If you do not yet have a real estate blog, statistics show you are already behind the eight ball. Hubspot ranks blogging as the fifth most trusted source for accurate information for trusted online content and reports 78% of Internet users conduct product research online. Furthermore, they suggest that blogging can increase lead generation up to 67% more than not blogging.
So, the question is not whether you should blog, but whether your blog is effectively positioned to reach the masses, in effect, go viral. Who's picking up what you're throwing down, and how often are they doing it? Who's sharing your content and how often? While mystery abounds as to the perfect conditions for going viral, some basic blogging principles prove repeatedly how best to go viral with your real estate blog. Here are seven most effective strategies for doing so.
#1. Make it large and in charge.
Short posts (less than 500 words) are like bumper stickers; you might read it quickly and it might even spur a chuckle or raise an eyebrow, but mostly it's here and gone in (less than) sixty seconds. Searchmetrics records the average word count of top-ranking content in Google, 2015 was 1,140-1,285 words. Other industry leaders agree larger is better, recommending longer posts even up to 10,000 words. A good rule of thumb then, to go viral with your real estate blog, is to shoot for between 1200-1500 words.
#2. Go emotional, get personal.
Speaking of laughing and frowning, when you want to go viral with your real estate blog, you have to get emotional. People share content that elicits an emotional response, preferably positive, since your name will be attached to it. A 2010 New York Times study identified four categories of most emailed articles as follows: awe-inspiring, emotional, positive, and surprising.
Real estate blogs seeking viral status need to speak to humanity, not numbers and market theories. Sure, statistics are useful to drive home a point (a few are used here), but people ultimately share what makes them feel good, look good, or show good toward others. Ninety-four percent of people who share posts do so because they think it might be helpful to others (New York Times). Think about the last post you shared. Chances are you shared it with someone because you thought it might help them. To go viral with your real estate blog, create content that is helps or validates the reader. For instance, write a "shout-out" to all the mothers out there trying to keep their kids from destroying the house while its listed for sale on the market. Provide tips and tricks to keeping kids busy and moms at peace with outdoor activities, indoor seated activities, day trips, and so on.
#3. K.I.S.S. (Keep it Super Simple).
Yes, that's the nice way of saying what many know to be "Keep It Simple Stupid." Nevertheless, the principle holds true in blogging as much as most things in life. If you want people to share your content, you must make it easy for them to do so, and lots of people must share your content in order for it go viral. Three ways to make it simple for people to share your real estate blog posts:
position social icons conspicuously on the page (along top, bottom, side of post)
create quotable tweets and prompt users to "Tweet this"
use "pinnable" images and prompt user to "Pin this"
#4. Create current, unique content, often.
It may sound counterintuitive, but providing a lot of shorter (500-700 words), but relative, current posts can help your longer, more substantive posts go viral. As a real estate professional, you get it. The more times you "touch" a prospective client, the more likely you are to "serve" that client's real estate needs in the future. People with tight schedules don't always have time to read in-depth articles online, but appreciate having a place to check in regularly for current content. Furthermore, each blog you post that is up-to-date, personal, and captivating will increase the likelihood of your content being liked, shared, and engaged by existing and new viewers.
Not sure what's current? Follow the "Trending on Twitter" feed or use Google Trends to find out what people are searching. Then, go all real estate on them. "#Election2016" trending? Create a post that poses various real estate market scenarios based on #Election2016 outcomes. Another valuable resource to see what content is shared most often is BuzzSumo, whose business it is to follow market trends on content and online user behavior.
#5. Create list posts.
SEO ranking is huge when it comes to list posts. According to BuzzSumo, list posts are second in shares only to Infographics. This type of content is easy to read and digest a large amount of information in small bite-size pieces. (See, here you're already on number five, and still holding on to the end.)
Lists posts also give readers a plan for moving through the content, communicating to the reader, "Let's do this," thereby evoking a sense of success before the reader has even read the first item on the list. Jeff Goins shares the following simple formula to generate strong titles for list posts:
Number or Trigger word + Adjective + Keyword + Promise
For instance, to go viral with your real estate blog post, you might consider creating a post entitled, "7 simple tricks to staging your home to sell at first sight." The old adage "don't just a book by its cover," doesn't exactly translate into the blogging world. In fact, without a good title, or cover, a post will most likely be ignored, or at best, saved in an inbox until time permits (in effect, ignored).
#6. Get connected.
Real estate professionals are experts at building relationships and navigating networks in the real world. To go viral with your real estate blog post, you must strive to get connected even more so online. There are obvious ways of connecting or promoting your blog with others. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn are starter platforms for sharing your blog and encouraging others in your network to do the same. However, many more, not so conventional ways of connecting your blog can lead to it going viral. For example, including your blog in email signatures, posting in real estate forums, submitting your blog to Reddit and Digg are a few other ways to increase your exposure. Share your real estate blog with others via Google+, Pinterest, and youTube (if video can be incorporated into content) as well.
#7. Stage for success.
We have already covered the importance of a strong title (the entrance or foyer), current, captivating content (the main living area), and sharing your content with others (open house). However, any experienced real estate professional knows staging a property or portfolio for success is an art that can translate into big cash.
To go viral with your real estate blog, you must include highly visual accent or supplemental pieces in your posts. Just as an 18th century vase might draw the prospective buyer's attention to the accent window near the fireplace, so will a vibrant, high resolution image complement your blog post. Pictures, infographics (#1 on the shared content list), video clips, and other visual content brings life to an otherwise static page. It also breaks up the content visually so that readers are able to pause between narratives, yet not go away for lack of interest. However, use caution here. According to Mashable, if the blog is too bogged down with content that takes more than four seconds to load, most people will abandon the link.
Taking a real estate blog viral is no easy task, but learning to systematically utilize these seven strategies will facilitate the process. Not sure where to start? Upcycle a recent post using these seven strategies and track the difference. Start with a current, palatable idea, give it a title using the formula from #5, and so on.
The takeaway here is this: viralness depends on content connecting with humanity (Tweet this!). Regardless of market, trends, politics, weather, people desire to be touched by something positive and useful, and they share what they like.