How does one build credibility locally? This is a constant question for anyone seeking success in real estate. I have been fortunate to have been quoted with relative frequency in the local press; a lot of it is serendipitous, and a lot of it is part of a grand scheme. Much like Technorati rankings give greater authority to those blogs with more inbound links from other blogs with authority, being quoted in local media outlets is similar. Even though internet access reached majority of the American populace, many are not familiar with blogs, much less real estate blogs. Their only exposure to “Web 2.0” is when they read a story in the local paper or see it on the evening news. Charlottesville is lucky to have an aggregator of most of the local blogs.
A client who is relocating out of the area asked me the other day what advice/tips I had for her as she will be entering the family business of real estate when she moves. My first response – blog. Blog about why you have gotten into the business, where you’re from, what skills you bring to the table. Read other blogs, familiarize yourself with the leading real estate blogs. Email established bloggers and ask questions; most of us will be happy to help.
– Be an expert. Part of being an expert is to have others perceive you to be one. Seth Godin is brilliant, and many (most?) people agree. Blogging in a vacuum is rewarding on one level – that of gaining knowledge.
– Be transparent in all that you do. If you are blogging solely to gain business, readers will rapidly discern that. Blog for yourself.
– Read voraciously – more than your competition. This knowledge will set you apart for your clients and potential clients.
– Get started at Greg’s real estate blog taxonomy and Rain City Guide, the two preeminent real estate blogs in the country. Go from there.
– Read RSS feeds. This will make your reading much, much more efficient.
– Be honest, in all that you do. When you’re wrong, be wrong graciously and move on. (Being told you’re wrong means that someone’s reading!)
– Be passionate about what you do. It shows.
– One component of online credibility is how you rank in Google. Write for yourself and your reader(s), but be mindful of the search engines.
I started this post several days ago, and I’m glad I waited, as this post focuses on gaining maximum exposure for your business blog – offline. Gaining exposure and credibility is a long-term effort. You’re not going to find success passively – you have to earn it.
In short, be the expert, and get others to recognize that.