Struggling Investor has been alive and kicking for 6 years now (since 2008). To this day the hardest part for me is to write content. I’ve definitely improved my skills, but it’s still a chore.
If you have ever started a blog you know what I mean. Heck…and I’m talking about just my personal blog. I do this for fun. How about blogs/websites setup for your real estate business?
Websites used for business purposes are tougher then personal blogs. The reason is that you have to write based on what your target market seeks information about. Answer their questions and you win their trust.
What to Write About?
This is always the first question that is asked and it should be. It’s very simple if I can put myself in the mind of motivated real estate leads who need to sell a house fast. After adjusting my mindset, I like to take out a pen and paper (or Google document) and start writing down questions that I (the seller) would have…
- How can I sell my house quickly?
- How fast can I actually sell a house?
- Are investors a good option?
- How long does it typically take to sell a house using a Realtor?
- Should I try to sell my house on my own?
- What sort of paper work do I need to sell my house on my own?
- Do I need a lawyer?
- Should I rent my house instead?
- What are my options if my house is going into foreclosure?
It doesn’t take long to come up with 25 to 50 questions that a seller might have. If you need some help to get started you can look at this…
After I have my list of questions I like to break them down into categories (like Probate, Foreclosure, landlords, etc..). By doing this it allows me to easily group these articles into sections on my site. If a seller finds my homepage or a single article they will be presented with a link to ALL the articles for that particular group.
This strategy keeps things simple for your readers. The last thing I want to do is flood them with information that doesn’t pertain to them.
How I Write Each Article?
As a person who has difficulty writing, I want to share how I put together my articles. My technique works for me because I don’t always have the motivation or time to sit down for 4 hours and write a complete article…it’s exhausting!
Sitting down in front of a blank page gives me anxiety and usually causes my mind to go blank. The result of this is that I just put the entire writing process off till later…procrastination anyone? It would then get to a point where I just HAD to write the damn article and so I would force myself to write something….anything. The end result was a very weak and shallow article.
Step #1: Brain Dump
What I discovered that helped me out greatly was brain dumping ideas from Google searches. I’m not writing ground breaking material here…these topics have been written about before. So I start doing internet searches for the topic i’m writing about…
How to sell your house quickly
I’m sure you’ve noticed before that Google tries to guess what you are typing. This is great information because what it is actually doing is showing you the most commonly search topics are based off the words you already typed in. Take note of these phrases because they are great article topics…
How to sell your house fast in the winter is a great one! It’s very specific. You can actually make it even better by attaching a location to it…How to sell your house fast in the winter in New Jersey.
Getting back to my original point…Once your results are shown, click through the first few pages and grab some of the ideas from those posts. Obviously don’t copy the content, just take notes on what is typically talked about.
This usually gets my mind going and I’m able to brain dump more ideas. I don’t worry about organizing my thoughts at all.
I usually put a time limit of about 30 minutes to do this task…I don’t want to overwhelm myself right?! It also makes sure that I don’t over due my brain dump. Having to much on the page is just as bad as having to little. Remember we have to organize and sift through this information later.
Step #2: Create “Mini” topics
Usually the next day I’ll go back to my brain dump and start to organize it into 4 or 5 sub sections based off the main topic. So for How to sell your house fast in the winter I would break that up like this…
- Keeping up the appearance threw the winter weather
- Who to market to during the winter months
- Is it worth waiting till the spring?
- What you can typically expect when selling in winter
- How to take advantage of winter
Each one of these Mini-Topics by themselves is a great place to start writing. Doesn’t matter in what order you take them on, just start with the one that strikes up some ideas.
I will also do some Googling for help with each sub topic. Just to get “Talking Points” which I’ll then elaborate on in my own words. Like I said before, be careful not to copy someone else’s stuff to closely. I found that if I read to much of what one article has to say about a topic those words just stick in my head. I then have a hard time creating my own words…do you have this problem too?
Step #3: Write the First Paragraph and Last Paragraphs
This is common advice and I find it works for me very well. The introductory paragraph really is tough to write before knowing exactly what the body is going to contain. Many times I start writing with one endpoint in mind but change direction half way through.
In my first paragraph I try and tell some sort of story (experience I or a friend had) that relates to the topic. Story telling is how you really connect with your readers. We all want to learn from people who are talking from experience. Many people make the same mistakes that you have. If you figured out the solution they will want to read on.
I wouldn’t go crazy with the last paragraph…we aren’t writing a technical paper here. What I’ve been told and what seems to work is to place your call to action there. Guide them to your contact form.
…Get a great cash offer on your house right now…
Where I get my Content From?
