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Defining Your Content – Blogging & Socially

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original image courtesy of dramaqueeennora


Are you a Superhero?

We have a lot of questions to wrestle with on this issue. We all wear many hats, and I want to talk about all of them! I want to demonstrate my broad range of talent and knowledge, and I certainly want to be as inclusive as I possibly can be- I want to be a Superhero to everyone! Right?

Not Always

If you’re doing a local blog, and your business is local, then be local. People are not searching for a person in particular in most searches- they’re searching for information, so why not give it to them?

They Really Don’t Care About You

So it’s up to you to make them care. Every time you’re with a client, are you listening to them? I mean really listening to them…

Ask them questions:

  • How did you find me?
  • What did you mostly search for when online?
  • What did you think of the places you found?
  • Did you find the information to be absolutely solid?
  • How long did you search?
  • What took you so long to decide to buy?
  • What was your obstacle?
  • What search sites did you use?
  • Was there information you could not find specifically?
  • What could have helped you make a decision to buy or sell?
  • Have you seen my blog?
  • What did you think?
  • What information could I put there to help other buyers and sellers?

Buyers & Sellers are Your Fountain of Youth

A converted buyer or seller is the most valuable audience you have. Forget about other Realtors in your market, forget about the real estate blogging community and what they may think- just do your damn homework.

How?

Ask to buy your clients dinner the very first day you meet, and take a list much like the one I’ve already described.

What Good is All of This?

Simple- this is your audience, and you have them right in front of you, and if you are like most, you’re looking for material. Once your clients have closed a home in the neighborhood with you, you now have participants who are intimately involved in your blog- how awesome is that? You also have tons of material and plenty to focus on.

Why This is Better Than Pulling From Forums

Because, you haven’t converted the asker into a buyer or seller from the forum, so technically, they’ve not gone far enough in the process to really lend valuable feedback. You need to know what finally converted your buyer or seller, right? You want to repeat or replicate their input to bring exactly that buyer or seller over and over again.

The Key to Open Doors

Each time you sell in a different price point (you know your market) repeat the above. Learn what differences there are between your various sets of buyer and sellers. Evaluate what marketing is most valuable to them, and what pulled them into the market, and find a middle in your blog.

Invite Them in

No matter what you do, invite them in! Ask them if they wouldn’t mind participating in your blog in the future to help other buyers? Would they mind writing about their experience? Would they mind helping you in your new neighborhood? Offer them a nice rate reduction on their future sale for their participation in neighborhood cheerleading! How?

In your meetings ask and invite!

  • Are you on Twitter?
  • Are you on Facebook?
  • Are you on Myspace?

Ask and Promote!

  • Do you blog?
  • Do you have a small business?

Socialize Your Consumer

If this is a neighborhood you frequent, invite all of your clients out to dinner on you! Socialize them, introduce them, and solidify relationships. I’ve found it is most useful to have a sit down rather than a BBQ. This allows you to use your knowledge of each client specifically to make connections rather than folks standing in an awkward corner. This is a networking dinner, this is where we talk about our social networks, small businesses, and your goals in building a stronger neighborhood in promoting their interests, not about asking for referrals.

Stay tuned, more to come…

Benn Rosales is the Founder and CEO of The American Genius (AG), national news network for tech and entrepreneurs, proudly celebrating 10 years in publishing, recently ranked as the #5 startup in Austin. Before founding AG, he founded one of the first digital media strategy firms in the nation and also acquired several other firms. His resume prior includes roles at Apple and Kroger Foods, specializing in marketing, communications, and technology integration. He is a recipient of the Statesman Texas Social Media Award and is an Inman Innovator Award winner. He has consulted for numerous startups (both early- and late-stage), has built partnerships and bridges between tech recruiters and the best tech talent in the industry, and is well known for organizing the digital community through popular monthly networking events. Benn does not venture into the spotlight often, rather believes his biggest accomplishments are the talent he recruits, develops, and gives all credit to those he's empowered.

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12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. Matt Thomson

    July 23, 2008 at 8:15 am

    I really like this list…I feel I do a pretty good job of doing many of the things that you’re talking about here (asking and promoting, socializing them), but not as intentionally as I should. I like your list of questions…things I stumble around but generally don’t ask directly.

  2. Irina Netchaev

    July 23, 2008 at 10:27 am

    You are so right! We are so busy asking our real estate social friends, looking at reports, etc when are consumers are right in front of us. Love the list and suggested question. Something to chew on (while sitting down of course :-)) and implement!

