I was reading Matt, you know, Matt that founded WordPress, and he called out Seth Godin on having a typepad with a name like Seth Godin. Matt made the following point that I found astounding:
it drives me crazy that people like Seth Godin and John Moore are pouring countless hours into creating priceless content as sharecroppers on domains they don’t own. To clarify, I have no problem that they’re using Typepad, but for goodness sake put it on your own domain. When someone Google’s you the first hit shouldn’t be .typepad.com.
Now Matt goes on to make the bigger point that your name is the most valuable thing you have. Seth later chimes in about the fear of changing over as he might lose links, and Matt agrees with that fear- the bottom line is Seth began blogging in ’02 and that’s a hell of a lot of links- this got me to thinking about those on and that defend Active Rain. The point holds true that you have no control over your name or the product you produce on their service.
As most already know Active Rain got a nice punch of cash to the tune of nearly $3million from HouseValues and the reality is, if no one was on active rain, what would its value have been? Probably zero.
House Values purchased the names and the millions of words, search terms, & pages of information, email address, personal profiles and the like- honestly Active Rain could have gotten more, as obviously the information is invaluable, but the almost $3 Million aside, it goes to prove Matts point. Sites like blogger, wordpress.com, typepad.com, and others build their value on the backs of millions of subscribers, and readers, which begs the question, why would you do it?
Take Zillow and Trulia for example, they are providing great services to agents and consumers, but at the same time, agents are providing a service to them- you’re building their value, why? What’s in it for you? We all race to do this same thing in Google, and we even pay good money to do it, but why? Your name, your value, priceless?
We all complain about splogs, and other forms of content theft, but the fact is, they don’t have to steal it, most just put out for free.
Facebook Likes take over FB Shares- So fix your pics- WordPress Plugin
You may or may not have heard that Facebook has been transitioning Facebook Share functionality to “Likes” as the preferred mechanism to share content with your friends on Facebook, cool.
While many of us saw this coming some time ago, we still leaned to Facebook Share for managing this process as it gave users a choice as to the image they used, and could also add status updates. Status updates are still possible, but the images in most circumstances are still left to chance.
So last week, we went in search of a solution to the problem of random images in Facebook Likes. For some time, the Facebook “Like” system seemed to grab the most random images from your site, but that problem can be fixed with a simple new plugin we’re testing called Facebook Like Thumbnail, and it works! Simply install the plugin, activate, and immediately, “liked” articles will populate the first image uploaded to the article. There are no settings at this time needed as it’s automatic.
For advanced users, the plugin author offers a simple function you can add to your functions.php on his website should you wish, and there is also a simple tag available for non-Wordpress users to add to your header to achieve a similar outcome.
Blogging: A Time Suck or Sweet Sunshine?
Blogging isn’t the Holy Grail, a magical Silver Bullet or a Savior. For some, it really is a time-suck, a distraction or a poor idea. For others, it’s like Sunshine for Sweet Success.
Sunshine for Sweet Success
Think of everything you do to attract, uncover and discover listing and selling opportunities as your personal real-estate-business-solar-system.
You and your blog sit at the center of your business-solar-system. The planets and moons in your business-solar-system are the networks, tribes, niches and online communities that orbit around you. I’m talking about your In-Real-Life (IRL) spheres like past clients, suspects, neighbors, your Bunco crew, Yoga classmates and other places you
live, love, play prospect for business. Additional planets and moons in your business solar system are the online communities you share and interact with. For example Facebook.com, LinkedIn.com, Youtube.com, SlideShare.com, Twitter.com, Flickr.com, etc.
Because competing real estate agents live and work within common solar systems, it’s important that you position yourself as the MMIC (Main Mistress In Charge) of your solar-system. Authoring a blog is like owning the Sun for your real-estate-business-solar system. When you own the Sun, you rule. Like our real Sun beams sunlight to all the planets in our solar system, your blog beams your personal brand of sunlight to all your important prospecting communities, tribes, niches and networks. The intensity, illumination and warmth of your sunlight is determined by the quality, relevance and frequency of the things you share on your blog. If you’re beaming sweet sunshine and your competitors aren’t, you’re going to win, right?
Your blog is where you can show (instead-of-tell) others who you really are and what you’re about . What you stand for and against. How knowledgeable and helpful you are and the emotional and logical reasons why someone should choose you to help them with their real estate needs. You accomplish all these things by sharing stuff on your blog (aka creating sunlight). Specifically, shared stuff includes things like; neighborhood news, photos of neighborhood parks, Festivals and Art Shows, real estate market updates, local restaurant reviews, answers to commonly asked real estate questions and the like. If you’re sharing and your competitors are not, you have a advantage, right?
