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A new breed of Single Property Websites for Real Estate

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Single Property Websites and the iPhone

From the very first time I read about using single property websites on a dedicated domain to market real estate, I thought the idea was absolutely brilliant. Today, I think single property websites can revolutionize the real estate business. The overwhelming majority of real estate agents reading that previous sentence are nodding their heads in agreement – for all the wrong reasons. “Sellers love ’em” – is the reason they often cite for shelling out ten bucks on a subpar pre-packaged solution. Which is to say that the tool itself doesn’t do much, but it’s shiny enough to make a Seller reward your “cutting-edge” marketing with a listing.

They are shortsighted. Single property websites look good but they generate too little traffic too late. By the time the brand new site starts to climb Google rankings, the home has either sold or it has been pulled off the market. Even if the site contributed to the Buyer picking your listing over others, it is rendered useless after the transaction closes. But as negative as all this sounds, they are revolutionary in much the same way the iPhone was to the smart phone sphere. Two words: User interface. Think about this with me for a second: Every other marketing method an agent may use, leaves a prospective buyer unsatisfied and wanting more. See real estate sign on the yard? Call the number to get more info. Picked up a flyer from that finicky box? Three little pictures and a paragraph – call or click for details. Called a 1-800 property hotline? Descriptions sound great but I can’ t see any photos. Real estate agents have the brass balls to call this information squeeze, “lead generation” but it’s nothing but inadequate marketing. Enter a well built, seo optimized,  single property website. Think about it from the perspective of a prospective buyer looking in the neighborhood and the price range of your listing. In this one website, they can get every piece of information they need to make a decision on whether they’d like to see that home in person. Thirty high-quality photos? Check. Custom Google Map? Check. Property Specs and Descriptive copy? Check. Extensive School system info? Check. Neighborhood market stats? Check. Embedded Virtual tour? Check. It’s the only marketing medium that puts the consumer in control and you control the medium. You can make sure that those photographs are professional quality shots. You can ensure that the copy sheds a light on every selling feature of the home. You can “set the mood” for the consumer by defining their user interface and that my friends is huge!

Next: I’ll show you how to build a single property website that’s a powerful asset.

Houston Real Estate Rainmaker and Uberproud Father/Husband (not necessarily in that order). When I'm not skinning cats or changing diapers you can find me on Twitter or Facebook. I blog about marketing, social media and real estate. I might not always be in agreement, but you can rest assured I'll be honest. Oh, and I can cook a mean breakfast...

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39 Comments

39 Comments

  1. Ken Brand

    March 1, 2010 at 6:35 pm

    Boom. Can’t wait to see how you build the Killer Bat Signal. Bring it Bro!

  2. CindyinIndy

    March 1, 2010 at 9:47 pm

    I am still puzzled by “finding” that killer website. How many people type in the address of “that house”. I think a blog on the neighborhood might be a better answer and then a specific IDX for active listings in that neighborhood.

  3. Erion Shehaj

    March 1, 2010 at 9:58 pm

    Cindy

    In my next post in this series, I’ll go over how to build a killer site for that property to get it sold. But that’s just part of the story. I don’t blame you for feeling puzzled – I have felt the same way for quite some time. But I think I’m on to something here. So next, I’ll make a case for how to eat everybody’s lunch in the long term/strong> using SPW as part of a long term marketing strategy.

  4. Mark Towler

    March 1, 2010 at 10:23 pm

    I have been looking at SPW lately. There is a huge price difference in the providers. I am also interested in any new concepts.

  5. Leslie

    March 2, 2010 at 12:08 am

    I’ve been making single-property sites for a couple of years now. They take time to create but I think engaging the buyer with information I control in one location is advantageous. A beautifully-presented site results in multiple buyer views and quicker emotional attachment to the showcased property. However, other than winning the listing, I don’t think it’s much of a lead generation tool and you are right about the poor Google rankings. I am interested in your ideas to improve this and how you see these sites contributing to the big picture.

