By Gee Dunsten

While many may be blogging, very few are doing it on a regular basis with this focus of providing relevant content. However, that’s exactly where people need to start in order to develop an effective social media plan. Effective blogging has got to be a balance of planting seeds and expressing views on a particular topic while at the same time getting others to contribute—that’s how blogging grows exponentially. You have to look for great ideas and important things to blog about and also harvest what people want to know about. In essence, you need to become a local media outlet.

If your blog is content-oriented and relevant, then you don’t have to worry about stepping around the subject of real estate. If your direction is right and your commitment is pure, then the real estate business will follow. San Diego top producer Gregg Neuman, for example, has mastered and capitalized on this concept. Gregg has multiple blogs on multiple communities and condo communities. Pre-real estate, Gregg was a world-class bartender and learned how to listen to people and stay abreast of the things that were important to them. That talent has now cascaded through his social media marketing plan and makes his blog a huge part of his success.

Brian Copeland has been in the real estate business for three-and-a-half years and he, being a Gen Y-er, created a Web presence around a blogging forum and video at Nashvilleandbeyond.com. He never wants the videos to be about him but rather all about Nashville. He interviews people about why they like a neighborhood and never crosses the line to talk about how good he is at selling real estate.

Another great way to reach out and encourage interaction is to create a contest, like the Nellis Group of Northern Virginia did. They asked people to submit their best-kept secrets for off-the-beaten-path places to visit in town. Everyone who entered got a certificate for free ice cream and the winners received a certificate for dinner for two.

To me, this epitomizes how blogging doesn’t have to mean working harder, but rather, working smarter. The Nellis Group had 65-75 people submit photos with their responses. All the work was done for them.

Finding relevant content for your blog is as simple as a contest like this or taking two minutes a day to see what RISMedia is talking about, or having three or four topics set up as Google alerts. Determine what is relevant to your audience and then find ways to have that information pushed to you. Instead of licking and stamping direct mail pieces to send out, spend 15 minutes a day generating some great blog content.

Use your clients as blog fodder. Narrow down the most frequently asked questions clients approach you with and turn them into blog topics, such as how to appeal your property taxes, how to avoid foreclosure, the general requirements for a short sale kit, what to do if your home hasn’t sold, etc.

Blogging allows you to provide expert insight into what currently matters to people, whether it’s posting information about a local event, talking about relevant lifestyle issues or discussing topics that people might be confused about.

If you don’t have the time to write paragraphs, blog in bullet points. If you can’t do bullet points, create a video—it doesn’t need to be more than 90 seconds. If you’re uncomfortable being on camera, be behind the camera and interview someone else. Take on the mentality of being a reporter in the street.

Blogging is all about having the right mindset. Once you have that, the content will flow easily.

George “Gee” Dunsten, president of Gee Dunsten Seminars, Inc., has been a real estate agent and broker/owner for almost 40 years. Dunsten has been a senior instructor with the Council of Residential Specialists for more than 20 years. To reach Gee, please e-mail, gee@gee-dunsten.com.

http://rismedia.com/2010-10-06/how-blogging-turns-social-marketing-into-a-money-making-machine-creating-the-content/