blogging on my website. I gained a few clients through blogging on BP and a few through my own blog. But, the thing that has been working really well for me is creating a video about my blog post and putting it on YouTube.

I find a popular topic, create a blog post about it, then create a video basically covering the entire blog post. I then put that video on YouTube (5-10 min max video length) and anyone searching for that topic will see my video. The one thing I like to do is create a free info guide or include an extra bonus in the blog post on my site and that I leave it out of the video and tell everyone in the video I have a free download or a few more tips on my site about that topic and tell them to click the link in the description to access the blog post.

It's a good way to get traffic, provide good content, and become an authority in your niche (which leads to more clients). Plus, those videos will never go away...so the more you do, the bigger you get.

A quick example...if you are looking for people in foreclosure you can create a blog post about the Top 5 Ways To Get Out Of Foreclosure (just an example). Then create a blog post about it and included a 6th bonus tip in the blog post. Then create the video about the post telling people the top 5 ways....then says we have a 6th bonus tip for you on our site. The viewer will then check out your article. It's a pretty cool way to get traffic...because what's the point of blogging on your site if no one reads it?



Sharon Vornholt

Real Estate Investor from Goshen, Kentucky

Nov 16 '12, 02:16 PM


Great idea with the sixth tip! I will be totally stealing this one @Brandon L. I do video and blog posts, but have just recently set up my plan for combining the two. I love that ideal.



Brandon L.

Homeowner from Camarillo, California

Nov 16 '12, 02:42 PM


@Sharon Vornholt Great, I am glad you found it useful! Another cool thing is to offer then some kind of free PDF download that goes along with the blog post or video. Something like a checklist or more in-depth guide (just ideas) because that can be something they keep or share and since it will be branded with your logos and links it will always help you out.



Leon Yang

Real Estate Investor from Las Vegas, Nevada

Nov 17 '12, 11:09 PM


I am kind of curious as to how you guys build your audience/traffic? What was the turning point besides having awesome content? Did it take months? Years?



J Scott Moderator Donor

Real Estate Investor from Ellicott City, Maryland

Nov 18 '12, 05:45 AM
1 vote


Originally posted by Leon Yang:
I am kind of curious as to how you guys build your audience/traffic? What was the turning point besides having awesome content? Did it take months? Years?

My traffic/readership has built steadily over the four years I've been writing. I like to think that consistently good content and not selling out (I give lots of stuff away but don't sell anything) has helped a lot.

A big turning point for me was when I got involved with BiggerPockets. Staying active here has probably been the single biggest traffic driver to my site other than organic Google search (not that I stay active here for that reason, of course, but it's a nice benefit).



Medium_lishproplogoJ Scott, Lish Properties, LLC
E-Mail: [email protected]
Website: http://www.123flip.com
CHECK OUT MY BIGGERPOCKETS BOOKS: http://www.biggerpockets.com/flippingbook


Joshua Dorkin Verified Donor

BiggerPockets Founder from Denver, Colorado

Nov 18 '12, 06:40 AM


I love hearing that, @J Scott! What I've seen is that our active members (forums/blogs) tend to grow a nice readership of their off-site blogs, and those who become our regular contributors to the BiggerPockets Blog tend to see almost explosive growth as a result of their participation here.

BP can be an incredible tool for building your readership!

@Leon Yang - For me it was a slow build up over the course of the years. I've been at this for around 7 years now, and we really saw growth kick in on years 3-4 or so. I listed the items that I think are important above.

If you're thinking about it, give it a go and see if it is for you. Blogging isn't for everyone, but we definitely need more real estate investor bloggers. It amazes me how few there really are. If you take out the sell-outs (those people who are just doing it to hawk stuff), the list is miniscule.

That said, the regular bloggers I know tend to get a LOT of benefit from their writing.



Medium_bp-squareJoshua Dorkin, BiggerPockets
E-Mail: [email protected]
Telephone: 877-831-4704
Website: http://www.biggerpockets.com
Get your logo in your signature too! Upgrade to PRO Today at http://www.biggerpockets.com/pro


Karen Margrave Moderator

Developer from Orange County, California

Nov 18 '12, 12:07 PM


My biggest thing is I have somewhat of an identity crisis. We are real estate developers/contractors/licensed brokers. However; our market is in developing new projects which we sell to investors that buy and hold, or sometimes owner/users. We also lease up the properties if necessary for buyers of the buildings/commercial condos etc.

My dilemma is trying to figure out what it is we do that would interest others. I do get interest from people on BP wanting to learn about real estate development and the process, do you think doing blogs on real estate development, investing in commercial real estate, our local market, etc. would be good subject matter?



Karen Margrave, Parlay Investments, 1st American Construction
E-Mail: [email protected]
Telephone: 949-933-3955
Website: http://www.parlayinvestments.com
PARLAY: definition: to increase or otherwise transform into something of much greater value


Jon Klaus Moderator Donor

Real Estate Investor from Garland, Texas

Nov 18 '12, 12:16 PM
1 vote


I think your blog could gain a following. I know a company in OC that bought a class A office condo a few years ago and now they are out of space and struggling with their options. I'm sure your blog could be very helpful to them. Their sandbox of OC and LA has 80,000 small businesses, 30 or more employees. Even if just 1-3 % of them were in your target, that's what I call a pretty big little market.



Jon Klaus, SellPropertyFast
E-Mail: [email protected]
Telephone: 214-929-6545
Website: http://www.facebook.com/Buttermilks


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