You know you need to do a marketing plan. Or, maybe you have a plan, and haven’t implemented it. Why? If you’re like most agents, you’re not exactly rolling in cash. Yet, you need to promote yourself. Writing articles is a great way to expanding your marketing reach–without putting out any dough! Here’s how to do it.
How to Decide What to Write and Who to Write For
Pick up your favorite real estate magazine or newsletter. See the kind of articles that the publisher likes. Note the length. Ask yourself: Why would my articles be a benefit to that publication? Then, contact the publisher for article specifications and submission policies. You’re on your way to standing out as an exceptional agent!
Writing an article follows the same process composers use in writing a popular tune: It starts with the theme (A), continues with the middle, where you expand on the idea and example (B), and ends again with the theme. When I’m teaching my “Train the Trainer” course, we practice this simple structure when we create training programs.
Steps to Create and Publish your Article
Here are the simple steps I’ve used over the years to create articles that have gotten published hundreds of times in major real estate magazines and newsletters:
1. Decide on who your audience is, so you realize for whom you’re writing
2. Decide on the challenge (s) they have that you want to address
3. Jot down all the ideas you have about the challenges and solutions
4. Narrow the topic so you can zero in specifically on what you want to write about. The biggest mistake writers and teachers make is to choose too broad a topic for the time or word framework. For example, it’s difficult to write 500 words on how to create a team. You CAN write 500 words about why to create a team; or three strategic tips in creating a team.
Note: You can write a longer article (1000-3000 words ) and then break it down into 400-600 word sections for a blog series.
5. Choose one to three ideas to discuss.
6. Arrange the topics in the order you want to discuss them
7. To expand on the ideas, present the idea clearly and then give an example. One commonality I’ve found among editors is that they want examples with the idea. Otherwise, the reader doesn’t really get the picture.
8. Close the article with the reiteration of your challenge and solution, and give your audience positive motivation to take action.
From writing all those articles, here are the lessons I’ve learned:
- A smaller topic is better
- Less ideas are better
- More examples are better
So, in about 400-500 words, you’ll only have time for one to three ideas and examples. Make the examples ‘real life’. Also, be sure your article is as perfect as you can get it before submitting. These editors don’t have time to work with any of us in extensive editing. The person who submits articles “ready to go” gets published much more often!
Want to know more about writing marketing plans? See Up and Running in 30 Days, which has a prototype plan. Or, if you’re a seasoned agent, see The Business Planning System for the Real Estate Professional.