More dogs in the kennel

It seems that Greg’s dog is growing. And the time I spend reading is growing as well. When I think of Greg and his writings, I have to break out the good old Thesaurus to find new words to describe him – prolific, copious, astute, perspicacious – Building on his success, he is adding more writers to his stable and further cementing his place atop the “RE.net.” It will remain daily reading. As with most everything I read, I have a question regarding his stated goal:

Our goal is to be daily must-reading for real estate professionals everywhere — Realtors, lenders, appraisers, investors, vendors and technologists.

There is little doubt that anyone who wants to stay abreast of changes in national real estate trends will find tremendous value at the Bloodhound. I know I have. However, for those who sell real estate in a local market, does such a broad-based approach help or perhaps hinder one’s local real estate presence? Worded differently, will that national focus reach the casual reader who might be interested in buying or selling real estate?

The relationships formed with other real estate bloggers are both crucial to success and one of the reasons that blogging is rewarding. However, one of the reasons that blogs have been so successful, particularly with regards to the real estate segment, if that they fill a local void.

I don’t mean to incite a blog-war with Greg (he’d win). But when he says this

All weblogs are written by and for fanatics, and, with few exceptions — one of whom we will introduce to you tomorrow — there are very few fanatical real estate consumers.

I have to disagree. The early blogs may have fit that mold, but the the phenomenal growth in blogging activity and the growing general acceptance of blogs in mainstream consciousness shows that blogs have grown and will continue to appeal to more and more of the everyday reader/consumer. There are an awful lot of local real estate blogs out there – Teresa’s, Kristal’s, Fraser’s, Kevin’s – and while real estate is a national business with national trends, I would hazard a guess that many local consumers choose to read locally-focused blogs more than they would a national one.

I’ll keep reading his/their blog every day, as I respect what they have to say and learn something each time (when I have time to read it all!) All that said, it could be simply that we have different goals. ๐Ÿ™‚


Ubertor has some thoughts on the value a good blog can bring to the “capturing the real estate consumer” equation.

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13 Comments

  1. teresa boardman November 28, 2006 at 10:17

    I sure hope you are right! I would love to blog about blogging, it is so much fun and I am an addict. Yet I blog about local real estate as part of my job. Giving consumers information that I hope they will find usefull. More and more of my readers are finding me when they search for information about St. Paul or about real estate, yet I think at least half of my readers are real estate and mortgage bloggers. I think blogs are becoming more mainstream and are not just for fanatics. I did not let it hurt my feelings that this weeks carnival ended up in a blog fight. I understand that most of the real estate bloggers are not all that interested in second hand smoke and common walls, but suspect that consumers don’t really care to read about our blogs or about blogging. If they are smart they will get their information about technology from credible sources rather than from the real estate industry which is behind the times and maybe even backward when it comes to technology. The bloodhound blog has great real estate content and I also consider it a must read.

  2. Jim Duncan November 28, 2006 at 11:52

    Teresa –

    I have written before about how I think that all real estate is local. When I look at my traffic stats, about 40% of my traffic is local; by local I mean Virginia.

    I feel that I have a better chance of building brand/name loyalty locally than I would (or even might want to) nationally. Besides, I know my local market a lot more.

    That said, he seems to have put together a pretty powerful team there. Look out, RCG! ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Dan Green November 28, 2006 at 12:41

    From all the blog reading I do — and I do a lot — it seems that there is a dichotomy developing in RE blogging.

    One blogs for the curious consumer and/or pleasure-reader; the other for industry insiders.

    I liken the former to a newsletter and the latter to a “water cooler”. Both are good sources of information, but the information is of a different “type”.

    It’s pretty clear in which camp you are in, Jim.

  4. Jim Duncan November 28, 2006 at 12:54

    Dan –

    Thanks for visiting and commenting.

    I don’t disagree with you at all. I am interested to see which one brings a greater ROI. I liken it to this recent story in a California Association of Realtors magazine. It’s great exposure, I guess, and I am grateful fort that, but will it really bring me more business from potential clients?

    I like to think that I straddle the line between the camps, although I have to focus more on local matters, as that is what I live and breathe every day.

    And now, I have another blog to read every day!

  5. Ardell DellaLoggia November 28, 2006 at 14:03

    Jim,

    It’s like everything else in this business. The more a new agent asks others how they should do something, the more likely they will be one of those agents that can’t be differentiated from their peers.

    There is so much advice out there about blogging, but bottom line is that each of us makes our own rules as we go.

