Are You IN or OUT With Real Estate Blogging?
Our resident Internet Marketing Specialist, Marc Grayson of Webographers fame, has just sent over his first Tomato contribution of 2008, and it couldn’t have been more timely. I hadn’t told him when he submitted the idea, but I have been meaning to write on this topic for the last week. You snooze, you lose. Perhaps I’ll save my banter for the comments along with y’all.
Are You IN or OUT With Real Estate Blogging?
By Marc Grayson
You may have thought I was referring to, "are you in with blogging or out with blogging". Actually, what we seeing today are differentiations in blogging and communicating online given: your peers (Inside) and to consumers (Outside). Should real estate professionals stick to one audience...having more than 1 blog?
Why is this important? Let's take a look at what service providers are up to. What were seeing today in Web 2.0 are lines being made in where and how to keep "Inside Communication" (Peers) separate from "Outside Communication" (Consumers). A few examples of where we see these lines being drawn are:
On the Inside...
- ActiveRain - blogs posts are commonly geared towards peers, with points earned accordingly for comments made by peers.
- Trulia Voices Agent2Agent - discussion-forum, bulletin board "like" area for agents/brokers to ask quick Q&A on any topic with their peers.
- Zolve's "Over Coffee" - feature to agents to communicate, make deals, find referrals.
- Industry Blogs - GeekEstateBlog, Vendor Blogs, FutureofRealEstateMarketing, Inman Blog, Bloodhound, etc.
On the Outside...
- ActiveRain/Localism - agents can elect to also "publish" posts through to Localism, or answer consumer Q&A through their dashboard when logged in. In addition, it's understood they are looking to engage outside blogs (likely personalized, brandable for the RE professional) for the purposes of blogging to audience of consumers.
- Trulia Voices Q&A - specific feature for consumers to ask questions, agents/brokers to provide answers, and scoring on which answer best meets the needs of the consumer at hand.
- Zillow Discussions & Zillow Q - Zillow Discussions allows consumers to ask questions on any topic within real estate, where Zillow Q&A allows for specific Q&A at the scope of an individual property. Zillow Q&A can be between (a) FSBO Seller and Consumer or (b) Listing Agent & Consumer, (c) whomever.
Does "outside" / "inside" apply to your Blog?
So does the separation of audiences found with service providers apply to your blog. Is there any value in [a] sticking to 1 audience on your real estate blog, [b] maintaining two blogs (or another community profile), or [c] not giving any thought to this and writing on anything you desire.
Here are some perspectives of bloggers I had a chance to ask that question:
Jonathon Dalton (RE/MAX Desert Showcase, www.DaltonsAzHomes.com/blog)
"...I’ve honestly never given conscious thought to whether I should write exclusively to other real estate professionals or the public because you never know who is going to be attracted to what. And you’ll drive yourself crazy trying to figure it out, mostly because you never really know who your audience is.
I simply write what I find interesting and either someone connects or they don’t. Even my own mother skips some of my posts. I’ve picked up listings and buyers just as easily as referrals from other agents, all because they have connected. If someone doesn’t connect with me, that’s fine. It probably wouldn’t have been the best working relationship anyway..."
Jay Thompson (Thompson's Realty / Century 21 Aware, www.PhoenixRealEstateGuy.com)
"...Although I contribute to blogs that are wholly industry focused (BloodhoundBlog.com, GeekEstateBlog.com and NARWisdom.com ), I also post "inside material" to my own blog. Some well-intentioned folks have told me this makes my blog "lack focus" and that "consumers" aren't interested in inside real estate stories. Lacks focus? Oh well. It's me, people can like me or leave me. Consumers not interested? Phooey. I get a lot of feedback from consumers that say they appreciate it. Some in the mainstream media even seem to find me "an expert".
I really pay little attention to whether a post will appeal to the masses, or drive prospects. I write about what interests me. Being human (despite what some people think), I find if it interests me, it tends to interests others.."
What are your thoughts?
Should there be clearly defined lines in what vessels are used to reach consumers versus connecting with your peers? Are their pros and cons to talking to both in 1 vessel?
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Thanks Marc, it’s a pleasure having you on the vine.
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Marc Grayson is the president and founder of the National Institute of Webographers, the owner of the REAL ESTATE WEBOGRAPHER™ certification found at www.Webographers.com. He has provided consultation to real estate agents and brokers in web-based technologies and implementation. Marc is an advocate for real estate technology adoption and implementation.
To contact Marc directly, you can call him at his extension: 888.877.0159 *3 or email Marc (at) Webographers.com.