Another blogging bonus, once you hit the “Publish” button on your blog post, your “Share” becomes part of the Online-Information-Ocean and becomes sharable via perma-web-link. Once you’ve shared (published) something on your blog, you and your friends and friends of their friends, can now rebroadcast-share your stuff (sunlight) around the inter-webs and within your/their social circles (planets and moons) using your perma-web-links. For example you and others can share and cross-post your permalinks with your/their tribes on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, email, etc. This is what ReTweets, Facebook Likes, Shares and Comments is all about.
Your blog also provides you with a powerful opportunity to further enhance your online presence by incorporating share-tools in your blog posts. I’m talking about using share tools like Flickr.com for photos, SlideShare.com for presentations and Youtube.com for video – all for free.
Blogging beams your personal shade of sunlight to your IRL spheres, networks, tribes and niches. As a bonus, it makes your stuff sharable by others. Which is a beautiful thing. Of course their are other compelling reasons to blog too. Blogging makes you Findable, Discoverable, Sharable, Choosable and Referable. In my next share, I’ll expand on the Findable, Discoverable, Sharable, Choosable and Referable idea. Till then, grace, speed and success.
I was wondering what you think about blogging? If you do, what keeps you doing it? If you don’t, why not. Like I said at first, I know it’s not the right idea for everyone.
Thanks for reading. Cheers.
How You Can Make A Video Blog – cheap, quick & easy
A while ago I decided that I wanted a web site that was just for my videos.
I have video embedded in blog posts on my main real estate site, but I wanted a clean looking page where people could go and just watch my content. A video-blog, or vlog, as the cool kids call it.
As of yesterday, I have one:
Easy install, and the control panel was simple enough for me. So far so good.
Tubepress allows you to embed youtube videos, and you have the option to select videos by playlist, keyword, and more. You can display all of your videos, or all videos (by all users) with “Austin Real Estate” in the title.
On my vlog, I am displaying 3 separate channels – Business Advice, Commercial Real Estate, and videos about Kitchener Waterloo (my local market). I am able to embed a separate playlist on each page, and each page is just a simple-to-add page in wordpress.
Tubepress, so far, gives me the ability to have a fully functional vlog without paying for a premium vlog template. I tinkered around with a few free themes which looked nice, but I settled on Canvas by Woothemes, which I’m using on another blog (and I own the rights to reuse it, so its not costing me $. I also like how the free versions of Titan and Vigilance look for a vlog like this) .
Ben’s Action Plan
In this era of new media, social media, web 3.0 – or “talking to people” as I like to call it, you want to have a vlog (and a blog, and a twitter, and a facebook, and a …. you get the point. Be easy to find!) where people can sit and watch you for hours (eventually. It’s ok if its only for minutes to start with).
This is really easy for you to implement in your business. Here is what I would do if I were you:
1) Buy a flip camera, a camcorder, or a webcam
2) Time block 20 minutes twice a week to create short videos. On market conditions; on mortgage rates; on new listings; on how to win multiple offers; on that hot new restaurant in your area that just opened up. Just like a blog post, make vlogs that your potential clients will find interesting and valuable.
Be less concerned with the quality of the production, and more concerned with the quality of information.
3) Upload the videos to youtube. If you have a google/gmail login, you have access to youtube (because google owns it). If not, sign up (it’s free).
4) Organize your videos into playlists on youtube
5) Start a new blog, or install tubepress plug-in on your existing wordpress blog
6) Make a post/page and embed tubepress in it (you just type [tubepress] – its that easy). I have mine as the only blog post on BenjaminBach.TV, so its what people see when they come to the site. On another blog, its a page on an existing blog (see here) that you can click on.
7) Let people know about it online and offline, just like any other site you want to promote.
8 ) Make GREAT content (that’s the killer app)
(UPDATE: I’m hearing from #SXSW via gingerw that you should also have PubSubHubbub installed on your video blog. Google it, like I am now 🙂
Let me know how you make out; I’d love to hear tips you have, themes you’re using, and plug-ins that are making your life easier. I just put my vlog up yesterday, so I’m as eager as anyone to learn 🙂
Come and find me on twitter @benjaminbach to let me know that you liked this article (and especially if you didn’t, but you gotta tell me why) and what you’d like me to to expand upon.
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