Web 1.0 vs. Web 2.0
As I understand it, the primary difference between Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 as it relates to websites is the opportunity that it presents to interact with visitors to your blog and build “connections” to them. Humans tend to connect through communication, which underscores the importance of working towards earning comments if you’re interested in building a “community.”
Without comments, your blog is a web 1.0 website.
As a real estate blog writer, comments from readers should be important to you for several reasons.
• Comments provide an opportunity for you to get to know your readers while they get to know you
• Comments and questions challenge you to better understand your business and your real estate market
• Comments provide important insights (for you and your clients) into how prospective buyers and sellers are feeling about your real estate market
• Comments make it obvious to all who visit your blog that it’s a happening online destination and not a baron electronic wasteland
• Active online discussions deliver lots of user generated content which makes your blog more interesting, and improves your opportunities with search engines
If you’ve convinced yourself that comments really aren’t that important I’m hoping to renew your interest in going after them. If you’ve already had some success at building a “community” through your blogging efforts I’m looking forward to hearing what worked for you in building it. Please share. I’ll start.
Defining your reader
I recognize that there are some writers who have had success at appealing to a broad base of readers. Somehow, they seem to have a knack for generating content that is engaging for both agents and consumers. I’d suggest that these bloggers are our most skilled colleagues and it takes a very special talent to be successful with that approach. If you’re an average writer, like I am, you may be better off to focus tightly. If that’s the case, I’d suggest that real estate consumers are probably the best market to pursue. 🙂
If you haven’t already done so, read Teresa Boardman’s excellent post, “There are Comments and Then There are Comments” which makes some important points about how comments from other agents may do more harm than good.
More here in this Inman News story titled, “Ending the Cycle of Realtor on Realtor Action” that stresses the importance of You Engaging Others (YEO), namely real estate consumers.
Selecting content that will generate discussion
Given my tight focus, every post that I write on my blog must pass the following test. “Is this post potentially interesting to a Saskatoon home buyer, home seller, or home owner?” I know that many agents feel that statistical information is boring but my best discussion building efforts revolve around them. Using statistics provides an opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge of your local real estate market, and all three of the desired readers that I’ve identified above are interested in them to some degree. Statistics provide an excellent foundation for discussion and they’re fairly easy to write about. I’ve found that a “weekly review” of market activity provides an on-going source of material and a good reason for readers to return regularly. Posts like, “12 steps to prepare your home for showing” definitely have their place, but they’re not likely to result in a lengthy discussion.
We can all use a little help from our friends
Early on, as I was beginning my on-going quest to learn about blogging I came across a post written by Ardell DellaLoggia. I was most impressed by the lengthy thread of comments that followed her post and I told Ardell so. She responded by saying, “Don’t be too impressed. I asked them all to come.” Hmmm. Smart!
The hardest part of getting feedback is getting it started. Consider that initially your readers have no idea who else is reading, if anyone, or how their comments may be received. Why not ask some of your friends to support your blogging efforts and to make some comments on your blog. If your other readers see comments they’ll be far more likely to contribute to the discussion. Asking your friends to say certain things obviously isn’t cool but there’s no good reason why they can’t participate in your community and assist you in building it.
Ask readers to comment
I often meet people who bring up my blog, sometimes describing themselves as fans (blush). I always ask them if they’ve ever commented, and as Teresa suggests in her post they most often say “no.” I always tell them that I’d appreciate their feedback the next time they drop by and I know that these invitations have brought me some new comments. If you can get them to comment once, they’ll often become regular contributors.
Participate in the comments section
Revealing myself in my posts is often difficult because of the subject material I use. I do my best to participate fully in the discussion once it’s underway and this is where I find my opportunities reveal to my readers who I am as a person. I encourage and answer questions, and I ask questions of those who comment. Remember, the same human relations principles apply to online relationships that apply to those relationships you enjoy in your offline life. People appreciate being appreciated. Thank them for contributing, treat them respectfully, and let them know that their thoughts and opinions are valuable to you and others who read your blog. At the same time, don’t hesitate to let problem posters know the rules. While it’s important that your visitors feel free to express themselves, they are on your property and you have a right to set some guidelines.
Consider writing less frequently
Say what? I’ve found that each new post on my blog seems to have the effect of wrapping up the discussion in the previous post. I last posted on Sunday at 11:20 am. At this point, there are 58 comments to the post. If I post again today that discussion would likely conclude with about 65 comments. If I let it remain in the spotlight for a day or two, the discussion will most likely continue for some time and the content continues to grow with little effort on my part. If I have more than one topic that I feel must exist in my archive I will often post them both in quick succession, essentially sacrificing discussion in one for the sake of the other. The post that strikes me a having the better chance to spark a discussion is posted after the other.
I’d love to hear your ideas on how you’ve been successful in getting readers to comment.
What entreprenuers can learn about branding from trendy startups
(BUSINESS MARKETING) What’s the secret of focused startup branding, and how can you apply it to large enterprises?
Think of your favorite brand. Is it the product they offer or the branding that you love? Exactly – brand ethos reigns supreme, especially with those trendy, aesthetically-pleasing startups (I never thought Glossier had good makeup, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t visit their website once or twice a month).
So let’s break it down.
Co-founder of Red Antler – a company that assists startups in creating successful branding – Emily Heyward believes in a few branding truths.