  3. Rocky

    July 23, 2008 at 10:52 am

    Very good points. Engaging the client is just as imporant as getting them to buy. This is where and how you find the ever elusive “referral!’

  4. Paula Henry

    July 23, 2008 at 1:37 pm

    Thansk so much Benn! Often, I get so involved in the transaction, I forget many of these things. You’re right of course, who better to ask how we are doing online than a client who just found us online. With their help, we can cetermine what is working best. Can you say AHA moment?

  5. Paula Henry

    July 23, 2008 at 1:38 pm

    Okay – That was supposed to be determine and who is puurple?

  6. Chris Lengquist

    July 23, 2008 at 2:34 pm

    Benn, I would agree with everything but argue this one point. Your readers DO want to know about you. More than the about page. I’ve noticed a definite trend. When I open up, on occasion, I get more response. Pure business is found boring. I think people do want to know who they are reading…for better or worse. But a little goes a long way.

  7. bill lublin

    July 23, 2008 at 2:35 pm

    Benn: As all of us get further into social media,we need to learn new habits, and ask new questions. Just as what’s your phone number ? Gave way to what’s your email? That question may need to give way to these new questions. Very perceptive.
    Great Post! ( Please have Rich apply the points for this comment to my AR account)

  8. Loans

    July 24, 2008 at 10:56 am

    “Have you seen my blog?
    What did you think?
    What information could I put there to help other buyers and sellers? ”

    I think I am going to use these more often now. I always felt a little shy asking others about my own site. i don’t know why but I guess I always felt that I would make the other person feel as if I am marketing him my personal website too.

    After reading your post, I think I should get over with this fear. I mean I am doing business with them, why not make a little friendly conversation about my site and if they don’t know about it (some people never pay attention to visiting cards except for only phone number) I think I am going to tell them about it but just to make sure that if this is the right approach, could other Realtors share their opinion about this?

  9. Nicole Boynton

    July 24, 2008 at 2:38 pm

    Thanks for the post Benn. At the end of the day we all just want someone to care about our needs and opinions and the best way to express your interest in your clients is to ASK QUESTIONS! But don’t stop asking them questions and following up once the transaction closes. You are right about using their input to create a “lather, rinse, repeat” cycle. Once you know what converted them you can continue utilize this information to gain new clients.
    Now I have to go finish sewing you an outfit with “B” emblazoned on the chest and a red cape…

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Opinion Editorials

How strong leaders use times of crises to improve their company’s future

(EDITORIAL) We’re months into the COVID-19 crisis, and some leaders are still fumbling through it, while others are quietly safeguarding their company’s future.

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strong leaders

Anthony J. Algmin is the Founder and CEO of Algmin Data Leadership, a company helping business and technology leaders transform their future with data, and author of a new book on data leadership. We asked for his insights on how a strong leader can see their teams, their companies, their people through this global pandemic (and other crises in the future). The following are his own words:

Managers sometimes forget that the people we lead have lives outside of the office. This is true always, but is amplified when a crisis like COVID-19 occurs. We need to remember that our job is to serve our teams, to help them be as aligned and productive as possible in the short and long terms.

Crises are exactly when we need to think about what they might be going through, and realize that the partnership we have with our employees is more than a transaction. If we’ve ever asked our people to make sacrifices, like working over a weekend without extra pay, we should be thinking first about how we can support them through the tough times. When we do right by people when they really need it, they will run through walls again for our organizations when things return to normal.

Let them know it’s okay to breathe and talk about it. In a situation like COVID-19 where everything is disrupted and people are now adjusting to things like working from home, it is naturally going to be difficult and frustrating.

The best advice is to encourage people to turn off the TV and stop frequently checking the news websites. As fast as news is happening, it will not make a difference in what we can control ourselves. Right now most of us know what our day will look like, and nothing that comes out in the news is going to materially change it. If we avoid the noisy inputs, we’ll be much better able to focus and get our brains to stop spinning on things we can’t control.

And this may be the only time I would advocate for more meetings. If you don’t have at least a daily standup with your team, you should. And encourage everyone to have a video-enabled setup if at all possible. We may not be able to be in the same room, but the sense of engagement with video is much greater than audio-only calls.

We also risk spiraling if we think too much about how our companies are struggling, or if our teams cannot achieve what our organizations need to be successful. It’s like the difference in sports between practice and the big game. Normal times are when we game plan, we strategize, and work on our fundamentals. Crises are the time to focus and leave it all on the field.

That said, do not fail to observe and note what works well and where you struggle. If you had problems with data quality or inefficient processes before the crisis, you are not fixing them now. Pull out the duct tape and find a way through it. But later, when the crisis subsides, learn from the experience and get better for next time.

