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Blogging: A Time Suck or Sweet Sunshine?

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Time Suckage

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.comSlideShare.comTwitter.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.

Bottom Line

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.

PS.

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.

Ken Brand - Prudential Gary Greene, Realtors. I’ve proudly worn a Realtor tattoo for over 10,957+ days, practicing our craft in San Diego, Austin, Aspen and now, The Woodlands, TX. As a life long learner, I’ve studied, read, written, taught, observed and participated in spectacular face plant failures and giddy inducing triumphs. I invite you to read my blog posts here at Agent Genius and BrandCandid.com. On the lighter side, you can follow my folly on Twitter and Facebook. Of course, you’re always to welcome to take the shortcut and call: 832-797-1779.

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23 Comments

23 Comments

  1. David Pylyp

    February 7, 2011 at 8:29 am

    Writing a great blog!
    Having people comment!
    Engaging your perfect target audience!

    Never answering their phone calls or emails, Priceless!

    The point of all this is to make the phone ring; we are in a belly to belly, provide the details show the Property business. When your phone rings, answer it. It is a prospect holding up their hand saying “Help Me Please”

    Living in Toronto waiting for my phone to ring with referrals
    David Pylyp

    • Ken Brand

      February 7, 2011 at 9:50 am

      I hear you, it’s like baking a bunch of cupcakes, but forgetting to add frosting. To win these days requires connecting all the dots. Thanks David.

  2. Eric Hempler

    February 7, 2011 at 8:34 am

    I think if you really want to leverage your blog correctly it takes a fair amount of time out of your day.

    Story ideas come from everyday experiences, such as making calls, door knocking, open houses, deals going great or going wrong, etc. After you get the idea you want to write it down somewhere and then expand on it later. Then there’s the last component of the post, optimizing it for search. If you put all of the steps together it does take some time to write a post. So I guess I’m not that surprised if top producers don’t blog. Although, I still think it’s a great addition to your business because you’re demonstrating your knowledge and expertise a lot more than what a website can do.

    (Even writing this comment took a little time. I wanted to make sure I put some thought into it.)

    • Ken Brand

      February 7, 2011 at 9:57 am

      I’m with you, it takes time. Stephen King, yeah that Stephen King said, “Writing is refined thinking.” We don’t get much time to sit and think these days, authoring a blog provides that quite-time-thinking that crystalizes our thoughts, beliefs, angels of approach, etc. Sometimes I wonder if I’m not doing it right. I can spend 5 or 6 hours on one blog post. Not all at once, but over time with rewrites, edits, deletes, start overs, adding and crystalizing my thoughts.

      Then again, sometimes and some subjects flow like water. I’m thinking the way to tackle the time issue is to not necessarily add a new time suck commitment, but redirect time that’s currently wasted on things or activities that don’t work so hot. And let’s face it, there are very few real estate agents who are working 50 – 60 hours a week. If you want to earn 100k+ it’s hard to do in 20 – 40 hours.

      The universal law remains so, the people winning are doing what others won’t.

      Thanks for your thoughtful comment Eric. Cheers.

  3. Greg Lyles

    February 7, 2011 at 11:41 am

    I think blogging acts as a “silent salesman”, enabling others to find out about your level of expertise – and to some extent, your personality, before they engage you one-on-one.

    If you’re looking at blogging simply as an SEO tactic, or you’re not a gifted writer, I believe there are easier ways to go about it. For example, using your smartphone camera to take photos that are posted via posterous.com. You’ve always got your phone with you (don’t you?) so taking pictures of new listings in your area, neighborhood attractions, etc. can also serve to establish your knowledge of the market.

    • Ken Brand

      February 7, 2011 at 3:42 pm

      You’re right on the money Greg. Great points. Thanks

  4. BawldGuy

    February 7, 2011 at 1:50 pm

    All activities in our business take time, some more than others. Results, or lack thereof tend to dictate what survives. It’s always seemed nonsensical to me when folks say blogging takes so much of their time. Compared to what? They wouldn’t be considering a blog if their current efforts using other strategies were producing adequate, you know, results.

    I liken farming, that is, knockin’ on the same doors each month, with blogging. Slowly but surely they got to know me in the 70’s when I farmed. I got invited in for coffee, a donut, and conversation on cold, damp days. After awhile the neighborhood more or less thought of me as ‘theirs’. The experience has been eerily similar for me with blogging. I have folks tell me all the time how they’ve been readin’ me for months, even years, then ‘bam!’ something I wrote, maybe a strategy, maybe a case study, hits ’em between the eyes.

    It all takes time. It either produces results or it doesn’t. Your banker doesn’t know how you earned your money. He just knows you’re there a lot — or not.

    • Ken Brand

      February 7, 2011 at 3:45 pm

      Too true. When you’re a cool person, in real estate, familiarity doesn’t breed contempt, it breed trust and connection – which leads to being chosen and referred – which leads fatter bank books. Cheers.

      PS. Knocking on doors was so easy. I marched up and down the hills of Bay Park and it worked as reliably as the sunrise…as long as I did too.

