I made a trip to San Fransisco this summer to meet other bloggers at the annual Inman Connect event. When I met John Harper, he insisted I meet his newest blog contributor. An 18 year old student by the name of Joseph Natividad. I flew home the same night I met John & Joe, and as I arrived home to check my email, there was a message from Joseph inviting me to connect with him on Facebook. In an entire day of seminars on blogging in the Queen City of the Internet, the most prophetic moment of the whole trip was right then. There’s a whole new generation entering the workforce that doesn’t think twice about social networking as a primary means of business. I think we can learn a lot from these kids. Kudos to John for being ahead of the curve in recognizing this new reality.
Hi John, In the Bay Area, there’s about as many real estate agents that have integrated blogging into their business plan as anywhere in the country. What do you do to make make The Harper Team Blog stand out from the rest?
I think the design of our site makes it stand out from the rest. We are going to redo it early next year – keep the branding, but incorporate fluid design and a few other things.
When did you first decide to integrate blogging into you business plan?
When I joined Craig and Tracey in their real estate business (July ’07), the first order of business dropped on me was to rebuild the site and get it ranked on the search engines. Blogging was the obvious and easy answer. We launched the new site in Nov. of ’07 and are pleased with the traffic it generates.
While many real estate agents have web sites, and then separate blogs, you’re blog lives within your website. In that, I mean that the look, feel, and navigation is the same as the rest of your website. What led you to make this additional investment in design, and are you satisfied with the results?
Branding & Stickiness. Very, satisfied. The site generates 2 to 5 leads a day.
When I met you this Summer, you were proud to introduce me to your new “intern” blogger. Please share with the rest of us a bit about how you came to bring Joseph Natividad into your blogging team.
I use Google Alerts to track all surrounding communities. In this way, I found the CC Times L.I.P. blog for high school students. I noticed over time that Joe was the most prolific blogger and when he mentioned on a post that he was having a hard time finding a summer job, I asked him if he would like to write for us. We use him for local color stories. I also hooked him up with three other bloggers that use him. He earns some easy college spending money. I continue to mentor him on using his blog (www.josephnatividad.com) as his #1 business asset. My hope is that over the next few years, his blog will evolve into a significant voice for his generation leading to multiple opportunities before he graduates.
What are some of your favorite blogs?
I follow over 70 blogs, about half of them are real estate related. With respect to all of them, I will mention a few and why they stand out: Broker Bryant lets his humanity lead the way; Rudy and Joe haven’t stopped tripping; Blue Roof – Greg used to live where I now live and I used to live where he does now. It’s great to banter back and forth AND he writes interesting things; My Tech Opinion – I like technology. Reggie, NikNik & Chad serve it up real estate style; Dean’s Guide – Dean boggles my mind; Copy Blogger – If I have to explain this one, you need to move on to something other than blogging (BTW did you see they made PC World’s or was it PC Mag’s Top Websites?); Bloomberg Marketing Blog – Toby helps me stay in touch with my marketing feminine side.
Well, like I said – I could mention 70.
Do you have any tips or advice for a fellow real estate professional that’s looking to get into blogging?
What’s the delay?
One more thing. Here is a shameless promotion for where I let my other interests out: www.open-secrets.com
This cat, Goofy, is much more interesting than me. He was a feral cat that wandered in one day and decided to stay. He acts a little strange, thus the name. His deafness was not discovered for several months, but the name still sticks. I don’t know why because you can call him anything – he won’t hear it. He screeches like a banshee because he can’t hear himself. He wants in and out several times a night which he announces with a blood-curdling screech and requires getting up as a cat door won’t work due to raccoons, skunks and opossums. He crowds the bed and sits on my lap when I meditate. I’m learning a lot about myself by just observing my relationship with him. He’s a good mentor.