This post is slightly meta, but today I thought I’d blog about blogs.
Specifically, I’m addressing residential real estate blogs, their readers and especially their writers.
Before I was a reporter, I was a licensed builder and home inspector for decades right here in Massachusetts. So, while I typically write about the residential real estate market, I also know a bit about how buildings are put together and sometimes, destroyed.
I come across a lot of real estate agent blogs and occasionally click on them when the topic piques my curiosity. Many of them are well-written and some turn out to be interesting, but when real estate agents write about construction, they often get things wrong.
That is not surprising because while agents are often pretty familiar with construction, they are not experts. Most often, the errors are minor and obvious only to a professional in the field. But even those less-consequential errors will diminish the agent’s credibility among experts, which is bad enough.
Other times, the errors are more critical and the agent spreads bad information, possibly opening that agent up to liability from a reader who relied on it. This damages the agent’s credibility and reputation among readers and professionals, exactly the opposite of what the writer intended.
And it’s not only real estate agents who do this. I recently read a West Coast home inspector’s blog post in which the writer gave legal advice. Beneath the post was a disclaimer that explained the writer was not a lawyer and people should not rely on his legal advice.
If a reader saw that advice, followed it, and things went badly, I don’t think the disclaimer would be enough to defend him in a lawsuit.
Bloggers: Yes, regularly providing readers with well-written, relevant information will drive traffic to your site, but remember to stay in your lane! Agents can write about their market all day long, but if you want to write about construction, at least ask an expert to review what you wrote so you don’t come off sounding like you don’t know what you’re writing about, or worse.
Better yet, interview an expert for the story or even ask an expert to do a guest post on a topic you’d like to cover. Readers will get better information, and it’ll save you some time.