Can you teach someone to be a great blogger?

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Respect Realty LLC 200311024


Photo courtesy of HisksI've taught classes on blogging, I've taught people how to post, where to find content to post, heck I've even help write one or two with them to make them feel more comfortable in posting their information online.

But, the question is, can you really teach someone to be a great blogger? My personal opinion is NO! Heck if you think you can, can you teach me how to be one? You can teach them how to post, but you can't make them a great writer. When I started posting I was horrible. Heck, to me, I'm only a little better now than I was then.

You see, out of all those classes I have taught, only a few have written "THE GREAT POST". That doesn't mean that they aren't great writers, it may mean they just haven't been discovered yet. I think either you are a great blogger or you blog enough times that you progress in to a great blogger, but it isn't something that can be taught.

Now, the reason I bring this up is because I was asked by someone how I get so many comments on my posts. Personally, I didn't think I got that many, but I guess compared to zero, 20 is a lot of comments. I sat down with the person and told them that if they really wanted comments, than write something that will infuriate everyone they know.

THEN YOU WILL GET COMMENTS!  You don't even have to believe it.

I then said, do you really want comments or do you want business? This stopped them in their tracks, they hadn't thought about it that way. I told them write about what you know. You don't need to worry about being great, people will find you, connect with you, and hire you no matter how you write. But in time if you read other posts on a regular basis, you will find what style works for others and slowly over time your style will change also and that is when you find your path to great blogging, but it isn't something that I can teach you.


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James Downing - Metro DC Houses Team REALTORS®, CRS, GRI, ABR,MRP, MilRes
Real Living | At Home - Washington, DC
When Looking to Buy or Sell - Make the Right Move

I too have tried to teach others to blog.  People either want to do it or they don't.  Although I do laugh about posts and comments.  Sometimes I will do a very well written post about something and get like 1 comment.  Other times - a post that I never expected much - will get featured.  Who knows?

Feb 07, 2009 01:03 AM #19
Rebecca Levinson, Real Estate Marketing and Online Advertising Consultant
Real Skillz-Clear Marketing for Your Real Estate Vision - Lake Geneva, WI

@nestorandKaterina- I agree is also practice.  Blogging is so much about finding a voice and finding a voice usually comes with practice.  There are skills and techniques you can use to HELP you...yes there are, just like there is with people who are writers and journalists for a living.

I learned a bit about these techniques at blogworld last year in the citizen journalism workshop.  There are also creative writing workshops too which would be helpful...and then just ease of practice to help you find a voice.

And at the end of the day you might discover that vlogging or podcasting might be more your thing.  There's room for everyone.

Feb 07, 2009 02:34 AM #20
Patricia Kennedy
RLAH Real Estate - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

Todd, you can always write a post about what happens in a continuing ed class when you have a big old bean and cheese buritto for lunch!

Feb 07, 2009 08:40 AM #21
Chuck & Lucy Willman
Utah Homes - Alpine, UT
Utah Homes

I don't know if it's teachable unless the person first:

  1. has an interest.
  2. gives it a try for a sufficient amount of time.
  3. is curious enough to learn from the rest.
Feb 07, 2009 12:28 PM #23
Jeannette Neerpat - Coral Springs, FL
e-Pro Coral Springs/Parkland Real Estate

Bring me the business!! That's what I want over comments.

Feb 07, 2009 12:29 PM #24
Melinda Earlywine, e-PRO, CTA--

Practice makes perfect!  The more you do something the better you get.  I read my blog and then reread and reread again to try and get it right.  I sure want to sound like I have some sense and that I know what I am talking about.  You made a great point!

Feb 07, 2009 02:01 PM #25
Libby Cousins
Extraordinary Processing - Spokane, WA
Contract Mortgage Processor, licensed in WA

I don't even know that you have to be good to get comments. I've seen great posts with few comments and OK posts with many. I think a lot of it has to do with your title (to hook the reader) and the timing of when you post. I tend to comment more on the recent posts and will go back and look at older ones as time allows. Too bad I need sleep and can't live on here!

