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Your Broker-Manager Hates Your Real Estate Blog

Again, we are thrilled to announce that we have another great article by the our own real estate blogging goddess, Teresa Boardman.  Earlier this month she presented her strategy for 2007 with: Business Plan 2007: Blog For Leads.  This week she spits in the tiger’s eye:
 
Your Broker/Manager Hates Your Blog
 
OutlookMaybe hate is too strong of a word, but chances are if you have been spending some time on your blog you are not getting a lot of support from yours peers in the office or the important folks at your real estate company.  If this is the case I have some good news for you and some bad news.
 
First the good news, you are on the right side of the new digital divide if you are reading this post on the Tomato.  You came here because you wanted to learn or maybe take an idea you read about here one step further.  You might even have a business blog, if not at least you are aware that they exist, and are reading one of the best [ahh shucks, Teresa]. There is absolutely no evidence to support the supposition that business blogs are a waste of time.  The fact is that business blogs are still in their infancy and we don't really know how far they will take us.
Now for the bad news, you will not get much if any support from your organization or your peers.  You will get those comments and questions that leave you feeling unappreciated, and misunderstood:  "How much time do you spend on that blog of yours?", "It is just a blog, are you sure people read those?"  "Why aren't you using your blog to ask for business?"  "During this market shift we all need to get back to and concentrate on the basics"  "You don't get business from a blog"  "Shouldn't you be writing more about yourself and your listings?" "Your blog may work for you for a time but soon everyone will be doing it and it will no longer be effective." The last one really cracks me up because the truth is not everyone can or will write a business blog. 
 
If you have a strong desire to be loved, appreciated or respected in your company because you have a blog, you should stop posting today and go run out and do an open house, or better yet pick up the phone and start cold calling.  Chances are your peers and broker/manager will support you and may even lend you some extra open house signs.   If on the other hand you have a desire to meet people, build relationships, give something unique to the world, exploit the internet as a marketing tool, try something new and different, and take a risk or two,  blog on.
 
Nothing is certain but there is a strong possibility that my business blog is taking me in the right direction, and that the naysayer's are so far away on the other side of that divide that they can't see it let alone understand my motivation for writing more than 450 posts, plus a few for Jim.   I have asked some people in my office what they think about Zillow, I am shocked to report that they never heard of it.  What's a Zillow anyway?  The divide is growing very quickly and as the internet allows us to share ideas more easily the speed increases.
 
The learning curve looks much steeper to our colleagues that are watching us from far away. They encourage us to get back to the basics because that is all they know,  as if they are certain that doing more of the same and working harder at it is the way to grow our businesses in a shifting market, and a new age.  They give us the best advice they can based on what has been proven to be effective in the past and can not even comprehend what will work in the future, because they have missed some of the future already.
 
We are leaving our peers and our broker/managers behind.  We can move, change, learn and innovate much faster than a huge real estate company can. The managers in those companies wait for a new direction that will come too slowly and probably too late.  They watch us and we frighten them. Not everyone can do what we do so by some convoluted reasoning they have decided that we shouldn't be doing it or that it can't work.  It is easier to believe that the old tried and true methods of running a real estate business still work as well as they did in the 80's and 90's, than to figure out how to compete today on the internet where the skills and tools needed are new and different.
 
We need to keep learning and growing and most importantly learn to ignore the voices from the other side.  For support, encouragement and praise we have each other.
-Teresa Boardman
Thank you Teresa.  As always, it’s a pleasure having you 'on the vine'.

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Comments

Love this post. I can't tell you how many times I hear managers push their salespeople away from blogging because it's "not productive". This is endemic and not just limited to the real estate industry, either. I see this in the mortgage industry, too.

Blogging is 100% about "the basics" because it creates a personal relationship between a salesperson and a buyer. What is more basic than that?

Dan,
I coud not have said it better and I wish I had. :) TB A.K.A blogging godess. :) Jim cracks me up!

Absolutely on the money Teresa. My personal excitement and conviction about business blogging and the structural changes taking place in our industry only heightens my shock at the blank stares I get when talking about it in my office. Those looks conjure up the song line: "like cows at a passing train".

Blogging will itself evolved into something still more advanced. But if websites are Algebra I and blogging is Algebra II, then whatever's next will be like Calculus. And we won't have a prayer of understanding that without having done what we're doing now.

Teresa, you hit the nail here. My favorite retort from one of my blogging Realtor friends is he'd rather spend an hour writing a blog post than at a networking meeting... the blog post networks for you forever.

My branch manager supports the idea. As far as I can tell my broker does as well. Of course, in the grand scheme of things, I don't really care. That's the beautiful part of being an independent contractor.

(My favorite aside - I was picking up paperwork one day and wearing shorts. Our former owner looks at me and says "nice legs." I reply "independent contractor" then laugh and leave.)

My peers are another story ... on some level they know there is a benefit, just as they have web pages because they know they need one. But they won't take the time to figure out how to make the web page drive business or to find out why blogging works ...

