The Tomato folks query whether one should focus on national or local real estate blogging. My answer? Both. National real estate news is applicable for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is to gain insight. To learn knowledge that is or may be applicable to our respective local markets.
Are we targeting a national or a local audience when we blog? Both. Intentionally or not, as the search engines do not limit their crawling to locales. For my little corner here in Virginia, I focus on our market, because that’s what I know best. But, I have learned invaluable information and lessons from those with whom I never would have had the opportunity to learn from had I not participated in blogging. Different business models, different marketing techniques, different perspectives, all of which can be applied locally.
To be clear on my intentions – I started my blog as a vehicle to fill what I perceived to be a void in the local real estate market commentary, not as a reason to draw in business.
I wanted to be the real estate expert that people turn to for information. So far, I have had some success with that.
Basically, I love real estate. I read, analyze, and most importantly, work it every single day. (for better or worse) Hopefully, that shows in my writing.
Those who read blogs are able to discern whether the author(s) is writing purely to suck them in to become a “lead.” Those who read blogs appreciate candor; they know it when they see it and will keep coming back if they find it.
I have two real estate search sites – but they do not get nearly the traffic my blog gets, nor do they serve to establish anything other than “hey, another Realtor with a website.” Putting myself out there – my personality, my skills, my opinions does differentiate me from the others – sometimes that differentiation is good, sometimes probably not so good. Either way, readers know who I am and what I do.
Building business is an intended consequence of what I write, but is not why I write.
Looking at my traffic, about 40% are from Virginia. About 50% are from the other 49 states and the remaining 10% are from other countries. (I have a feeling that a few of those just might be spammers)
Blogging seems to be on the cusp of losing its roots. There is a torrent of new corporate blogs that I fear may detract from the community aspect that is so vital to blogging.
If you write well, the traffic will come. If you write transparently, the readers will recognize that. If you have the passion for buying, selling, representing clients, marketing, innovating and adapting to changing markets – that will show.
Sure, there are tools which can be used to help “capture” those readers and convert them into “leads,” but my feeling is this – those readers who are tuned into the market and to information gleaned from blogs don’t want to be captured. They will expose themselves to their prospective representation when they choose. Hopefully, through my writing I’ll have a shot.
Update: Mark Cuban has a relevant post on titled “Blog Pimpin.”
Lastly, I am sick of the word “blog.” I don’t have a better word to represent what this is, but I feel that “blog” just might be the most over-used word of the year.