Writes of Passage for a Blogging Neophyte – Part 1

http://activerain.com/image_store/agents/5/6/2/5/9/56259/user56259_2_l.jpgIt’s been 4 months, 21 days, 21 hours, and 42 minutes since I posted my first blog. And I feel confident saying, with pride, that as a Blogger, I have arrived. Not only here at VARBuzz, which is a huge honor, but to real estate 2.0. I thought I’d address some of the issues I face being a newbie blogger. This will be a series of posts, so be sure to stay tuned.

Overcoming Fears

The hardest part of blogging, for me, was getting over my fears, and there are many of them! Initially there was the fear that no one would read it. Being a part of several social media sites helped drive my first readers to my blog. A few left thoughtful comments and many wished me well. But, there was still the fear that the general public wouldn’t find me. It took a month and a half for me to realize my blog was being read, and not just by friends and family. I got a LinkedIn invitation from a Realtor in Florida who asked me if she could send my post on Short Sales and Foreclosures to one of her clients. I was in shock! You mean, someone in Florida stumbled across my bog post and thought it was good enough to send to her client! Wow! What a feeling! I soon set up Google Analytics to track when, who, and from where my blog is being read. This is an amazing tool that I recommend all new bloggers utilize.

There was also the fear of the “Big Boy (and Girls).” These are the experienced bloggers. They took their training wheels off a long time ago. It’s hard not to be intimidated by them. I happen to be acquainted with many of the Virginia blogging elite, which made it harder for me. First, I was worried they wouldn’t be honest with me. I really do want and, more importantly, NEED their honest feedback. Second, I was worried they would be honest with me. No one likes to be criticized. No one likes to be told they are not good at something. It is up to me to get over this fear. No one is good at everything. Part of the blogging process is learning who you are and how you are going to present yourself to the world. The constructive criticism is an important aspect of finding your blogger voice.

Another part of the intimidation is the amount of tools these guys have learned to use. There are podcasts, embedded videos, and so much more. It’s hard to keep up. Learning my comfort level with technology and learning about the tools at my disposal was a big part of starting my blog. I’m not comfortable with video yet. And, that’s okay. It gives me a goal and something to work toward. Rome wasn’t built in a day; my blog portfolio doesn’t have to be either. It helped me to begin to look at the blogging veterans as a resource for a new blogger to tap into. They’ve made mistakes that you can learn from. They know what works and what doesn’t. There’s no sense recreating the wheel. I highly recommend getting a blogging mentor. They will help hold you accountable and push you through your fears.

My fears have not been conquered, but they will be. I’m pressing forward and finding new things to blog about. I’m getting more daring and more opinionated. I’m developing as a blogger. But the most amazing thing that has happened is that I’ve become a better Realtor. Blogging has forced me to step outside my comfort zone and confront my insecurities. I’m much more knowledgeable about my market and I own that knowledge. My blogging journey is far from over; but post by post, this is getting easier.

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14 Responses to Writes of Passage for a Blogging Neophyte – Part 1

  1. Sarah,

    You wrote–

    “I’m developing as a blogger. But the most amazing thing that has happened is that I’ve become a better Realtor. Blogging has forced me to step outside my comfort zone and confront my insecurities. I’m much more knowledgeable about my market and I own that knowledge.”

    THAT is one of the most important (and unintended) results of blogging. It was actually the thing that made me keep blogging. I wasn’t doing it for leads, originally. I was doing it because it forced me to educate myself. It forced me to continue searching, and to look in places that I would not have considered otherwise.

    Keep up the good work, you’ll be a smashing success!

  2. Monika says:

    I felt the same way when I wrote my first blog post in 2006. For a long time I felt like I was just talking to myself. I’ve learned so much from blogging and now feel much more comfortable and confident. I’m so glad I kept at it. BTW my last 5 closings all came directly from my blog. Not bad if you ask me.

  3. Jay Thompson says:

    Learning from others is indeed a wonderful benefit to this blogging thing.

    Great post Sarah, thanks for sharing your thoughts. Looking forward to the rest of the series!

  4. ines says:

    taking your blogging-training wheels off after only 4 months is pretty impressive!!! It was intimidating for me too, I have to admit and I am a better Realtor today because of blogging; not to mention the amazing people I have met because of it.

  5. Jim Duncan says:

    Sarah –

    Well said. I doubt it means much, but I am proud of you not just for starting and continuing to write, but for publicly acknowledging your trepidations with the whole thing.

    (Good) Blogging makes us better at our true craft – representing clients. Not to mention, we get to know some of the coolest folks around. :)

    Thanks for the good post.

  6. Sarah Stelmok, C21 New Millennium says:

    Ines – My training wheels are definitely not off yet, but I’m getting steadier.

    I appreciate all of your comments! You guys are the greatest and know how to make a gal have a great day!

  7. jaybird says:

    Sarah, I always tell friends in other markets that their best authoritative source on their markets & who they should hire as their selling agents is one of their most prominent RE bloggers if there is one. RE blogging forces you to know your market and niches beyond any of your fellow real estate consultants in the area.

    Where is your blog and website; I want to see and so do others who do not know about you. Here’s the authority blog in the Arlington real estate area. Feel free to get some ideas there for your local blog. Some of my blog can be a bit controversial but it’s that being real about the market, particular listings or the industry that wins the loyalty of consumers.

    j

  8. Jeremy Hart says:

    You wonder sometimes whether people are actually listening to what you have to say, but you hit the nail on the head – it doesn’t matter (in my opinion) whether people are listening (or reading), by reading you’re making yourself a better practitioner and that makes it all worth it. You benefit, and more importantly your clients benefit.

    Thanks for stepping out and sharing what all of us have felt at one time or another (and likely still do).

  9. Thanks for sharing your story, because even us “experienced” real estate bloggers are constantly working to keep readers and interest up in what we have to say, but like you said, the big benefit is to growing yourself through your blogging, even if no one else is reading. Great post!

  10. Congrats on your first Buzz post…what a great addition to the ‘team’ here! You have a very natural way of writing, and your voice does come through very clearly. Putting my opinion out there for others to criticize or agree with was the hardest thing for me (and still is). Not seeing any wobbles without the training wheels, girl, you are doing great!!

    ~Heather

  11. Tina Merritt says:

    What a wonderful and inspiring first post! I don’t know if I’ll ever get rid of the training wheels – it’s nice to know they’re on the shelf in case I need them. And I totally agree with The Zebra….being a blogger has made me a better agent and given me a whole new perspective on the industry.

  12. Jeremy Hart says:

    Sarah, I love this language:

    I own that knowledge

    I forgot to ask in my previous comment … After four months of writing the blog, are there things you’ve found harder to do than you first expected, and how are you overcoming them? I’m sure that there are folks that read this post that have probably struggled with many of the same things, and might find it helpful to hear how others are dealing with it.

  13. Sarah Stelmok, C21 New Millennium says:

    Jeremy – good question. I will be addressing some of the things that have been hard in the next few posts about being a blogging newbie. Goal is to have one post per week for the next few weeks. Stay tuned! (See I’m dangling a carrot so you’ll come back and read more!) :)

  14. Pingback: Guide to Getting Started with Social Media « NVAR Wiki

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