Find a hobby. Anything you can do to clear your head and separate work from the other considerations in your life. We may feel like the weight of the world is on our shoulders, and without a pressure release we will not be able to sustain this level of stress and remain as productive as our teams, businesses, and families need us.

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Opinion Editorials

Declutter your quarantine workspace (and brain)

(EDITORIAL) Can’t focus? Decluttering your workspace can help you increase productivity, save money, and reduce stress.

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decluttering

It’s safe to say that we’ve all been spending a lot more time in our homes these last few months. This leads us to fixate on the things we didn’t have time for before – like a loose doorknob or an un-alphabetized bookshelf.

The same goes for our workspaces. Many of us have had to designate a spot at home to use for work purposes. For those of you who still need to remain on-site, you’ve likely been too busy to focus on your surroundings.

Cleaning and organizing your workspace every so often is important, regardless of the state of the world, and with so much out of our control right now, this is one of the few things we can control.

Whether you’re working from a home office or an on-site office, take some time for quarantine decluttering. According to The Washington Post, decluttering can increase your productivity, lower stress, and save money (I don’t know about you, but just reading those three things makes me feel better already).

Clutter can cause us to feel overwhelmed and make us feel a bit frazzled. Having an office space filled with piles of paper containing irrelevant memos from five years ago or 50 different types of pens, has got to go – recycle that mess and reduce your stress. The same goes with clearing files from your computer; everything will run faster.

Speaking of running faster, decluttering and creating a cleaner workspace will also help you be more efficient and productive. Build this habit by starting small: try tidying up a bit at the end of every workday, setting yourself up for a ready-to-roll morning.

Cleaning also helps you take stock of stuff that you have so that you don’t end up buying more of it. Create a designated spot for your tools and supplies so that they’re more visible – this way, you’ll always know what you have and what needs to be replenished. This will help you stop buying more of the same product that you already have and save you money.

So, if you’ve been looking to improve your focus and clearing a little bit of that ‘quarantine brain’, start by getting your workspace in order. You’ll be amazed at how good it feels to declutter and be “out with the old”; you may even be inspired to do the same for your whole house. Regardless, doing this consistently will create a positive shift in your life, increasing productivity, reducing stress, and saving you money.

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Opinion Editorials

How to ask your manager for better work equipment

(EDITORIAL) Old computer slowing you down? Does it make a simple job harder? Here’s how to make a case to your manager for new equipment to improve your productivity.

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better equipment, better work

What is an employee to do when the work equipment bites.

Let’s be frank, working on old, crappy computers with inefficient applications can make the easiest tasks a chore. Yet, what do you do? You know you need better equipment to do your job efficiently, but how to ask the boss without looking like a whiner who wants to blow the department budget.

In her “Ask A Manager” column, Alison Green says an employee should ask for better equipment if it is needed. For example, the employee in her column has to attend meetings, but has no laptop and has to take a ton of notes and then transcribe them. Green says, it’s important to make the case for the benefits of having newer or updated equipment.

The key is showing a ROI. If you know a specific computer would be a decent upgrade, give your supervisor the specific model and cost, along with the expected outcomes.

In addition, it may be worth talking to someone from the IT department to see what options might be available – if you’re in a larger company.

IT professionals who commented on Green’s column made a few suggestions. Often because organizations have contracts with specific computer companies or suppliers, talking with IT about what is needed to get the job done and what options are available might make it easier to ask a manager, by saying, “I need a new computer and IT says there are a few options. Here are my three preferences.” A boss is more likely to be receptive and discuss options.

If the budget doesn’t allow for brand new equipment, there might be the option to upgrade the RAM, for example. In a “Workplace” discussion on StackExchange.com an employee explained the boss thinks if you keep a computer clean – no added applications – and maintained it will perform for years. Respondents said, it’s important to make clear the cost-benefit of purchasing updated equipment. Completing a ROI analysis to show how much more efficiently with the work be done may also be useful. Also, explaining to a boss how much might be saved in repair costs could also help an employee get the point across.

Managers may want to take note because, according to results of a Gallup survey, when employees are asked to meet a goal but not given the necessary equipment, credibility is lost.

Gallup says that workgroups that have the most effectively managed materials and equipment tend to have better customer engagement, higher productivity, better safety records and employees that are less likely to jump ship than their peers.

And, no surprise, if a boss presents equipment and says: “Here’s what you get. Deal with it,” employees are less likely to be engaged and pleased than those employees who have a supervisor who provides some improvements and goes to bat to get better equipment when needed.

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