Let me get this out of the way… I break this rule ALL of the time… on almost all of my blogs.

Have a “Content Bank” with pre-written posts!

If you have blogged for a while, you’ve been there.  Deadline approaching, the well seems dry.  There should be 100 things to write about, but none of them seem to be working… you feel all blocked up.

Of course, when you don’t NEED a post, ideas flow freely.  So, the trick is to capture that free flowing creativity.  Write when you don’t need to write, and make withdrawals from your bank when the well seems dry.  When I have been on top of this with my blogs, I have had a month of posts banked and ready to publish.

The danger is getting too comfortable with the bank and not making enough deposits.

Another danger is content that can go stale.  Some blogs don’t have issues with the timeliness of content.  Other blogs only have a shelf life of a few days on a topic.  Most are in between, with some topics that can sit on the sidelines until they are needed and others needing to get out as quick as possible.

My real estate blog is like that… market reports need to get out on schedule, but other posts are timely even a few years after being written.  Occasionally, a topic pops up that HAS to go out right away.  Using my Editorial Calendar, I can track and schedule posts.  I can rearrange them if a timely topic comes up.


So, my New year’s Resolution for my blogs is to re-build my Post Banks.  I will try to build up a month’s worth of posts for each blog.  For me that means that I will have a total of about 60-75 posts across all of my blogs.

In order to accomplish that, I will need to do a few things…

  • Series Posts.  They are often easier to write since the subject is partially pre-set.
  • Video Posts.  Frankly, they can be a little quicker for me to produce.
  • Formula Posts.  My Market Report posts are pretty quick to write.  Of course, the problem is that I can’t write them until the data comes out.  But since I have 8 market areas to post about, I can dribble them out for a few weeks.
  • Guest Posts.  I haven’t leveraged these much yet, but would love to bring in some other writers from time to time.

We’ll see how I do…

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Just about all Internet marketers (that would be anyone that markets on the internet, not just internet based companies) want to create a “Viral Ad Campaign.”  The dream is that for almost no money, they will create an ad or campaign that everyone just HAS to share with all of their friends.  It will end up getting more views that a Super Bowl ad, and more click-throughs than tabloid pics of Brittany Spears with a shaved head.

Humor, shock and amazement are the ingredients… but the exact recipe is pretty tough to figure out.

Click the pic to go to Voltier Digital's post on Going Viral.

I don’t have a relationship with Voltier Digital… I just saw the graphic and thought it would be a cool share.

I actually like writing this blog, but there are times when it is REALLY tough to come up with topics.  Not that there is a shortage of topics… new ones make themselves known every day.  No, the problem is time and having a topic at the top og my mind when I need to write one.

Posterous Logo
Image via Wikipedia

There are a couple of ways to deal with those issues… to begin with, using a tool like WP Editorial Calendar (If it weren’t free, I’d have an affiliate link… but you can find it through your Add New Plug-in Menu on your WordPress Control Panel.  Using the editorial calendar makes scheduling future posts a snap.  When I’m on top of my game, I have a few weeks of posts scheduled.  That also means that as I run across an idea for a post, I can write it and schedule it for the future… on MY schedule, instead of on the blog’s schedule.

Another way I have thought of to do this is a little more radical…

Posterous makes it REALLY easy to be an editor rather than a writer.  Instead of writing and researching to create blog posts, Posterous (through browser plug-ins) makes it a snap to share articles from the web.  After running across an appropriate article, just click the share button in the browser and write a few notes. Of course, you still have the ability to knock out a more traditional post, as well.

The logo of the blogging software WordPress.
Image via Wikipedia

While it is REALLY easy to do, maintaining a schedule like I do on all of my blogs is pretty tough.  This blog, for example, should be updated every 4 days… at 8:00am (when I am keeping up).  Posterous doesn’t have an editorial calendar built in, nor the ability (yet) to plug one in.

If you are wondering what that looks like, here is my CoolCaroftheDay.mobi site.  It is a companion site to CoolCaroftheDay.com (which is a WordPress based site).

The bottom line is that there are a few ways to keep the blog flowing…  And honestly, I’m seriously considering porting this blog over to Posterous and becoming more of an editor rather than an author.

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Blogging Heroes
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Real Estate Professionals are becoming more and more convinced that blogging is a necessary marketing tactic.  So, the question is steadily shifting from “Should I be blogging?” to “Where should I be blogging?


For Real Estate Professionals, there are a variety of choices, ranging from real estate specific blogging channels to general blogging channels to self-hosted options.  And each of them has advantages and disadvantages.  Of course, for those that aren’t blogging, the first hurdle is to get started… and the actual location, while important, isn’t as important enough to stop the progress while working out the location…


Real Estate Specific Channels – Utilizing a network that is tweaked towards real estate blogging has some GREAT advantages for the new blogger.  From a technical standpoint, there is built in SEO (Search Engine Optimization) with the platform since there are multitudes of bloggers writing about real estate.  Search Engines see the content and make it a trusted source more quickly.  Also, some of the networks have great user communities, leading to opportunities to learn more about blogging and technology, as well as build referral relationships.

Image representing YouTube as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBase

On the flip side, you don’t control the platform.  Management might be GREAT at the moment, but what it the platform is purchased by a company with poor practices, or worse… by a competing real estate empire? What if they introduce advertising on the blogs, and your competitors can by ad space on YOUR content?  The bottom line is that you don’t have control over what goes out to the consumer.  You only control your content.


But, on the balance, this might be a great place to start, discover your voice and stretch your blogging legs.  You might find yourself outgrowing it, though.