  6. Michael Sosnowski

    March 2, 2010 at 8:21 am

    I agree that most buyers do not type into G the property address. However, we have been building individual websites for properties – right within our own site. The URL includes the property address and the individual page includes all important info about the property. Why pay yet another outside company to do this for us??? And best still, if you do a G search for the street and state (no need for actual street number) the URL is normally included in the top 5 or 6 returns. Normally you will also see a result from Trulia as well, and the unfortunate thing is we as realtors have created our own competition, like Trulia, which is really to bad. How crazy is this – I’m competing with Trulia (or realtor.com or zillow.com) with information I gave them. Yikes!

    I am looking forward to the post about “building” the killer individual website.

  7. Joe

    March 2, 2010 at 8:42 am

    We love single property websites, however, we usually use previously done sites then add the new property to the site, thus allowing for quicker ranking for the search engines. I have not considered their impact on mobile phones.

  8. Jeremy Isaac

    March 2, 2010 at 3:37 pm

    We’ve used single listing websites with significant success. A few key points to consider:
    1. Host the “single listing site” on your main website to generate search results much quicker since you main site should already have the trust of google.
    2. The do a redirect from the vanity domain of 1234streetname.com so you can use this in other marketing.
    3. Most importantly, use all your other online marketing to drive traffic to the single listing site. We typically use the “virtual tour” link provided by our MLS and most of our online syndication partners to direct that traffic to our single listing site.

  9. Michael Sosnowski

    March 2, 2010 at 3:52 pm

    Just to follow-up on Jeremy’s comments. As I mentioned above we host the single sites right on our own server and in many case do redirect. As an example go to G and type in Anchorage Place (you don’t even need a town name or state) and our own single site is first. If you really want to get fancy, begin to post these in FB or on your blog and Y-Tube and if you do it right these posts will appear in G at the top of searches. Why pay more cottage industry businesses who are trying to make money on the backs of individual agents when you can do these types of things yourself?

  10. Brian Rutledge

    March 2, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    Instead of expending all that effort on a dedicated site for one property, why not build a website with a search optimized IDX? If you do it right, you’ll effectively have the SEO power of a single property website for every listing in the MLS.

  11. real estate marketing results

    March 2, 2010 at 5:04 pm

    Awersome post I love your comment on ” I think single property websites can revolutionize the real estate business.”

    thanks for the great info above.

  12. Erion Shehaj

    March 2, 2010 at 5:46 pm

    Getting found on the search engines is an important thing – but not everything.

    My focus is on what happens after a prospective buyer lands on your site – Will you keep them glued to the screen, page after page or will they leave unsatisfied in search of what you could have offered them?

    That’s the question.

  13. Michael Sosnowski

    March 2, 2010 at 5:59 pm

    Not all states allow for customized IDX, unfortunately. I am sensing, however, some kind of attitude that we cannot build a good custom site (and know what to do with that). Obviously you do, so why not share?

  14. Brian Rutledge

    March 2, 2010 at 6:16 pm

    @ Michael Sosnowski – You are right, not all boards are receptive to the idea of you optimizing the data you pay for 🙂

    Sorry if I you sensed any attitude, I didn’t mean to imply any. Some of the best SEO’s I know are Realtors. I do have quite a bit of experience in this area. I’ve owned an SEO company since 1998, and I now own a software as a service company that sells, no surprise here, a search optimized IDX, but I didn’t want to come on here and hawk it. I simply wanted to say if you are going to spend time, money and effort on something, do it on your own domain. There are many (well, a few, anyway 🙂 good indexable IDX systems to choose from with varying price ranges and features. Choose one of those, and build long term SEO value on your own site, not on a disposable domain.

  15. Missy Caulk

    March 2, 2010 at 6:23 pm

    I look forward to your follow up post on how to build them .

  16. Matt Stigliano

    March 3, 2010 at 10:28 am

    Erion – How can you tempt me with knowledge and then make me wait until next post to get it? Looking forward to seeing what you propose. I have been thinking about designing a template to work around to make adding a single property site easy and efficient (of course, not every site will have the same exact content, so it’s not quite a template site in that sense).

  17. Bruce Lemieux

    March 4, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    I’ve struggled to optimize my single-property web sites for some time. I’ve concluded (for now) that Jeremy’s approach is absolutely the way to go (create page in your site, setup single propery URL and redirect, and reference property address in all marketing).

