Good advice from Jo!
1. Sign up for a writing course! One of my favourite Christmas gifts this year is a 10 week writing course taught by book editor, writer and creative writing instructor Brian Henry .
The course starts in February and for a few hours per week of my time, I'll be polishing up my writing skills and learning new ones. I can't wait to start!
2. Make it a habit to carry your camera with you everywhere you go. Of course, many of the new phones have fairly good cameras built right in so you can always be at the ready if you see a photo with a story for your blog attached.
3. Take a photography course! Readers love to see pictures of the subjects we are writing about and professional looking pictures add to a blog immensely. This is an area I need to work on this coming year.
4. Subscribe to your local papers so that you'll always be up to date on local news. Some of the items you read may lead into a blog post so you're sure never to run out of ideas!
5. Spice up your blog! If you're in the habit of consistently writing the same kind of blog, vow to mix it up a bit for the coming year. Spicing up your blog keeps it interesting and has readers always coming back for more.
6. Give your blog a more personal touch with the odd blog about you and your family. This is how our readers get to know the real us, the us that goes beyond the computer screen.
7. Review this list of blog ideas and pick a few off the list every day so that you keep your blog updated regularly :
'On the Move'~ Write a post outlining the steps/things a home buyer/seller should be aware of or do leading up to moving day and on moving day itself. You could include 'making special provisions for pets', companies to notify of your move, etc.
Explain the 'essentials of the listing agreement' to the client in your area. Each area has it's own type of listing agreement and it may be helpful for a client to have a chance to review the listing agreement in advance of listing day and to understand what they will need to have ready, what questions will be asked, etc prior to the day they meet with you to do the actual listing.
Choosing the right neighbourhood is a very important aspect of the home search, if not the most important. Write a post guiding your client through questions and considerations they should acknowledge when considering the kind of neighbourhood they would like to live in.
Write a post about 'closing the deal' ~ ie. a post that outlines the steps, once a buyer has signed a contract to purchase and it has been accepted, that take place between then and closing day. Advise the buyer of his/her responsibility and things they'll have to remember to do along the way to make sure that everything goes smoothly.
Write a post about some of your favourite places to shop in your area outlining what is exceptional or special about each one.
Write a post about the company you work for and the benefits to the consumer of dealing with you and this company.
Write a blog about one of your community libraries (perhaps it could be the first of a series on the libraries in your area) detailing the history, what it offers, weblinks with special events and services offered, etc.
Write a blog post that incorporates the use of a google map that you have created. For instructions and ideas read Angie Vandenbergh's 10 Ideas for Localism Posts Using Google's New "My Maps" Feature.
If you live along or near a water body, write a blog about one of your local marinas.
Write a blog about special activities and events that are available/occurring in the coming week (eg. from this Friday to next Friday) in your area (this kind of post may require regular updating once you start it, or if you don't want to be updating it regularly, you could give various links to sites that tell of upcoming events for future reference ).
Write a blog that outlines the steps a first time buyer should take when they have decided to purchase a home in your area.
Write a post detailing things to watch for when buying a country property. eg. wells, septic, etc.
Write a post 'spotlighting' a certain interest group in your area.
Pick a heritage/historical area or building in your region and write a post about it. Make sure and post it to the Heritage Properties, Historic Sites and Antiques Group while you're at it!
Write a post outlining the initial steps a seller should take when considering selling their property.
Write a post about the local flora and fauna of your area, in particular, bring to the reader's attention any dangerous/poisonous plants or animals that a newcomer should be aware of.
Continue on in a series that you've started in one of the previous weeks. For instance some people are writing about 'buying your first home' and would write another article in that series for one of this week's posts.
Choose a community within your area and do a post outlining what it offers, average property prices, etc. Perhaps you could include a google map where you've overlaid the community (please see previous category posts to learn how to create and embed google map).
Write a post about things to watch out for when buying an older or heritage home.
Write a post outlining the annual festivals your area is known for.
Write a post about home inspectors and reasons buyers should use one when purchasing a home.
Write a post about buying a cottage or waterfront property and all of the things the buyer should be aware of before making a decision. Many things, such as shoreline property rights, are particular to each geographic area and it's a wise buyer who researches and finds out about these things before buying.
Write a post about purchasing a condominium and include relevant information a purchaser should be aware of (eg. common elements, etc).
Write a post about the prominent sports teams in your area. (ok, Jeff Safrin, I know you've got this one nailed!).
Write a post about the climate of your area and when the various seasons arrive and what the average temps are, etc.
Write a post detailing the costs a seller can expect to incur when they decide to sell their property, starting at the point of pre-listing and taking them through to closing day.
This idea comes from a search someone recently did on google and ended up accessing one of my blogs. Their search keywords were 'kind of garden soil in Oakville, Ontario'. Write a post detailing the growing season in your area and the types of produce that are available.
Perhaps you could include something about the festivals that pertain to the fruit/vegetable that your area is known for.
Write a post detailing the best places to go swimming or fishing in your area. Include directions, features, costs, etc if you are able and also things that a new community member should be wary of when bringing their family there to swim or fish.
Write a post about the basics of preparing your property for sale. What improvements give the best payback and what things buyers are most concerned about when looking at a property.
Write a post about insurance issues in your area and things that buyer's/seller's should be aware of when considering selling/buying (since these may affect whether or not the property will be insurable by a new owner). These could include things like concerns over galvanized plumbing, aluminum wiring, wet basements, etc.
Write a post about service clubs and groups in your area complete with contact information. This post could cover groups like the Lion's Club, the Rotary Club, Boy Scouts, Girl Guides, Chamber of Commerce, etc.
Write a post for sellers with guidelines on how to prepare their house each time there will be a showing. This could include the reasons why it is better if they are not home during showings, things they can do such as turning on lights in advance for sales representatives and their clients, leaving summer pictures out for viewing, perhaps baking banana bread prior to a showing, etc.
Write a post detailing what takes place during an offer presentation and negotiations for either a buyer that you are representing, or for a seller.
Write a post that outlines the main features of a mortgage and talks about the types of mortgages available.
Write a post about your town or city's city hall, including it's history, what functions it serves in the community and perhaps a bit about the present city council/mayor, etc. Include pictures.
Write a post about septic systems including things to watch for when purchasing a property that is on a septic system and how to care for a septic system.
Write a post that details the conservation and recycling efforts that your community has undertaken to preserve and clean up the environment.
Write a post about the wildflowers that can be found within your region and when their blooming periods are. Perhaps you could include some traditional uses that the plants had in pioneer days and also some pictures if they are spring time flowers.
Write a post that details all of the bookstores in your region, including off the beaten track sources for books like The Salvation Army store or any used book stores and flea markets that newcomers might not be aware of.
Write a blog about the different kinds of mortgages and the advantages or disadvantages of each. Include links to your favourite mortgage companies or banks along with a rate table that updates regularly.
Ideas for blog articles are only limited by your imagination. Being a member of Active Rain gives the business writer a wealth of ideas and knowledge to utilize when planning a blog and keeping it stocked with fresh material daily.
Make sure to incorporate a business blog into your 2010 business plan!
Jo-Anne Smith, the author of this article, is a REALTOR® with Brekland Realty Group, Oakville, Ontario and welcomes your real estate inquiries. To contact her, visit www.Oakville-BurlingtonHomes.com