Feb 28, 2012

Losing Out To More Established Brokers? Try Blogging

Like politics, it is said that all real estate is local. If you have managed to establish your reputation as an expert and a fair dealing professional in your local community, congratulate yourself. You have just built a huge advantage over your competition. 

However, if you're just a beginner with no connections you may be in for a tough time. As you have realized few people would want to do business with a nobody. This is because they want to deal only with trustworthy experts and not waste their time with a newbie. It might sound unfair but that's the way it is. Why would you entrust your hard earned money / property to an amateur when you know a lot of pros?



Clients. They get defensive.
Real estate selling: tough for newbies

I personally experienced the heartaches of starting a real estate career. I was 22 when I got my broker's license and while I was quite confident of my selling skills and knowledge (I studied real hard plus I was lucky to have an experienced mentor who looked after me like a father), getting the attention of property owners and A-list buyers was really difficult. 

For one thing, my age worked against me. Most people wanted to deal with experienced and well known realtors because they have the rep and street cred. Many of these real estate stalwarts also had money to spend on branding and attending social events for networking / rubbing elbows with the local rich & famous while I had barely enough for normal business logistics. 

They also had long established connections through their school or family ties that I don't have. I had no choice but to work my way up, one deal at a time.

How to level the paying field

Blogging can amplify your expertise on a specific subject
Fortunately for newly minted agents and brokers, you can don't need to spend lots of money and time just to show to the whole world (and potential clients) your real estate knowledge. 

Now, you can enhance your own personal brand, demonstrate your expertise and give prospective clients a glimpse of your charming personality :) by using a quick, easy to use and best of all free tool on the internet: blogging.


Thanks to the wide availability of the internet many people are now familiar with blogs and chances are you may even be using one now. But if you're not really sure what a blog is here's the standard definition: a blog or a weblog is simply an online journal where people publish or post their personal thoughts on a specific subject. 

Show your expertise via blogging

There are millions of blogs maintained by people for personal purposes. However, for professionals and businessmen like yourself, you can use a blog as a way to share your opinions and expertise related to real estate.

By regularly publishing valuable articles, videos and other helpful information for your readers, you can establish your reputation as an expert without being preachy or pushy. The key as always is genuine, factual and useful content --- something that your audience will feel good and empowered. Make sure they walk away feeling more informed than ever before about a specific topic after they read your blog article or post.

Blogger is one the most popular and free blogging platforms
Contrary to popular belief, blogging is not really that hard. If you know how to use a word processor, then there's no reason why you cannot create a very good blog. 

You can always open a blogging account with blogger.com or wordpress.com. Both blogging platforms are free and easy to use if you don't want to spend on a domain name & hosting (btw, it's always better to get your own domain & hosting).

Content is what matters

Having a blog is one thing. Demonstrating your expertise is another.  What you are going to put on your blog is more important than what your blog looks like. Substance first before form. However, to project a professional image, it is also must that your blog looks organized and neat but that can come a bit later.

Despite the popularity of blogs, many real estate agents and realtors are  hesitant to start posting content on their blogs and the main excuse is that they don't know what to write. Well, frankly there are actually tons of topics to write about.

What to blog or write about

To illustrate, you can write a short article about a specific neighborhood in your professional opinion about a recent government infrastructure or project in the area and how it might affect property values. You can also share ideas on how to make a home more marketable and valuable. Share something about the local community such as events and activities. 

Always share something that adds value to your readers
Your blog can also contain articles about recent news items that affect the real estate industry in particular or the economy in general. Topics like taxation, new policies on housing or construction. Recently passed national or local legislation affecting property owners are also interesting topics to blog about. All in all, there's an inexhaustible supply of subjects or topics you can write about that your readers will really appreciate.

Change how people see you

Remember your stories if created properly will  give clients the impression that you are indeed the local expert. What's more, your blog readers will get to see you in a different light. By blogging consistently and giving useful information, you will no longer be seen as "just one of those agents" or "some realtor". You will now be perceived as an authority, someone who doesn't just list and sell houses.
Consistent blogging will make you influencer
As you continue blogging, many readers will start following your blog and even subscribe to it. Think of yourself as a magazine publisher who have managed to gather loyal followers. This means you now have significant influence on a number of people who by now are convinced of your credibility and expertise. In short, you have now become an influencer.