    The challenge, as I see it, is to effectively reference the page in all MLS-driven listings and syndicated listings. I can add my page to some sources like Trulia, but can’t figure out how to do this from the MLS listing. Ideally, my page would be the virtual tour in my MLS which would then be pushed out to the zillions of IDX-based sites (and syndication in the case of my MLS). But, since my listing page has personal branding, this isn’t allowed by my MLS (which makes sense, I suppose).

    One help would be to utilitize a syndication service that pushes your page out to Zillow, Trulia, Googlebase, etc in one click. ListingHub does this for MLSs and many single website providers do their product. Anyone know how to “mass self-syndicate”?

    • Martin Dorgan

      March 16, 2010 at 8:39 pm

      Bruce,
      I may be way off base here, and you may already know about Point2NLS. But they are the website provider I have utilized for my websites. One of the key reasons is that they syndicate my listings, and other agents(member) to many, many Real Estate portals and sites. And they offer single site domains for listings as part of their service. I haven’t tried it yet but fully intend to soon. And I’ll be waiting to read part 2 of this blog to enhance the single address sites, and anything else I find beneficial within the responses found to the article.

  18. Michael Sosnowski

    March 4, 2010 at 7:51 pm

    The hair on my neck stands up (a little) when I get into discussions about Trullia, Zillow, Yahoo Real Estate and the rest. They are the competition for online traffic! No matter how you try to rationalize, that is just the way it is. When it comes to syndication services, I personally try to avoid them for the simple reason it is all about them and not about you. As much as we hate to do it, we post listings on these other sites, but try to do so where we can control the data – after all, it is ours!

    Okay, I am not off my soap box.

  19. Erion Shehaj

    March 4, 2010 at 9:00 pm

    @Matt
    Kinda liking this teasing thing 🙂

    @Michael
    I don’t see syndication to Zillow or Trulia as feeding the competition at all. I just think they’re highly ineffective – Most of the time, listings on these sites get negligible “clickbacks to the source site” which is the whole purpose of syndication after all. That said, (a little) more exposure is always better than less for our clients in the end.

  20. Michael Sosnowski

    March 5, 2010 at 9:00 am

    This has been an interesting post. What I mean about competition is this. If you do searches at your local level for real estate, Zillow, Trulia, etc take up space in the SERPS that local real estate websites should be in. Why is this? First and foremost we have “given” these websites 2 things. First of course are our listings and second, with agents spending time blogging and whatnot on them, we are giving them authority – authority we should be focusing on ourselves at the local level. Most agents are not really honest with themselves with how much business they get from these national sites, let alone what they get from their own sites. Since they really, in most cases, don’t know how to do real estate online at the local level, they have “grabbed” at the hope that these national companies would give their listings “exposure”. But the sad fact is that these companies are all about generating revenue. Once Trulia gets sold to Yahoo, that will be interesting to see what happens to their search results. This sale is going to happen because we as agent put Trulia in business.

  21. Bruce Lemieux

    March 5, 2010 at 9:16 am

    Your right Michael – The sites with syndicated listings collect tons of listing data to draw visitors and then generate revenue by selling ad space and products to agents. They know that the data quality is horrible, but they don’t care.

    I think they all have a very dishonest business model since they proclaim to be consumer advocates. If they were truly out for the consumer, they would do a much better job of keeping their data current (which is impossible since it’s not MLS sourced), and put disclaimers on their sites saying “consumer beware – our listing data is incomplete, inaccurate and not a great place to find a home”.

    Still – it’s a disservice to your clients to hold back your listings since consumers still go there. And as far as SEO, individual agent websites are like grains of sand on a huge beach. We can’t possibly compete with these guys for SEO. We must accept that fact.

    I think that the best we can do is to incorporate listing information into our sites to make the best use of the content, get links from these sites when possible, and understand that others (many others) will look to profit from our clients listing data as well.

  22. Brian Rutledge

    March 5, 2010 at 2:12 pm

    Bruce, great points, but you should know that individual agent sites can absolutely compete SEO-wise with large national sites. If you have a reasonably search friendly indexable IDX and are willing to do a little legwork building a few links to that site, you will easily compete for property addresses, mls numbers, neighborhoods and zip codes. Even if you look at “short tail” keyphrases such as city+real+estate you often don’t see the Trulia’s and Zillows there.