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...
Image via CrunchBase

General Blogging Channels – These carry most of the pitfalls and none of the benefits of Real Estate Specific Channels.  You still don’t have control of what may be presented to the consumer alongside your content.  Of course, it is much less likely that a real estate company will buy the platform, but not a lot less likely that a competitor could buy an ad or end up with a link on YOUR blog, without your permission.  And since the content is general, the SEO benefits are gone, as well.

But, in the case of WordPress.com, you will have the opportunity to learn the WP-Admin console.  And you actually can start writing.  You also might have al ittle more control over the theme (design) of your blogs graphic presentation.


The logo of the blogging software WordPress.
Image via Wikipedia

Blogging on a general site is probably the weakest option, in my opinion.  It has all of the weaknesses of blogging on a platform owned by someone else, but few of the advantages of being on a site tuned for real estate blogging.


Self-Hosted Options – For the long term, this should be where it’s at, in my opinion.  You control almost everything about the platform and the content.  There are no worries about who may be advertising on your blog, nor about who might have their hand in the background.  You get the final say.

However, you also get to control things like SEO… and if you create regular and compelling content, you will be noticed by the search engines.  If you guest post on well known blogs, you will get important links back to your blog, and bring up your blogs SEO.


Screenshot of the blogging system WordPress.
Image via Wikipedia

The bottom line here is that YOU are in control…  For some, that is great.  For others, it is terrifying.  It might mean that your blog languishes with a lack of attention, or it might mean that you have to hire someone to make it rock.  Or, it might mean that you have a platform that is unique and compelling and that costs VERY little money and pulls in a tremendous number of leads.



In each case, there are exceptions.  And there are sites that don’t really seem to fit in their mold.  Posterous, YouTube and FaceBook Pages are all examples of sites that can be useful tools, regardless of where your other efforts are focused.  Using them as part of a network of your own can build your blog into something greater.

Here is a (non-real estate) network I am building…

CoolCaroftheDay.com (self-hosted WordPress site)

CCotD on YouTube (YouTube Channel)

CCotD on FaceBook (FaceBook Page)

CCotD Quick Hits (Posterous Blog, primarily populated via web links)

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This is an idea I’ve been toying with for a while, and then I ran across a post on ProBlogger about self-publishing.  With the rise of the Kindle and the more widespread adoption of tablets like the iPad and the Android based units (I love my Toshiba Thrive), it has become easier than ever to distribute a book.

In the last few years, there has been a MAJOR change in the way that consumers get, and authors deliver books.  Back in the day, an author floated his ideas to as many publishing houses as it took to get accepted… or accepted the rejection and quit.  The publishing house spent a bunch of money printing the books, and then used their influence to push the book into book stores.  Because of all of the costs involved, the author would be lucky to see more than a few pennies on the dollar of the cover price.

A few years ago, ebooks started gaining popularity.  The cost of production and distribution for them started approaching $0, but there were few consumers there to get them.  Now, with Amazon’s Kindle options, Apple’s iTunes store and the Android App Market, a book can be distributed to a format that is gaining in popularity rapidly.

As bloggers, we are uniquely positions to create book-worthy content.  In fact if you’ve been blogging a while, you might already have enough content for a book.  But, if you are going to charge for the book, it needs to be differentiated from your blog in some manner…

Enter the idea that I picked up from ProBlogger… revisit your best content and expand upon the ideas.  While a blog post HAS to be concise and quick (or risk not getting read), book consumers are looking for more in-depth analysis and information.  And what is even better is that if you are going to go strictly digital (not even planning a print version), the book could be VERY multimedia… audio, video, active links and other embedded content.  And another advantage is that the book could be updated as information changes… and we all know that the world is rapidly changing every day.

Among the primary reasons to create a book is that it helps establish you as an expert in the field.  Imagine saying to a client, “I answered that question indepth in Chapter 3 of my book… here.”  It is also a useful give-away to use to promote your website and help build a mailing list.  Finally (although there are certainly more ideas), it may be a useful tool to promote yourself… for example getting a segment on a local TV or radio show talking about your area of expertise.

Next year I will try to create a non-fiction book…  How about you?

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map of Treasure Island, from the first German ...
Image via Wikipedia

You can’t get there without a map.  And even a poor map is often better than no map at all.  The map DOES need to be accurate enough to show you where things are in relation to one another… but the scale can be off.

Maybe you can think of your blogging/social media map as a kind of treasure map.  At the end, you will get the desired outcome from your efforts.

There are a few steps that you have to go through to get there.

  • Figure out what you want.  And “money” is not the right answer.  That is a byproduct.  Some examples might be finding new business or expanding market share.
  • What is the best path to take to get there… work the path backwards.
  • If we are looking for new clients, maybe we would get them from marketing to an expanded email newsletter list.
  • In order to expand the email list, we need people to opt in
  • To get the opt-ins, we need to have compelling content with a clear call to action.
  • Since we have compelling content, we need to make sure that we are getting it in front of people that have an interest.  That would likely be through SEO and Social Media.

That is a pretty broad, unfocused view…  And several of those steps might actually involve a map of their own… or several steps.  The important part is to take a little time to think about it, and maybe even draw a map.  Mind-Mapping software is a pretty cool option.  I often use FreeMind, which is an Open Source option.  But a sheet of graph paper and a pencil might be just the set of tools to capture what you need (you can concentrate on WHAT you are doing rather than on HOW to do it).

The important thing is to actually do it…

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