Feb 07, 2009 07:59 PM #26
Morgan Evans
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Manhattan, NY

As a new blogger- I would say that I have found out determining your audience is very important.  Getting a lot of comments usually is one type of blog and getting your phone to ring from a customer is another one.

Feb 07, 2009 10:23 PM #27
Peg Gilliland
Charlottesville Solutions - Charlottesville, VA
Broker, GRI, CDPE

Nice post! I also wanted to welcome you to activerain, I hope you enjoy it.

Feb 07, 2009 10:48 PM #28
Sharon Paxson
Arbor Real Estate - Newport Beach, CA
Newport Beach Real Estate - Arbor Real Estate

Todd - I don't think you can teach what to write (that comes from wtihin), the mechanics of how to write a blog can be taught however.

Feb 08, 2009 01:54 AM #29
Judy Jennings
The Green Company - Ashland, MA
Broker - The Lanterns at Warren Woods - Ashland MA


I believe you can teach "how" to write a blog, but not "what" is written.  If you are a natural writer, lucky you. If not, then you must practice until you get better.

Stirring the pot will most definitely get the comments flying. For me, it is about the business. At this point, I have only waded into the blogging pool. My goal is to work my way up to the lap pool. It takes time (sigh). 


Feb 08, 2009 11:38 PM #30
Respect Realty LLC
Respect Realty LLC - Milwaukie, OR
Brokers - Oregon / SW Washington Real Estate

Katerina - But, I think maybe if they if they have the confidence in themselves, they will do ok, but I think some of the best writers in AR are just born writers. I know I am not one of them. I can write a lot, but my writing style sucks, I'm not the guy that is going to be getting feature after feature like some on here, but they deserve, they have a gift and they can put on screen what I'm thinking but I can't get it to translate to the screen.

 Jeff - Even some of the ones I've taught in class that showed promise at first becoming blogging machines and getting lots of business from it stop and to me that makes no sense why you would stop something that is getting you business unless you are afraid of success.

Cindy - I think the best writers are just original souls that have a creative way about them.

Krista - Oh, it is very hard for some to be true to themselves in blogging. I think it is a lot like internet dating, the picture you see online, may not be what you see when you open the door.

Feb 11, 2009 08:12 AM #31
Bruce Brockmeier
Internet Marketing Consultant to REALTORS® - Yorba Linda, CA
Coached By Crouch

I can write a lot, but my writing style sucks,

Hey Todd,

You underestimate your talent.  I like your style!

Feb 11, 2009 04:41 PM #32
Respect Realty LLC
Respect Realty LLC - Milwaukie, OR
Brokers - Oregon / SW Washington Real Estate

Shane - I agree it does take practice, but even with practice you can't always become great. I'm one of those examples, I have written more than I think almost anyone here in the rain and yet I am always going to be me and never really be the great writer and featured post person like others here in the rain.

I'm not sure you can teach someone to be a great blogger, good blogger yes, great, I think that is just something that either you have or you don't. It may take time to show itself, but I don't think you can teach it.

Paula - As you can see from my posts, I don't really care about perfection or I wouldn't have posted the first one! I've certainly changed and progressed, but not to the point that I can or will be writing a featured post every week, I'm just not that good!

Sylvie - I look back on some of my first posts and those early follows of mine and have to wonder what they were thinking and saw in me. I'm lucky, some of those that subscribed to me in the early days two years ago are still supporting me and we have become friends. (Obviously they saw something in me)

Feb 12, 2009 11:08 AM #33
Respect Realty LLC
Respect Realty LLC - Milwaukie, OR
Brokers - Oregon / SW Washington Real Estate

Alexsandra - That is the first thing I ask when I start my blogging 102 classes. Blogging 101 is just about getting online, 102 is more about the meat of your posts and where to get topics. I teach them how to post and what they can post about (ANYTHING) but I can't teach them to be great writers.

Bruce - I think some are here just for the pats on the backs and that is fine, but that can only last so long!

