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Why Do I Do This?

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Why Do I Do This?

I’ve been asking myself for months now, “why do I do this? Why do I continue blogging?” For 20 months I’ve been writing a little blog about real estate in the New River Valley, and when I read accounts of what others are doing with their blogs (at the risk of leaving someone out let’s just say you can find many of them here at Agent Genius), I wonder where I’m missing the boat. Tales of clients lining up by the truckloads after reading Agent A’s blog … hearing that Agent B gets 90% of her business from online sources and blogs, while Agent C reaches international clients his peers just ignore (there’s J Dalt’s shoutout). I wanna be one of the cool kids!

Tonight, I was reminded why I do this. I met with a customer who wants to list a home in our area this evening. He sent me an email a couple of months ago and said he and his wife would be looking to sell in a couple of years. While it was great that he contacted me, we were still a few years away and I didn’t think much of it. Last week, he emailed me again to say that their timetable had changed and they wanted to get together soon. And tonight I met him and his wonderful family … when I asked him how he found me, he said “your blog – it’s working.” You’re damn right it is! THAT’S why I blog! For the icing on the cake, he asks “we want to buy a house in Salem, and we were hoping you could help us with that.” As a matter of fact I can, thank you for asking.

Someone’s Listening

This post is written to those of you who have been lurking and wondering what this whole blogging thing is about. You might have been reading about all the success so many people have been having with blogging – look at Agent Genius, Inman’s Innovator Award winner for 2008. It doesn’t get much better than that, and there are agents all over the Interweb experiencing success as well! If you’re a blog writer and you’re not seeing the success you’d like – don’t give up! If you’re considering a blog but don’t know where to start – just start!

I included the two quotes above, by Ben Martin of VAR and VARBuzz.com and Jeff Corbett of thexbroker.com, because they speak to where I am right now in our writing, and where I think many of us have been. Writing a blog isn’t a therapeutic thing for me … it can be hard! I have trouble coming up with ideas I think someone might care about, and I struggle with putting my thoughts into a coherent thought. To date it hasn’t – to my knowledge – contributed a dollar to my bottom line. But by being consistent, by following Ben and Jeff’s advice and putting my voice into my content, one word at a time, it’s working.

Find Your Voice

Maybe you’re reading and saying “one client after 20 months doesn’t a business make”, and you’re right. But I’m not relying on my blog for my business, it simply supplements what’s already working for us, it’s another arrow in the quiver. If one day we begin to see more business from it, great! Whatever you’d like to see, I’d encourage you to keep pushing, to keep writing, to keep finding your voice. Someone’s out there listening, and they want to know who you are.

Will you tell them?

Writer for national real estate opinion column AgentGenius.com, focusing on the improvement of the real estate industry by educating peers about technology, real estate legislation, ethics, practices and brokerage with the end result being that consumers have a better experience.

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18 Comments

18 Comments

  1. Jamie Geiger

    August 4, 2008 at 10:51 pm

    I hear ya 100%- I have not been blogging for that long, but have had internet success- through my website, but it has not been where I would like it to be. I don’t have clients lined up at my blog either, in fact I look at the stats- and it is not impressive. But I look at my blog, in a new way recently- it acts as in some ways as an online journal. I am sure the business will come and I am forever learning and having fun in the meantime. Great post!!

  2. ines

    August 4, 2008 at 11:00 pm

    Hey Jeremy!! well put – I remember being into it for almost a year and finding blogging “entertaining” but with absolutely no ROI – that was back during Project Blogger days when “THE” Paul Chaney coached me into the blogging maniac I am today. (sometimes I wonder if I put too much personality into my writing).

    The biggest advice I give new bloggers is to be consistent and to keep at it – it took about 6 months after I started Miamism for us to start getting real clients from blogging and now it’s a part of our life, and I’m having fun – what can be better?

  3. Jay Thompson

    August 4, 2008 at 11:19 pm

    Great post Jeremy. Contrary to what some may feel and say, it’s not all about the clients. I bet you’ve learned a lot in the last 20 months, about real estate, about others, and most importantly, about yourself.

    And I know others have learned from you. That’s worth something, isn’t it?

