Asheville Homes and LAND!- The Keep In Touch Blog


Think of your blog as your dust jacket

RUSSEL RAY is one colleague I admire because he not only puts in the time and energy to create his posts, but he is generous in sharing his ideas! I have been subscribed to Russel's blog for years, and while I may not always comment (sorry Russel) I always consider what he has to say.

This week, as I plan my posts, I am doing some research on Outreach...with particular emphasis on outreach to SELLERS in a challenging market...and thinking about 

Russsels' advice:

Think of your blog as your dust jacket. House beautify it and you'll probably get more people to stop by, and those who do stop by will probably stay longer. Eventually they'll want what you have to offer, and the best person to help them get it is, well, YOU!

Call Russel Ray for all your marketing, business, and photography needs.Call Russel Ray for all your marketing, business, and photography needs.

Think of your blog as your dust jacket

Most of us blogging here at ActiveRain are hoping that a prospective Client will find our blog, read a few posts, decide that s/he likes us, and either call or email us with that one sentence that starts with:

"I'd like you to...."

It usually ends with something like:

  • help me sell my home
  • help me buy a home
  • stage my home
  • finance a home I'm buying
  • inspect a home I'm buying

(Did I leave anyone out?)

This is a pull quoteDo you know what motivates your readers to take that step from blog reader to emailer or phone caller? On the other side of the coin, do you know what causes your readers to move on to someone else? Do you have any blog readers other than ActiveRain members?

I recently got an email from an ActiveRain member asking how long it took to write my blog post titled Hope you had a Happy Columbus Day!

Seems that she spends three or four hours a day at ActiveRain (she must not be addicted yet!) and her husband hasn't seen any benefit from it. I guess he wants a return on his investment......... That's as far as I'm going with that one.

Time is on my sideMy answer to her question was that the post took me a couple of hours to create. I purposefully use the word create because I don't write blog posts. First I dictate them in Word using Dragon Naturally Speaking or Windows 7 Speech Recognition. Those Word drafts are just down-and-dirty thoughts. Very few complete sentences, little organization, paragraphs only when I think about them, etc. 

From there I take the Word draft over to ActiveRain and create a draft post. I'll expand on it by completing the sentences, organizing those thoughts, and putting in paragraphs. I don't necessarily start a new paragraph where I should. My goal is to help the reader along. I do that simply by breaking up the text with paragraphs.

Like now. New paragraph. Not because I had to, but I like to keep paragraphs at five lines or less. Makes it easy for the eyes and brain when reading, specifically when reading text online.

Texas A&M UniversityThen I'll "house beautiful" my post. "House beautiful" is a term that I picked up while working for the Texas A&M University Press back in the 1980s. It comes from the magazine House Beautiful; I don't even know if that magazine is still around.

This is a drop capo "house beautify" something means to make whatever I'm doing beautiful so that people will want to at least consider buying it, using my services, etc. It means using different font colors, font weights (bold, italics, bold italics), font decorations (drop caps, reverse text). It means including

  • bullet points,
  • pull quotes,
  • tables,
  • graphs,
  • pictures

Incredible PlantsIn other words, what we were doing with the books published by the Press was making it so that people could actually judge the book by its cover, actually its dust jacket (the paper that covers the book itself). Of course, the book still had to be relevant and have good content. Otherwise it would get panned by the book reviewers, and those stopping by a bookstore would scan some pages, see how oogy the content was, and move on.

Few people buy a book because of its cover, but that's a great starting point.

Think of your blog as your dust jacket. House beautify it and you'll probably get more people to stop by, and those who do stop by will probably stay longer. Eventually they'll want what you have to offer, and the best person to help them get it is, well, YOU!

I've had people stop by my blog and leave comments such as these:

  • I just wanted to see your daily picture of Zoey the Cool Cat.
  • I knew you'd have a great flower fiesta for today.
  • You always have such great pictures of plants and wildlife.