Fran - I think you can get better, but only the gifted are truly great. Unless there is a format to it that I don't know about and if there is, will someone please teach me it?

Becky - I think for a lot of people it is just like a farming letter, they see the value, get started and stop before and sometimes even after a little success. (On to the next best thing)

Liz - I'm just not sure practice can make a great blogger, I guess if you copy a format of a great blogger you can maybe get it? Not so sure...

Feb 12, 2009 11:09 AM #34
Respect Realty LLC
Respect Realty LLC - Milwaukie, OR
Brokers - Oregon / SW Washington Real Estate

Karen - EXACTLY how I feel. I want to be a great blogger, but I have to be happy with being a prolific one!

Fran - I hope I show spirit and that is enough, but I do wish I was a better writer like some of the top featured agents.

Zane - Even being a horrible blogger like I was when I first started after awhile I started to get business. I've gone back and not edited my original posts, but I have added photos, but the original content has stayed the same despite me knowing how bad they are.

Don - I find that the customers that find me from my post either contact me directly by phone or e-mail me wanting answers. Rarely do I get a consumer asking a question or contacting me from within my posts.

Wendy - I hope you are right, I guess I'm practicing some 14-20 times a week and I still haven't figured it out.

Feb 12, 2009 11:24 AM #35
Respect Realty LLC
Respect Realty LLC - Milwaukie, OR
Brokers - Oregon / SW Washington Real Estate

James - I know exactly what you mean! I am amazed at the ones I've posted that got featured and the ones I wrote that were my greatest work ever... 1 comment and that was from my mother I think - lol

Rebecca - What an idea, I may have to sign up for a creative writing class.

Patricia - Oh, my 12 year old in me just came out and boy I feel sorry for the people in my next class.

Chuck - I think the ones that come to my class at least have the interest, as for the rest?

Jeannette - I agree and hey you do remember where to refer your Oregon buyers right?

Feb 12, 2009 05:01 PM #36
Respect Realty LLC
Respect Realty LLC - Milwaukie, OR
Brokers - Oregon / SW Washington Real Estate

Melinda - I never re-read my posts, if I did that, I know I would cringe!

Libby - Sleep, who needs sleep? For awhile I was getting caught up in my subscription list and now I try to do a mix of newer people I haven't discovered and my subscription list.

Morgan - My blog is not really focused on one type of client as Google doesn't care about that. I know if someone is searching for an answer, I hope they find it in one of my posts and then they can find out about me!

Peg - Thank you.

Sharon - I think it actually the opposite. The what to write about is all around us, a client asks a question, we drive by a park in our neighborhood, our family... The topics are endless, it is just making the words come out and look good on the screen that is the hard part.

Feb 14, 2009 06:33 PM #37
Respect Realty LLC
Respect Realty LLC - Milwaukie, OR
Brokers - Oregon / SW Washington Real Estate

Melinda - I never read mine after I write it, I let my wife proof read it and if it makes sense to her and she fixes the spelling and other little errors caused by using voice recognition software, then I post it.

Libby - I still think the great posts shine through, but I think it has to be something you either can do or can't do, I'm not sure it is something you can teach.

Morgan - They are two very different posts, but I also find every once in awhile I have a post intended for the members that also gets my phone ringing off the hook!

Peg - I'm glad you are welcoming to the rain... LOL (Thanks for all the e-mails about this, but please stop, I don't want to be welcomed anymore)

Feb 18, 2009 02:07 PM #38
Respect Realty LLC
Respect Realty LLC - Milwaukie, OR
Brokers - Oregon / SW Washington Real Estate

Sharon - Maybe that is what I was trying to say. I can teach you where to get topics, but I certainly can't teach you how to take those topics and make them interesting to the reader.

Judy - Come on, jump in the ocean, it maybe a little cool at first, but it is fun!

Bruce - Thanks, I'm glad you like it, but I'm certainly not one of those that are followed for my writing style. I think people follow me to see how they can laugh at me.

Feb 20, 2009 05:45 PM #39
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