Blogs are powerful tools for building, engaging and maintaining an audience and demonstrating your market expertise. A blog is much more than a place to share your latest listings. In fact, if that’s all you’re doing with your blog, you’re probably not making much of an impact or gaining much of a following. There are all sorts of great ways you can leverage your blog to help build your network, which in turn will help you build your business.
Your blog should be the centerpiece of a two-pronged marketing attack. First, you want to get your name out into the community, so you can start generating referral business. Second, you want to collect leads directly from your website. By engaging your community directly, you can spread awareness of yourself and your business, as well as collect valuable information that potential clients need to know. Here are some simple ideas:
1. Write profiles of your favorite businesses.
Got a favorite local restaurant? Call up the owner and schedule a brief interview. Find out more about them and their business, and take some nice pictures. Everybody loves a little free press, and they’ll probably share your post among their social media network, thus creating traffic for your website.
2. Talk about the new store down the street.
Here’s a twist on #1. Got a new business opening up near you? Why not pop in and find out what they’re all about? New businesses are always eager to spread the word about themselves, and they’ll be grateful that someone in their community cared enough to help. This scenario offers the added bonus of helping your post rank well on Google for searches related to that business, since it likely hasn’t been mentioned by many other sites. This can help drive traffic to your site for years to come.
3. Write a “Top 5″ list for various business categories.
Write a post about the best places to get local beers. All it really needs is a brief intro, 2-3 sentences on each bar, and links to those bars’ respective websites. People eat these lists up, which makes them very share-able. And of course, the bars themselves will be happy to share a post that lists them in the top 5 of just about anything.
4. Cover local events
Reach out to the organizers of local parades, festivals or other community events. You’ll get to meet a bunch of active neighbors, which will likely help to create further opportunities to network, down the road. You’ll also get the chance to share news of upcoming events with your database and web audience, which will help build and maintain their image of you as a knowledgeable information source.
5. Create a list of home-improvement resources
Imagine you’re thinking of selling your home. Is an agent really the first person you want to find? Or is it, perhaps, a house painter or contractor to help you update your kitchen? You might look for help on Google or just walk into the local hardware store and ask around. As an agent, wouldn’t it be nice if those local stores and contractors would recommend your services to these future sellers? Get proactive. Visit your local home improvement vendors, introduce yourself, ask them questions, then put together a list of various services. Write a catchy title like “10 Best Home Improvement Resources” and send it out to everybody on the list.
These are just a few ideas. The basic model is the same: Go out into your community. Meet people. Write nice things about them. It’s old-school network marketing with a new twist. By doing an actual service, rather than simply talking about your own business, you’re far more likely to make a lasting impact and generate referrals down the road.
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