phoneinfosharingToday, many leading news sites and blogs welcome by-lined posts and articles from respected professionals willing to share valuable knowledge and insights with their readers.  Good, free content helps boost their SEO, readership, and prestige.

For companies who sell to brokers, agents, lenders, and consumers, the explosion of real estate blogs locally as well as nationally creates unprecedented opportunities to build brands, advance careers and position products and services.  The only cost involved might be the time of a professional writer experienced in the residential real estate to turn concepts into great copy.

The publishers who operate these sites make a living from advertisers who pay for space.  Allowing contributors to fill their pages with posts that are blatantly free ads not only costs them money but will quickly diminish the value and credibility of their site or publication to their readers. If you are intending to submit by-lined articles to bloggers or other media, you must make sure that it is news.

So, blogs and publications that accept outside contributions have very clear guidelines outlining what kind of content crosses the line.  One leading mortgage publication for originators, for example, encourages quality contributions by will not allow any references to companies, their employees or their proprietary products; the author’s name and affiliation are considered adequate payback for the quality content.  Most accept—and reject—pieces on a case-by-case basis, on writing quality and their value to their readers.

Here is some advice on how to make guest contributions a powerful tactic in your outreach efforts:

Begin by inventorying potential outlets.  Start with a solid understanding of the opportunities available to you and what they are looking for in contributors. Spend some time surfing sites, not just those you read daily but others you may not know.  List them by the audiences they reach brokers and agents, lenders, vendors, consumers.  Include local as well as national.  Locally, include weekly business you Think broadly and remember that your professional audiences read consumer outlets and that an article in a consumer or business publication.  Build a large list.  You will reach more people and build a “surround sound” image by appearing in several outlets. As you are researching, subscribe. Also be sure to make a plan to engage with their content by sharing your favorite articles on social media and by commenting on the article in thoughtful ways (i.e. don’t just say “great article, dude.”)

Make an honest assessment of what you have to offer.  Create a list of potential writing topics based on what you have learned in your business or by observation.  Do you have principles you use in training new hires?  How do you differentiate yourself from competitors when selling to prospects?  What have you learned that has made you successful?  If you are selling a product or service to brokers and agents, what is the underlying need it is fulfilling?  Can expand and develop these points to make an article that will help others?  Hands-on tips and advice based on experience (like this article!) are more popular approaches with editors and read more widely than theories or opinion articles.

Rate topics by three factors:  uniqueness, value to readers, your expertise. Editors will not publish a piece if it has appeared elsewhere and the value fresh ideas.  They have a better idea of what their readers want than you do, so read the publication carefully before you write.  Sharing knowledge based on personal experience always works best, particularly when you can enrich the piece with a couple of real-life anecdotes to make key points. Offer exclusives to each publication, or at least give them the first run.

Write professionally.  Editors at the best outlets are flooded with contributions.  They cannot afford to—and don’t need to—rewrite submissions from outsiders.  Unless you are an accomplished wordsmith, use a professional writer familiar with the content and the outlets for which you want to write.

Use social media to multiply the impact.  When each piece is published, be prepared to unleash every social media weapon at your disposal: push emails to customers, allies, journalists; Facebook; Twitter, Linked In; and, of course, your site.  Editors of the site publishing your piece will appreciate the bump in traffic.  They might place your piece on their “trending” list and will welcome your next submission. Don’t be afraid to boost the post on Facebook to generate more readership.

Above all, avoid hype and hard selling.  Follow the publication’s guidelines to the “T.”  Enthusiasm is a good thing, but avoid judgmental language; use your space to educate and share, not to convince.  Remember, you are building a reputation and a brand.  Your efforts will be rewarded in time but first you must with the trust and respect of your readers.

WAV Group Communications can help you. If you would like to discuss your plan, give us a call.