One of my friends shared an awesome video on Facebook the other day that perfectly illustrates the hidden truths behind what really motivates people to innovate, create, complete simple work related tasks or contribute to a greater cause. To quickly summarize the video, a group of respected economists conducted a study to determine how certain levels of financial incentives would motivate people to perform various tasks that required either simple mechanical skills or more complex cognitive puzzle solving functions. Their Results - For tests that involved only mechanical skills, the higher the bonuses, the better the performance. This makes sense to most of us. Work harder, get paid more. However, if the task called for even rudimentary cognitive skills, the larger the reward = the poorer the performance. Basically, when a task gets more complicated and requires a certain level of conceptual, creative thinking, people tend to be more driven by autonomy, mastery and purpose vs money. This Video Is Worth 10 Minutes Of Your Time How Does This Relate To Real Estate Blogging? It takes years to build a top ranking, well-respected and high traffic real estate blog. Finding your motivation starts by defining your purpose. If we follow the same logic proven in the M.I.T. study above, simply launching a blog for no other reason than to generate leads won’t be a strong enough motivator to help you push through the long nights of writing or researching new trends in SEO. For new real estate or mortgage bloggers, it’s a a daily challenge to justify the time and financial investment required to elevate social media activities past the point of hobby and into a sustainable business model. I certainly understand how difficult it is in the beginning to share with your co-workers or spouse about a new skill you’re learning, especially when the conversation always comes back around to ROI. Instead of using “once I have _____ traffic, I’ll get _____ leads” to justify your decision for starting a blog, try to focus on a few of the following reasons first: 1. Autonomy – Being Truly Self-Directed Keep in mind that a real estate blog for business application needs to focus on the needs and interests of your clients. It’s an opportunity to share your industry experience, as well as highlight the things you love about your city or neighborhood. But, there aren’t any rules that state you only have to feature listings or post housing stats. Frequently asked question videos or interviews are great ways to engage with, entertain or educate your target audience. If you’re passionate about local politics or city planning, then don’t be afraid to express your opinions in a manner that benefits a potential buyer or seller. Bottom line, I believe blogging is consistent the lifestyle and attitude of most real estate or mortgage professionals that consider themselves self-employed entrepreneurs. So, having an online outlet for a bit of self-expression and creative energy burning should definitely serve as a motivating factor for starting a blog. 2. Mastery – Developing Technical Skills For A Competitive Advantage Whether you’re improving your ability to effectively communicate through writing, or just figuring out how to edit a property photo in Picnik and publish it to Flickr, improving your social media competency is empowering. For example, I’ve learned a few things about WordPress and SEO over the years by reading real estate blogs and participating in forums, which has given me the confidence to finally revamp our Las Vegas Real Estate site. It’s fresh, so there is plenty of work to be done. However, this site contributes to around 95% of our success and sustains a large team of agents, property managers and support staff. I’m a long ways from mastery, but it is my personal motivating factor for spending time online. I love knowing that the skills I learn contribute to the overall success and growth of our company. 3. Online Resume – Substance Behind Your Brand If you’re truly a neighborhood or niche expert, then prove it. Sure, testimonials, awards and professional designations look good at first glance, but I believe our clients care more about how we can answer specific questions and needs that pertain to their unique scenarios. Forget about traffic, conversions and SEO for a moment, and try writing a comprehensive series of articles that completely breaks down one topic or area you claim to specialize in. Your blog should be the hub of all your online communication and education efforts, which is why it’s important to treat your real estate blog like a home ownership resource center vs lead generation machine. 4. Community Advocacy – Rebuilding Through Education Rates and home prices are lower than they have been in years. So, why aren’t people buying right now? We still have 100% financing, no appraisal refinances, rehab purchase loans and special state grant programs for down-payment assistance. Yet, the mainstream media has renters believing that they have to come to the table with 20% down and perfect credit. As an agent, and with the help of your loan officer, you should be on a mission to help your local housing markets by educating buyers and sellers about the options they have. I’m amazed at how many industry professionals rant on private forums or B2B real estate sites about how our clients are being misguided by the news, yet I see very few blog articles promoting the truth to local readers. Actually, I can’t think of a better mission or purpose for a real estate blogger than to help rebuild their community by educating consumers about how to buy and sell homes in the current market. _______________ Even with all of the social networking and other potential distractions online, when it comes down to it, blogging can be a lonely sport. So, regardless of your specific financial goals with your blog, my main point is that it’s important to find a greater purpose that motivates you to strive for awesomeness online. This blog originally appeared on wannanetwork.com. Special thanks to Mark Madsen for sharing this with us.