Is your Blog a Serial Novel a Reference Book or Both

Set of old booksDo you have a philosophy for your blog? Have you ever thought about it. Are you trying to tell a story about your community? Are you drawing a word picture of life in your community?

The Lab is more oriented to be topic driven. RE Bloggers, specifically leaning toward self hosted WordPress Bloggers, but with many topics that apply to blogging in general.

For the most part there is not an ongoing story here.

My Tucson Real Estate in The News is a blend of the two, at least it started out that way. It was started to provide analysis of all the Tucson Real Estate related articles appearing in local publications. Almost every article in the newspapers need to be analyzed to find out what is really in the content and not just the headlines and subtexts which often portrayed a completely different picture than the data itself. Along with that it centers on the Monthly Tucson MLS Statistical reports and breaking down those numbers with analysis and summaries.

Salted in with these two topics were posts on Tucson Subdivisions, Tucson Condo, Living in Tucson and Tucson events of interest.

On July 15, 2007 I started a new blog. This blog is more a serial novel of Life in Tucson Arizona, and real estate topics of interest included. It is designed more to establish a relationship with readers and bring them back, daily if possible, to see what is going on in Tucson.

A serial novel approach is one that is looking for regular readers. The reference Topic approach is looking more to snag a reader from a search engine search. Those readers may hit the blog, get the information they want, and never be back again. Some of those readers bookmark the site thinking they might be back to this reference site again.

For example if you are just looking for a way to clean and shine saltillo tile then it will probably be a one time “Hey, that’s great I know how to do this now”. If it is a search on Water in Tucson, or Cactus in Tucson, or Things to do in Tucson, they might find the site an ongoing resource they want to come back to again.

Is it possible to blend these two? YES, it is possible.

A couple of ways to make blending easier for your blog.

  1. Meaningful Categories to group posts
  2. A series of posts on specific topics broken into groups.
  3. The voice you use.

These are just a few things you can do to help create a blended blog approach attracting both those that are using a search engine to search for specific information, and those wanting to find a place to check in regularly and find out what is new.

The Voice You Use

I’m going to step completely outside the RE blogging community because I know we all have our favorite authors. I don’t want any of those biases to take your thoughts away from the point. Instead I’m going to use an example that is completely separate from the real estate community with the exception of the fact he has photographed some mighty pretty and majestic real estate.

Scott Kelby’s blog is a perfect example of Voice. Scott first got my attention with his book The Digital Photography Book. (This is a great book, but be warned, you might just end up spending a lot of money on photography equipment because he make you want to take good photos). The Digital Photography Book is written like a blog, with each page a post.

Scott has a wonderfully warped sense of humor and he speaks with the voice of friendship on every page and in every post on his blog. I read Scott’s blog everyday. I don’t own a copy of Lightroom, or Photoshop. I don’t do wedding photography or take picture of people very often. I don’t go to sporting events (though I enjoyed Scott’s images of the Bears and Browns game he recently attended.)

So why do I read his blog everyday? It is his Voice. He is down to earth, fun to read and makes everyone feel at home and at ease. He’s a teacher and he is always on. He’s the kind of teacher with understanding that gets a student excited about learning. If he has a ruler in his hand it is so he can show you something great, interesting or funny. Not so he can wrap your knuckles and tell you to pay attention and do better.

Find your voice and you will find your audience. I’ve always been interested in photography, but Scott is one of the people that’s helped re-ignite my passion for the camera and light.

There are lists of names I could give here, and someday might. Think about the blogs you read regularly and I’ll bet you have been attracted by the voice of the blog as much as the content. You might not even have been aware of it. That is how subtle and strong the voice of your blog can be in attracting regular readers.

gone with the wind book coverWhat have you got?

  • a serial novel
  • a reference book
  • both

What’s your voice? Do you know? Do you have one?

Find the answer to these questions and you will find coming up with something to write will often be much easier and attract more readers in the process.


  1. You are “spot on” with “the voice”. There are a lot of blogs out there that take themselves and life in general way too seriously.

  2. Great article. i always considered myself more personal, but didn’t feel that was appropriate for real estate. I now (because of you and your words of wisdom) know what I must do…BE MYSELF.
    Kathy Neilsen
    I like your blog 😉

  3. Kathy,

    Thanks, the lab was down this afternoon. This time not my fault. Server issues, but resolved now.

    Glad you like the lab. Especially glad you have come to grips with being yourself. This will really help your blogging.

    Blogging now will be fun instead of part of your job. The relationships on the web through relational sites are changing the way people view sites on the web.

    Here’s my new mantra “Personal is Professional”