    Todd Carpenter, who built the REMBEX real estate blog search engine wrote this on Twitter today:

    I’ve been reviewing the blogs in REMBEX for about three weeks now. 1800 plus URLS Roughly 1 in 5 is dark by at least 3 months.

    In other words, a full 20% of real estate blogs don’t last 3 months. I suspect if you go out to 6 months, it’s at least double that.

    You’re succeeding where most others fail. The clients will come. If they don’t, the opportunity to learn, grow and share certainly will.

  4. Jay Thompson

    August 4, 2008 at 11:23 pm

    “sometimes I wonder if I put too much personality into my writing”

    No Ines, you don’t.

  5. Lani Anglin-Rosales

    August 4, 2008 at 11:24 pm

    There are a few people who have found themselves in an extremely profitable position and dominate Google for real estate in their area, but the truth is that they’ve been at it for a long time and have been through endless trial and error. The gift of early adoption (which we’re all still in with RE blogging) is the advantage over those who still haven’t even heard the word “blog” yet. Many people wear thin as the anticipation grows that there is a finish line, but there is not, only the strength to climb one flight of stairs at a time.

    For the first months, we were very frustrated with our local blog until we started asking people who had become clients if they’d seen the blog and most of them had given overwhelmingly positive feedback in stating that it had a major impact on their decision to choose the brokerage (despite ALREADY reporting that they’d been referred, or found us by other means). None of those people had or do comment and it’s not the most highly trafficked site in the nation, but it has become, like you said, ONE “arrow in the quiver.”

    We’ve spent a MASSIVE AMOUNT of time offline promoting services and much time online using social media other than blogging. The people who sell blogging as easy and you should expect to be turning hundreds of leads down are either high or have found jack’s magic beans (God bless ’em). There’s no easy button and because of that, survival of the fittest is guaranteed no matter how tired we get!

  6. Jamie Geiger

    August 4, 2008 at 11:25 pm

    Like Jay said- since I have been blogging and ready blogs, I have learned a great deal from other agents, and not about blogging, but about real estate. When looking/thinking about something to blog about- I research and learn- which I think, makes be a better agent.

  7. The Harriman Team

    August 4, 2008 at 11:43 pm

    And to think, someone on the RealTown community had the gall to say this: Blogging is “cute, fun and new today, but an overhyped, time-consuming idea whose time has come and gone.” Your experience, and those of other successful blogging agents, should repudiate his remarks completely. I think I’ll go over there and point him to this post. maybe he’ll “get it” then!

  8. first time home buyers loan

    August 5, 2008 at 2:28 am

    consider blogging as tool to monitor online activity, don’t rely on for getting business i know more agents they are not tech and internet savvy getting more client by word of mouth.
    never compare yourself with other as many time we not aware about others actual marketing tactics many time they lie in order to get other jealous.

  9. Ginger Wilcox

    August 5, 2008 at 2:38 am

    You do just have to keep pushing forward. Hearing people talk about leads flooding in from their blogging does make you question if you are doing right. I can tell you the leads are not flooding in for me, but like Lani said, I find people are hiring me because of mine blog. Just closed one last week where the people were referred to me, but the blog was what cemented it with them that they had to hire me. I just keep pushing on and I believe it will continue to grow and develop.

  10. Mike Taylor

    August 5, 2008 at 3:55 am

    “but the blog was what cemented it with them that they had to hire me.”

    I think this happens more than we, or at least I, realize. Clients read your blog and will decide to use you or not use you based on what you have to say in your blog. For the most part they are not going to leave comments; they just lurk in the background and get to know you and hopefully contact you when they are ready.

  11. Jim Gatos

    August 5, 2008 at 5:06 am

    Man, I’m glad I didn’t give up!

  12. Matthew Rathbun

    August 5, 2008 at 5:47 am

    Ok, at the risk of repeating others… 1. It’s a good reference when you get a question from someone “fishing.” You can say, ‘Hey, I wrote about that awhile back and here’s the link” 2. Look at the market difference from NRV and Phoenix, AZ or other bloggers dense markets. In our local market area there are only 24,000 people in the county. (North of us is packed with people) We’ve had several hits and a good chunk of readers from that small pool of people, so I think we’re successful.

