Just a few days ago, I published a post commemorating the third anniversary of lenderama as a blog. Originally, my blog used the same simple template that Mike Price uses today. Fancy graphics, widgets, and even multimedia are cool additions to a blog. But as Mike proves, blogging is more about what you say, than how fancy it looks.
Hi Michael, as the head of video intensive company, one might expect your blog to be multi media intensive. Instead, you concentrate primarily on the written word. I’ll ask you more about multi media next, but first, what is the biggest advantage to good old text as a medium for blogging?
Speed, flexibility, easier to compose, edit, absorb, consume….you name it. Video blogging is fine if you’re showing other people and places, sitting alone in front of camera lens as a means of communicating just doesn’t make any sense to me. I think people prefer the tried and true methods of the message and replacing it with another medium just for the sake of being able to do it seems like a waste of time and resources to me. We will be doing some cool new video blogging based content in the coming months, but I can promise you I wouldn’t subject my readers to a video of me after I just kwaffed my first cup of joe in the a.m. It is not a pretty sight.
There’s now doubt that audio and video content is becoming more and more viable as a way for real estate agent to showcase their listings on over the Internet. Please tell us a little bit about how your company helps agents do that.
I”ve spent quite a few years working on marketing and software tools for the industry, a great deal of that concentrated on listing enhancements like virtual tours etc. I realized before the whole web 2.0 thing came around that syndicating content on the web would allow forward thinking agents to expose listings and communities in a much more proactive way by using things like RSS and Podcasting. When it comes to video, I also realized that it will be a long time before agents will be able to a acquire the skills to produce their own presentations or be able to afford to hire professional videographers to do it for them. We created a way to use an agent’s exisiting collateral material, photos, narrative text, keywords etc, to create a polished video presentation with a professional voice over and professional music score. By converting these slide shows to a video format, we can use advanced syndication tools to distribute them across a huge network of portals and sites within and outside of the traditional realms of content distribution for real estate content. We do it at an extremely affordable rate that opens up the realm of advanced new media marketing to any agent, on any budget. $49 one time set up, $29 per listing or neighborhood tour and that includes a professional narrator and music.
What do you imagine the future holds for multi media opportunities for agents marketing on the Internet.
The industry is finally coming to the realization that their roles as advertisers and marketers now include that of publishers and producers. Publishing content via blogs, syndicated video and audio talk shows, video based community tours, listing presentations, tetstimonials, social networks…you name it, the real estate industry will be a participant one way or another in this new interactive stream of communication both b2c and b2b. It’s executing on a balance between traditional media and new media that will become the most important job description in the brokerage of the immediate future.
Like myself, you are a volunteer for RE Base Camp. I know that you also attend many real estate tech conferences. What can a face to face meeting with other technology focused real estate professionals provide, that can’t be captured on the Internet.
You can’t really tell how much beer someone can handle over the web. Some people seem to be able to drink and type really well. Kidding aside, when it comes to business, nothing replaces the ability to shake a hand and look someone in the eye. Human interaction. Thank God nothing can ever change or replace it. So it goes with the real estate industry, you can not disintermediate the need for humans to connect on emotional levels that can only be done through a physical presence. Besides, you really can’t tell how strikingly handsome I am by looking at my photo 🙂
I listed to your comments on a podcast over at Zebra Talk, and one of your comments paralleled my own opinion that RE.net is not proportionally represented by mortgage professionals. Do you have an opinion as to why the disparity exists, and any idea of how to close the gap?
I think it’s just been the natural progression of the industries, the trade associations etc. The mortgage industry seems to have always lagged when it comes to the more visible of technologies like the web and web marketing. That’s obviously starting to change and every participant in the process is looking for a new way, angle, edge, anything to be able to reach today’s consumer. I’ve always thought that the MBA and NAR should get together in the play yard more often. On local levels I think the trust factor is one element, I’m not in the trenches every day with agents or mortgage brokers, but I speak to people every day that are. It seems to me that developing the right networking relationships based on trust and good service would go a long way, but from what I hear from my friends, there seems to be such a lack of trust, that long lasting and mutually benefcial realtionships are few and far between. On a side note, I did talk to Joel at Inman about this issue and I think they are in agreement that more content regarding the mortgage industry for the upcoming event is in order.
What are some of your favorite blogs?
Does somebody other Greg Swann write a blog? Kidding aside, as far as blogs I read on a regular basis, the usual suspects, Jay, Kris, Jim Duncan, Joel, Chico (the zebra), Kevin, Curbed, Inman, Teresa B., most of the bloggers at Agent Genius. I know I’m leaving some people out, If I did, call me I will be happy to issue a full mikes_link_bait_shop.com refund, I want only satisfied customers.
What advice do you have for agents who are just starting a new blog?
Ask yourself why you’re starting a blog. If the only answers you can think of are
A. Because everybody told me I need one.
B. Search Engines Love Blogs
C. Leads. Leads. Leads.
Don’t bother. Seriously don’t waste the bandwidth, starving Realtors elsewhere will gladly put your wasted bandwidth to good use. If you’re still serious about the effort set up a feed reader and put these blogs in it.
Follow them for a couple of weeks to get an idea of the kind of effort you will need to put into a well done, consumer focused, hyper local, professional business communication and marketing tool. The first blog will help you develop better marketing communication skills. The rest set the tone for the kind of content that will eventually help you garner business from the effort. Ask the authors of any of those blogs and they will tell you, it didn’t happen overnight and the leads don’t just come streaming in, but the business does eventually come and the quality of the leads they do receive are head and shoulders above most any other effort they engage in.