How often do you hear, “People never read anymore!” or “Blogging is a waste of time!”? Well, we’re here to tell you that these statements are simply not true. Yes, many people don’t read blogs. Many people don’t read books either, yet new books are written and sold every single day.

The truth is that 77 percent of internet users still read blogs regularly, according to Hubspot. That’s a LOT of people, all who are searching for something specific on the internet. Do you have content that you can put in front of them and further your brand digitally? Chances are you do, even if you don’t know it yet. Here are our six steps for writing a blog that internet users will actually read. 

Step 1: Write on something you already know about
The good news is you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. You don’t have to learn a whole new topic just so that you can start blogging on it. Start your blogs with what you already know: real estate! As REALTORS®, mortgage professionals, investors, etc. most people on the outside would say that you are an ‘expert’ in this area. As a real estate professional, what are you good at specifically? Staging a home? Negotiating? Hosting killer open houses? Hitting customer service out of the park? Write about your specialties; what separates you from the others.

However, it doesn’t have to end there. There may be other aspects of your life that you can write about including passions and hobbies: gardening, interior design, sports, baking, charity, cars, fashion, community involvement, and much more can all be topics you choose to write on. Combine your love for real estate and whatever else you’re good at (and yes, everyone is good at something), and turn it into short, easy-to-read blogs for others to enjoy.

Step 2: Keep it short!
The ideal reading time for a blog post is seven minutes, as Buffer says, or about 1,600 words. That’s not very long. But it is long enough to get your point across. If you want readers (AKA potential clients) to stay on your website, don’t be long-winded. Having someone else to proof-read your work is also a good idea. Another set of eyes will pick up on run-on sentences, redundancy, and typos.

Step 3: Use small paragraphs, sub-headers
Also, break your blog post up with sub-headers and small paragraphs. This will make the blog easier to read or skim, and make the article seem shorter. If you were to combine all of your paragraphs into one large paragraph, it would make the blog seem unending, possibly boring (even if it’s very well-written), and you’ll get significantly lower views.

Keep each paragraph to just a few sentences, between 2-5, and get right to the point. No beating around the bush. Again, this helps with the brevity of your post. If you’re having a difficult time thinking of the exact word you want, an online Thesaurus can be immensely helpful!

Step 4: Speak in Layman’s terms
Even though your life revolves around real estate, this is not the case for many of your readers. And you always want to keep your readers in mind. Users will switch to another blog if they’re reading a post or article with too many big words and is too confusing for the average person to grasp. You only have a little bit of time to grasp someone’s attention.

After all, “The average person spends 37 seconds reading a blog post,” says Newscred. This includes people who can’t find what they’re looking for in a blog and click off to find something else. “Rather than reading every single word, most visitors will simply skim through the article, gain a couple of takeaways, then leave.”

Step 5: Add pictures in the mix
Sometimes a photo can be a nice visual break away from the text. Especially if you’re blogging step-by-step or DIY articles. But even if you’re not, throw in one or two pictures and put them off to the side to keep your reader engaged.

However, be careful with just taking photos from the internet. Many of them are copyrighted and if you get caught using a picture without the photographer’s permission, you may get fined. There are websites to download photos for free such as Pexels and Pixabay, where you can search for the exact photo you want.

Step 6: Come up with a catchy title
Save the blog title for last. Have you ever clicked on an internet article because the title intrigued you, only to find that the post was nothing like the title made you to believe? This is called “Click bate.” You want your title to be a true representation of the information in your blog. The best way to do this is to finish what you’re going to say, and then create a title. We’re not here to trick people! We’re here to provide valuable information and hopefully turn these readers into loyal clients.

In addition to being transparent, you also want the title to be creative, catchy, and click-worthy. Focus on keeping it short and sweet. According to Buffer, The ideal length of a headline is six words. Readers tend to absorb just the first three words and the last three words of a headline.

Whatever you choose to write about, make it your own! Be yourself, be genuine, and have fun with it. There are lots of ways you can make it worthwhile – interview people in your community or highlight a local restaurant. And finally, don’t get too caught up in the details. This is but one way of the many avenues for marketing your business.

First International Title is here to support you! Reach out to your local rep today and see how we can help.

Out of all the real estate agents in the strong markets of Florida, what are you doing to distinguish yourself from the masses? Listing appointments, a common practice of the real estate agent, doesn’t have to be monotonous. Here are a few ways to help you stand out and ensure a closed deal during your next listing presentation.

Treat it Like a Job Interview
Because it is a job interview. Put your ego aside and come ready to present yourself truthfully and genuinely as the best person for this position – to help your client sell a house – and why. Don’t be afraid to talk about your achievements alongside of your responsibilities as their REALTOR®. And always be honest. Writer Kevin Hoover also mentions the importance of being truthful in an Inman article from January 2019.

“The point of the listing presentation is to gain trust,” Hoover said. “It would be counterproductive to include exaggerations or discrepancies from the truth.”  

Finally, leave a physical copy of your resume along with your picture for them to remember you by.

Come Prepared
Whatever materials or resources you help ease a seller’s concerns or questions about the process, bring it. Fill a folder with simple checklists and articles to aid in their understanding of how the process is going to look. You don’t have to go over everything in the meeting as you don’t want it to be an overload of information. Let your clients take the folder home and use for future reference. And, of course, include your branding and contact information so that they can reach you when they’re ready to list.  

Take Notes
One of the most important characteristics of a great real estate agent is attention to detail. However, no one person can remember everything. Taking notes is crucial at the listing appointment.

