Why do I blog?

Posted by: Jay Thompson on February 6th, 2008

It is not just to get clients, though that certainly happens and I’m not complaining about it.

It is not for fame and glory. There is little glory in sitting at a keyboard at 2:00am, trying to pound out a post that someone may find of interest. I’ve met a lot of people through blogging, and it has led to speaking engagements and contact from the mainstream media, but that’s a far cry from fame.

I started Phoenix Real Estate Guy almost three years ago as a writing outlet. I’ve always had an innate desire to write. I’m not a talented enough writer to publish a novel, so a blog provides a perfect platform for being able to write, and get that writing out for anyone to read.

Of course in the beginning my readership consisted of 3 or 4 people. Including me.
I quickly realized that if I was going to write a blog, I needed to read blogs. Three years ago there weren’t a whole lot of real estate blogs. But I found a few, and the number of blogs pertaining to real estate slowly grew. Today there is a veritable explosion in the number of industry blogs out there.

And here lies one of the greatest benefits of blogging.

I’ve yet to find a better way of learning about this industry than through reading blogs. I’ve picked up marketing ideas, knowledge of the mortgage side of the business, and gained fantastic insight into the mind and psyche of real estate agents and consumers.

The more I wrote, the more it became evident that writing to a blog provided me with a fantastic opportunity to display my personality. Let’s face it, real estate is a people business. If you need a real estate agent, there can be (depending on your market size) hundreds or thousands to chose from. Everyone wants an agent that knows the area, understands the process and is a good negotiator. And there are many out there that can do all that and more.

Fundamentally speaking, people choose a real estate agent because they connect with them on some personal level. You either “click” with someone or you don’t. By writing on a public platform — and by pouring your heart and soul into what you write — you can show the world who you are. Your thoughts, opinions, skills and expertise are all out there for anyone to read. Some may like you, some may not. Some will make that connection and chose you as their agent before they pick up the phone or email you.

Every time I talk to agents about blogging I get asked, “How many leads do you get from blogging?”

First, I don’t think in terms of “leads”. My feeling is that if you treat someone like a lead, you are doing them a disservice. They are people, not leads. Treat your readers like people, don’t come off all salesy and you may be surprised how many become clients. To be perfectly honest, I don’t know how many clients I’ve picked up through blogging.

Yes, I’ve received the coveted “come list my house” emails and phone calls. But more often than not, when someone finds us on the Internet it is via some combination of the blog, our static web site, and/or other online venues such as listing publications, or social media networks.

Blogging is an integral part of our web presence. But it is just a part of it. It is not a panacea — not the be-all-to-end-all magical marketing solution. Blogging is not for everyone. I know people that would rather slit their wrists than sit down and write. If you don’t enjoy writing, blogging will be painful. Being human, we tend to avoid painful situations.

Writing is a skill though that can be learned and honed through practice. If you are willing to put in the time that blogging requires (and that can be significant) then it is a wonderful way to learn, significantly increase your web presence, teach and share. All of those things can lead to new clients. Be forewarned though, I firmly believe that if the only reason you blog is to “get leads” then you will likely fail miserably.

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Comments

14 Comments on “Why do I blog?”

Kristal Kraft

Jay, you are certainly right about writing. You must have a passion for it, otherwise its worse than work.

Brian Block

Jay, this may be the single best explanation that I’ve found out there for “Why do I blog?” I’m asked that question constantly and this about sums it up. Terrific post.

Brian Brady

“My feeling is that if you treat someone like a lead, you are doing them a disservice. They are people, not leads.”

THE major difference between the blogger and other internet marketing models.

The importance of blogging will be felt in the public’s perception of us. Do we treat them like “names” or real people? Blogging gives us an advantage over most others inasmuch as we are personal.

Louis Cammarosano

I agree, no one likes to be thought of as a lead.

Consumers, however, who visit a Realtor’s site (through HomeGain or otherwise) looking to hire a professional to help buy or sell their homes understand and expect to be treated as a potential customer and not as a pal. Blogging for leads could be viewed as deceptive. Its like inviting people to a party and then trying to charge them for drinks.

