Real estate copywriting: How to write a non-boring long blog post

By
Services for Real Estate Pros with Marte Cliff Copywriting

Dozens of experts are telling us that we need to write at least 1,000 words in a blog post if we want Google to notice us. While a whole lot of us don't like to read them, let alone write them, there's that little nagging thought: "But I should."

That's why an agent asked me how to write a 1,000 word blog post and not be boring.

Here's my take as a real estate copywriter...

First, obviously, you need something interesting to discuss and there needs to be enough to say about it to amazed or bored signpostwrite 1,000 words without using fluff and filler.Anyone can write 1,000 words - or 3,000 - if they ramble, repeat, and wander off on side trails.

If you need 2 or 3 topics to get to that word count, make sure they fit under the same general topic, as in “3 ways to…”

Some topics have been “done to death,” so avoid them unless you have something new and fresh to say. (How many people have written that you must de-clutter your house before offering it for sale?)

And whatever you do, don’t copy from anyone. You can copy ideas, but put them in your own words. When I do research for community pages, I often come across the exact words from Wikipedia on several agent websites. Not good.

Assuming that you do have a topic worth 1,000 words, the first step is to organize your thoughts so you don’t ramble or get off-topic.

For many, the easiest way is to create an outline of what you want to convey. Start with your primary topic, then break it down into sub-topics. Below that, list the points you want to make about each. Then begin writing to fill out the outline.

Or – if you’re best at free-thought writing, just go ahead and get started. Write everything you want to say. Then begin sorting. This is the method I use, because I’ve never been worth a darn at outlining. When outlines and essays were required in high school, I always wrote the essay first and then the outline.

Write the introduction: Tell them what you’re going to tell them.

Next, if you’ve written free-thought, begin your organization with the primary idea. Write a header and pull over everything that fits that header.  Do the same with the next idea and the next. (Oh how I love cut and paste.)

This will give you a few “chunks” of copy to sort again. Read each chunk and sort it into short paragraphs. (Short is the operative word here.) Re-arrange the sentences in those paragraphs so the ideas flow naturally.

If you’ve followed an outline,  you still might want to re-arrange your paragraphs to make the copy flow smoothly.

Use transition words and phrases to help the reader progress smoothly from one sentence or paragraph to the next. Transition words can reinforce agreement with the previous statement, or can present a different view, but they should lead your reader onward.

Here are a few examples: in the first place, as a matter of fact, in addition, to say nothing of, equally important, by the same token, and, also, then, of course, furthermore, on the other hand, at the same time, in spite of, even so / though, then again, above all, after all, but, unlike, even though, although, instead, despite, conversely, however.

Don’t be afraid to begin a sentence or a paragraph with a preposition or a connecting word. You aren’t going after a grade in English – you’re going after communication. That means its fine to write the way people talk.

cartoon girl reading a storyTell a story if you have one.

We all love stories, so if you can illustrate your point by telling one, do it! Be sure to keep it clear and concise, so readers don’t get lost figuring out what you mean.

Remember that visual appeal is part of what attracts readers, so pay attention to your font size – not tiny and not huge. Choose a font that’s easy to read. Some of the scripts are pretty, but best used sparingly. They’re too hard on the eyes.

Font color counts too. I have no idea why some developers are using gray on white, but they don’t do our eyes any favors. Gray on black is even worse. Ouch! I leave quickly. Remember that pastels are also difficult to read. If you want to be safe, stick with black and use other colors to emphasize a point.

You can also use italics, bold, and underlining within a paragraph to add visual interest and make sure your reader understands that those words are important. (I know – the whole piece is important, but…)

Add photos or graphics if you can. These create more visual interest and can reinforce your points. When you're writing about homes, let people see them!

If they fit, use bullet points.

You can use these alone, or as a way to introduce points in your presentation.

You can introduce the topic with an introductory sentence or paragraph followed by the bullet points, then use each of the points as the headers for your next paragraphs.

For instance: if you’re writing about a community, use them to highlight some of the amenities, such as:

  • ·       Community pool
  • ·       Tennis courts
  • ·       Golf course
  • ·       Club house
  • ·       Walking trails

You can then write a brief paragraph (or more) about each of those amenities.