"I don't write as well as you" ... "it would take too long" ... "I wouldn't know where to start." There's a never-ending line of excuses.

Outstanding post. I am curious to see which brokerages adopt blogging. One in my area has installed Wordpress and posts an occasional press-release type post, but they have not actually embraced blogging yet. But at least they are trying.

Maybe I am paranoid, but I see the need (or perceived need) for oversight as being an impediment for Brokers to overcome. Blogging is still new, and the corporate nature of the industry is very slow to change - witness the relative few who have been blogging consistently for over a year.

And just to second Jonathan - I don't really care who "approves" of my blog, so long as fellow bloggers, buyers, sellers and general readers find value in my words and time.

Truth. The future of blogging and its effect on your business are not fully known yet, so those of us on the journey will be the first one's to see the promised land. yeah.

Blogging is like going to school. You go to other blogs for lectures on topics you may not be aware of. You do research and little reports called blog posts. You engage in debate and exercise your mind by commenting And what you learn from reading, researching, writing and debating CAN be useful outside the net. You will also be able to talk shop with those buyers who are tech savvy, the future clients.

Great post TB!! I was in the office a couple of weeks ago and my broker said, "Still doing that blog thingy?" Ironically, I was there getting a contract together for a buyer that initially found us via our blog. So I responded, "Yep, and you're going to get a cut of this commission check because of it!"

His response? "Really? Huh. Guess it's not such a waste of time after all."

Yeah, not not so much...

To expand on the words of Sellsius, "Blogging is like going to school...engage in debate and exercise your mind".

Give a seat in the front of the class.

This rings true to the "Why do you Blog" post at the Zillow Blog: http://www.zillowblog.com/zillow_blog/2006/10/business_benefi.html

Greg Swann of BloodHound Realty & the BloodHound Blog said something that really hit at the core:

"Improving the quality of my own thinking. I like to understand everything down to the root. Weblogging puts me in contact with people who know things I don't know or who see things differently than I do. At a minimum, confronting other well-thought-out points of view induces me to rethink my own positions. I find this hugely beneficial, even though it would be difficult to record on a ledger."

Example - A Phoenix Blogger
Consider an RE agent who blogs about the many retirement communities in lovely Phoenix, Arizona. Given a blog post, comments come from a couple looking to relocate from a Florida retirement community. Comments about Florida communities are shared, sparking a new stream of ideas for this agent...thoughts never before considered.

For some reason my comments aren't here. So I will try again! My Manager Mark joined AR, not posted yet; but he is supportive; a few of my colleagus have given me compliments on being ahead of the curve. But yes mostly I get the blank stares.
The one good thing is that competition is not fierce among our peers yet so we will have passed Algebra II by the time it becomes much more popular to have a real estate blog.

Great post! I've had associates ask me what I'm doing staring at my computer screen and typing so much. I try to explain to them what blogs are and how gret they are for a variety of reasons and they just look at me funny.

Once I point them to my blog and my blogroll, they all come back and say "Wow! There's so many great blogs out there and I've learned so much in just these few days!"

Once you realize you don't know everything, you will truly start to appreciate the value of the blogosphere.

How great thou art! This may be the best post of the year, anywhere.

My peers ask: Why do you do it? I respond: Because it beats advertising, hands down. How do you find the time? I elect to spend my time Blogging for Business. How do you spend your time?

I have offered my broker my time to develop a Blog for the agency. What I get in response: Eyes glaze over and they ask: How's your business? Doing opens this weekend? How's your farming? The new generation gets it. The old generation keeps doing the same old things.

I learn more, I am more inspired and I get more business from Blogging than anything the old school might subscribe.

Go TB! And everyone else committed to "doing it different."

Thanks for the post Teresa. It seems that blogging is a very anti-social activity for the people physically nearby. We are busy typing away while the others in our office are discussing whatever it is that they are talking about (usually things having nothing to do with real estate). Office managers and brokers like this in their offices. The friendships in the office are what keep the mid to low level producers from leaving a brokerage for another one. If they allowed everyone to blog there would be no use for them or the traditional office. Blogging is creating a virtual brokerage office outside of the one we are physically located at. And this office is more tight-knit and more focused and more productive than the traditional one. I believe that is why most managers and brokers don't embrace the blog. But then again, I could be wrong.

Teresa - what did you have my phone tapped? My broker just the other day told me that blogging is stupid. Not in the sense of the concept - but that bloggers are only giving a journal of the daily accounts and we are not journalists. We are not uncovering real news - we are basing our posts on opinions and only opinions of our past experience's. He sent me an article that was published in the WSJ and it talked about how bloggers are blogging for no real reward.
So, I am safe tothink that my broker hates my blogging.. ya think?

Tony,
If I may, I am going to add the juiciness of your comment to the discussion over at ActiveRain. That was a fantastic observation.

Christine mentions the WSJ not liking blogs. Of course they don't, bloggers are moving news in a new direction. That is a threat to newspapers.

My broker sees the benefits of blogging. He is supportive and helpful.