  5. MH for Movoto

    February 7, 2011 at 2:04 pm

    Blogging in thoughtful, readable ways definitely is a time commitment. When you create and curate a blog, you’re basically creating an artifact/time-capsule/hand-print in cement/whatever you want to call it. It’s a static record of your/your company’s thoughts and attitudes at a given moment in time – in fifty years or so, well-known blog archives will be like the fossil record of the internet age.

    • Ken Brand

      February 7, 2011 at 7:50 pm

      It’s an amazing time. Imagine people 100 or so years from now wanting to delve into the family tree/history. It’ll all be there, text, video, pictures, audio – everything. I’d love to do that for what was going on 100 or 200 years ago, wouldn’t you?

  6. Liz Benitez

    February 8, 2011 at 11:52 am

    I think my blog falls under the discoverable category and not the sunshine one. Right now I am just hoping to become more findable. I enjoy it so I continue. Maybe someday I will be sunshine 😀

    • Ken Brand

      February 8, 2011 at 4:10 pm

      Being discoverable is HUGE. I believe that every blog post is like sunshine, so whenever whoever is reading your blog, they’re sun bathing in your shared stuff. The more you share, the more findable you are….keep on keep’n on. Thanks Liz. Cheers.

  7. Cindy Marchant

    February 9, 2011 at 8:27 pm

    Hi Ken, I normally write fairly lengthy comment here on AG; but your blog says it all well. For me it is sunshine…I’ve been blogging for three local communities for years and it doesn’t take much time at all…15 minutes to write it. And best of all, it forces me to become the expert in my area. I can tell you how many houses are listed right now, how many we sell in a year, what the price per sq ft is, how many sold in January of 2010 and 2011, etc…the list goes on. Why? Because I write about it every month. And best of all (really best of all this time)…there is nothing more thrilling than hearing, I’ve been reading your blog and want you to help me find a home in “x” city.

    Guess it is still a lengthy comment!

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Business Marketing

The checklist every company needs when redesigning a website

(MARKETING) Web design is deceptively complicated, and failing to meet the proper criteria can leave you with the cyber equivalent of a ghost town. Here are some crucial steps to take before you publish (or republish) your website.

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website redesign

Web design can be a huge pain in the rear even for seasoned veterans, and the arduous list of things that can go wrong all but guarantees that you’ll miss something crucial before going live. If you need to update (or create) your company’s website, make sure you’ve met the necessary criteria before you click that “Publish” button, even if it’s a revamping done through a firm.

Your initial steps should involve determining the purpose of your website and cleaning up the website’s copy to match that purpose. For example, if your website’s primary goal is to serve as a call to action for customers looking to purchase your products, any additional information or services listed on the site should be appropriately categorized and removed from the landing page.

You’ll also want to ensure that your website’s copy is clean, easy to understand, and thoroughly proofread. Nothing pushes potential customers away more quickly than misspelled messages or overly technical explanations.

The importance of optimization cannot be overstated, and that concept applies doubly to your website’s mobile performance. If you don’t have an accessible mobile version of your website, you’re kissing a huge amount of revenue goodbye. Remember that, while your mobile site should stand out, it should also endeavor to mirror your desktop site as closely as possible to facilitate a sense of continuity.

Accessibility is actually a pretty complex issue in and of itself, so you’ll want to make sure that your website meets all of your country’s standards for basic web design in addition to meeting — and, if possible, exceeding — the standards for disability-related challenges such as those faced by blind or epileptic visitors. This can include anything from making sure your links are functional to creating a spoken version of your site for the blind.

While important, the above is not an exhaustive list of your website’s crucial criteria. Your website should also include some form of the following:

  • Reviews or links to social discussions about your goods or services
  • Relevant, high-quality photos and videos
  • Standard web conventions including having your website’s logo in the top-left corner and the search bar in the top-right corner

Once you’ve checked off these requirements for your site, it’s not a bad idea to have other people go through the website with the same criteria in mind. Peer review — especially from both a professional developer and someone on the consumers’ side of the process — will be a substantial aid in allowing you to find and plug the holes in your website’s design.

Mindfulness is only the first step in creating a flawless website. As long as you adhere to the above requirements and recommendations, your website should stay relatively active and frustration-free.

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Business Marketing

Study finds cancer care centers using illegal deceptive marketing tactics

(MARKETING) A new study alleges deceptive marketing practices rampant with cancer care centers, leading to FTC complaints.

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cancer care centers

When my uncle passed away from colon cancer last year, I was ready for it – that is, as ready as you can be to lose a loved one to a terminal illness. Although his death was deeply sad, I was spared the shock because his doctors had always been honest with our family about his prognosis. Once he received the diagnosis, we knew we’d be lucky to have two more years with him.

When it comes to fighting a serious illness, it’s important to have hope – but it’s also important to have realistic expectations. Unfortunately, some cancer treatment centers are luring patients and their dollars by selling them an unwarranted belief that they can beat the odds. Truth in Advertising (TINA.org), calls it “the deceptive marketing of hope.”

TINA.org has published the results of a year-long investigation into the marketing of cancer treatment centers. One study focused on Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA), the cancer center that spends more than any other on marketing – an estimated $110 million over the last three years. The other study analyzed 48 big-spending cancer care centers, including Sloan-Kettering, Dana-Farber, and NYU.

