December 16 2008

Successful Blogging Must Haves

1. You must have an audience

You must have a current audience or you must have an audience in mind. 
a. If you have an audience already such as consumers interested in your new home community, you’ve got a great start. 
b. If you don’t have an audience, you should have one in mind.  Begin by writing to the audience you have in mind, then contact them, let them know about the blog post you wrote, and then ask them to make a comment.

2. You must have information the audience wants, needs, or information that will benefit them.

If you want to gain and maintain readership, you must give the audience a reason to read your blog.  If the information doesn’t benefit me in anyway, why would I read it?  Just because you write doesn’t mean people will read.  Success is not an accident.
3. You must have information that your audience can’t get anywhere else. 
a. Company executives should be blogging.  Readers want to hear information directly from the decision making source.  We want the inside scoop.  Information from third party sources are less powerful because we don’t always know if that information is accurate or if we can rely on that information.  But we know that if the information is coming from the one in charge then there is substance; information we can bank on and make decisions based on that information.
b. Community sales people should be blogging.  A community sales person is the builder representative for that community.  They are the authority.  There are so many things consumers want to know and be kept up to date on concern the home, their community, and their builder, both before and after the purchase.  Blogging keeps consumers engaged in your brand.
4. Your information must be timely. 
Your audience should get the information first from you.  If they get the information from somewhere else first, your blog loses that exclusive ‘juice’ it should have to keep your readership coming back.

5. Your information must be real.

I like the word authentic.  I see so many blogs that are sterile in both the tone and the information.  To make a connection with people, give them real information, not the corporate yada yada yada.

6. Your blog must have a tone of one PERSON to another PERSON. 

The personal touch in the writing style is what separates blogs from news stories or press releases.    Blogs don’t just report the news or dispense information.  Blogs are person to person(s) communication.  It’s this person to person tone that brings about an emotional connection between the blogger and the audience.

7. Your blog must allow comments. 

Comments are what validates a blog.  Comments show there is a conversation going on.  Comments show involvement.  Comments show that people are interacting.  No comments say 'No one is listening'.  I do think it wise to set the blog settings where you have to approve all comments before they are displayed but you must allow comments.  Comments are what complete the circle of communication.  Allowing a comment is the listening portion of the conversation.  If you don’t listen, then you’re back to traditional one-way, in your face, marketing.

8. You must allow both positive and negative comments. 

I know this is one of the greatest fears in blogging.  ‘Aren’t we setting ourselves up for disaster?’  It’s a valid question.  No, you are not setting yourself up for disaster.  You’re setting yourself up to be a hero.  Many times, negative comments come from people that don’t feel listened to or cared for.  Since comments are the essence of listening, the feeling of not being listened to greatly disappears.  However, you must realize there will be negative opinions of consumers in all business.  Negative comments validate the authenticity of the blog.  Negative comments give you an opportunity to show you care and that you have nothing to hide.  Negative comments and the response to them is the transparency that drives consumers to trust and become emotionally involved with our companies and products.

9. You must respond to the comments. 

Whether responding in a general sense to several comments at once or specific comments, you must respond to continue the conversation.
a. If the consumer comments are neutral to positive, maybe just a ‘thank you for contributing your comments’ are in order.  Maybe you add something to the comments made that furthers the information in the original blog post.  Blogs are conversations.  If someone engages you in a conversation, continue the conversation until it ceases of its own volition...or momentum.
b. If the consumer comments are negative, this is your chance to shine.  Address the negative comment.  Address it and show you care about that person.  It may be as thorough as a full solution or as minimal as a simple validation.  In any case, show both the consumer with the negative comment and the world in large that you and your company address negative feedback.  When other readers read the blog post, the negative feedback from a consumer, and they read your response, it creates trust in the reader.  It says that ‘if the company/person cares enough to address that consumers beef, then the company/person will care about me and any negative issues I might have down the line also.’  Always address negative comments.  Never do the ‘no comment’ thing.  No comment says “I hear you, but I don’t care.”

The future of new home marketing is one where all sales people are bloggers. 

The future of new home marketing is one where all new home community websites have some form of consumer dialogue whether it be blogs, online community groups, or simply a Facebook page.

Social media, with connections in mind, produces stronger buyer to seller connections, a more effective and efficient way of maintaining those buyer-seller relationships, and effective dialogue marketing.  Social media marketing is the new marketing. 

We need to begin figuring out how to make social media marketing work for us. 

We need to begin training our current people in the art of successful social media marketing.

We need to begin looking for marketing professionals that know how to implement and execute successful social media marketing.

Jim Adams - CEO
New Homes


Posted by: Mike Lyon | December 16 2008 9:12 AM

Jim - all of your articles keep getting the star in my Google Reader. I love it. Thanks for the great content.

Posted by: Jayson | December 20 2008 1:02 AM

Nice solid list Jim - you're going to get some home builders blogging ... or else Smile

Posted by: | October 5 2009 12:18 PM

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