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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?

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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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Social Media

*New* TikTok Insights launch: Content creators finally get audience analytics

(SOCIAL MEDIA) The popular short-form app, TikTok, finally launches the anticipated Insights feature, where content creators can view target audience data.

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Two girls filming on TikTok.

Marketers searching for the zeitgeist which means TikTok scrollers pause to watch their content and then click through to buy a product have a new tool to help make that happen.

  • TikTok Insights offers marketers bite-size bits of user demographic information that will help build content that leads to sales.
  • With TikTok Insights you can learn more about your audience’s behavior, their interests, and their general sentiment toward brands.
  • TikTok Insights is free to use. Marketers can find TikTok user demographics by using filters to determine what they’re looking for.

The demographic info can be age-focused, focused on specific types of marketing, or even as specific as holiday or event marketing.

This is a step in the direction marketers have been asking for as they create content for the TikTok platform; however, creators looking for detailed analytics like they get from meta need to wait. Insights doesn’t offer that for now.

Like TikTok says in its own analytic information,

“While analytics are helpful in understanding the performance of your videos, you don’t need to create future videos based primarily around them. It’s best to consider the bigger picture, lean lightly on analytics, and use them as a source for insight rather than strategy.”

Marketers trying to key into reaching TikTok’s billion users worldwide are left, right now, searching for the magic that leads to consumers making the jump from the platform to using their purchasing power.

For marketers that means keeping things creative and collaborative, two key factors in TikTok’s success. And that success is huge. Users spend an average of 52 minutes on the platform when they log in and a staggering 90% of users say they log on every day.

TikTok Insights will help marketers find ways to connect, but the content TikTok is looking for is authentic.

And while entrepreneurs can bid for advertising like other social media platforms, they need to remember when planning that spend, that most TikTok marketing success stories are more accidental than planned. Have fun with that knowledge. Instead of pressure to create the perfect plan, TikTok Insights allows marketers to keep it creative and to find a way to tie it into what they enjoy about the platform.

Like all other social media marketing, focus on creating content that stops the consumer from their continual scroll. Make it a challenge and keep it real.

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Grindr got busted for selling users’ data locations to advertisers

(SOCIAL MEDIA) User data has been a hot topic in the tech world. It’s often shared haphazardly or not protected, and the app Grindr, follows suit.

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Grindr on phone in man's hands

If you’re like me, you probably get spam calls a lot. Information is no longer private in this day and age; companies will buy and sell whatever information they can get their hands on for a quick buck. Which is annoying, but not necessarily outright dangerous, right?

Wrong.

Grindr has admitted to selling their user’s data, however, they are specifically selling the location of their users without regard for liability concerns. Grindr, a gay hook-up app, is an app where a marginalized community is revealing their location to find a person to connect to. Sure, Grindr claims they have been doing this less and less since 2020, but the issue still remains: they have been selling the location of people who are in a marginalized community – a community that has faced a huge amount of oppression in the past and is still facing it to this day.

Who in their right mind thought this was okay? Grindr initially did so to create “real-time ad exchanges” for their users, to find places super close to their location. Which makes sense, sort of. The root of the issue is that the LGBTQAI+ community is a community at risk. How does Grindr know if all of their users are out? Do they know exactly who they’re selling this information to? How do they know that those who bought the information are going to use it properly?

They don’t have any way of knowing this and they put all of their users at risk by selling their location data. And the data is still commercially available! Historical data could still be obtained and the information was able to be purchased in 2017. Even if somebody stopped using Grindr in, say, 2019, the fact they used Grindr is still out there. And yeah, the data that’s been released has anonymized, Grindr claims, but it’s really easy to reverse that and pin a specific person to a specific location and time.

This is such a huge violation of privacy and it puts people in real, actual danger. It would be so easy for bigots to get that information and use it for something other than ads. It would be so easy for people to out others who aren’t ready to come out. It’s ridiculous and, yeah, Grindr claims they’re doing it less, but the knowledge of what they have done is still out there. There’s still that question of “what if they do it again” and, with how the world is right now, it’s really messed up and problematic.

If somebody is attacked because of the data that Grindr sold, is Grindr complicit in that hate crime, legally or otherwise?

So, moral of the story?

Yeah, selling data can get you a quick buck, but don’t do it.

You have no idea who you’re putting at risk by selling that data and, if people find out you’ve done it, chances are your customers (and employees) will lose trust in you and could potentially leave you to find something else. Don’t risk it!

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BeReal: Youngsters are flocking in droves to this Instagram competitor app

(SOCIAL MEDIA) As Instagram loses steam due to its standards of “perfection posting,” users are drawn to a similar app with a different approach, BeReal.

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social media - bereal app

BeReal is one of several “Real” apps exploding in growth with young users who crave real connections with people they know in real life.

According to data.ai, BeReal ranks 4th by downloads in the US, the UK, and France for Q1 2022 to date, behind only Instagram, Snapchat, and Pinterest.

BeReal flies in the face of what social media has become. Instead of curated looks that focus on the beautiful parts of life, BeReal users showcase what they’re doing at the moment and share those real photos with their friends. Their real friends.

It’s real. And real is different for a generation of social media users who have been raised on influencers and filters.

As the app says when you go to its page:

Be Real.

Your Friends

for Real.

Every day at a different time, BeReal users are notified simultaneously to capture and share a Photo in 2 Minutes.

A new and unique way to discover who your friends really are in their daily life.

BeReal app

The app has seen monthly users increase by more than 315% according to Apptopia, which tracks and analyzes app performance.

“Push notifications are sent around the world simultaneously at different times each day,” the company said in a statement. “It’s a secret on how the time is chosen every day, it’s not random.”

The app allows no edits and no filters. They want users to show a “slice of their lives.”

Today’s social media users have seen their lives online inundated with ultra-curated social media. The pandemic led to more time spent online than ever. Social media became a way to escape. Reality was ugly. Social media was funny, pretty, and exciting.

And fake.

Enter BeReal where users are asked to share two moments of real life on a surprise schedule. New apps are fun often because they’re new. However, the huge growth in the use of BeReal by college-aged users points to something more than the new factor.

For the past several years, experts have warned that social media was dangerous to our mental health. The dopamine hits of likes and shares are based on photos and videos filled with second and third takes, lens changes, lighting improvements, and filters. Constant comparisons are the norm. And even though we know the world we present on our social pages isn’t exactly an honest portrayal of life, we can’t help but experience FOMO when we see our friends and followers and those we follow having the times of their lives, buying their new it thing, trying the new perfect product, playing in their Pinterest-worthy decorated spaces we wish we could have.

None of what we see is actually real on our apps. We delete our media that isn’t what we want to portray and try again from a different angle and shoot second and third and forth takes that make us look just a little better.

We spend hours flipping through videos on our For You walls and Instagram stories picked by algorithms that know us better than we know ourselves.

BeReal is the opposite of that. It’s simple, fast, and real. It’s community and fun, but it’s a moment instead of turning into the time-sink of our usual social media that, while fun, is also meant to ultimately sell stuff, including all our data.

It will be interesting to watch BeReal and see if it continues down its promised path and whether the growth continues. People are looking for something. Maybe reality is that answer.

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