By Brian Summerfield, Online Editor, REALTOR® Magazine
When I wrote a story in REALTOR® Magazine a couple of years ago about the realities of doing business in social media, I interviewed Jay Thompson, a.k.a., The Phoenix Real Estate Guy. Jay’s been blogging for years, and has generated a ton of business from it.
Back then, he described to me how his former broker didn’t take blogging seriously, dismissing it as playing around instead of conducting real business. While many real estate pros have since come around on the value of blogging, there is still a sense among many of them that it’s not a worthwhile activity, said Chris Smith, co-creator of Tech Savvy Agent, at Inman’s Agent Reboot in Chicago this morning.
“People tell me all the time, ‘I don’t have time to blog, and I don’t know how. I’m going to go be a REALTOR®,'” he said.
Part of the problem is the word itself. “Blogging” tends to conjure up impressions of amateurish writers getting online to flame a politician they don’t like, or provide updates on their cats, or post photos of their vacation to Branson, Mo., with a detailed account of how great Andy Williams was.
If that’s your hang-up, Smith said, just ditch the term. “Lose the word ‘blogging,'” he explained. “I want you to think of it as marketing your business on the Internet.”
Speaking in a panel discussion later, Brian Clark, founder and CEO of Copyblogger Media, said he agreed with that approach and added that creating content was easier than ever before, thanks to free, open-source “blogging platforms” — or content management systems (CMSs), if you prefer. Brian Gardner, partner in Copyblogger Media, founder of StudioPress, and Clark’s co-panelist, cited WordPress as a high-quality, flexible, easy-to-use CMS. “What WordPress allows me to do is not only drive the car, but build the car,” he said.
Clark listed three keys to online marketing:
1. Design optimization: A professional-looking, logically designed site
2. Content optimization: Engaging content that’s also easy to find via search engines
3. Convergence optimization: High traffic combined high rates of lead conversion
Above all, give the people what they want. “Don’t put obstacles in their way,” Clark said. “You have to give that stuff to people without a lot of barriers. Being generous [with info] is a really good strategy, it’s just hard to get your mind around.”