Be sure to use headers and short paragraphs.

Why? Because people like to skim. They’ll let their eyes travel down your copy to see if they’re going to be interested in all you have to say. They might even read paragraph six before coming back to begin at the beginning.

As for short paragraphs – the maximum should be 7 lines, and that’s even too long for some readers. Remember that it’s fine to throw in a one sentence paragraph now and then, especially if it makes an important point. Insert a spacer line between paragraphs, so they’re clearly defined. Do NOT write a wall of words.

Remember to include your call to action.

Since you’re probably writing to generate business, remember to include a call to action. Ask your readers to visit your website, sign up to get your newsletter, or call, write, or text you. Make it easy for them by including appropriate links and contact information.

This can be in your last paragraph or in a P.S. – but make sure it’s somewhere!

Last but not least … draft or final signpost

If you write a paragraph or two and re-reading tells you that copy doesn’t quite fit your topic, cut it out, paste it on a new page, and use it in a different post later on.

Oh – and one more thing. Proofread your post at least three times. This is especially important when you’ve been moving sentences around. It’s far too easy to leave a stray word where it doesn’t belong, or to omit a connecting word when you join sentences.

By now you’ll be tired of reading your own words, but do it anyway.

Signpost Images courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Cartoon girl reading Image courtesy of taesmileland at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Re-Blogged 1 time:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Debbie Reynolds 05/19/2018 05:00 AM
Topic:
Real Estate Sales and Marketing
Groups:
Real Estate Rookie
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Tags:
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Rainer
217,183
Chris Lima
Atlantic Shores Realty Expertise - Port St Lucie, FL
Local or Global-Allow me to open doors for you.

Thanks for sharing these great tips, Marte Cliff. I bookmarked this post for future reference. As for proofeading, I find the best way to find my errors is to click "post".  

Mar 27, 2018 06:09 AM #37
Rainmaker
414,988
Carol Fox
Allen Tate Company 704-905-3935 - Matthews, NC
Helping You Discover Charlotte's Best Small Towns

Marte,

I don't mind writing long form blog posts.  I am able to use a Quick Navigation Guide or table of contents with my wordpress theme.  I put that at the top of the long form page or post and tell readers how to use it.  That way they can see what's in the post and skip to the parts that interest them quickly.  Is this possible to do on the ActiveRain platform?  I don't know; perhaps you do.

Mar 27, 2018 06:12 AM #38
Rainmaker
2,557,948
Debbie Gartner
The Flooring Girl - White Plains, NY
The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers

Great advice on how to do this Marte.  and, BTW, it's really 2000+ words...and this is not new...probably at least 4 to 5 year trend.

 

The keys for me are: 1) meaty topic, 2) formatted with lots of white space (or in my case purple LOL and 3) lots of pictures.

 

I really wish more would actually follow your advice.  It makes a huge difference and so many are missing the boat.

 

Mar 27, 2018 06:35 AM #39
Rainer
182,772
Greg Mona
RE/MAX Platinum Living - Scottsdale, AZ
YOUR Local Real Estate and Design Resource in AZ!

Another great and useful post by Marte Cliff! Right off, I found the very title of your post intriguing, as these days, people's attention spans are shorter and shorter (hello Twitter!). I have found with writing email messages if I have three or four specific items to cover that require a response, I'll end up sending 3 or 4 separate email messages. Why? Because after the first or second specific item, people glaze over and either stop reading or certainly stop comprehending. I know it is a pain to have to do it this way, and I would like to think my writing is not boring, but jeez, I find people simply don't have the patience to read much anymore; interesting content or not. Anyway, just my opinion.

Mar 27, 2018 09:40 AM #40
Anonymous
murthy

This has really helped me and has given me lots of ideas for my blog and i realise that i have some work that i need to do.affiliate marketing

Mar 27, 2018 10:27 AM #41
Rainmaker
314,815
M.C. Dwyer
Century 21 Showcase REALTORs - Felton, CA
Santa Cruz Mountains Property Specialist

Thanks again, Marte Cliff for sharing such a well-written how-to post.    

