By Katherine Tarbox, Senior Editor, REALTOR® Magazine
The question in the headline was asked by Joel Burslem of 1000watt Consulting earlier this year, with the implication being that the answer was affirmative. Perhaps surprisingly, many real estate experts concur, with certain qualifications.
RE.net luminaries Jay Thompson, Rob Hahn, Sarah Stelmok, and Teresa Boardman expressed varying levels of agreement with that sentiment in a panel discussion at BlogWorld & Expo 2010 in Las Vegas last week. As Boardman pointed out, so many real estate practitioners were told to start blogs because it was the future of prospecting but didn’t know what to post or didn’t have anyone reading them. According to her, a blog is dead if the content is not worthwhile and has no readers.
Furthermore, there is no shortcut to blogging. It takes time, dedication, and effort. How much time? Thompson says he spends about three hours a day writing posts and all of his business comes through his Web site. He doesn’t host open houses and he doesn’t make cold calls. Stelmok, a newer blogger, says 83 percent of her business comes from blogging, and adds she gets savvier clients because they were becoming educated about short sales and foreclosures through her posts. She also spends several hours a week writing high-quality content.
Part of the problem with real estate blogging is that there’s no shortage of bad advice out there. Many prospecting seminars recommend that real estate pros start blogging just to capture Web leads. The result is that many practitioners didn’t end up with the results they wanted or had heard about from other sales associates.
Here’s the good news: If you don’t enjoy blogging, you should no longer have a guilty conscience. If you aren’t creating thoughtful commentary, there is no point to blogging in the age of Facebook and Twitter. You should engage your clients and prospects through those social networks. If you’re a people person, spend those hours calling and networking.
On the other hand, if you are a passionate writer with a knack for communicating with your clients through written pieces, then blog. And blog regularly. But a half-cocked attempt at a blog is not going to bring clients your way, and probably will only provide you with a lot of frustration over posting or not posting.