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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. 

Blog-To-Consumers-or-to-Peers

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...

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.

Is-there-value-in-sticking-to-one-audience-with-your-real-estate-blogDoes "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.
Please click for other informative articles written by Marc.


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.


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Comments

Jim,

Thanks for the post. I tend to think it would drive you crazy to post just for one side if you will. Leads come from the strangest places. Noone who sells real estate could pinpoint "your audience and potential customers." Don't limit yourself.

I was just having this conversation with my web designer yesterday..."Who are we writing for and where SHOULD we be focusing?" I always thought that there was no need to focus In or Out, but rather to be myself. But then I thought of my 10th grade English teacher, Mrs. Jackson, and felt instant guilt for not knowing who I was writing for specifically in every post. Alas, Marc, Jonathan, Jay, and all the other commenters have helped the guilt subside. Thanks!

I'm with Jay (Thompson) write about things you like... that's why I'm definitely putting restaurant reviews into my blog... I love food!! But, more than that... I adore good food, really good food. And, if the food is good and the ambience compliments it and the price is right and the company is great... wow.. what a combination!!!

So... thanks Jay, that was encouraging to me!

Productive Internet marketing depends upon a reasonable budget. There actually is a good deal of truth to the old adage that you have to spend money to make money. By budgeting wisely, you will be able to get the greatest advantage from the money you do spend on marketing and promotion.

I also agree... with you that every visitors dosent comment on the wesite they search.

Marc,
First thought is my head hurts!
Begin with the end in mind...got that.
Undertaking a blog initially seems to start in a fog.
This volume of writing is a very new undertaking.
For now, seems best to have decades of experience+
commitment lead me.
Soon I will know, is in or out where I go!
Grateful for the thought provoking blog!
Mike Netzel

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