    As an SEO for (non-real estate) companies that compete with local based websites, I can tell you that small, local sites are a huge problem for national sites. Google loves local sites, and wants to show local sites in the search results…you just have to provide relevant content (MLS listings) to index and point a few links there so Googlebot can find it.

    That said, if you have the time and money, there’s no reason not to syndicate the content to the national sites and, as Erion discusses above, create single property sites. It’s a pretty big kick to see that you control the top 2, 3 or even 5 results in Google for one of your listings.

  23. Erion Shehaj

    March 6, 2010 at 6:55 pm

    Bruce

    The success of Zillow and Trulia in and of itself is proof that it’s not just about raw data but what is done with the data that matters. Instead of complaining that aggregators are enriching themselves through our listings, we should ask ourselves “why are they winning the traffic in the first place?”. If it’s all about the sheer data, local MLS(s) and their data feeds should win every time. The answer lies in the comparison between the way Zillow and Trulia render the data and “feed” it to the consumer and the way local MLSs do. It all comes back to the user interface. And when it comes to that there’s just no comparison right now (with few exceptions).

    • Bruce Lemieux

      March 6, 2010 at 8:59 pm

      (My last comment is in moderation due to a weblink – so this is a repost)

      Erion,

      I agree – Trulia and Zillow do a superior job of presenting data to consumers. And, since they do a great job of presenting listings, I do what I can to make sure my listings look good there. Anything to help my clients sell their home.

      My gripe with them is different. The *quality* of the data they present is really, really bad. Here’s one analysis of their data that I completed a few months ago – bit.ly/6SYIw8

      These companies present themselves as a consumer advocates, yet they knowingly mislead consumers by presenting listing data that isn’t close to being accurate. They knowingly do this so they can sell ads and products to Realtors. It’s dishonest and I don’t think much of them as a result.

      But – back to the purpose of your topic – I’m a big fan of single property websites am working to maximize the mileage of these for my clients and for me to attract leads. I look forward to your ideas. Here’s my latest iteration – www dot CoralGablesWay.com. I welcome any/all feedback.

  24. Ed Kohler

    March 7, 2010 at 11:17 am

    While a single property website may generate traffic through Google, by far the most valuable traffic you can get to a site like that (during the sales cycle) is from people who are standing in front of the property with a smartphone, or those who write down the address of the property and later type it into their browser. At least, that’s the type of traffic that seems to convert to leads at the highest rate among the sites I track.

  25. LesleyLambert

    March 8, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    I use SPS for all of my listings. I like them for a number of reasons, but am very intrigued by what you have to offer by way of added service to the buyer’s landing on these pages.

    I am also interested in learning what companies you are using for your SPS? I see above several have them integrated into their own site…can anyone elaborate on that?

    Good stuff!

  26. Martin Dorgan

    March 16, 2010 at 8:50 pm

    Very informative! Thank You! I will follow this discussion, I believe a few of the comments have provided real insight(Sorry, it’s too time consuming to back track and keep acknowledging everyone)
    I hope when the new part 2 comes out that specific providers are mentioned, to help cut down on the research to find them?
    Like how to make your website/Listings or singlesite viewable on cell phones? Who are the recommended or cheapest providers of the services?

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Business Marketing

10 must-listen-to podcasts for business owners

(MARKETING) If you’re a business owner and want to learn something…anything…give one (or all) these podcasts a listen.

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As podcasts grow more and more popular, it has become increasingly difficult to sort through the sea of excellent options out there.

From interviews with business leaders to industry-specific advice from experts, podcasts are an incredible free and convenient way to get a small dose of inspiration and knowledge.

This short list offers just a taste of the myriad of business podcasts available. Whether you’re an aspiring entrepreneur looking for some tips on breaking into a new industry or a seasoned vet hoping to get some new inspiration, we hope you’ll find something here worth listening to.

How I Built This, hosted by Guy Raz.