    And like Lani said, it’s a matter of time and consistency. I’ve had a particular blog for almost 8 months and it’s just now REALLY getting Google juice and it’s getting phone calls for @livtopraise.

    Its a matter of realizing that blogs will take over the static agent’s pages soon.

  13. Norm Fisher

    August 5, 2008 at 7:14 am

    One client, two ends, and who knows how many referrals or recommendations might result from the contact. You’re obviously making an impression with your writing. Keep it up and it will continue growing results. Once you absolutely know that you’re connecting with people through your blog you can really start to make things happen there. This is just the start for you. Congratulations, and thanks for sharing this great experience. It says a lot about your determination and your commitment.

  14. NikNik

    August 5, 2008 at 7:57 am

    “Icing on the cake.”

    Isn’t the icing the best part anyway?! And yes, bloggging doesn’t no always yield the result we are looking for or hearing about (RIGHT AWAY). But after blogging for 20 months…do you find yourself:

    -connected with new people in your area
    -meeting colleagues you might not have otherwise
    -learning more about your niche market
    -learning more about the industry itself
    -AND better able to TALK about and SHARE your expertise

    I know you’ve gotten a good taste of the icing…but if you hang in there just awhile longer….you’ll be digging in to that entire cake, icing in all!

  15. Linsey Planeta

    August 5, 2008 at 9:22 am

    I’m in the very early stages of my blogging – 3 months. I knew going into this that it would take a long term commitment. But I looked at it as inexpensive ‘farming’. Several years ago, I began to geographically farm. After $1,000’s of dollars and 1 years time – I got my first listing. It was successful but it took time, consistency, and a good deal of money.

    While I still farm some, I find that blogging is more ‘me’. I’m committed to the social networking side of it, the consistent posting, and the long term view. I’m already excited about the connections I’ve made and the incredible amount that I’ve learned in 90 short days.

    I’ve already written an offer for my first referral that came from blogging. I consider that a big success for the short time I’ve been doing it. Jay, don’t count on me falling into the ‘gone dark’ statistic. 🙂

  16. Ben Martin, Va Assn of REALTORS

    August 5, 2008 at 9:26 am

    Research from CREST shows there is a profound strategic inflection point at or around the fourth year of blogging. Between years three and four, subscribers, unique visitors and comments all take off. So it might take that long for agents to start FEELING successful.

    Now we’re trying to set some benchmarks for the number of clients agents are getting from their blogs. If you take our new survey, you can help us determine the average number of clients earned from blogging. Everyone who completes it gets a free copy of the executive summary.

  17. Andy Kaufman

    August 5, 2008 at 6:57 pm

    Just finished meeting with a new investor client who found us through our site and thought of this post. https://agentgenius.com/?p=3177

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WeChat ban blocked by California judge, but for how long?

(SOCIAL MEDIA) WeChat is protected by First Amendment concerns for now, but it’s unclear how long the app will remain as pressure mounts.

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WeChat app icon on an iPhone screen

WeChat barely avoided a US ban after a Californian judge stepped in to temporarily block President Trump’s executive order. Judge Laurel Beeler cited the effects of the ban on US-based WeChat users and how it threatened the First Amendment rights of those users.

“The plaintiffs’ evidence reflects that WeChat is effectively the only means of communication for many in the community, not only because China bans other apps, but also because Chinese speakers with limited English proficiency have no options other than WeChat,” Beeler wrote.

WeChat is a Chinese instant messaging and social media/mobile transaction app with over 1 billion active monthly users. The WeChat Alliance, a group of users who filed the lawsuit in August, pointed out that the ban unfairly targets Chinese-Americans as it’s the primary app used by the demographic to communicate with loved ones, engage in political discussions, and receive news.

The app, along with TikTok, has come under fire as a means for China to collect data on its users. U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has stated, “At the President’s direction, we have taken significant action to combat China’s malicious collection of American citizens’ personal data, while promoting our national values, democratic rules-based norms, and aggressive enforcement of U.S. laws and regulations.”

This example is yet another symptom of our ever-globalizing society where we are learning to navigate between connectivity and privacy. The plaintiffs also pointed out alternatives to an outright ban. One example cited was in Australia, where WeChat is now banned from government officials’ phones but not others.

