6 Tips to Writing Blogs that Stick!

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.

Top Seven Social Media Tips

Erik Qualman, author of the book Socialnomics: How Social Media Transforms the Way We Live and Do Business said, “We don’t have a choice on whether we do social media, the question is how well we do it.”

For today’s REALTOR®, social media is not as much of a choice as it is a necessity to keep your business alive and growing. According to an article by Forbes, 90 percent of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business, and online reviews have also been shown to impact almost 70 percent of purchasing decisions.

Marketing methods used even just one decade ago are not nearly as relevant as they were at that time. With the majority of the American population on social media, and the majority of home buyers being millennials, it is imperative that real estate agents spend a proper amount of time marketing on social media.

If you’re a REALTOR® thinking to yourself, ‘I’m already on social media,’ now would be a good time to re-evaluate your pages and marketing techniques as Facebook, who also owns Instagram, went through many changes in the beginning of 2018. Here are our top 7 social media tips to keep you up to date.

  1. Online Reviews

Google, one of the only companies to successfully turn its name into an actual verb, is still incredibly relevant. Most Americans, who are considering buying something (or, in our case, using a REALTOR®) still read reviews before making a final decision.

Luckily, whenever someone gives your services a review on Google, this increases your organic results, also known as SEO (Search Engine Optimization), thus pushing your name and business higher up in the results. Google considers this an “update” to your website, therefore the more updates you make, the more relevant you become. In essence, the more Google reviews you receive from clients, the more other people searching for real estate agents in your area will see your pages.

This also goes for Facebook reviews, which have recently changed to “Recommendations” on your page, in order to minimize the amount of fake and paid reviews online. Be sure to ask for the review at the end of every transaction.


  1. Facebook Targeted Ads

Some REALTORS® claim that they get better views, more engagement, and a higher number of shares on their personal pages than they do their business pages. If that works well for you, keep on doing what you’re doing! However, one of the major drawbacks to this is Facebook targeted ads are only available for those who have business Facebook pages.

Targeted ads allow you to reach a very specific target audience. Think of this way. You have the potential to reach thousands upon thousands of people in their most relaxed state: drinking coffee in the morning, or laying on the couch after a long day of work, and browsing their newsfeed. There is a reason these ads are so popular right now: they work. You essentially cut out everyone that has zero potential to be interested in the services you offer. You only target those you would need your real estate expertise.


  1. Facebook Live

Take a moment to scroll through your newsfeed and take a mental count of how many videos you see versus how many written posts, or even just a photo. It’s a huge difference. Facebook is currently rating video as the highest and most relevant form of communicating on your page.

Facebook Live takes it a step further. Not only is your live video pushed up to the top as one of the most important posts, but your friends and followers get a notification whenever you go live. This is a quick, fun, easy to get in front of people. Nervous about going live? Give your local First Western/International Title Rep a call and they’d be happy to get you started!


  1. Instagram Hashtags

Many real estate agents are saying that their Instagram leads have a higher ROI than their Facebook leads. This is something to consider. Instagram, although it is owned by Facebook, has its own way of reaching people.

There are 4 types of hashtags you should use with every post on Instagram to increase your SEO:

  1. Content-related (this will change depending on the post)
  2. Your niche
  3. Your industry
  4. Company-branded

Using these specific hashtags will help people who like similar pages to yours find you easier.


  1. LinkedIn

A friend of mine once said, “Do you want clients who are business people with a college degree? …Then why aren’t you on LinkedIn?” Running an ad campaign on LinkedIn will help you to reach those exact people, as the majority of LinkedIn users are working and have college degrees.

With that being said, make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date, as these people typically want to work with others who are go-getters, hard-working, and have a lot to show for their work. Also, look for many different types of LinkedIn groups that you can join, as that gives you the ability to reach an even wider audience.


  1. Quality Over Quantity

Be intentional about the types of people you are following on Instagram and inviting to like your Facebook page. Is this a person someone that you want to work with? Do they even fit the description of your ideal client? Don’t waste time following people who aren’t going to get you where you want to be.

Your followers on social media should be liking your content, having a reason to comment on your posts, and eager to share your thoughts to their own page. If someone doesn’t fit the bill, move on.


  1. Be Yourself

Now more than ever, people want a relationship, a connection, with someone before they do business with that person. Are you portraying your true self online or will your potential clients be surprised when they meet you in person for that listing appointment? There shouldn’t be any surprises. In fact, when you meet a social media lead in person, there should be some sense of “I already feel like I know you,” before you even sit down. Are you being yourself?

Social Media is an ever-changing and a never-ending conversation. Be proactive about attending classes and asking your business developer for updates on social media. First International Title offers classes for realtors every month.


Questions? Comments? Reach out to your sales executive today!