Podcast fans will recognize Guy Raz’s name (and voice) from TED Radio Hour. While that show can be a great source of inspiration for businesses, one of the most consistently inspiring shows is his new project that shares stories and insight from some of the biggest business leaders in the world. In just four months, Guy has talked to everyone from Richard Branson and Mark Cuban to L.A. Reid and Suroosh Alvi. While there are plenty of excellent interview-driven shows with entrepreneurs, if you want to hear about the world’s best known companies, this is your best bet.

The Art of Charm, hosted by Jordan and AJ Harbinger.

The Art of Charm is a business podcast by definition, but the advice it provides will definitely help you in other parts of your day-to-day life as well. With over three million listens a month, the incredibly popular show provides advice, strategies and insight into how to network effectively and advance your career and personal life.

StartUp, hosted by Alex Blumberg and Lisa Chow.

If you’re an entrepreneur, there is no excuse not to be listening to StartUp, the award-winning business podcast from Gimlet Media. The show’s talented hosts come from incredible radio shows like Planet Money and This American Life and bring a top-notch level of storytelling to the show, which provides behind the scenes looks at what it is actually like to start a company. Now on the fourth season, StartUp is one of those business podcasts that even people not interested in business will get a kick out of.

The Whole Whale Podcast, hosted by George Weiner.

One of the best things about podcasts is the wide variety of niche shows available that go in-depth into fascinating topics. One of those shows is the Whole Whale Podcast, which shares stories about data and technology in the non-profit sector. You’ll get detailed analysis, expert knowledge and can hear from a long list of social impact leaders from Greenpeace, Change.org, Kiva, Teach For America, and more.

Social Pros Podcast, hosted by Jay Baer and Adam Brown.

Navigating the surplus of social media guides online can be a nightmare, so look no further than Social Pros. Recent episodes talk about reaching college students on social media, the rise of messaging apps, and making better video content for Facebook. Plus, there are great case-studies with companies doing social right, like Kellogg’s, Coca Cola and Lenscrafters.

Entrepreneur on Fire, hosted by John Lee Dumas.

One of the original entrepreneurship shows, Entrepreneur on Fire has logged over 1,500 episodes with successful business leaders sharing tips, lessons and advice learned from their worst entrepreneurial moments. Sometimes humorous, sometimes heartbreaking, always inspiring, this show is sure to have at least one interview with someone you can learn from.

The $100 MBA, hosted by Omar Zenhom.

Think of The $100 MBA as a full-fledged business program in snack-sized portions. The daily ten minute business lessons are based on real-world applications and cover everything from marketing to technology and more. Cue this show up on your commute to or from work and watch your knowledge grow.

This Week in Startups, hosted by Jason Calacanis.

This is your audio version of TechCrunch, Gizmodo, or dare we say The American Genius. Each week, a guest entrepreneur joins the show to talk about what is happening in tech right now. You’ll get news about companies with buzz, updates on big tech news and even some insider gossip.

The Side Hustle Show, hosted by Nick Loper.

This is the show if you want answers for the big question so many entrepreneurs face. How do I turn my part-time hustle into a real job? Featuring topics such as passive income ideas, niche sites, and self-publishing, host Nick Loper is upfront and honest about the tough world of side hustles. The show features actionable tips and an engaging energy, and may just be that final push you need to grow your gig.

Back To Work, hosted by Merlin Mann and Dan Benjamin.
Focused on the basics that you don’t think about, Back To Work looks deep into our working lives by analyzing things like workflow, email habits and personal motivation. Somewhere between self-help, and business advice, Back To Work takes on a new topic relating to productivity each week.

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Business Marketing

Why your coworkers are not your ‘family’ [unpopular opinion]

(MARKETING) “I just want you to think of us as family,” they say. If this were true, I could fire my uncle for always bringing up “that” topic on Thanksgiving…

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The well-known season 10 opener of “Undercover Boss” featured Walk-On’s Bistreaux & Bar. Brandon Landry, owner, went to the Lafayette location where he worked undercover with Jessica Comeaux, an assistant manager. Comeaux came across as a dedicated employee of the company, and she was given a well-deserved reward for her work. But I rolled my eyes as the show described the team as a “family.” I take offense at combining business and family, unless you’re really family. Why shouldn’t this work dynamic be used?

Employers don’t have loyalty to employees.