The first step in getting people by your blog is to use the appropriate long tail key words. In book publishing, those long tail key words were simply press releases to the appropriate people who might be interested in the book. A book on the Texas bluebonnet and the best places to see them in the spring would have its press release sent to all the gardening and travel associations, as well as bookstores, throughout the nation.

Nestor and Katerina GassetYour long tail key words do the same thing, and the best people to help you with long tail key words and all that other SEO stuff are Nestor and Katerina Gasset. Subscribe to their blog and keep up with the latest and greatest in the realm of technology and SEO happenings.

Then follow along with me here in my blog because I'm going to be discussing many things that I learned at the Texas A&M University Press to help you get your readers to say a while, comment, and possible eventually use your services. These tips are still relevant because I see them still being practiced. Some things don't change, even in a world that moves quite a bit faster than those days in the mid-1980s.

For those wanting to know, it took a couple of hours real time to create that Columbus Day post. That's time spent actually at ActiveRain, but it doesn't include interruptions to play with Zoey the Cool Cat (when she wants to play, you play; there is no other choice), eat, channel surf, water the plants, photograph the wildlife, etc. Rarely do I sit down and do something from beginning to end.

That Columbus Day post also wasn't meant to garner any home inspection business. I did it simply because stamps interest me, history interests me, and ActiveRain provides a nice platform to express my interests.

Click here to subscribeTen most recent posts

  1. Thursday Themes — (October 13, 2011) Reach out and visit someone
  2. History on Stamps from the Halls of History — Hope you had a Happy Columbus Day!
  3. History on Stamps from the Halls of History — Happy Columbus Day! — Things you might not know about Christopher Columbus
  4. Unlocking the secrets of your home — The oddest statement in my competitor's report — a rant (and I rarely rant, so enjoy this)
  5. Business & Marketing — That doesn't work anymore!
  6. A Little Bit of Life — My traffic tickets are better than your traffic ticket!
  7. Music on Mondays from the Music Chronicles of Russel Ray — All you need is love
  8. Business & Marketing — No long-term commitment? Do something else!
  9. Golden Oldies — #16 (October 8, 2011)
  10. Picture of the Moment — Why you dirty rat! 

Ongoing series

  1. Unlocking the secrets of your home — All things related to home inspections and real estate, including safety and ongoing maintenance.
  2. Music on Mondays from the Music Chronicles of Russel Ray — Music is the international language. Enjoy some music with some words behind the music.
  3. Golden Oldies — I delve into the past to find overlooked posts that are not time sensitive. Information just as good today as it was then. Each person featured only once in this series.
  4. Friday Flower Fiesta — Flowers soothe the beast within, which is why women love them. I think.
  5. Business & Marketing — I have specialized in Guerrilla Marketing for over 25 years and share some tactics with you here.
  6. San Diego Historical Landmarks — Explore the City of San Diego's historical landmarks numerically from Landmark #1.
  7. History on Stamps — Ever wondered about all those people, places, and things on our postage stamps? Find out with me as your host.
  8. Halls of History — Explore the history of the world with me. If it's in our past, it's history!

Unlocking the secrets of your home The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray Golden Oldies Friday Flower Fiesta Business & Marketing San Diego Historical Landmarks History on Stamps Halls of History

Click here to subscribe



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Thanks for the reblog, I try to read Russel as much as possible.   I am headed there now!

Posted by Yvette Chisholm, Associate Broker - Rockville, MD 301-758-9500 (Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc.) almost 9 years ago

You know what's funny, I do all those things in sequence now & didn't even think of it. Great reblog & great ideas for little improvements that will pay off BIG.  I had to laugh about the husband's view of AR and the ROI.  It will happen if she follows Russel's advice. ;-)

Zoey's the best!

Posted by Lyn Sims, Schaumburg Real Estate (RE/MAX Suburban) almost 9 years ago

janeAnne, thanks for the re-blog. I consider Russel a wise wizzard on ActiveRain. I consider you to be a wise and wonderful kindred spirit.

Both of you, and there are so many others, are my mentors and friends.

Thank you.


Posted by Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP, Selling Homes Changing Lives (DFW FINE PROPERTIES) almost 9 years ago

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