This is my first post here at Genius, and since I probably have a much larger audience here than over at Real Estate Remix, I would like to address something that bothers me about the real estate blog world. The most popular blogs in the real estate realm seem to be saturated by posts that assume that their readers are extremely tech savvy and hip to the online world. With all of the sarcasm, name dropping, and “inside” jokes, you would think that this stuff is all common knowledge. I mean, I spend at least 2 hours or more per day just clicking around on Google reader and reading my favorite real estate blogs, and with all of this blog-world insider articles out there, sometimes even I feel like I’m out of the loop. And I know for a fact that I’m saturated in it. Who else has dreams that they get to go to Connect NYC?
Can you imagine what a first time reader would think about all this? I can tell you what my co-workers think… NERDS! What are we trying to accomplish in our writing? We are starting to write to our savvycolleagues first, customers second. True, most readers of blogs come from inside this tech-savvy tight circle… but are we really trying to reach them? If you need links from them, maybe. If you are trying to make blog friends, surely. But if you are trying to present useful, long lasting information… don’t write to yourcolleagues.
A blog positions you as an expert in your industry. Use that platform to educate, not just critique. When you start to assume that your readers know about everything you do, you will never take a step down and realize that there are millions of real estate professionals who don’t know the first thing about blogging or wordpress, much less the stories behind VFlyer, Redfin, Trulia, Google Base, Zillow, FOREM, Tomato, RSS Pieces, Carnival of RE, Inman Connect BlogFiesta, The Sellsius Bus, or even Active Rain. Of course, they all know about AgentGenius :). At this point, I see around 2,000 registered profiles in Texas on ActiveRain. Only a fraction of a percent of those people actually use it regularly. That means an enormous amount of real estate professionals in this great state have not even created a profile.
I know you may think that posting an introduction to ActiveRain article will make you look really, really behind to your fellow bloggers. They may stick their nose up at your post. You may think “that is so last year”. But the truth is, those old posts are buried in the blogging rubble, and when a bonafide “noob” hits the average real estate related blog for the first time, the first thing they will say is “WTF”. Of course, there are certain blogs (like this one) that clearly have audiences that prefer a more relaxed yet in-depth look at the industry. Like my Grandma says, there’s a place for everything and everything has a place.
The thing that floors me is when I discuss real estate marketing, SEO, or social networking with freinds or coworkers. Their unfamiliarity with online world baffles me. The basics seem like common knowledge by now. But they are not even close. They have real lives. Veteran real estate bloggers and tech experts should be happy though, the chasm between those “in the know” about online real estate and the novices is widening exponentially by the month. Just like any other skill, it takes a lot of time to catch up. And the vets are way ahead of the game.
Who’s reaching out to the noobs? But then again, who really cares?
October 18, 2007 at 11:32 pm
Bang! Great post. This is what genius is all about. If you read my recent post on blog networking, Daniels post on twitter, or even his road map to social networking- we’re filling this vacuum. I’m glad you know your audience, and hopefully you can bring the marketing element needed to tie it all together… once again, great post.
October 18, 2007 at 11:47 pm
Too many bloggers talk about inside stuff. Quite honestly I get tired of reading the one-up-manship sometimes. I mean if I’m in the market for an agent I really don’t care about their views on Redfin are – okay. Show me what you know and why I should choose you.
Even though the general population may not be aware of the nuances of blogging etc, they do know about Google. They’ll most likely search your name and find your blog. If you’re slamming some cartoon vote by the NAR in your most recent five posts – I’m not sure the potential client really will think you’re the right agent to sell your home.
Unless you’re writing for a national audience like in the Genius or Bloodhound my philosophy is to stick with your expertise. Any potential buyer/borrower should come to your blog and leave thinking they really learned a lot and are better for it. Then they’ll call you. Otherwise they’ll tune you out. I mean seriously do you really think they care about your reaction to some blog joke? No.
Mariana - Springs Realty Scoop
October 18, 2007 at 11:53 pm
Who IS reaching out to the Noobs??? This is the first post in a long time that I didnt just scan -I mean, I DID start to scan it, but had to go back and read each word.
I teach internet and technology in our office of about 300 agents. Every day I am faced with how LITTLE most agents know. In fact, the word “blog” was brought up in passing and another agent said, “Oh! That is what Mariana is!” (apparently I am a blog – not even a blogger, just a blog.)… THAT is how little agents (as a whole) know.