Outside of the obvious answer…My Brain…I do a good amount of research to come up with the right content for my articles. Thankfully it’s not 1990 and I don’t have to leave my computer to go to the library. I usually have 6 standard searches I do to gather enough information for me to start writing my content
Search #1: Google the topic
The first thing I’m looking for here is to find out who are ranking high for the article topic and see what they are writing about. You’ll notice that almost all the articles are about the same things. I usually pick and chose a couple of the talking points and put them in my brain dump file.
The second thing I look for are links that they might use to support there information. These are very useful because it cuts down on my research time. I’ll put those in my brain dump file as well. I’ll use these links as references in my articles if they are to major sites like Wikipedia, Government sites or city-data type sites.
Search #2: Wikipedia
Most of your articles will require you to explain a law/regulation/form or something else involving the government. One thing you can be certain is if the government is involved it’s convoluted. I am not smart so I find it hard to understand that mumbo jumbo stuff to well. So I turn to Wikipedia. They usually provide a good laymen’s version of what the actual law/regulation is saying.
Search #3: Forums/Bulletin Boards
I like to search forums to see if there are any discussions going on about a particular topic. This is a great way to get some really amazing content that is relevant. It also gives you good ideas on how to answer the questions in a satisfying way.
Real Estate Investor Forums
General Real Estate Forums
- Zillow Advice
- City Data
- Trulia Voices
- Google Search: Forum + ‘topic’
Forums are also a wonderful place to get topics for your articles. You can see what kinds of questions people are asking right now. What you can do is write a killer article that answers that question. Then post a reply to the forum post with parts of that article and possibly link back to your full post. Be sure to make sure the forum allows this though.
Search #4: Case Studies
Referencing a case study in your article can really lend credence to what you are writing. People love data that is proven by study and experimentation. If you can find a case study that supports some of your points your credibility goes way up.
To find a case study I simply do a Google search for the topic and include the words “Case Study”…
Make sure to site the case study in your article. Usually putting a link in brackets next to your quote is good enough. Something like this (The Art of Staging).
Search #5: City-Data.com
Numbers don’t lie right? I love City-Data.com because you can get some great area statistics about the housing market and the general population. These statistics, just like case studies, give your articles that extra credibility. Being able to say that the median income levels in an area have gone down by 10% over the past 5 years can be great stat to support your points.
The thing about numbers is that you can always find a stat the supports what you are trying to say. Just ask any accountant…Numbers don’t lie but they can tell many stories.
Search #6: Local News Paper Sites
Current happenings in your target market can be a great way to improve articles relevance. Say you are writing an article about When is a good time to sell your rental. You could really take advantage of a recent news paper article about a landlord who was attacked by a tenants dog.
What you do is make reference to the article in your post and then link to it. Make sure you use the article title as your link text. Now when someone searches for Dog attacks landlord in Anytown, your article might come up in the search results.
Don’t get it all from one site
Be careful to only take a few talking points from each article. It’s important to use your own words…Ask me how I know this?
I was writing an article on Probate I could only find decent talking points from one particular article online. I got a little lazy and decided to try and just reward their article the best I could.
Turned out not a good enough attempt. I got an email from their lawyer saying that my article was to similar to theirs and I needed to take it down right now or risk legal action. No article is worth that so I just took the post down. Lesson learned.
If Someone Else has Already Written About the Topic…Should I?
A common question for sure. I’ve asked the very same question to some bloggers and SEO experts myself. They have always answered with a resounding YES! And here is why…
We all have our own unique experiences and voices. Nobody can write the same way you can. What this means is that how you explain something will resonate with some people like nobody else’s written content can.
Have you ever read a chapter in your calculus book over and over and over again but just couldn’t figure out what the heck it meant. So you asked your teacher to explain it to you….What the heck did he just say??? You leave him even more lost. You next try your roommate…someone you can relate too. His explanation seems to hit home and you see the light.
That is why you should write posts even though the topic has been written about 100 times over.
It also helps build your sites power in the eyes of search engines and to readers. The more posts/articles you have on your site the more perceived knowledge you appear to have.
Should I Write Great Content or is Average Content good enough?
The whole point of the articles is to just get people to your site. Once on your site they will just be drawn to your Fast Offer contact form. They will just fill it out because they are curious.
This is not what really happens and a thought process that I fell victim to in the past.
What actually happens is that I got a decent amount of visitors. However, my conversion rate was dreadfully low, less then 1%. After doing some research and testing I found out that people where not staying on my site very long…less then 30 seconds on average. This tells me the only truth I need to know…My content sucked and I wasn’t resonating with anyone.
Another major PRO for great content is that Google is rewarding great content more and more these days. The trend will slowly de-rank all those sites who used the old tactics of average content and backlink stuffing to rank high. SEO like we used to know it might be slowly dying.
How can I Get my Article to Rank Well so I can get more real estate leads?