One of the biggest reasons work isn’t family is that loyalty doesn’t go both ways. Employers who act as though employees are family wouldn’t hesitate to fire someone if it came down to it. In most families, you support each other during tough times, but that wouldn’t be the case in a business. If you’ve ever thought that you can’t ask for a raise or vacation, you’ve probably bought into the theory that “work is a family.” No, work is a contract.

Would the roles be okay if the genders were reversed?

At Walks-Ons, Comeaux is referred to as “Mama Jess,” by “some of the girls.” I have to wonder how that would come across if Comeaux were a man being called “Daddy Jess” by younger team members? See any problem with that? What happens when the boss is a 30-year-old and the employee is senior? Using family terminology to describe work relationships is just wrong.

Families’ roles are complex.

You’ll spend over 2,000 hours with your co-workers every year. It’s human nature to want to belong. But when you think of your job like a family, you may bring dysfunction into the workplace.

What if you never had a mom, or if your dad was abusive? Professional relationships don’t need the added complexity of “family” norms. Seeing your boss as “mom” or “dad” completely skews the roles of boss/employee. When your mom asks you to do more, it’s hard to say no. If your “work mom or dad” wants you to stay late, it’s going to be hard to set boundaries when you buy into the bogus theory that work is family. Stop thinking of work this way.

Check your business culture to make sure that your team has healthy boundaries and teamwork. Having a great work culture doesn’t have to mean you think of your team as family. It means that you appreciate your team, let them have good work-life balance and understand professionalism.

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Business Marketing

Market your side hustle with these 6 tips

(BUSINESS MARKETING) It can be hard to stand out from the crowd when you’re starting a new side hustle. Here are some easy ways to make your marketing efforts more effective.

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Side hustles have become the name of the game, and especially during these turbulent times, we have to get extra creative when it comes to making money. With so many of us making moves and so much noise, it can be hard to get the word out and stand out when sharing your side hustle.

Reuben Jackson of Big Think shared five ways that you can market your side hustle (we added a sixth tip for good measure), and comment with your thoughts and ideas on the subject:

  1. Referrals: Don’t Be Afraid to Ask!
    If you’re going to make a splash, you have to be willing to ask for favors. Reach out to your network and ask them to help spread the word on your new venture. This can be as simple as asking your friends to share a Facebook post with information that refers them to your page or website. Word of mouth is still important and incredibly effective.
  2. Start Where You Are
    Immediately running an expensive ad right out of the gate may not be the most effective use of your (likely) limited funds. Use the resources you do have to your advantage – especially if you’re just testing things out to see how the side hustle goes in the real world. You can do this by creating a simple, informational landing page for a small fee. Or, if you’re not looking to put any money into it right away, create an enticing email signature that explains what you do in a concise and eye-catching way. Check out these tools to create a kickin’ email signature.
  3. Gather Positive Reviews
    If you’ve performed a service or sold a product, ask your customers to write a review on the experience. Never underestimate how many potential customers read reviews before choosing where to spend their money, so this is an incredibly important asset. Once a service is completed or a product is sold, send a thank you note to your customer and kindly ask them to write a review. Be sure to provide them with links to easily drop a line on Yelp or your company’s Facebook page.
  4. Be Strategic With Social
    It’s common to think that you have to have a presence on all channels right away. Start smaller. Think about your demographic and do some research on which platforms reach that demographic most effectively. From there, put your time and energy into building a presence on one or two channels. Post consistently and engage with followers. After you’ve developed a solid following, you can then expand to other platforms.
  5. Give Paid Marketing A Shot
    Once you’ve made a dollar or two, try experimenting with some Facebook or Twitter ads. They’re relatively cheap to run and can attract people you may not have otherwise had a chance to reach out to. Again, the key is to start small and don’t get discouraged if these don’t have people knocking your door down; it may take trial and error to create the perfect ad for your hustle.
  6. Go Local
    Local newspapers and magazines are always looking for news on what local residents are doing. Send an email to your town/city’s journal or local Patch affiliate. Let them know what you’re up to, offer yourself for an interview, and give enticing information. The key is doing this in a way that your hustle is seen as beneficial to the public, and is not just an ad.

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