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There is buzz about “marketing automation”.  Some of it is good, some of it is bad.  automating social media marketing, if done right, is great.  If done poorly, it can take a toll on your brand.

On the plus side, getting the message out on a regular basis and measuring the impact in a consistent and repeatable manner, and then tuning the message, is a GREAT way to build a brand.

But, the dark side is that automated marketing, without monitoring and measuring, too easily becomes noise.  And because there is so much noise, it gets tuned out, and your brand gets turned off.

Real estate agents are some of the best… and worst.  I see agents posting up everything, everywhere, all of the time.  I see others, filtering their message based on the audience…

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No, this isn’t an apology post about a missed blog deadline.  Rather, this is a post about what happens when you miss a self-imposed deadline on your blog posting calendar.

Nothing…

Unless you are Seth Godin or Chris Brogan, there is a good chance that the only person that will notice is looking at you in the mirror every morning.  That isn’t to say that your posts aren’t being read, but the value isn’t in being posted on time, it is in being posted.  Please note… missing a deadline is no big deal.  Not posting at all is a problem.  Not posting regularly is also a problem.

Just about every “how-to” post on blogging says that you need to post up at least once a week or your readers will get bored.  And I think that is very reasonable… and a minimum.  I think that posting at least once or twice a week should be an attainable goal.

When I first started blogging, I was so wound up about posting every day that I would go back and post for any days I missed.  But there were two things that I noticed…

  • When I tried to cram in posts to meet an artificial deadline, the quality of the posts suffered.
  • I stressed myself WAY out.
  • Nobody noticed that I was posting up every day… or that I had missed days.

One day it hit me.  Chill out.  And I did it across all of my blogs.  I backed off on the schedule and instituted a calendar to try to be better about being regular.

But on the not to do list is write apology posts when you miss a posting deadline (or even a bunch of them).  Just post up good content and move on.  The apology doesn’t help move your blog forward… and your readers don’t want to spend their time reading it.

 

Over the coming weeks, we’ll see if we can come up with ways to make keeping up with those post deadlines easier to meet.

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I enjoy blogging.  But there are a lot of folks that would rather have their teeth pulled than sit down and write 300 words on a regular basis.  And there are a few reasons that keep coming up.  How many of them have YOU said?

  • I just don’t want to…
English: Screenshot of the blogging system Wor...
English: Screenshot of the blogging system WordPress using the theme “Twenty Ten”. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

To get past this one, we have to ask WHY don’t you want to… those are the real reasons. “I just don’t want to” is an excuse, not a reason.  Of course, we’re all big kids and so we don’t HAVE to if we don’t want to.

  • I’m too busy…

How many of us can identify with that?  Sitting down to write a few hundred words after spending 10 hours with clients… while still looking forward to a few more hours of paperwork, and maybe even a little marketing so that the pipeline doesn’t dry up in two months… isn’t exactly appealing.  But at the same time, blogging IS marketing.  It’s also a great way to educate your clients, and catalog a resource of that education.

Besides, with video blogging or using links and curation of content, it can be done in minutes instead of hours each week.

  • I don’t know how…

This is one of the most common, and while blogging is not really that technically difficult, there is a technical component.  My favorite platform, WordPress (self-hosted), does require having a hosting account and getting under the hood, so to speak.  However, there are a lot of other ways to do it.  You could use Posterous, Tumblr, WordPress.com, Pinterest, YouTube or probably 50 other platforms.

  • I don’t have anything to write about…
Blogging Heroes
Blogging Heroes (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Seriously?  Any real estate agent that doesn’t get 30 questions a day that might be worthy of a blog post or 10 strange experiences a week, is not working hard enough.  Everything from “How’s the market” to “I wonder why all of the bedrooms have security cameras?” can be the basis of an interesting blog post.

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BCS Playoff Bracket
BCS Playoff Bracket (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Social Media Breakfast Atlanta is going to host a Blog Brawl this summer.  What?  You don’t know what a Blog Brawl is?  We can help you with that…

We will put together a bunch of blog battles.  There will be brackets like the NCAA Basketball Finals.  We’ll take 16 blogs and pair them up.  The blog that gets the most votes from each pair will advance to the next round… and it will happen again.  Only one blog will emerge victorious.

The brawl will be open to Atlanta area business blogs.  Starting date and details will be released in the next few weeks.  There will likely be some surprise twists and turns.

The goal will be to bring more attention to each of the bloggers participating in the brawl.

Next up, we will be looking for some groovy cool sponsors to put together a prize package for the winning blogs.  But every blog will be a winner… more exposure and new readers will be the prize.

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IPhone First Generation 8GB (3680455198)
IPhone First Generation 8GB (3680455198) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I took a little time out and knocked out 3 blog posts for another of my blogs.  I did it while waiting for a client to arrive at a showing.  I used my tablet (a smart phone would also work).

 

Video.  Last week I popped up a video up on this blog that I shot in just a few minutes.  I think it took about 15 minutes to shoot it… twice.

The point is that I hear from a lot of agents that say they don’t have time to blog.  There is almost always time.  Of course the quality would be a bit better if it was done in a studio… but they would have a different feel.  A lot of viewers actually like the video to me more “raw and real”.

One of the nice things is that you can actually have an idea and shoot it right then… which can be even better than making notes about what to write about later.

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We have those times… it seems like even though we know there are a thousand things we can write about, NOTHING comes to mind.  We stare at the computer like the whole concept of writing something is completely foreign.  I know that I have been there.

Brain
Brain (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But there are a few things you can do to get you through…

  • Keep a “Post Idea Notebook” at hand.  Write down those cool ideas as you get them.  They will be gone in a few minutes…
  • Along the same lines, leave yourself a voice mail with your idea.  This is a MUCH better solution while driving, and I get a lot of ideas while driving.
  • Subscribe to a variety of RSS feeds, both inside your industry and in general news.  Often, the items in the news will be of interest to your readers, but they might want it brought to their level, or translated to how it affects them.

We’ve all seen the list above.  I think that every post on blog ideas came from the same source.  But there are more things that you can do to fill that bank…

  1. Brainstorm.  Sit down with a piece of paper, a tablet, your phone… whatever… and write as many ideas as you can.  Don’t worry about the quality… just write them down.
  2. Build an “Idea Council”.  Put together, or join, a group of bloggers with different niches.  If you blog about real estate, find people that blog about ANYTHING else.  What they blog about is not important, and what you blog about shouldn’t be important to them.  In fact, it isn’t even important that they blog…  What is important is that they are creative and willing to speak up.  What you are going to do is listen to THEIR ideas about what they want to know about your blogging niche.

About an hour after this post goes live, I will be taking part in exactly that kind of group as part of Social Media Breakfast – Atlanta.  The topic for this month’s breakfast will be “Crowd-Sourcing Blog Topics” and we will be using a round-table format to help each person come up with topics for their own blogs.  We’ll see if we can kick out at least 5 actionable post ideas for each person…

BTW, Social Media Breakfast – Atlanta meets on the 3rd Thursday of the month in Cobb/Marietta and on the 4th Thursday in Gwinnett/Suwanee.  Check out our FaceBook page for details.

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