Blogger Spotlight; David Porter

As I’ve told my lenderama readers, David Porter’s Mortgage Broker Coaching is one of the blogs I read every day. This is a new blog from a veteran blogger. David was long the creative force behind the Pacesetter Mortgage Blog. Now in semi-retirement David is sharing the knowledge and experiences that made him a success. Mortgage Broker Coaching is a B2B blog focused toward loan originators, a model that would also work well for Wholesale Account Executives who wish to keep in touch with there client base.

Hi David, I want to cover your new blog, but first, let’s step back into history a bit. Tell me what inspired you to create the Pacesetter Mortgage Blog

I was traveling back home from an industry conference, a few years ago, and was reading an extensive article in Business Week on Blogging. This article immediately caught my attention because I began to understand that I could control my own “media company” through a blog. I could, in essence, have my own magazine, radio show, and even television show with the tools that a blog present. This was very exciting to me!

I had been writing my clients a “Letter from the Heart” and an “Evidence of Success” postcard each month. This was costing me nearly $3,000 each month to send this to my clients. I was thinking with a blog, I might be able to reduce that cost, over time, to zero because the Internet was free. This, as it turned out, was happening but it is certainly a transition. I had roughly 60% of my client base reading my blog each day through a FeedBlitz subscription. My goal was to get that to 90% and then quite spending the money on the expensive mailings. I sold my company 18 months ago, so that transition is dead as the new owners are not keeping up with the blog.

Pacesetter was a mix of mortgage, real estate and community news for Lansing Michigan. Tell us a little bit about it’s evolution or history.

In the beginning, it was very difficult to turn my marketing mind off and I started out with posts about me and my team. I very quickly learned that my clients already knew this and it was not new news to the general public because everyone on the Internet claimed to be the greatest thing since sliced bread. As I began to consider my “voice” on the blog, I decided that I wanted to be a trusted expert that people, on the Internet, could turn to for information as it pertained to a mortgage without any sales pitch what so ever. I figured that if I could attain this type of “attraction” then my business would gain additionally because of the inherent trust of an “expert”

Therefore, I set out to simply give of my experience and advice regarding “all things” mortgage and real estate related. I also made sure that a great deal of my focus was regarding my Lansing Market. When the Internet figured out that this was an expert talking and not a sales person, my readership began to go up significantly. As I accumulated more and more articles I also noticed that Google was ranking me very highly. Last I looked only you and Bankrate.com were consistently ahead of me in the Google search: “mortgage blog”.

Once I decided to give in order to get the media started calling as well. I had a reporter in my office from NPR, I was interviewed by U.S. News and World Reports, had built a relationship with the fine folks over at Business Week as well as quite a few others. Once this started to occur, my clients were starting to take note and seemed to hold me in even greater esteem. Please don’t miss this point…this happened because I was willing to give with no expectations back. I gave of my experience honestly and frankly. As it turned out, this is exactly what people seemed to want. I believe that a few more years of blogging with that blog, I could have really built something that had value in and of itself. Who knows, perhaps I will start another consumer related blog. I own the URL www.mortgageinsiderblog.com.

Now you have moved into Semi-Retirement, with Mortgage Broker Consulting LLC. A new career, and a new blog as well. How’s it going so far?

We moved to Scottsdale, Arizona in November of 2006. Frankly for the next six months we didn’t do much but travel, remodel our new home and get to learn our new surroundings. We were careful savers for many years and this, along with the sale of our business, put us in a position where we didn’t need to work if we didn’t want to. Now I am finding myself bored to tears and ready to take on a new challenge. Mortgage Broker Coaching, LLC is a coaching company that will help experienced mortgage brokers and/or loan officers learn how to create a business that has value. Most mortgage brokers and/or loan officers, if you were to remove them from the enterprise, would have no business. This is not a good model and is really a job according to Michael Gerber. We were able to sell our company because we were able to demonstrate that the company could exist without us there.

My new blog: www.mortgagebrokercoaching.com is just over a month old. I am please that we currently have nearly 1,600 subscribers and our daily traffic is growing each day. I have also noticed, because of our unique niche, that the average visitor stays significantly longer then with my previous blog. It seems that I have something worth actually reading. I hope so anyway.

My vision is to create a blog that can generate a certain amount of revenue, after I get a healthy and consistent stream of readers each day. I also hope that in giving of my experience in the industry, I will be able to attract the clients that we are looking for in our coaching. I only intend to take on a maximum of 10 coaching clients at a time. This will allow us to go very deep and as such, we should see significant results. We also have defined, very clearly, what our target coaching client looks like.

As we are only a month into this process, I don’t have any incredible results to share. At the moment we seem to be attracting the people who are in desperation mode. Because they don’t fit our profile, we have suggested that they subscribe to our blog and we refer them to other “coaches” who are more into how to get business. We will be very careful to accept only clients who know how to get business and are ready to create a company that has value AND a company that can give them significant time away. When we sold our business, we were taking 10 days off each month. That was VERY nice!

I noticed that your new blog encompasses your entire online presence (as opposed to having a blog and a separate web site). Is this a strategy that you think would work for loan originators or real estate agents?

If I had a mortgage company, I would also have an accompanying web site. I found that my website was an incredible tool for us to start the application process with our clients. For our realtor friends, I can’t imagine them not having a website so that their clients could have access to the MLS. Therefore, I suppose that they would need both.

For me however, I see no reason to have a website. The beauty of the blog is that I can communicate instantly and because of its inherent nature, I can build relationships with people. You and I have a relationship solely because of our blogs and we have never met. This relationship has been built because of the words that flow from our hearts each day. There is a natural attraction when you can see a person heart. A web site can’t do that!

What are some of your favorite blogs?

I keep a pretty long list of blogs and media feeds on my blogroll. I feel it is important to keep a pulse on my industry and the blogging world in general. I suppose my favorite blog is Business Week’s Blogspotting. This is because, as I mentioned earlier, they were the ones that introduced me to this whole blogging world. Beyond that, I tend to gravitate to the top handful of mortgage bloggers out there. You are certainly on that list!

What other web sites, blogs, tools, or people do you find most helpful in building your blog?

I use TypePad for my blog platform and have been very happy. In the beginning, I had all sorts of gizmo’s on my blog but I learned that it became quite a distraction. Therefore, I try to keep flashy things to a minimum. One of the things that I am learning with this blog is that my podcasts are quite popular. I haven’t really spent any time figuring that whole thing out. I intend to do so, in the near future, and get my podcasts listed on iTunes. It seems that when you can add the voice element, it brings in a completely different element and once again allows you to raise your trust level if you have good things to say.

Do you have any tips or advice for a fellow real estate professional that’s looking to get into blogging?

Don’t even bother with a blog if you are not willing to commit to writing at least three articles each week. The whole beauty of a blog gets lost without that consistent content. Also, leave your salesman’s hat off when you are writing your articles. People don’t like it! There are too many other people trying to sell them stuff on the Internet, especially in the mortgage business. In the beginning, I also hired a “blog coach”. Wes Thorpe is a retired journalist and was a huge help to me in the beginning. I hired him for a period of time to watch over my posts and help me find my “blog voice”. This was money well spent and I also created a new friend in the process.

Anything Else?

I suppose the only thing I would add is that I would invite your readers to subscribe to my blog. I have been reading your blog for a long time and find you to be an honorable man. If I can borrow some of your trust, with your readers, and create a wider circle of influence as a result, then I am greatly honored. Here is a link for your readers to subscribe to my blog. Thank you for the opportunity and keep up the good work!

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