Mar 27, 2018 11:45 AM #42
Rainmaker
1,016,986
Bill Gassett
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Hopkinton, MA
Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate

Marte Cliff it wasn't hard to figure out my opinion was it:)

Mar 27, 2018 05:38 PM #43
Rainmaker
1,016,986
Bill Gassett
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Hopkinton, MA
Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate

I honestly had to laugh at your comment to Debbie Gartner  I never knew talking about floors was a more meaty topic than any other real estate topic.

Writing longer content is more involved and it takes work - that is why people don't do it. There are far more topics in real estate to write long form content than flooring. Spend some time on Maximum Real Estate Exposure - every article I write is 1800-2500 words.

 

Mar 27, 2018 05:42 PM #44
Rainmaker
1,016,986
Bill Gassett
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Hopkinton, MA
Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate

Sorry Marte Cliff was missing one of the slashes in the URL.

Mar 28, 2018 04:22 AM #45
Rainer
169,294
Robert Hicks
United Country River City Realty - Savannah, TN

Thanks Marte- Good info here, for me especially. 

Mar 28, 2018 05:50 AM #46
Ambassador
3,550,975
Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude - Carlsbad

Hi Marte:

There is a lot of good information in this post, along with the comments it prompted. It's a keeper for further reading! Thanks for your wisdom!

Jeff

Mar 28, 2018 10:19 PM #47
Ambassador
3,627,665
Debbie Reynolds
Platinum Properties - Clarksville, TN
Your Dedicated Clarksville TN Real Estate Agent

I don't know many that will read 1000 words much less 2000 words. i know I don't. The key is to keep the reader on your page and interested and give good information. That takes organization and lots of meat and good formating. Photos help create interest and links to related topics help establish credibility.

Mar 31, 2018 12:48 PM #48
Rainmaker
690,845
Joyce Marsh, Daytona Beach Florida
Premier Sotheby's International Realty - Daytona Beach, FL
Two Decades Of Experience Selling Luxury Homes...

Great post Marte Cliff  chock full of nuggets of copywriting wisdom. It’s funny how some people have the patience to read extra long posts right to the end, and others have a very hard time hanging in there. I guess I prefer a happy medium 

Apr 06, 2018 03:19 AM #49
Rainmaker
1,050,925
Evelina Tsigelnitskaya
SIB Realty - Sunny Isles Beach, FL
www.SIBRealty.org 305-931-6931

Wow, that is great! Thank you, Marte! As good as should be! 

Will follow your advise! Thank you!

May 19, 2018 05:07 AM #50
Rainmaker
1,379,304
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
your real estate writer

Thanks Evelina Tsigelnitskaya - glad to help.

May 19, 2018 12:52 PM #51
Rainmaker
47,726
Khash Saghafi
Liberty Home Mortgage Corporation - Cleveland, OH
Mortgage Loan Officer, Cleveland Ohio

Thank you to Debbie Reynolds for re-posting this Marte.  This is great information on keeping my thoughts and topics organized since I wander in a thousand different directions when I talk and type!! Thank you for the information (and thank you again to Debbie)!!

May 19, 2018 05:01 PM #52
Rainmaker
1,692,624
Patricia Feager
DFW FINE PROPERTIES - Southlake, TX
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Marte Cliff - You have provided me with excellent information. I need to write better content and get to the point of the topic without boring the readers.

Thank you!

May 19, 2018 07:36 PM #53
Rainmaker
1,379,304
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
your real estate writer

Khash Saghafi - Thanks! I'm glad you think this will be helpful to you.

Patricia Feager - I think we all tend to wander if we allow ourselves to do so. One of the phrases you hear a lot when studying copywriting is that sometimes it's necessary to "Kill your babies." That means sometimes you have to delete words you really liked because they don't fit or they're just too much.

May 19, 2018 08:44 PM #54
Rainmaker
2,732,995
Sally K. & David L. Hanson
Keller Williams 414-525-0563 - Brookfield, WI
WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce - Short Sale

Great suggeestions...and no surprise coming from Marte Cliff ...I think this needs a bookmark as a thoughtful remnder of the "to do" list for a long post !

May 20, 2018 03:45 AM #55
Rainmaker
1,379,304
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
your real estate writer

Thank you Sally K. & David L. Hanson - I appreciate your kind words.

May 20, 2018 11:35 AM #56
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