I recently received an S.O.S. from a former active adult community client thinking of starting a blog as part of their online marketing to 50+ (baby boomer and senior) home buyers. “I’ve been charged by the big boss to start blogging as a way to connect with older buyers. But I’m not sure of where – or even if – I should start? Do Baby Boomers even read blogs? Help!”
Here’s what our team advised, as we lowered the lifeboat to this overwhelmed real estate marketer:
Baby Boomers Value Blogs
As Brian Solis put it in his 2011 State of the Blogosphere,
“Over the years, blogs have formed the foundation of social media, democratizing the ability to publish thoughtful commentary, build a noteworthy community and equalize influence along the way. Blogs are underrated and largely underestimated.”
The Pew Internet and American Life has found that 27 % of younger boomers (also known as Generation Jones, aged 46-55) and 25% of older boomers (ages 56-65) read blogs.
Creating Results’ national survey of mature Internet – Social, Silver Surfers– users found a higher adoption rate. Overall, blogs were the # 4 most cited social sharing tool used by mature consumers over the age of 40. In fact, 34% of 40-54 year olds and 36% of 55-64 year olds told us Blogs were one of the social tools they used the most. A third of the younger boomers and a quarter of the older boomers reported using comments on blogs and other web content.
How Will You Measure the Success of Your Blog?
The first thing we would want to know is how she (and the big boss) will judge the success of this blog? Blogs can yield any number of benefits, including driving traffic to a website, encouraging visitors to spend more time on site, engaging them in dialogue, sparking conversions, generating a viral lift through email/Facebook/social shares, gathering consumer insights, and/or generating a lift in natural search engine results.
In general, a 50+ community can use their blog as another marketing tool, a customer relations tool or a research tool. It’s important to pick one primary goal. Based on the goal, the content will vary.
No Blog Is An Island … It’s Part Of Your Content Marketing Strategy
A blog should be seen as a critical platform in an integrated content marketing strategy – it does not stand alone. I strongly recommend reading Content Rules by Ann Handley and CC Chapman. This essential book talks about the importance of a strong content strategy and gives great advice on finding an appropriate voice for your blog.
With that homework done, start by making a list of what topics are most relevant and engaging for your readers. Think more like a publisher and less like a marketer. Write about topics that come up in discussion with prospects and customers. What’s on their mind?
When it comes to 50+ homebuyers, consider how you can provide useful and helpful information about:
- Real estate market – national, local
- Preparing a home for sale
- Reverse Mortgages
- Affordable vacations
- Continuing education
- Health and Wellness
- Financial Tips
- Breaking news stories with 50+ angles
- The holidays
Starting a Blog vs. Maintaining a Blog
Once you’ve set sail with your blog, here are five ways to keep the effort moving smoothly towards your goals.
- Develop an editorial calendar and set a pace that you can maintain. Don’t post five things one week and then go dark.
- Think outside the (text) box. Photos and videos are becoming more important to content marketing and social sharing every day. They also provide an insiders view of life at your community, and baby boomers in particular value authenticity and a feeling of VIP status.
- Ask questions and respond to comments. A blog should not be a one-way megaphone for sales!
- Promote the blog through social media, RSS and emailing appropriate links to prospects. And remember, the #1 social sharing tool of Social, Silver Surfers is email. So make it easy for older users to email your content! None of this elder-unfriendly guess the squiggly letters and give us the Social Security number of your first-born …
- Remember to optimize the content and copy for search engines. A survey by Lee Odden found that”87.4% of respondents “successfully increased measurable SEO objectives as a direct result of blogging.”
What other tips or advice would you have thrown in the blog lifeboat? Share your comments below.