• Shannon

How to Know when to Back Away from the Keyboard

#WOCinTech Chat

BWT: You do yourself no favors when you "blog while tired."

HLW: You do your business no favors when you "hire lousy writers."

Whatever the reason behind your boring blog posts, when what ends up on the page lacks originality and compels the reader to leave the page, it's time to back away from the keyboard, take a deep breath and stop.

“Your home is the largest investment you’ll ever make”


I have a new client who has commissioned me to write a piece of content for her website. Apparently she had another “writer” working on it and after the client made edits and sent it back to for the fixes, she never again heard from said writer.

So, my task is to write this content. And – lucky me – she sent me the other writer’s piece so I know what she’s looking for.

All I can say is that this agent is so easily satisfied that I actually pity her. She was willing to pay for the content the other writer submitted and that is a downright shame.

The first sentence? You got it:

“A home is the biggest investment that you will make in life in most cases. . .”

Why that’s troublesome

First, how many times has this particular tidbit of real estate “wisdom” been foisted on the consumer? I did a Google search and found 17,200 instances.

Now, that’s just for the original sentence I posted above; the search doesn’t include the multiple variations of this triteness.

Real estate agents say they want to stand out from other agents in their markets, so why on earth are they willing to pepper their websites with overused phrases that make consumers’ eyes glaze over?

“Now is a great time to buy!”

“Now is a great time to sell!”

“Interest rates are at historic lows!”

Why it’s just flat-out wrong

Do you recommend to your listing clients that they stage or at least clean their homes before they go on the market? Amp up their curb appeal? If so, why?

I’m willing to bet that it’s because you understand the importance of making a kick-hiney first impression. Sellers have seconds to impress on potential buyers the beauty, the convenience and the lifestyle their homes offer.

Do you honestly think it’s different for real estate agents? How many seconds do you think someone will remain on a page that hasn’t put its best foot forward and tried like heck to impress them?

You do that first in your headline and second, with your lede – your first sentence. Throw either of those to the wind, be lazy with them and you might as well just present a blank page.

Let’s use neighborhood descriptions as an example. Which lede is more likely to get you to read on?

“Happy Acres is one of those Smallville neighborhoods that catch outsiders by surprise.”

“Happy Acres is a family-friendly community located in Smallville, U.S.A.”

As you most likely guessed, the names of the towns have been changed to protect the agents involved. I rather like the first lede and, yes, I’d read on, if only to find out what’s so surprising about Happy Acres.

The second one? If that lede were a home, it’s curb appeal would’ve caused the buyers to jump back in the car and peel rubber down the street.

If you write your own blog posts, do yourself a favor and use Google to get some help. Type in “how to write a good lede,” for instance and you’ll be rewarded with tons of free advice and spiffy examples.

If you hire freelancers to do your writing, don’t let them get away with being lazy. Insist that anything trite or boring be re-written to something more compelling, more scintillating and more interesting.

Don’t pay for any work until it hooks the readers at the beginning and keeps them there until your point is made.

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