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Not a Peep

The Great Escape

Makes Me Think…

Every now and then I get asked a question that makes me think.  Not that all questions are easy to answer but I do get asked some of the same questions over and over . . that is the subject for another post, I am thinking it would work best on the Real Estate Weenie.

I was asked to give a sample presentation today, to a group who is interested in having me do some web 2.0 type classes for their organization.  I have a kind of overview presentation about marketing on the internet that lasts about an hour so that is the one I chose to present.

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It went very well.  When I was all finished the owner of the company asked me why I would share so many of my secrets with direct competitors.  After I answered his question, he seemed satisfied with my answer but he asked once more, he may have asked three times.  I am still not sure he understood my answer.

It Is Simple To Me

It is simple to me, none of what I do with my blog is a secret.  Anyone can do what I do, and they can learn about it from many sources on and off the internet.   I share my knowledge and experience with direct competitors in my own market place.  Most never start a blog,  and some end up starting but give up after three months because they did not achieve instant wealth fame and success.  There are a few who take the information that I give them and add to it and end up building some mighty fine blogs.

There are bloggers in my market place who are very successful.  They don’t take any traffic or business away from me and I am always happy to answer questions or share ideas with them.  I learn just as much from them as they do from me.

The Peeps

Here is where the peeps come in.  I did have a reason for putting the peep on this post. My blog is my unique voice and I am the only person who can write it.  I am also the only person who can take my photos, and one of the few who would buy a package of peeps just to photograph them, without even really knowing what I would do with the photos.  I think I have seven or eight of them scattered around the internet.

I recently found a direct competitor on Flickr.  The other agent has different interests, belongs to different groups, and does not take the same pictures as I do, even when we both photograph the same subject.  Who shoots a peep from behind, or a flower from the bottom up, or part of a building instead of the whole thing?  Do other real estate bloggers write posts about socks and have photos taken of themselves wearing two pair of glasses?  I do, and there is no rhyme or reason to it what so ever.

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Some Try, But…

Some of my competitors try to imitate my blog, or almost copy it.  My content is all out there for everyone to see, I don’t make any attempt to hide it.  No one can have  a blog just like mine, and would have more success if they stopped imitating and found their own voice.

Each of us has something unique and special to offer the world.  There are so many ways to make connections through the internet we are really only limited by our imaginations and by how much time we have to generate content. There isn’t any one way, or one system that works for all.  So no, I don’t worry about showing my competitors what I am doing and how it all works.

There are no secrets and I can not harm my own position by giving my direct competitors step-by-step instructions and by coaching them along the way.  The blog works because it is real and helps consumers get to know me and trust me enough to pick up the phone or send and email asking for help with a real estate transaction.  There is plenty of room for more blogs and enough business to go around.

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Written By

Full time REALTOR and licensed broker with Saint Paul Home Realty Realty in St. Paul, Minnesota. Author of, Columnist for Inman News and an avid photographer.



  1. Ines

    March 10, 2008 at 7:32 pm

    A clear sign of feeling secure about yourself – makes you a better person. I’m not ready to do what you do though, my hat goes off to you (did I say that correctly? my expressions are all whacked today)

  2. Vicki Moore

    March 10, 2008 at 8:13 pm

    Some day I’ll be as big as you – and as confident. I still get irritated when agents in my office copy me. I guess I have a lot of growing up to do.

  3. Jay Thompson

    March 10, 2008 at 11:30 pm

    T, I’ve been asked that same question, and gotten pretty much the same responses. I’ve given a few sessions on blogging and web sites to several dozen agents and could count on one hand the number that have really done anything with the info.

    I went to a (Phoenix Mega-agent) Russell Shaw seminar here and someone asked him, “why are you sharing your secrets with us?” His response was, “It’s not a secret. Besides, odds are none of you will do a damn thing with the information”.

    With 50,000ish licensed agents and brokers in the Phoenix area, and even more listings in the MLS, there is plenty of real estate to go around.

    Nothing on our blogs/sites is cloaked in secrecy.

    Now for something really fun, put a couple of those Peeps in the microwave…

  4. Kathy Drewien

    March 11, 2008 at 8:03 am

    Ahh, finally. A peep I can love.

    Sharing tech tips and “secrets” is something I’ve been doing since the mid-90s. Empowering others to achieve success is one of my gifts. Dispensing “magic pills” energizes me.

    If only others would follow.

  5. Kaya Hardin

    March 11, 2008 at 9:33 am

    I think your approach is a wonderful example of how social media is developing. The gift of free information actually works to your benefit in the “end” as it helps web 2.0 concepts grow and grow. Thanks!

  6. Daniel Rothamel, The Real Estate Zebra

    March 11, 2008 at 9:38 am

    If more agents adopted this attitude and approach, the profession of real estate would be a much better place.

  7. Mack in Atlanta

    March 11, 2008 at 11:35 am

    Teresa – Writing is an art form that you have mastered. Most agents will not invest the time and effort that you do in creating compelling articles. For most they are looking for the instant gratification rather than building an audience and following like you. Keep doing what you are doing because I for one enjoy your works.

  8. Kevin Sharkey

    March 11, 2008 at 2:36 pm

    One of my all time favorite quotes is from Howard Aiken, a pioneer in computing and innovation. It seems to apply very well to your post:

    “Don’t worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you’ll have to ram them down people’s throats.”
    Enough said.

  9. Mike Farmer

    March 11, 2008 at 7:09 pm

    Correct. You could give them exact step by step instructions on how to copy you and they couldn’t do it. Unless they take the concepts you suggest and add their uniqueness it won’t succeed.

    The way I see it, each unique addtion to the network of voices enhances all the other voices.

  10. Matthew Rathbun

    March 11, 2008 at 8:03 pm

    @TBoard, you’re one of my top five fav writers. I am sure you’re a great speaker, but the reality is that most of the folks out there won’t put the work into social media marketing that’s necessary to make it work. So… why not share?

    Even if they don’t pick it up, they MUST be aware of it, as it’s shaping the future of the industry. Do I think that blogs will be the end all, be all of the internet marketing trend? Nope, something new will come up in a few years. However, it’s up to all of us to stay on top of how the consumer is gaining information and meet them there.

  11. Vance Shutes

    March 12, 2008 at 3:26 pm

    Teresa – you describe a wonderful example of how to increase your own success by helping others increase theirs. I’m reminded of an old saying – Those who throw dirt lose ground, while those who throw encouragement gain ground. And you’re correct that few who heard you will actually have the persistence to apply, over the long term, what they learned from you.

  12. Jacksonville Real Estate

    March 15, 2008 at 12:47 pm

    I have heard, “I don’t mind telling what I do because the majority of people won’t do it” from many stars in the real estate industry. I do believe it is totally true.

    However, for those who do try to follow in your footsteps in blogging it is a steep climb. Even with good content the newbie won’t have the numerous post on their blog. Thus they won’t be able to display the depth of knowledge and expertise they have in different areas of real estate.

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