Do I really care? No, not really. IMHO if an agent WANTS to “be in the know” then they will figure out a way to be “in the know” – otherwise they will be successfull in their own ways.
Thanks for the thoughtful post. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
October 19, 2007 at 2:39 am
Carson, remember that time…
You make an excellent point. But I think newbies just have to jump in. You build relationships and without realizing gravitate towards blogs/authors you like.
But you are right. We wall need to keep that in mind.
October 19, 2007 at 6:15 am
Great minds think alike. In addition to Blog Fiesta, My business partner and I are putting together a blog that represents the absolute most basic tutorials on how RE agents, and other sales professionals can jump into the shallow end of the Internet pool. It’s called brainious.com.
This new blog is even more basic than agentgenius. We’ll be talking about stuff like why you should use Firefox, how to join gmail, what is RSS, and more. I think the average person who likes to read Mashable, or GeekEstate might consider it torture to read our blog, but my Mom will like it, and that’s who I’m shooting for.
October 19, 2007 at 12:44 pm
I totally agree. I get so frustrated when a realtor asks me about blogging for real estate and wants the techie stuff up on their site but then gets agitated when they aren’t getting any leads. Realtors need to decide who their audience is and what the goal of their blog is. I sometimes think they get frustrated unnecessarily. If you want techie stuff on your blog, then expect leads to be fewer than if you put info, info, info on your site for potential clients.
Back to the basics folks. Write for your audience.
October 19, 2007 at 1:07 pm
Genius isn’t basic- but we do keep in mind that there are about 250 agents out of 1.5 million that are actually current on what a mashup is.
October 19, 2007 at 6:28 pm
Amen, brother. As a not-quite-Boomer, not-quite-Xer in age, I’m new-ish to the tools and tone of the real estate blogosphere, but one thing I’ve noted: The cool, hip arrogance of many real estate bloggers who rail against the system, who pity those poor morons who don’t blog or understand blogs, and who attack the invisible good old boys club that (according to them) makes the real estate rules. And it’s more ironic that some of those bloggers, with their over-the-top opinions and conspiracy theories, are themselves creating a kind of closed club…that says loud and clear, “if you’re not cool enough to blog and drop names like we do and agree with us, you’re not cool enough to be a part of our little coalition of the arrogant and ill-informed. Granted, it’s NOT all real estate bloggers. But there’s definitely that thread.
October 19, 2007 at 8:18 pm
“Never drop names while blogging”. That’s the advice Dustin Luther gave me while attending Drew Meyer’s Geek Estate premier party on the night before Inman Connect. 😉
I just want to add, I think the tone of exclusivity that some of you a perceiving is not completely accurate. The Internet has a way of masking a person’s otherwise friendly nature. I bet I met a hundred bloggers this summer, it totally changed my perception of many of them.
October 19, 2007 at 9:58 pm
Am I the only one who thinks names like “AgentGenius” and “Brainius.com” are too agent-centric to be said in the same breath as blogging?
October 19, 2007 at 10:03 pm
I picked brainious because I thought it sounded silly.
October 19, 2007 at 11:13 pm
I really dont see any reason (except for the love of the game) for an agent to write about hardcore in-depth industry topics and trends…
However, it does show expertise in marketing, and industry knowledge, which would be good for attracting sellers.
Blogs like this are exempt… otherwise, writing this post would have been extremely hypocritical.
Oh well… forget the noobs, it’s boring to write to them anyway.
October 20, 2007 at 12:13 am
October 21, 2007 at 1:14 am
All true. We often forget that the new kids to the party don’t know what the heck we’re talking about. But it doesn’t take long to figure it all out. It’s like a soap opera– watch it for a week and you know who’s doing who.
Todd– love your idea. I had someone ask me recently how to put in a link.
July 22, 2008 at 10:29 pm
Some agents just enjoy the techie stuff for its own sake. For those of us who understand technology to one degree or another, it puts us a step a head of the pack. A friend of mine is taking ePro online. I refuse unless I can get CE credit for it. But what she was describing was very Mickey Mouse and she was STRUGGLING with it! Don’t get me wrong. This person is senior to me as a broker and is far more established. In many ways she doesn’t need the internet as much as I do, but I and others like me are filling a void in our locations. We have a dearth of bloggers in my area – and I’m hoping that the information I provide will pull consumers towards me before they pick up the phone to call the “super agent” who can barely print things out from the MLS.
The main thing that is striking is that everything is so EXTREME. A very few know how to exploit the internet – the rest seem to know little or nothing. It’s not just a void, its a chasm.