03 Nov What is a Blog and How Does It Relate to Real Estate?
Every Tuesday, here at the American Trust Escrow blog, we post Technology Tips designed to help you, the REALTOR®, grow your business, keep up to date on the latest technologies, and move you forward into the new era of real estate.
What is a blog and how does it relate to real estate? You aren’t the only one asking. As I talk with Realtors about social media, this is one of the most common questions I get. Blog is a contraction of web log. In its simplest of descriptions, it is a type of website. It is a type of website that allows for entries to be posted (like journal entries, or articles) that are commonly displayed in reverse-chronological order (By the way, you are reading a blog right now). Blogs are a type of social media – this is because blogs allow for interaction with readers because they can post comments on articles which creates the opportunity for interaction with your blog audience.
Blog Terminology Basics:
A type of website that allows for entries to be posted (like journal entries, or articles) that are commonly displayed in reverse-chronological order. For example, this article you are now reading is part of the American Trust Escrow blog. Blog entries remain indefinitely on the site and are always available to readers. Often, blogs allow for the current article to be distributed to its readers via email in addition to always being available on the site.
To maintain or add content to a blog. Example: I “blog” by writing the weekly technology tip series of articles that you are reading on the Glen Oaks Escrow Blog. Or, Stacey is blogging this week about the topic of Social Networking for Realtors.
The person who generates the content for the site. I, Stacey Harmon, am a blogger because I am writing this post. Also, many of the escrow officers from Glen Oaks Escrow are bloggers because they are generating posts about escrow topics like The Opening Package From Escrow – Why it Matters.
This is the term most often used for a particular entry, or article that appears on the blog. Posts typically will have a headline, an author, and the article. For example, right now you are reading a post titled “What is a Blog & How Does it Relate to Real Estate?”, authored by me. The most recent post appears at the top of the blog. The post is also classified part of a particular category (in our case, some of our categories are “Escrow”, “Technology Tuesday Tips”, and “Events”). These categories make it easy for you to find a post on a particular topic after some time has passed and the post is no longer at the top of the page.
One of the great features of blogs is that readers can subscribe to the site. Many of you are reading this post in your email – that is because you are subscribed to our blog, meaning you don’t have to go to the American Trust Escrow blog to read the new posts. Instead, they come straight to your inbox. As you find other blogs on the web, they will also have the ability for you to put in your email address and have their posts come directly to you – keep an eye out for this. It makes staying updated very convenient! (Sometimes the subscribe functionality is presented as “RSS” – this is an alternative way to subscribe to the site, and wording to look out for if you don’t see the word “subscribe” on the site)
These days it seems that everyone is blogging: The Administration, Martha Stewart, Mark Cuban, The Desert Sun, and the ATEBlog. Blogging has grown exponentially over the past few years. According to the New Media Lab 2008 Social Media White Paper, there are 184 million people worldwide that have started a blog, 346 million people read blogs, and 95% of the top 100 U.S. newspapers have reporter blogs. In addition, there are roughly 1 million blog posts every day.
So, How Does Blogging Fit with Real Estate?
For Realtors, having a blog offers the opportunity to express and establish their expertise out on the internet (where we all know buyers are looking, and sellers are wanting their listings to be), rank well with Google (blogging is by definition VERY search engine friendly), reach a geographically wide audience, and/or target specific niches, all in a very financially affordable way. Compared to print marketing, blogging is cheap (it can even be free!). But, keep in mind that blogging takes time. And, you should have an average, or above average, ability to write. If you are not developing content that people want to read, you are not going to have an effective blog. So, blogging may or may not be the right decision for your business. However, even if you decide that a blog isn’t going to be a part of your current business plan, understanding what a blog is, and reading blogs, can be a very helpful in your education process and real estate career. There are some outstanding blogs focused on the real estate industry.
Real Estate Blogs to Check Out:
- Miamism: Maimi real estate blog by Enrique Garcia & Ines Hegedus-Garcia
- Phoenix Real Estate Guy: Jay Thompson’s blog on all things Phoenix Real Estate
- First Time LA Home Buyer: Great niche marketing blog by Los Angeles Realtor Nick Segal
- Active Rain: Over 160,000 Realtors and affiliates belong to this site and blog about all things real estate. This site is a great way to get started blogging easily for a moderate monthly fee for new accounts if you want the public to see it. Although there is a fee, I still think that it is an excellent way for Realtors to start blogging.
Another Perspective – Blogs In Plain English:
Also, Common Craft has done a great video illustrating the concept of blogs. It isn’t real estate specific, but does a great job of showing how blogs came to be and the value that blogs provide. It is well worth the 3 minute watch:
If you think that blogging might be for you, stay tuned. Future posts will discuss great ways to get started with blogging, as well as vendors who can help you execute a full blogging strategy.
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