Firstly, you have to make sure not to market your brand as a single product or experience. Doing so, she says, will pigeonhole you and thus truncate your ability to expand and offer new products and services (she gives MailChimp, known almost exclusively for email marketing, as an example).
What Heyward does say to do is instead market an idea. For example, the brand Casper (one of Antler’s clients) markets itself as a sleep company instead of a mattress company. By doing this, they kept the door open to eventually offer other products, like pillows and bedding.
Heyward states that this “power of focus” is a way to survive – with countless other startups offering the same product or service, you have to position your company as offering something beyond the product. Provide a problem your customer didn’t know they had and offer an innovative solution through your product.
Ever used Slack, the app-based messenger? There were other messengers out there, so focus of Slack’s branding is that regular messaging is boring and that their app makes it more fun. And customers eat it up.
How can this logic apply to mid-to-large enterprises? How can you focus on one specific thing?
Again, placing emphasis on brand over products is essential – what is it about what you offer that makes your customers’ lives better? It’s more cerebral than material. You’re selling a better life.
Another thing to remember is that customers are intrigued by the idea of new experiences, even if the product or service being offered is itself not new. Try not to use dated language that’s colored by a customers’ preexisting feelings. Instead, find an exciting alternative – chat solutions are desperately trying move away from the word “chat”, which can bring to mind an annoying, tedious process, even though that is in fact what they offer.
Broadening the idea of focused brand ethos to a large company can be difficult. By following these tips and tricks from startups, your company can develop a successful brand ethos that extends beyond your best product or service.
Spruce up your product images with Glorify (just in time for Black Friday!)
(BUSINESS MARKETING) Want professional, customizable product images for your company? Consider Glorify’s hot Black Friday deal.
Glorify, the app that creates high converting, customizable product images for your business, is offering a lifetime deal for $97 this Black Friday. In just a few clicks, you can transform one of Glorify’s sleek templates into personalized, professional-looking content – and now, you don’t have to pay that monthly fee.
Whether your business is in electronics, beauty, or food & drink, Glorify offers a range of looks that will instantly bring your product images to the next level. With countless font styles and the ability to alter icon styles, shadows and other elements, you can access all the perks of having your own designer without the steep price.
In 2019, Glorify was launched – the app was soon voted #2 Product of the Day and nominated for Best Design Tool by Product Hunt. Since then, they have cultivated a 20k+ user base!
Glorify 2.0, which was launched last week, upgrades the experience. The new and improved version of the app is complete overhaul of intuitive UI improvements and extra features, such as:
- background remover tool
- templates based on popular product niches and themes
- design bundles for your website/store, social media
- annotation tool
- upload your brand kits and organize your projects under different brands
- 1 click brand application
- & much more!
“But the most important aspect of Glorify 2.0, is that it comes with a UI that sets us up for future scalability for all our roadmap features”, said CEO of Glorify Omar Farook, who himself was a professional graphic designer.
Farook’s dream was to provide a low-cost design service for the smaller businesses that couldn’t otherwise afford design services. Looking through reviews of the app, it’s evident that Glorify does just that – it saves the user time and money while helping them to produce top-notch product images for their brand on their own.
Glorify is one of the many new design-based apps that make producing content a breeze for entrepreneurs, such as Canva. As someone who loves design but doesn’t have the patience for Creative Cloud, I personally love this technology. However, Glorify is unique in that it is the only product-driven design app. All you have to do is upload your photo!
This new Chipotle location will be fully digital
(BUSINESS NEWS) In the wake of the pandemic and popularity of online delivery, Chipotle is joining the jump to online-only locations, at least to test drive.
A lot of industries have switched to an online-only model in the wake of the pandemic. Most of them have made sense; between abundant delivery options and increased restrictions on workers, moving away from the traditional storefront paradigm isn’t exactly a radical choice. Chipotle making that same decision, however, is a plot twist of a different kind—yet that’s exactly what they’re doing with their first online store.
To be clear, the chain isn’t doing away with their existing locations; they’re just test-driving a “digital” location for the time being. That said, the move to an online platform raises interesting questions about the future of the restaurant industry—if not just Chipotle itself.
The move to an online platform actually makes a lot of sense for businesses like Chipotle. Since the classic Chipotle experience is much less centered on the “dining” aspect than it is on the customizability of food options, putting those same options online and giving folks some room to deliver both decreases Chipotle’s physical footprint and, ostensibly, opens up their services to more people.
It’s also a timely move given the sheer number of people who are sheltering in place. A hands-on burrito assembly line is not the optimal place to be in a pandemic, but there’s no denying the utilitarian appeal of Chipotle’s products. To that end, having another restaurant wherein you have the option to order a hearty meal with everything you like—which is also tailored to your dietary needs—is a crucial step for consumers.
Chipotle’s CTO, Curt Garner, says he is hoping this online alternative will offer a “frictionless” experience for diners.
As a part of that frictionless experience, consumers will be able to order in several different mediums. Chipotle’s website and their mobile app are the preferred choices, while services like GrubHub will also be available should you choose to order through a third-party. The idea is simple: To bring Chipotle to you with as little fuss as possible.
For now, Chipotle is committing to the single digital location to see how consumer demand pans out. Should the model prove successful, they plan to move forward with implementing additional digital locations nationwide.
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