    What we do today, becomes the “rule” for those who follow, as we are still in an area being pioneered by the few. The “rules” for personal blogs vs. business blogs really can’t be the same, can they?

    Clearly people who read my writings are not fanatics. Maybe that’s a self fulfilling prophecy. Who you write to becomes who reads you. If you write to fanantics, then you get fanatics. If you write to industry insiders, you get industry insiders. If you write to everyday consumers in your marketplace…

    I try to mix it up by writing to consumers during the week, particularly on Monday, and writing to insiders on the weekend. Just seems that is the way the traffic flows.

  6. Reuben Moore November 28, 2006 at 15:07

    Hi Jim –

    I find this topic quite interesting. But, I am leaning Greg’s way. First, let me admit that I am an industry insider and what Greg would call a fanatic. On the other hand, geez, if we cannot use blogs as a marketing tool, why bother?

    However, most real estate blogs are of the “Hey, look at my new listing” variety, and I am sure that is a total waste. And, we have all seen much worse. Teresa Boardman’s idea of topics like “Second Hand Smoke” and “Common Walls” might be an excellent middle ground, interesting enough to consumers to attract interest and readers.

    But to my mind, blogging may not be the best medium for that – I don’t think a consumer wants to go to a recently updated web log to view the latest topic, which they probably don’t care about. I mean, for example, if the topic of the day is “Second Hand Smoke” and the consumer is really interested in “Common Walls”….well, I don’t know – will the consumer actually search backwards looking for posts that interest them? They would have to really like the blogger and really be interested in his or her opinion on the topic.

    So, I guess the blogger could set up something like a “library” of topics. But, isn’t that what a website is for? My point is: Must we use the newest medium simply because it is the newest? Or, do we look for the best tool for the job? We need to view blogging like we have come to understand email – Great tool, but the telephone is not going away anytime soon.

  7. Jim Duncan November 28, 2006 at 18:34

    Ardell –

    Interesting that you mix up the content based on your audience. I hadn’t consciously thought about the fact that more real estate folks are reading on the weekends. I might have to think about that tactic a bit more.

    My thought is this – because of the sheer volume of blogs, no one blog is going to appeal to everybody. Blogs are “the” niche marketing tool. I didn’t start blogging with the intent of generating business, although I have. Those who are beginning to blog now are entering a different world than I did almost two years ago (almost a lifetime!)

    Write for who you want your audience to be, and they will come. My mindset is perhaps less lofty, but I enjoy what I do, so it’s good enough for me. ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Jim Duncan November 28, 2006 at 18:47

    Reuben –

    Thank you for visiting and commenting.

    I disagree with you (in part) that the consumer doesn’t want to go to a blog for information. I think that a certain segment of the market does in fact want to visit blogs for that information simply because there is such a broad base of information. Also, with the fact that blogs tend to rank so high in the search engines, consumers may in fact come to blogs unintentionally.

    Those blogs that are “look at my new listing” won’t last. Those who read blogs are, in my opinion, among the most discerning consumers out these, if only due to the fact that they have figured out how to weed out the good from bad blogs.

  9. jf.sellsius November 28, 2006 at 19:02

    Interesting question. I side with Ardell on this one. Well said Ardell—I can’t improve on your words.

    We write the way we write and post what we think is interesting, helpful, newsworthy or entertaining. In the beginning, none of us had readers. We got them because they liked what they read and came back. Besides, if you asked me to only write for consumers, I could do it but then blogging wouldn’t be as rewarding. Be yourself, it’s the easiest way to go.

    Real estate,thankfully, is a relationship business. As in any relationship people need to trust you. You need to show them you are honest, knowledgeable and willing to help them. Blogging gives all of us the opportunity to show these qualities over time. Whether your reader is a consumer or professional may not matter.

  10. Jim Duncan November 28, 2006 at 19:06

    Well said Ardell—I can’t improve on your words.

    Just wanted to second that. ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Athol Kay November 28, 2006 at 19:59

    Back to national vs local it seems. I think we have to do both. I believe we at least we have to prove once in a while we can hold our own on the grand topics of the day, but also better make it local enough to pay the bills too. It’s a tough balancing act.

    Ardell is right though – the rules are minimal right now. Thats part of the cool.

  12. teresa boardman November 28, 2006 at 22:08

    I do have variety on my blog. Like the first virtual pumkin carving contest, Friday fun, the parade of triangle buildings, womens winter fashion in minnesota, bugs, snakes, toys that baby boomers enjoyed. Nothing to do with real estate. It would be really boring if we just wrote about real estate. I guess I am tryin to attract a particular audiance and to do so I provide a lot of local content.

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