Tony could have a point. Productivity can wan as the number of agents in an office at any given time increases and friendly discussions ensue. I have always been lucky that my office has some creative thinkers in it and we like to brainstorm. However, nothing beats the networking, knowledge sharing of blogging. And it's like email as oppposed to a phone call, not disruptive, when you schedule blogging time it's there for you, not interrupting you. I am so much more productive since I stopped working in the office on a full time basis. Then again, I'm more experienced now too.
Tony makes a thought provoking point about friendships keeping us in our offices. There is no substantial way to disprove that. I would argue that friendships are not inherently bad, but my impression is that most offices do not seem all that warm and fuzzy. I could be wrong.

Thanks for all of the comments. This post was inspired by my own experiences with a class that I teach to other agents about internet marketing. I have heard every objection and critism of blogging that there is. There are themes in your comments that surprise me. Mostly comments about brokerages adopting blogging, it won't work, blogging is about each of us and our own unique voice, it can't be automated, regulated and systematized the way corporations would need it to be. I am also surprised by your comments about your offices - I am thinking that subject is another post that will probably spit in the other tigers eye.

People always seem to discount what they don't understand. Whenever a new technology is invented there are always the naysayers who remain skeptical and leary, yet history has always proven that these are the individuals and companies who do not last.

Well, my broker manager writes my blog, but I daresay the following describes most of the real estate blogging community better than it describes me:

"If on the other hand you have a desire to meet people, build relationships, give something unique to the world, exploit the internet as a marketing tool, try something new and different, and take a risk or two, blog on."

The more I hear about how others envision what you're doing, the more it doesn't seem to describe me in the least. Build relationships? What is this, a singles bar? For me this is a business activity, plain and simple. To the extent it's not contributing to my bottom line, it's goofing off.

The so-called "new generation" of business bloggers is still hanging around the office water cooler avoiding prospecting just like the old generation was hanging around the water cooler avoiding prospecting, only the new generation calls it "Active Rain".

Regarding the WSJ "not liking" blogs - I think that the one article last week is not representative of their opinion regarding blogs - why would they have Technorati links on their stories if not to court the blogs?

Haha, Mr. Lockwood, you epitomize the old school agents who "don't get it". When you go to a party to socialize, you also have in mind making a few connections and hopefully getting some business. However, you don't just walk in and start handing out business cards and annoying people with real estate talk and self-promotion, do you?

Blogs are the ultimate model of altruistic networking. You do something now that seems to give you no direct benefit, but benefits others. Eventually, it helps you network and brings business. Kind of like when you go that party and talk about things interesting to everyone, not just your real estate business. And eventually, people realize you're an intelligent person and want to do business with you.

So to all John Lockwoods out there, keep knocking on doors, and keep shoving your self-promotion down people's throats. I'll blog instead and network on the internet, where my audience is limitless. I'll provide useful advice today, and tomorrow who knows, someone stumbles on it while searching online and will consider me for their real estate deal.

Wow-great post Teresa and what a vibrant conversation it's created here in the comments!!

John-
WELL said!!

Call me Mr. all you want. I epitomize the old school agents who don't get it, huh? Wow. I guess Google must be ranking us old school agents #1 out of 3,830,000 for keywords like Sacramento Real Estate pretty much willy-nilly now.

Yeah, who knows, maybe someone will stumble on you while searching online. Keep at it, man, and someday you'll get off page 2 for 1,600,000 results.

I haven't knocked on a door in four years, thanks to my online marketing. You should be as old school as me. It's lonesome at the top.

Network on the internet? You mean get sniped at by people who discovered it six months ago and are all puffed up about what side of the digital divide they're on? No, I prefer to spend most of my time optimizing my site to make it friendlier to my users, better positioned in the SERPs, and more likely to lead to increased conversions.

I tried networking on the Internet recently when I ran a blogathon for hunger. My self-obsessed PR Junkie colleagues from the real estate blogging community contributed a whopping zero dollars. Two days later they were all bursting into spontaneous orgasms about a chain letter where they got to talk about themselves. Is that what you consider interesting to everyone -- where you digital dividers went to high school? Whatever.

What a fantastic post. I laughed out loud or should I say lol. Hold an open house, I go to meetings and they have another "Hold and open house" campaign. They had an agent round table at the office meeting and the topic, "Building your business, holding an open house." "Let's get back to basics in this market and everyone "Hold an open house." We have a Team for the office, and Team riders for listings, and Team drawings each month. You get your name in the hat each month for the great prizes by "Hold an Open House".

Let's face it, for the most part we are all dealing with Flatlanders. Their world is two dimensional, and trying to describe a three dimensional world to them is beyond their frame of reference. Thus the blank stares.

I read the post, then I read the comments and it is like a class role of who's who in RE blogging. I joined this class recently and most of the gang is here. Greg, Jay, Jonathan, Pat, Jim, JF, Teresa and the fellowship of the blog ring grows.

Anyone remember the old book, "Megatrends"? How to be a leader, figure out where a parade is going and get in front of it.

What a great time to be an RE Blogoholic. I can't wait for this next year, we are all going to have a blast.

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