Tiara toting, Tomato T-shirt wearing, real estate blogging goddess, Teresa Boardman stirs the gazpacho this week with her piece examining if there is any value in local real estate bloggers to take their content national.
By Teresa Boardman
With the explosion of real estate and mortgage blogs being written by professionals all over the country, there is a movement afoot to take these “local” blogs and make them “national”. At least three companies are vying for our attention, and our words.
There is no other way to say it, this is just plain silly. Real estate is a local business and consumers come to our sites for local information. They come to our blogs from the best global web site ever created, Google. All of our blogs are national; in fact they are global thanks to the World Wide Web.
Most of the world, including me, has not made the leap from the industrial age to the information age, we limit our thinking when we try to take new tools and use them with obsolete business models. Models that suggest that we need a national web site, because bigger is better. We have something great so we are going to somehow make it better by making it bigger.
Outside the box thinking says lets look at how consumers use the internet and how we can best serve up the content that they are looking for, in a way that will benefit our businesses. Do we need to create an information factory filled with blog writers to accomplish our goals? Are we diminishing the power of our own voices by mingling them with thousands until we become a noise? Are we at risk of loosing that which is uniquely ours?
Home buyers and sellers will find your blog if it offers the content that they are searching for. They will rarely include the name of a real estate agent or real estate company in their search strings. They might use searches like “condo’s by the Mississippi river”, or “bad neighborhoods in St. Paul, MN”. (Actual search strings used by my current clients)
Is it in our own best interest to contribute to “national” web sites where local content will be categorized by locale and we can be featured right along with hundreds of our direct competitors? How does this add value to anyone but the sites owner?
We already have global blogs, with visitors who are from our target audience’s. The last time I measured the strength of St. Paul Real Estate Blog, I discovered that it gets more traffic than the local Keller Williams site that has hundreds of agents listed on it. It really isn’t about the number of hits anyway. If I use words like “sex’ or even” undressed” my hits go up but they do not bring me any business.
I have read that national web sites add value for the consumer who can go to one place for information. Consumers can do that now, if they are looking for information about St. Paul, MN they are probably not doing much research on Kalamazoo Michigan so they can just come on over to my site and find what they are looking for. If I keep my content focused they will find me before they find the national site anyway, because the national site is a jumble of unrelated tags and keywords.
I don’t need help from a “national” web site, but I can understand why they need my help. Content is king and with out our local content there is no national site. Since we are all in business to make a profit I can only conclude that my content will help others become profitable. I admire their entrepreneurial skills, they get free content and will profit from it.
There is no evidence that bigger is better and that national is better than local. In the real estate business local may be better than national. In fact there is evidence that consumers are tired of huge corporations and may be pulling away from the huge and moving toward the small and unique instead. They crave conversation with real people not pressing 1 to be put on hold longer and listen to bad music as a substitute for human contact or customer service.
Your local content is what consumers are looking for. You don’t need to give it away to profit from it. Your blog is global, and if small really is the new big, none of us have to be bigger to be better. Industrial age rules state that bigger is better, information age rules are still being written and they might just say that the little guy wins.
Note: The content I provide for the real state tomato is not the content that drives my business. Writing it helps me learn, and giving it to Jim helps him better understand his audience, which is composed of people who are more like me than they are like him.