The results were disturbing.

TINA.org found that many of the biggest names in cancer care use deceptive practices in their marketing. Specifically, 43 out of 48 (yes, that’s 90 percent) used anecdotal patient testimonials that show atypical care results without disclosing what the “generally expected results for a patient in a similar situation would be.”

Testimonials featured patients with types of cancer that, more than half the time, result in death within five years. By showing unusual and rare recoveries, these cancer care centers give patients the false impression that, by choosing their care center, they will have “a therapeutic advantage, allowing them to beat the odds and live beyond five years.”

Testimonials also featured atypical results from new treatments and clinical trials, without disclosing that these treatments are experimental and that success is far from guaranteed.

TINA.org also conducted a specific investigation of CTCA, who in 1996 entered a consent agreement with the FTC that barred them from using deceptive testimonials. This agreement is near expiration, so TINA.org decided it was a good time to review CTCA’s marketing practices. They found 130 examples of deceptive testimonials in CTCA’s marketing.

This week, TINA.org sent a formal complaint to the FTC asking them to re-open their investigation of CTCA. They also sent notices to 42 cancer centers warning them that using atypical testimonials is illegal.

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Business Marketing

What the YETI “cult” can teach you about marketing success

YETI has built a cult following for their 300 dollar cooler. Confused? Don’t be. This story isn’t rocket science; just good old fashioned product innovation and saavy marketing at their finest.

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yeti

The rise of YETI

Here at The American Genius, we feel the term “cult” gets a bad name. In fact, we find it beautiful. It’s the product of keeping promises and delivering remarkable experiences to consumers time and time again until they have no choice but to love a product or service unconditionally. That’s not just gold for your business, but it’s a grand human experience to build a relationship founded on trust and loyalty (and a leeeeeetle bit of fanaticism).

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We’ve written about cult followings before, like the Crossfit craze. However, we can understand if you’re a bit skeptical when we tell you that a company making coolers is cultivating a similar craze amongst consumers. However, the facts don’t lie. In six years, YETI sales grew from $9 million to $450 million. Sales are so strong, they can barely keep certain products in stock.

All this over a 300 dollar cooler. Yep, 300 dollars for something you usually pick up for no more than 50 bucks at any no-name Walmart.

Confused? Don’t be. This story isn’t rocket science; just good old fashioned product innovation and saavy marketing at their finest:

YETI didn’t just make a better cooler; they made a luxury product

Those janky, $50 Walmart coolers don’t cost much for a reason; their functionality is a bit limited. So, there’s plenty to improve on. But a Yeti Cooler isn’t just an improvement; it’s damn near perfect.

It’s practically indestructible. So indestructible that it’s grizzly proof. It also keeps ice frozen for a long-time. Long enough that you will still have ice after a long weekend trip in many cases. Combine those things together, and it’s not hard to believe that when a fire engulfed a vehicle, the YETI Cooler and the ice inside it survived the inferno.

Excessive? For most, maybe. However, there’s a beauty in its utilitarian luxury. And they have expanded this utilitarian luxury beyond coolers to products ranging from tumblers to soft-side coolers to bottle openers.

It’s not uncommon to find brands that succeed on a platform of relentless perfection of their product; Apple, Harley Davidson and Ferrari come to mind. Consumer trust in the quality of the product, be it durability or user-friendliness, forms a strong foundation for a relationship with your customers. Here, Austin-based YETI is no different, and more than ever, it’s necessary to be remarkable to achieve the business success you want.

Marketing to aspirations

YETI Cooler’s marketing focuses intently on the ideal outdoorsy lifestyle, and it has kept that focus throughout the product’s lifetime.

yeti

“The aspirational use and the actual use don’t always have to be the same thing,” said YETI’s VP of Marketing Corey Maynard. “We want our communication to stay as absolutely authentic to the hardcore user from the hardcore user as we possibly can.”

Influencers aren’t just Instagram yoga girls

From the beginning, YETI has marketed the cooler to people like the founders; passionate and respected outdoorsmen whose passions drove them to own the latest and greatest gear.  To do this, they hired influential guides and fisherman as brand ambassadors. They also sponsored programming on hunting and fishing TV stations. All of these early efforts earned the trust and recommendation of “influencers” and “prosumers.”

“Those commercials didn’t reach millions of people, but the people that they did reach were the most serious hunters and fisherman,” Maynard said. “So it would reach 100,000 or so hardcore hunters and fishermen who would be the person within their circle of friends who their buddies would ask about the latest gear.”

When they did land the sale, YETI made sure they could advertise that too. In the beginning, the company handed out stickers and hats with each cooler sale as a way to kick start conversations about the brand.

All of these factors created a “grassroots marketing goldmine,” where word-of-mouth made a lot of difference. That, combined with the aspirational messaging, creates a tribe where consumers feel included as a part of something bigger than themselves. So, as you go about marketing your business, consider these key concepts in your model. It could be just what you need to take your business to the next level.

This story was first published on May 6, 2016.

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