Beeler has said that the range in alternatives to preserving national security affected her decision to strike down the ban. She also explained that in regards to dealing with national security, there is “scant little evidence that (the Commerce Department’s) effective ban of WeChat for all US users addresses those concerns.”

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Instagram makes IGTV videos more accessible with automatic closed captions

(SOCIAL MEDIA) This new feature for Instagram opens avenues for viewers who don’t or can’t use audio on IGTV videos, creating more accessibility for all.

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Instagram live being recorded will now feature auto captions.

In an effort to expand accessibility efforts, IGTV videos on Instagram will now include an auto captions option. While its parent company, Facebook, has included auto captions on uploaded videos since 2017, this new-for-Instagram feature is expected to widen audience viewership and increase potential viewing by those who prefer watching sans-audio.

In a statement by Facebook, the company states: “While there is no shortage of information, not everyone can access it. It needs to be available to the hundreds of millions of people in the world who are deaf or hard of hearing. According to the World Health Organization, over 5% of the world’s population – or 466 million people – have disabling hearing loss, and that is projected to increase to over 900 million by 2050.”

Current events have made the need for auto captions even more critical for inclusion. “The rapid spread of the COVID-19 pandemic caused a spike in both the supply and demand of public health information. Several local and state governments, that were accustomed to holding live press conferences but didn’t have the resources, staff or technology to record, stream, and caption their live events, turned to Facebook Live. Several governments also discovered that video captioning was not just a nice-to-have, but imperative, especially in the absence of available sign language interpreters,” states the company.

Currently, Facebook provides auto captions for videos in 16 languages and has announced that Instagram’s IGTV will have access to the same features. The caption accuracy is determined by the video’s audio quality, although AI technology is constantly improving in both precision and speed.

Additionally, branded content ads are likely to see an increase in consumer interaction. Recently published data by Facebook shows ads visually designed for watching with the sound off have 48% more relevance to viewers and a 42% higher purchase intent. As auto captions normalize across social media, users can expect ad content to utilize this feature to the fullest.

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New tool organizes your Reddit feed (and makes it actually usable)

(Social Media) Reddit’s UI hasn’t always been super intuitive. ‘Deck for Reddit’ organizes your feed into themed columns, making it way more user-friendly.

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Deck for Reddit on display on laptop on desk.

Love it or hate it, the mass collection of forums on Reddit have some form of content for everyone. The simple UX design places content straight down the middle of the screen and the infinite scrolling feature allows you to view a limitless amount of content from cute puppy images to cringe-worthy videos. However, its simplicity isn’t very practical, and is something that I think should be voted down.

Yes, Reddit has come a long way from its previous text-heavy form, but there is still a lot to improve on. Charles Yang, a frustrated Reddit user, has created a web app that could change all that: Deck for Reddit, a desktop optimized, alternative way to browse your favorite forums.

“I built it to show as much content as possible at a glance, while respecting your screen real-estate,” writes Yang.

Currently, the web app is in open beta. With a very similar experience to Tweetdeck, this Reddit tool seems to hold some promise.

On the far left side of the website, there is a list of icons with all the subreddits you’ve subscribed to. Clicking on an icon will take you directly to that subreddit column. This is very convenient for users with a bunch of subscriptions. Additionally, by making several subreddits visible on the screen all at once, Yang succeeds in his goal of taking advantage of the vast empty white space that Reddit failed to use.

From this display, you can click on a post, and it instantly expands to show all the comments. Hit the back button, and the post collapses. Now, you are back to seeing all the posts related to that subreddit. And at the top of each subreddit, you can easily sort the content by what’s new, popular, and trendy. Engagement has never felt easier.

Along with everything else, this extension also adds another great feature in setting customizations. The theme can be switched from light to dark mode. Fonts, text size, and even the shape of the subreddit icons can all be adjusted. Preferences can be changed to hide viewed submissions and reduce animation motion. And if you’re slacking off at work or want to chill, you can set it to hide NSFW content.

Overall, Deck for Reddit makes the user experience smooth sailing, and it truly makes Reddit the “front page of the internet.”

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