Ranking high in the SERPS is a result of doing a lot of things well (or just better then your competition). Over the past year I’ve learned quite a bit from working with my SEO guy and I’ve really started to see results. Here are a few of the top tips that I’ve gotten from him that should help you out…
- Write Great Content! Appeal to your target audience
- Use Google Keyword Planner to find highly searched phrases (2000 or searches a month is a good target)
- Come up with an eye catching Headline
- Use your keyword in one of your H2 Tags – These are subheadings
Make sure the use of your keyword is natural sounding when read. Nothing screams louder that you are keyword stuffing then when you force a keyword into a sentence….
We Buy Houses New Jersey like nobody else
That sounds terrible!
A small tip to help you get some of your keywords into your articles is that Google ignores words like in, on, the and other words like that. This helps us out because we can then do something like this…
We buy houses in New Jersey like nobody else
Just adding the word “in” allows us to blend the keyword right into our article.
How Long Should the Articles Be?
A few years ago the answer may have been shorter articles are better. The thinking back then was that readers had short attention spans and wouldn’t stick around to read a long article.
However, over the past few years this thinking has changed. Longer articles are becoming the suggested length. The (not so) dumb question now is…
How long is a Long Article?
After doing some research the opinions vary of course, but they always fall between 1000 and 2500 words. Some people even call 2500 word posts as “corner stone posts”. These posts are the ones your site might become known for.
Neil Patel, from QuickSprouts.com, did a case study that he called How Content Length Affects Rankings and Conversions. In this study he created two test homepages, one being almost 1300 words and the other being about 500 words. Both of the homepages had an opt-in form at the bottom. This is what he discovered…
- The long content converted 7.6 percent better then the shorter
- The leads resulting from the long content proved to be of better quality
- The long content boosted conversions and SERPs
Read more about his findings here….
How Content Length Affects Rankings and Conversions
and another great article about content length can be read here…
Short vs Long Content: What’s Better for Rankings, Engagements and More
Long content works and is the thing to do as long as you break it up into sections. I know when I read a long article I generally skim it through first. I want to see what catches my eye. Often times a great article will have me reading the entire thing. What usually sticks out to me in long articles are Bold Words, Headlines and Quotes. So try and use those throughout your posts.
What are Good SEO Keywords for Real Estate Investors?
Most people by now have heard of search engine optimization (or SEO). For those that have not it’s the techniques websites use to help them appear higher in the search results. Being on page one is the only goal you should have. Any other place, even page 2 you will not see a steady flow of organic traffic from search engines.
Basically your goal is to select search terms (keywords) that your target audience (sellers, buyers, other investors) is searching for.
I need to sell my New Jersey house fast
How to Evict a Tenant?
A free tool to help you figure out what people are searching for is Google Keyword Planner. You’ll have to have to sign up for An adwords account but you don’t have to participate in Adwords.
- Google Keyword Planner
- Using Keyword Planner to get keyword ideas and traffic estimates
- Tips and Tricks for using Google Keyword Planner
If you just want a free list of GREAT Real Estate related keywords to get you start go here…
Should I Include Pictures? Where can I Get the Pictures From?
Definitely use images…Not just any image though.
Use images that mean something
Use images early on to shorten sentences. Derek Halpern, of SocialTriggers.com, has done extensive research on getting visitors to read deeper into his articles. By using an image in the top right of your posts it effectively shortens the lines at the start of each post. This means that a visitor has to read less before scrolling down. The action of scrolling down mentally commits them to your article. Read more about this theory below…
Great Articles on How to Use Images Correctly
Use pictures of yourself. People feel more comfortable and connected to you if they can see your face. On my personal blog, I’ve noticed a huge difference in reader interaction when I started using images with me in them.
If you have any testimonials they get a HUGE bump in credibility if you use real pictures of people. When you get your testimonials from sellers, see if they will take a picture with you. Trust me this is GREAT!
If you do need some stock photos here are some free places to get them. Just always be aware of the re-use policy. Don’t take photos directly from Google Image Search. Most photos are copy protected just like content. It’s just not worth the risk.
- Creative Commons Image Search (more info here)
Free Editing Tools
Is the Heading/Title Important?
Absolutely! A great article with a poor headline won’t get read. It’s that simple. You can try to make them up on your own but a quick and dirty shortcut is to swipe a headline from someplace else.
I don’t mean copy it directly. Use it’s structure and replace the words so they are relevant to your topic. Some of the best headlines of all time can be found here…
100 Good Advertising Headlines by Victor Schwab
106 All Time Great Advertising Headlines You Can Use to Get More Readers to Your Blog
An example of what I mean about replacing the words of one of these tried and true headlines…
Do You Make These Travel Mistakes?
Do You Make These Simple Landlord Mistakes?
How I Improved My Memory in One Evening
How I Sold my House in One Evening
A Call to Action is a Must!
The headline of your article did a great job of attracting the readers. Your article was able to answer their questions. Now what?
