Forget Google – Realtor Uses Local Strategies to Win Blog Visibility
Simi Valley, California Realtor Ted Mackel is often referenced as a case study of the “Techie Realtor”. His blogging efforts, use of video, use of Facebook Pages and Twitter, and his RE BarCamp networking, certainly qualify him as a great example of the modern Realtor. The core of his strategy though is HomeBuysBlog.com, his blog which serves as the hub of his online efforts (Realtor Heather Elias, also recently applauded for her innovative marketing efforts, and I spoke about this kind of “hub and spoke” digital marketing system at a recent conference in San Francisco – more details and a recap of our presentation can be found here).
In light of Ted’s “techie-ness” it was a tweet from Ted about an off-line success that caught my eye – Ted Tweeted:
Half the people at my open house today know about my real estate blog
In light of Joel Burslem’s recent post on The Death of the Real Estate Blog, the blog recognition from Ted’s open house attendees certainly seems a good sign for Ted’s visibility and blogging efforts. So I asked him what he thought contributed to that and his response and overall strategy is what elevated him to be the focus of this Agent Applause.
Ted tells people about his blog when he meets them:
When I had my card out, I always tell them that I write a real estate blog for Simi Valley.
When I door knock, I pitch my blog way before talking about their house.
It doesn’t get less techie than this! Who needs Google when you can simply TELL people in your area about your blog. When he meets a prospect he tells them:
I write a blog about Simi Valley. There is lots of detail information there about market conditions, what’s selling, what’s not selling, tips on how to deal with things as a homeowner which affect your ability to sell the house. This is a place where you can get your questions answered.
All prospects need to know is the URL, and Ted is making sure they have it. His blog is the top piece of contact information on his business card and when paired with the verbal pitch for his blog, he is gaining readership.
Most people are interested in homes or market conditions or community information, even if they are not actively buying or selling. Ted’s blog provides him a non-salesy, value added way for local people he meets every day to get information they are interested in. He provides them a resource to satisfy their curiosity while concurrently branding himself as the expert providing the information. With content that has been built up over the two years that Ted has been blogging, he has created not only an online resource that reflects the evolving state of the real estate market in his community, but also an online resume reflective of Ted’s expertise and perspective. Prospects in all stages of the buying process are able to research Ted and have a context for him that provides a basis for conversation when he meets them face to face, for example, at his open house.
Comment Blogging on the Local Newspaper’s Website:
Ted uses the local paper’s on line website to comment on articles that are reaching a local Simi Valley audience. This strategy is referred to as comment blogging and Ted invests time responding to real estate and community related news stories from the Ventura County Star. In his comments, he is sure to leave a URL with a link back to his blog. The link back to his blog gives people a place to research him further if they are interested in who this guy is who commented on the paper’s story.
Again, this strategy provides Ted an opportunity to articulate his real estate expertise and perspective and gives readers of the online newspaper an opportunity to interact, debate, and research him.
Regardless of if you are a blogging Realtor, this is an interesting strategy that can yield some visibility for you. Don’t have a blog? What about a LinkedIn profile, a Facebook business page, or a bio on your brokerages website? Any of these can act as a link to use in a blog commenting strategy on websites targeted to your local community providing a place for people to learn more about you.
Often blogging is discussed as a marketing effort in itself. But what Ted has done, is create a marketing strategy in promotion of his blog. The blog in itself isn’t just a marketing tool, it is a container for showcasing his expertise. As a result, the blog becomes not only a resource for the community that he can use as an approach with prospects he meets, but also an online resume supporting his career as a real estate professional.
Favorable search engine placement is an often talked about benefit of blogging and if you Google “Ted Mackel” his blog is #1 in the results (that’s good). But is Google what helped Ted receive 50% awareness about his blog at his open house? I’m certain it didn’t hurt, but based on Ted’s discussion with the open house visitors, it appears that his locally based marketing practices detailed above are paramount to the level of recognition that he and his blog are receiving.
Important to note is that this isn’t a flip-the-switch and have success kind of strategy. Ted has been blogging for two years, has handed out thousands of cards, knocked on hundreds of doors, left dozens of blog comments, and held countless open houses. His success is the result of hard work, persistence, and execution on an underlying strategy that integrates his on-line and off-line efforts in order to showcase his local market and real estate expertise. It’s creative, effective and definitely worthy of applause.