Mike is a great blogger. Want proof? I liked his work so much, I asked him to blog on my own baby, lenderama. Mikes a great loan originator, and as you will see, has been at the forefront of the mortgage industry in communicating with his clients over the internet.
Hi Mike. How did you come to the decision to start Mike’s Mortgage Minute?
I have to go way back to the 90’s. I had been financing racks of servers and modems for internet service providers. I was manually writing html (on notepad) to update individual web pages on a daily basis. In 2000 I remember finding a small little start up called Pyra Labs. They used .php to update web pages. I tried it out, liked the idea, and even donated money towards a new server they needed. Starting in 2001 I was updating my mortgage news page on a daily basis. Much of what I did at that time was cut and pasting of various newsletter articles and not my original material. Soon I started interjecting my own opinions. There was no clear start to my blogging, instead I somewhat slouched into it.
Officially, I was a real estate blogger in 2001.
Your blogs are all about advice. I want to focus on just one of them for this question though. The Foreclosure Report doles out advice for consumers who are facing foreclosure. With a readership in distress, how much more thought do you put into making sure the advice you give is in the absolute best interest of the reader?
The Foreclosure Report was an idea I came up with to harness the SEO that blogging provides. I wanted to deliver honest unbiased information to those that needed it most, the homeowner in trouble. We in the business see cases of gross misrepresentation, outright lies, and fraud, probably on a daily basis. It was never meant to be in my voice. Instead I envisioned the voices of many. I saw the opportunity to have some of the most ethical, knowledgeable, and giving people on the internet offer up that advice.
I had 30+ real estate professionals lined up to contribute. Unfortunately most all of them did not actively participate. Today, I pick and choose what is posted. If I find an article I like, I ask the writer if I can repost it. I give them full credit and direct links back to their article. I work today more like an editor for this blog. On one hand I think the blog failed in that I have just a couple of contributor posts written specifically for the blog.
Then again I have to remember who it was created for and why. Case in point: recently someone typed “what can i do to delay the sale of my home in forclosure” into Google (misspellings and all). Obviously, this is a homeowner in trouble. Out of 136,000 pages, The Foreclosure Report shows up 6th. Thanks to the long tail, they hit the website and I hope they got the correct information. Looking at many of the other sites listed on that same page, you can see how easy it is to get the wrong information. To that end, it’s a success.
The blog provides three important things to the consumer.
1.The latest contact information for over 50 lender loss mitigation departments,
2.It shines the spotlight on various foreclosure and mortgage fraud and scams,
3.And most importantly provides what I saw as something that was vital yet missing on the internet – honest, ethical, unbiased information to the homeowner in trouble.
You take on a lot of complicated topics, reverse mortgages, REO’s, and foreclosures. Yet, the content comes out in very practical terms that a regular Joe can understand. Did this just come naturally, or what sort of path led you to establishing your “voice”.
Why thank you. I want to think this comes naturally, but I can source it back to college days. I’m a visual learner. In studying, I had to visualize complex concepts in order to get them to stick in my brain. I guess I do the same to my readers.
This is kind of a fun question that I like to ask of my contributors. Why do you blog on Lenderama? The same could be asked of why you blog on Active Rain?
Much like the ‘Mountain”, I blog on Lenderama, because I can.
Seriously – I love the ability to be able to write directly to the industry professional.
I can’t do that on any other site. Recently I wrote How the Appraiser determines a stable market
That post was important to me, important to other originators (I hope) but had little or no value to a consumer or homeowner.
ActiveRain is a real estate clubhouse. I have met some really great contacts across the country there. Yesterday I need to send a referral to someone looking to buy in Florida. In seconds I pulled up AR and found the person I know and trust to send a referral to. I also use ActiveRain for some of my posts that I think should reach a wider audience. I also help to moderate the Active Rain Newbies. We silently help those new to blogging find their way and get started.
Your blog is linked to some television appearances. Was this opportunity a result of your blogging efforts?
Not directly, although I think blogging certainly added to my professional credibility. I look at television and radio the same way as I do blogging. It’s an excellent way to reach out to many people. I like to think people can see through what is B.S. and what is real. I’d like to do more television work in the future.
What are some of your favorite blogs?
Guilty pleasures. I have a couple. I’d say Athol but everyone likes Athol and I don’t want to give him any more traction ; ) Besides the one and only picture I sent him of a bad MLS photo – he misspelled my name! How about bad banana blog, or growabrain? Ok, I do read Athol, daily. But if anyone asks, I’ll deny it.
I read most everything inside my feed reader. RSS is my friend!
What advice do you have for agents who are just starting a new blog?
Let me step up on the soapbox.
Step one – read blogs. Read and read and read some more!
Learn to effectively use a feed reader.
There are three reasons you are likely to hear about as to why to start blogging:
1.SEO or more accurately Search Engine Ranking. That’s the hook that draws you in.
2.Networking. Sites like ActiveRain can give you a warm sense of belonging.
3.And what I think is the most important reason, “Sticky-Ness”.
3a. Nobody will tell you this but by blogging you will become smarter. Bloggers gain knowledge and clarity of thought simply by blogging.
Now throw away reasons 1 and 2.
They are unimportant and will lead you down the path to the Dark Side.
Don’t try to game the system. That too, is the Dark Side.
Your readers are smarter than you think and will see right through it.
I believe strongly in reason number 3 and 3a. Be honest and write about what interests you.
My parting statement? Give me the full RSS Feed including pictures. Don’t give me a partial feed. Don’t exclude the pictures. Make it easy for me to read and I will. Make me jump through hoops and I’ll have to decide if your really worth it.