It’s very important to give your readers a Next Step. Tell them exactly what you want them to do. It’s a proven fact that when people use the internet they are almost in a zombie like state…almost brain dead. We need to guide them along the path. Some good calls to action are…
Enter your name and property address below to get an all cash offer on your property
Have more questions? Download this free guide on how to find an honest investor
Don’t wait to give us a call…you can have cash in your hand by next week
Try and blend your call to action in with the topic of the article. Your goal is to get them to call, email or fill out an opt-in form.
Can I Get Someone to Write The Articles for Me?
I have tried both writing my own content and hiring someone. It’s strictly a money vs time scenario. In reality however writing these articles yourself is not a money making activity. It actually takes you away from running your business. I spend hours a week writing content. That time could be spent doing other things for sure.
HOWEVER…Finding a the right person is the trick. Pay someone to much money writing articles for your site and you’ll go broke. Pay a cheap rate to a VA who speaks poor English and you’ll spend just as much time copy editing and rewriting the article as you would just writing it yourself.
No you shouldn’t hire someone if you…
- Like writing and are fast at it
- Want to make sure your voice is the one that is heard
- Don’t have the money
Yes if you…
- Have the money
- Don’t have the time
…Think about what your time is worth.
What do I do
For me its been a mixed bag. I’ve written much of my content for WeBuyNJHouses.com. The original 6 articles for the site I hired out. I payed my SEO guy quite a bit for those articles. I knew the price was really high but I wanted the core articles to be well written and ready to go…which they were.
After the original articles I decided to save some money and write the rest of the content. I hated it! It took me roughly 8 hours a month to write 2 articles.
5 months and 10 articles later I had enough. I asked around and found a great copy writer who gave me a fair rate. She will be writing 2 articles per month for me. Let me tell you that I’m loving it so far…well worth the money.
* I’m sorry for not disclosing what I’m paying but I don’t think it’s fair to the copy writers.
Where to Find a Copy Writer?
- Ask around
Another option…if you want an entire website created for you is to go with InvestorCarrot. I mention the service often because I love it! I got a website full of content, free pdf downloads and converts awesome…All up and running in 3 days for $30/mo.
They also offer a complete DONE FOR YOU plan where they will…
- Setup up to 8 Real Estate Investor Websites (buyer site, seller site, and main company credibility site)
- Unlimited Squeeze Pages (w/ our custom squeeze page designs)
- 4 Custom Locally SEO’d Articles A Month Uploaded to Your Website
- FREE Support and Lifetime System Upgrades
- FREE access to our monthly Lead Generation and Conversion Training
To find out more about it… here is my affiliate link…Pro + Content Package
I’ve budgeted to upgrade to this service in September. I’m excited as hell to see how well my sites do. As it stands I rank on the first page for my main keywords already. I want to make sure I stay there and expand the number of keywords I rank highly for.
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Great to see your writing process, Scott!
I think everyone has a different opinion on this subject in terms of what works and what does not work. And, you’re right – everyone has different experiences.
For me personally, it’s more of a therapy exercise than anything else. Helping me to get my words down on the blog has really been an outlet for me to share my experiences, whether good or bad, in the real estate investing world.
Before the blog, my outlet was more of the local REIA club and/or talking to individuals. Though, it consumed all of my energy and eventually telling the same stories over and over again burnt me out. Having the blog gave me a medium to share these stories with the world.
Over the years, I’ve started to use different forms of communication (apart from writing) on the blog. Using both video and audio has helped folks get to know me better from a visual and audio standpoint. Plus, it’s helped me to pursue my interest in video production which is something I’ve always been interested in.
What I enjoy about your blog is your focus on your experience investing in real estate as well as finding other technology sources to help your business. Sometimes other blogs get away from personal experience which make blogs not as personal. And, I think it’s this personal touch that help us to connect with each other as human beings.
Looking forward to hearing more about your experiences this year. Thanks for the update! 🙂
You are absolutely correct. It’s an outlet and allows me to “talk” to other investors while I’m not able to actually go out and network like I want to. I love the connections with like minded people that my blog helps promote.
I also agree that blogs that share both actionable content as well as personal challenges and stories are always my favorite. I don’t always like being talked too…if you know what I mean? I like to feel like you understand what I’m going through. I love getting comments and emails from people who read my blog. I always try to encourage that with my posts.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts Rachel, they were great!
Hi Scott, Thanks for all the helpful tips for attracting seller leads. I went with investor carrot too. Great article and great content. Have a Blessed Day. Mike H.
You are very welcome Mike. I appreciate you taking the time to write a comment and letting me know.
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Thanks so much for this article! Your writing style is so straightforward and right up my alley ☺ I have been researching how to create content for my new email list and your article came up. I’m even more excited to see that you’re in New Jersey, which is my market as well! I hope to see more of you in the wholesaling world, and probably meet up with you sometime as I am always looking for opportunities to learn from the pros😊