How to Generate (and Keep!) Free Leads

Real estate agents are constantly looking for new ways to gain leads and build business. This is necessary for those who plan to make a living as a realtor. Overall, there are two types of leads: paid and earned. Paid leads are exactly as they sound – you pay another person or online resource to find leads on your behalf. Although this saves an enormous amount of time and energy on the realtor’s part, these lead generation sources can end up costing a fortune.

Earned leads, on the other hand, are also highly effective and much less expensive than the paid ones. However, you will be paying for these leads, not with money, but with your time, energy, and dedication. How much effort you put into gaining your own leads generally corresponds to how much you will get in return.

Tom Ferry, a highly-ranked real estate educator, noted that in 2014, NAR reported 87 percent of real estate agents fail or quit within the first five years. We don’t want that to happen to you! We hope that with some of these tricks to earn your leads, our realtor followers will be in the 13 percent that are successful.

There are plenty of creative ways you can earn leads for free, but we’re going to focus on six to get you started: special events, networking, email newsletters, social media, taking advantage of resources already available to you, and thinking outside the box.

Through these six avenues, you should be able to expand your sphere of influence by a large margin. Your continuous goal should be to make new ‘touches’ every week and expand your influence in a way that makes people remember you.

Special Events
What is something you are passionate about? Take that and turn it into party! Begin hosting special events at your house, a local bar, in the park, or wherever you feel comfortable where the main attraction is something you’re really interested in. Regularly invite your family, friends, former colleagues, neighbors, members of your church or country club, and acquaintances.

For example, someone who truly has a taste for wine can have a Wine Share. He or she can invite their friends and family to bring one bottle of their favorite wine and everyone tastes and shares each other’s. They can discuss which ones they like, which ones they don’t like, flavors, texture, and notes they’re palate is sensing. Also, this is a way to save money as you only provide your one favorite bottle and maybe some cheese and crackers.

Special events are amazing opportunities to simply start conversations with those in your community. Host your events regularly enough that keeps people coming back and, hopefully, bring their friends to the next one. Eventually, you’ll get to the topic of real estate as you are consistently reminding these folks what you do: helping others buy and sell their homes. Always, always, always have information about yourself and your listings on hand to give out when the opportunity arises (and it will).

Strive to make new touches every single week by attending networking groups and other social events (that you’re not hosting). This can include art shows, charity events, book talks, happy hours, craft fairs, and networking groups that meet regularly. Network with both the general public and other real estate professionals.

Having a difficult time finding a networking group? Simply get on Google, Eventbrite, or Meetup and search for “real estate networking” or “real estate classes”. The amount of classes and events available to realtors is very encouraging. Seriously. Go look it up now!

Again, always have your information on hand and be ready to take others’ information as well.

Email Newsletters
Begin an email database, whether you use Excel or an online tool such as Constant Contact, where you can keep track of everyone’s email address that you come into contact with. Send out a weekly or bi-weekly email newsletter to these emails you have collected over time. This keeps you in the forefront of their minds as they see your name constantly pop up in their email.

Highlight your listings, upcoming open houses, your special events, recent testimonials or success stories from past clients, and anything else happening in your market or area. Try not to send out a newsletter more than once a week or else risk overwhelming your followers. But really, who has time for that anyways?

Social Media
Everyone talks about social media because of one reason: it works! By now, you should already have a Facebook page, whether it is a personal one or professional business page. You know the importance of being on social media, so we’re here to encourage you to engage your followers.

Simply having a page is not enough. Again, you want your followers to remember you. Do this by asking them to comment on your posts, promoting your special events, posting Facebook live videos, and asking them to share your content. You could even do a photo contest where the best photo wins a gift card or have your followers like and share a post to win a random giveaway. The possibilities are endless.

Take Advantage of Your Resources
There are countless resources already available to you simply for being a real estate agent. You could not even have made one sale yet, however, classes, events, mobile apps, and other software are there for you! It’s up to you to seek out these opportunities.

First International Title offers real estate courses every month and other various events. Seek out your local office for upcoming classes and other resources available to you!

Think Outside the Box
It’s time to get creative. Ask yourself some questions. What are some local businesses you could potentially partner up with? Is there a divorce lawyer nearby who could refer their clients selling a home to you? Are the local banks willing to work with you with buyers applying for a home loan? What are some other ways you can get creative with the opportunities at your doorstep?

Leave Your Fear at the Door
Don’t be afraid to go looking for new ways to gain leads and don’t be scared to ask others for help. Every First Western/International Title office has a business developer dedicated to helping you find ways to grow your business. Reach out to us with any questions and we would be happy to help you brainstorm!

Use a variety of these tactics and others that you come up with to grow your business. Don’t focus on one idea because it can only get you so far. Your earned leads can be highly effective but will take a large amount of time, energy, creativity, and your dedication. Are you dedicated?


Questions? Comments? Email shannonw@firstwesterntitle.com