“If you go into the presentation believing that you will earn the client, which you should, you will need to remember the details of the conversation if you want to maintain your level of professionalism,” Hoover stated. “The best way to do that is to take notes.”

Before you begin writing, be sure to ask for permission. You want to ensure that your potential clients are aware and comfortable with their words being recorded. Most people will say yes, however, it’s important to build that trust, especially on the first meeting. Also, use a physical notepad and pen, rather than typing on your laptop or cell phone. While using your laptop or cell phone isn’t necessarily wrong, you may come across as closed-off and disengaged.

When you come back around at the end of the transaction and refer to something they said in your listing presentation, your clients won’t be able to hide their gratitude for your memory.

Get to Know Your Clients
In accordance with taking notes is getting to know your clients. You want to ask them detailed and specific questions about their likes, dislikes, family, and what they’re looking for in a real estate agent. Write down their answers. If the deal is sealed, so to speak, ask for their birthday, anniversary, and kids’ birthdays in order to stay in touch with them throughout the year and long after their house is sold.

Express Your Gratitude
As they say, a hand-written card goes a long way. A day or two after the meeting, be sure to write a card thanking them for their time and attention. Mention something in the card that was specific to your conversation. Not only will it remind them a few days later of your services, it adds the perfect professional touch and will showcase your attention to detail.

There are other ways to say thank you besides just a card. You can include a gift card, a branded item such as a pen or keychain, or anything else that will help the client remember you.

All of us at First International Title desire to see our real estate partners succeed, which is why we have many resources and flyers to help real estate agents and loan officers with their business. Reach out to your local sales executive to gain access to our many tools available for you to stand out in your market!

Some REALTORS® view them as a necessary evil; others view them as an added benefit to the job and are excited when the time rolls around. We’re talking about Client Pop-Bys! Creative pop-bys are a fun way to help agents stand out from others.

Not only is it a helpful way for real estate agents to make a touch or get in front of their clients, but, if planned correctly, can help an agent stay in front of those ‘referral partners’ all year long. However, not everyone excels in this area of marketing. Here are our top 7 tips for becoming a Pop-By Pro!

1. Create a Schedule
The agent should plan ahead by scheduling the whole year in advance for what pop-bys to do. Being consistent is the best way to get started and feel more prepared. Adding to the calendar the exact day to pass out the pop-bys will make it feel less overwhelming.

Don’t schedule too many pop-bys or it may be difficult to keep up. Smaller, quarterly pop-bys usually work out well. However, maybe the REALTOR® wants to go all out during Christmas time with a gift basket once per year. Maybe the REALTOR® only wants to focus on sports schedules. The ideas are endless!

2. Holidays and Seasons
Planning pop-bys in sync with holidays or seasons are the easiest way to stay on schedule and come up with ideas. For example, if doing quarterly season pop-bys…
-Spring: Your referrals make my business bloom! (With packages of flower seeds)
-Summer: Have a KOOL summer. (With packages of Kool-Aid)
-Fall: Bringing You Warm Wishes this Autumn Season (With a candle)
-Winter: The real estate market is warming up. Take comfort that you have a pro in your corner. (With a mug or bag of hot chocolate).

If focusing on holidays to schedule…
-March/St. Patrick’s Day: I’m LUCKY to have worked with you. (With gold Rolo candies)
-July/Independence Day: Have a BRIGHT Fourth of July! (With sparklers)
-October/Halloween: Don’t be stuck in the dark about the Real Estate Market. (With mini flashlights)
-December/Christmas: Wishing You a ‘Lotto’ Holiday Cheer! (With lottery tickets)

3. ALWAYS Incorporate Your Brand
Top real estate agents never let their current or potential customers forget who they are and what they do. The reason for pop-bys is to further the agent’s brand and stay in front of that audience. The easiest way to do this is include the REALTOR’s® logo and/or business card every single time without fail.

4. Do Something Different Each Time
Pop-bys can lose their pizzazz if the same bag of candy is given time and time again. Agents should do a different pop-by gift every single time, every single year. Come up with new and fresh ideas. Stay up to date on what’s popular on social media, especially with tech products. For example, one year fidget spinners were a huge hit. The next year? Not so much.

The only exception to this is if a REALTOR® becomes known for doing the same gift basket every Christmas or the same Football schedule every season. This can be useful as clients will come to expect the pop-by and look forward to receiving it.

5. Consider Utilizing Something More Permanent
If an agent’s budget is tight, s/he may need to rely on something tangible that lasts a long time. A good example of this is magnets. Wine and cheese pairings, recipes, sports schedules, or yearly calendars in the form of refrigerator magnets can be a great way to stay in front of an audience with the least amount of effort and money.

6. Incorporate a Unique Touch
If an agent has a talented hobby on the side, it would be a brilliant way of standing out. Maybe that hobby is baking, jewelry making, sewing, wood carving, etc. Whatever that special flare is, REALTORS® should incorporate that into their pop-bys. Home baked cookies have much more of a special touch to clients than store bought. Homemade says, “I care about you as an individual and want to earn your referrals.”

7. Get Creative!
Don’t do what every other REALTOR® does. At a loss for ideas? Google and Pinterest are the real estate agent’s best friends! There are countless DIY ideas online for creating simple, but impactful, pop-bys for current and potential clients. If the agent can’t choose between two similar ideas – they can be combined! There are countless opportunities and each season can be approached as a fresh start to try a new pop-by.

Questions? Comments? Reach out to your First International Title rep today!