A few rules before you start

Before you start blogging away, you need to keep in mind a few rules and tips to make the activity worth your while and bring you profits. 

Blogging if not done properly can also potentially backfire on you. You end up losing credibility instead of gaining it. To avoid that problem, here are some basic things you need to remember:

Plagiarists. People avoid them like a plague.
  • Be real and honest - If you want to be seen as an expert you need to be a real expert. I am not talking about degrees or awards but those can help a lot. What I really mean is that: you should really know what you are talking about.  
  • Don't try to pretend to know - Readers can easily spot a fraud and a poser. Please don't be one. It's painful, very damaging to your rep and you may never fully recover such a fiasco. If you don't know anything about the subject then do your homework first ---- study before you write. 
  • Write only original stuff - You can do research to know more about an issue but plagiarizing someone's work (worse, you don't even acknowledge the source) is a mortal sin, online and offline. People will avoid you like a plague if you are caught copying another person's content. 
  • Use conversational language - Talk to your reader like she or he's your best friend.  Make it casual but avoid using street language too much. Don't forget: you are maintaining a blog to share professional views and information not a personal blog.
  • Use images, photos, slides and videos to break up text and engage your readers - Leave the wordy text to the attorneys who create your contracts. You want to share information the easiest and most enjoyable way you can. Make sure though your images are relevant to the subject matter. 
  • Share your personal stories - A blog should share more of your personal side than your main business website. It's okay to share some personal stories but make sure it has something to do with what your readers are interested in. If you spent a vacation in a beach, don't just write about what you ate or did, show interesting stuff to your real estate readers. Write about the beautiful beach properties or houses you captured on your cam and say something about the luxury or vacation property market. 
  • Do not sell properties on the blog or solicit listings - Yup, you read that right. Do not try to make a sales pitch on your blog. Do that in your website. Blatant and self-serving content almost always turns off readers. If you need to feature a house that you are selling then try to write it in a way that doesn't read like an advertisement. Make it a feature story if you must write about a specific listing. Maybe say something about the architecture or designer, an oddity or something really unique.  
  • Focus on your strengths - It's hard to be an expert in a lot of fields. If your real expertise and strength is on the local community then focus on that. Demonstrate to your readers why you are THE local expert on the subject.
  • Share and distribute it - What's the point of writing a very good post if no one gets to read it. Onc you've published your content go and share it freely. Use social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. You can also email your post to your friends and prospects (if the information is relevant to them). 

    There are a lot more rules about blogging to project a professional image but those would be best for another blog post. However, if there is one thing consistent about these rules and tips, it is this: it's always about the reader. 

    Focus on your readers and give them valuable information and in no time your stature a real estate practitioner will surely rise. In no time, leads, inquiries and referrals will start coming your way.

    How about you? Are you using blogs to help market and brand yourself? I would like to hear about your experience so please leave a comment below.
          

    22 comments:

    1. "Substance first before form." This holds true for everyone. And I applaud you for being resourceful despite of the competition held in your line of work. Blogging quality content will certainly work to your advantage. =) [www.budgetbiyahera.blogspot.com]

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      1. Thanks mayumi.

        I think blogging becomes more important because of the competition. One has to stand out from the crowd. Marketing is after all about differentiation. Offering something unique. A blog will establish that side not revealed in a business website.

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    2. Well, blogging is one way to expand and give more exposure to your business, I guess everyone is doing business blogging already as it enables a business to promote their products on a wider and broader audience


      very nice read Sir Ritch

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      1. Hi herbert. I agree whole heartedly. With so many blogs around, its about time people should also try to differentiate themselves from the rest. Create a personality so people will remember them and feel a certain affinity with the person or product. Apple is one excellent example of such a company and its products have their own distinct personalities.

        Cheers!

