Blogging is one of the most important tactics within an inbound marketing strategy. For me, it’s critical for building qualified traffic to my mortgage company website. In addition to increasing website traffic, blogging demonstrates expertise and builds trust with potential customers.
Ever go the hardware store looking for a particular tool or part to finish a project?
As a kid, I had a habit of pulling bikes apart and putting them back together. Then in my early 20s, my weekends were spent maintaining an old VW Bus. There was always something to fix. I benefitted greatly from picking the brains of retail clerks and made a point to go to hardware and auto parts stores where I knew I could get free help and advice. If you explained to me how to do something, I was a loyal customer.
Blogging is your chance to be helpful and explain things to people who could benefit from your expertise. At their most fundamental level, blog posts can answer questions that consumers have about a product, service or industry.
Potential customers vote with their wallet, rewarding businesses (you!) that help them. It’s always been that way. Being a helpful ‘retail clerk’ just happens online now. You can build relationships, earn trust, and gain customers through excellent blogging.
One trap I see, for folks new to blogging, is the temptation to stray from topics that will attract new customers. To keep my own blogging on track, I’ve developed my own “checklist” to make sure the content I create properly aligns with my inbound marketing goals.
You, too, can maximize your odds of attracting the right website visitors by asking yourself if your article topics meet the following standards:
1. Is this blog topic part of my core business?
I keep an eye on Realtor and mortgage company blog posts. I like to see what other marketers think will attract qualified visitors. However, I’m routinely shocked at some of the off-topic articles that get published. It’s not just beginners; even some of the more experienced marketers are guilty of going “off the reservation.”
If you want to save time and optimize your chances of ranking in search results, make sure your blog topics deal directly with your line of business. Are you a Realtor? Offer advice about selling and buying homes. Are you a mortgage lender? Write about different loan programs.
Here are some examples of blog post topics that make sense (and make no sense at all) for Realtors and mortgage lenders.
- How Much is Your Home Worth?
- 7 Curb Appeal Tips to Sell Your Home Faster
- The Easiest Way to Clear a Clogged Sink
- Trendy Halloween Costumes
(The “off topic” examples are actual posts from real estate and mortgage websites.)
2. Am I helping the right audience?
The main purpose of blogging is to attract and convert prospective customers. For the life of me, I do not understand why some real estate and mortgage marketers write about topics meant for other agents or vendors. The only exception to this rule would be companies that sell to industry professionals, like Pipeline ROI, which is a B2B software company.
Write for the people that pay your bills. Let’s say you’re a mortgage company. It could be tempting to write helpful posts for real estate agents and hope they reward you with referrals. That might work, but it’s very inefficient. Choose content where there is a direct line for you to reach and acquire a new customer.
Topics that help potential customers
- 10 Jumbo Loan Myths
- Home Staging 101
Topics that help other professionals
- 3 Things That Can Mess Up Your Client’s Closing
- The Best Way to Refresh Your Listings
3. Am I helping prospective customers at the right time?
Another puzzling type of blog post that gets published appeals to consumers who are way outside the sales funnel (too far in advance or way after a real estate transaction already took place). Creating blog content is hard work. It’s inefficient for you to spend time writing articles that would attract an audience with no interest in buying, selling, financing, or refinancing a home.
I freak out a little when I see blog posts with titles like, “Moving into your new home.” While it’s a topic somewhat germane to your business as a Realtor or mortgage lender, it’s completely outside the sales funnel. Why spend time writing about an activity that happens after a deal closes?
One could argue there’s still commercial value to this topic; people who are moving into a new home could refer their friends to you. But that’s stretching logic a bit, don’t you think? Wouldn’t it make sense to exhaust the thousands of other in-funnel topics available to you? Your time is valuable. Prioritize it.
Topics inside the sales funnel
- Zero Down and Low Down Payment Mortgage Options
- How to Choose a Real Estate Agent
Topics outside or too far down the sales funnel
- Tips for Moving into Your New Home
- How to Choose a Title Company
4. Will the reader (and Google) know the what the post is about?
Each blog post you write should address one major topic. Here’s why:
Readers have a better experience when you stay focused on one topic per page/post. Go deep and explain as much as you can, as clearly as you can, about one thing. You know you’ve done a reasonably thorough job when you write an article that runs around 1,500 to 2,000 words in length.
Focusing on one topic also helps improve your search rankings and organic traffic. While Google measures your site as a whole, the individual pages matter the most and individually rank in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).
For example, co-mingling two keywords in a single page title dilutes the potential to rank for either keyword. Don’t make search engines guess what your post is about. Be clear and singular for both Google and the reader. You’ll reap the rewards of more visitors, lead conversions, social sharing, bookmarking, etc.
- Home Price Trends in Chicago
- How to Sell a Home in Winter
- Home Price Trends in Chicago and Los Angeles
- How to Buy and Sell a Home in Winter
The criteria above serve as a checklist to make sure your blogging efforts bear fruit. A quick run through before writing any new blog articles will save you time and effort. Your time is valuable; it makes sense limit the scope of your work to the kinds of topics that stand the best chance of attracting and converting ideal customers.
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