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Is the Real Estate Blog Dead?

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.

Do you currently blog? Or, did you give up? Why?

Comments
  1. So when has lousy content or no content generated any non-pay-per-click business on the interenet? The blog is as dead as the website if neither are being used properly. However most want the results…and they want it NOW and when that doesn’t happen, they quit.

  2. Most blog content is horrible. And always has been horrible. So to say that the traditional real estate blog is dead would get a party from me. However, god content is good content. And is called good publishing. Has nothing to do with a blog or not.

  3. I always feel that niche topic blogging has always suffers from stale content after the major topics are covered and it feels more like a 101 guide to the professional rather than a blog.

  4. My blog isn’t read by many online but my local paper picks it up and runs it and I get a lot of exposure from that.

  5. I’m just becoming familiar with tweeting, blogging and yes, texting. Seems to me folks are reading blogs more than ever. I would not bury blogging 6ft under just because the Real Estate market has yet to rebound.
    Keep blogging people, someones reading and will eventually respond. Like sitting an open house, lots of potential’s sign the guest book but only a few will actually use our services.

  6. Blogging requires a committment that few are willing to make. It’s much easier to advertise one’s listing in the local newspaper to placate sellers who are asking “how are you promotoing the sale of my property”. Blogging captures buyers who are grateful that someone has taken the time to educate them on the area where they are planning to buy. They show their gratitude by choosing us to be their buyer agent. Today two thirds of my business is buyer business from strangers who found my website and blog on the internet.

  7. One of the best tips I’ve gotten at real estate conferences was to do a blog about local events going on in my area on a very regular basis. I keep an intense schedule and stick to my plan. Most importantly, the things I blog about are truly fun for me so it’s not a hassle. If it were, I’m sure I’d regret the commitment I made! Thanks for the insights.

  8. Blogging is one of the most effective and cheapest ways to provide value to your community. I had personally resisted it until this weekend, frankly because I understand what it takes to make it effective. There are so many benefits to list, but a couple to take note of are: 1) You can create good content that continues to work for you while you are away, 2) It is one of the most important things you can do to naturally climb in rank on the search engines for keywords, as blogs are considered more relevant than static sites, 3) It is a real opportunity to connect with people are much more likely to be potential clients than any other form of advertising, especially if you have a unique offer and provide value for them to keep coming back.
    We are at an interesting time and as things continue to shift, those that embrace technology will have alot of low hanging fruit to harvest.

  9. Good advice Katherine. As a real estate broker with several blogs I have learned there is no shortcut. Basically, if you aren’t working to come up with value-added content then you aren’t really offering anyone they can’t think up on their own. In other words, people like it when someone can show them something they didn’t think of on their own.

    There’s a saying I like, “You’ll have what others don’t if you’ll do what others won’t.” Blogging is a great example of this. Jay Thompson would appear to be living proof of this.

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