        Btw, I enjoyed your blog posts too!

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    3. I agree with what you said "What you are going to put on your blog is more important than what your blog looks like", I think it explains everything :)

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      1. Yup. A well-designed and laid out blog is also very important but at the end of the day...people would like to read blogs...not admire them.

        Cheers!

        Delete
    4. very well said.. newbie bloggers should read this..and i really like your tips there, esp. that "use coversational english"...i used to be a school and local paper writer then -- i write editorials and news articles and i also do copyreading and headline writing; when i start blogging and i noticed that most of my readers comment like they have hard time understanding my blog because i was used to the publication jargons..but now, somehow, i learned those stuff.. ;D

      ReplyDelete
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      1. thanks Gagay. Yes, a blog is actually a personal conversation...a web log, a journal published to show insights about the personality of person or company.

        Conversational language is must unless one really talks like a news report in real life (that would be something :)).

        Happy to be of help :)

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    5. There's such a lot of information here which I really find very helpful for real estate newbies. This is a very tough business yet if you know your way well, then I'm sure you'll be able to earn your clients' trust.

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. It is a very tough business but the rewards are great for those who succeed. Agents and brokers today are actually lucky having various channels of communication to reach clients.

        When I first started out, we all had to do it the old school way :)

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    6. Blogging were used by many advertiser to promote their product, it is effective that national tv, and I believe one can promote more his services or business through blogging

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      1. Thanks Chrisair. Yes, I agree. However, bloggers should be careful when promoting their properties, products or services on a blog as readers expect a conversation...not a promotion or a sales pitch.

        Best way would be to blog about something the readers are interested in then place links to the main business website for the more business/commercial talk.

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    7. Blogging is one way to advertise. I have seen lots of real estate agents in different social networking sites. In Facebook, they use the feature TAGGING. They tag their Facebook friends to advertise.

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    8. Hi Pinay Mama,

      Yes, blogging is a great way to get more clients but agents need to be very careful. As pointed out in this article, never try to sell or open marketing of a property in a blog. It turns off readers. Selling can be done in a website.

      Facebook also has generated a lot of business for real estate practitioners. Unfortunately, many agents are abusing the privilege (yes, FB is a privilege). I have laid down tips for agents in a previous blog post on the Common blunders committed on Facebook by real estate agents: http://estatesellingtips.blogspot.com/2011/08/facebook-marketing-common-blunders-made.html .

      Tagging people is a definite no-no especially if they didn't get prior clearance or approval from the person who is being tagged.

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    9. i must say, content is really king + if one wants to be successful in blogging, he/she ought to get those elbow grease + write the quality articles that reader will be returning for, in the first place. you really ought to love writing to last in this business for long...

      thanks for this well-thought of, honest + well-written article, a good read! ^_^

      ReplyDelete
    10. I want to learn the real industry too. Don't know how to start though. hope you can make a step by step guide

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    11. Business or personal, outlet or money-source, we have different reasons why we blog...no matter, good content is king and good grammar is..sexy! lol. Kidding aside (although that's true) we have to consider honesty always...that's how you gain trust and readers...keep it up!

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    12. At the end of the day people will want to see a blog that they can read, although design is good for the eyes. After all content is the king. :)

      ReplyDelete
    13. Blogging in real estate is vital. When it comes to marketing there are a lot of ways to market not just by blogging. Social media is now the trend in internet marketing, twitter,facebook are just some.
      Pia | condo Philippines

      ReplyDelete
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      1. Thanks Pia. Yes, there's a wide variety of social media tools available for agents and brokers to promote their businesses. The question and problem faced by agents is that: how to use these tools effectively to generate consistent positive results.

        Sadly, not too many really know how to use social media and end up abusing the system. Instead of attracting business, they end turning people off.

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    14. This post is the great source of knowledge regarding Philippine real estate market.

      ReplyDelete
    15. Sandpoint Idaho real estate
      Inland Northwest Realty website featuring real estate in Northern Idaho. I am very thankful for your commenting and posting.....

      ReplyDelete