Brian Brady

“Blogging for leads could be viewed as deceptive. Its like inviting people to a party and then trying to charge them for drinks.”

Wrong analogy. Blogging is gathering your band to play in the garage every Friday night. When enough neighbors gather around to listen, you tell them about your gigs at the local bar.

It’s pull marketing, not push

Louis Cammarosano

Brian in your analogy you indicated that the end result is a gig in the local bar, presumably where your pals and their friends might pay to see you.
I’ll accept your analogy and point out that self marketing may make you a good draw at the local bar, but you won’t fill stadiums.

Jay Thompson

KK – I know that you know.

Brian (Block) – thanks. It *is* about more than just raw leads.

Brian (Brady) and Louis – good points all around, and interesting analogies.

I don’t “blog for leads”. Oh I have an MLS/IDX saerch on my blog (that’s very well used by the way) and I have contact forms. Generally speaking, people are pretty smart. It’s readily apparent to anyone that stops by the blog that I’m a real estate agent. And they pretty much know I’d love their business. But I don’t need to shove it down their throats.

As Brian said, it’s pull marketing. The blog sucks them in and THEY reach out to ME. Way more effective than any other marketing I’ve found.

But, again, it is not the only solution. And it is hard work.

Lance

Followed you over here from “The Phoenix Real Estate Guy”… wow, it’s an amazing trail you end up following as you work your way through blogs & comments & so on.

Mitch Ribak

Great stuff. Thanks for contributing. I do want to make something very clear. At my company, we don’t treat anyone like a “lead”. I’m smart enough to know that there is much more to building a relationship, especially a long term relationship, than capturing a name and email address. We didn’t become the #1 office in our county last year by treating people as if they were just a lead. We treat our customers like gold. A real estate company is all about building those long term relationships. That’s the base of Real Estate.

With that said, to be successful in any business, you still have to know how to generate leads. I find that for the time and money I spend, it is better spent on generating leads as long as you have the abiility to take care of each and every one of them.

I agree with all of you if you are looking at blogging as a building block to your marketing campaign. I believe Louis mentioned in one of his posts, that I use my Blog to help retain customers. I like that they see the human side of who I am. I have had many customers that have come through our doors telling me that they enjoy reading my blog. It makes me human, even if I am short and bald and might look like an alien.

Blogging along with all other marketing programs, ok, definitely not all marketing programs, has a purpose. After all, the more people that come to your site, the more people that will read your blog and learn that we are not only Realtors, but we are regular people just like them.

Ok, sorry for the ranting. I think you guys have done a great job of opening up discussion on blogging. The posts are excellent. Keep up the great work and thanks to all that are contributing.

Jay Thompson

Lance – “wow, it’s an amazing trail you end up following as you work your way through blogs & comments & so on.”

Be careful Lance or you’ll get sucked into the Internet void and may not come out for days. Thanks for reading and following.

Mitch – great commentary. The “human factor” in blogging is huge. Despite what some think, Realtors are people too. People can (and do) connect with your personal side by reading your blog. Assuming you’re not some psychotic whack job, that personal connection goes a long way toward both gaining and retaining clients.

I tend to blog a fair amount of personal stuff and opinion. Some say that results in my blog “lacking focus” and not being “professional”. Perhaps that is technically true, but what you read on my blog is what I am. Like it or leave it. Some seem to like it, and I have no doubt some have left it. For those that chose not to use me because of something I wrote, that is fine. It’s likely our agent/client relationship wouldn’t have been so good anyway.

Steven Stearns

Jay, and all-

Customers are sold.
Clients are valued.

There is success to be found at any entry point into social media marketing.

The only failure is not getting into it at all.

Steve

Ken Smith

Great post as always Jay. There is no question that when someone reads your posts they get a feel for who you are. Still am not 100% convinced that it translates into more business (at least not enough to justify the time commitment), but it always a pleasure reading your posts.

Glenn

Jay – you so correct about expanding your knowledge by reading blogs of other individuals. It pays to read blogs outside of the real estate arena as well.

Eric Bouler

You are correct in giving you more presence. Those agents with successful sites that generate business are bigger believers. They want to try new things and add to the valuable content that a blog can add.

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