*Edit – For context, this article was originally written Nov 9th, 2007.
This past week’s Collaborative Article topic has been focused on the Future of the Real Estate Blog.
Inside the Tomato Matrix, the gang hashed out 2 specific questions:
Before we jump into the article that is the highlights of the Tomato Forum discussion, I just wanted to paint a picture of the very near future of real estate blogging I see:
Imagine for a moment you are sitting on your couch, feet up, remote in hand. You scroll through your Tivo’d favorites looking for updates from your favorite topics… San Diego Luxury Real Estate being one of them. The console that sits 10 feet away is tomorrow’s television, an all-in-one entertainment center merging Internet, TV, Computer and Game Console.
Tivo has selected and recorded not only TV shows that meet your interests, but also feeds from websites, and blogs, or rather vlogs. One of those selections is the “San Diego Luxury Home Minute” by Roberta Murphy. It is a polished, professional, entertaining and informative clip bringing the latest on the SD luxury home market. Intertwined in the video are remote clickable links to the graphs, tools and greater message that support today’s ‘Minute’.
You were impressed, and you want to add to the conversation that appears immediately after it wraps up. Your options are video response, voice recording, and text by voice.
This is the future of experiencing the Internet. As soon as we can push away from leaning over our laptops, and truly enjoy the 42” flatscreens that hang in front of us, the habit of reading online will start to wean, opening the door and demand for well presented video by the masses.
When done properly, the professional real estate video-blog
will soon set the bar above everything else in it’s arena.
Sure, there will be the traditionalists that hang on to the art of writing, but we are a culture that sits in front of the boob-tube… and if we are to truly transcend with online marketing, we need to take it to video.
(The challenges, we can hash those out in the comments)
Now back to our regularly scheduled program… the collaborative prognostication of some of our finest Tomato Bloggers.
Real Estate business models will need the blog to amplify their voice. The word is out; Huge SEO coupled with Relationship Lead Generation is a winning formula. Audiences online expect transparency as well as the opportunity to participate. Brokers, teams, and individuals will make the effort.
What are now seen as clumsy, bandwidth stealing, whimsical extras will soon become more refined, easy to install, resourceful tools.
Instead of books, buddies and weather we see widgets embracing tools that matter more to the consumer vs the community. Look for widgets to focus more on: listings, localized info, mapping, market trends, and tangible resources. Our sidebars are such valuable real estate, they deserve better than ‘who else reads my blog’.
Video Is Here
And here and soon to be here and here.
Google will soon be able to ‘read’ your voice. This means that your monologues and dialogues will be searchable. All the more reason to step away from the keyboard.
The Move Toward Hyper-Local Blogs
Will neighborhood specific blogs will become the norm, much like neighborhood specific farming? It’s being shown that the more ‘drilled down’ the focus, the ‘hotter’ the leads. For there to be room for everyone, as in the approach to the physical world of real estate, a localized focus can be a warm and rewarding place.
When the effort and content is geared to a very limited area, a new benefit will be apparent in the participation of the community. As blogs become the best resource for a neighborhood, the neighbors will begin helping the Realtor with the quality and quantity of the content. Visions of an HOA online, or neighborhood bulletin boards come to mind… all being sponsored by real estate agents.
Mega-Blogs Will Dominate the SERPs
The brokers are coming, the brokers are coming. How is a small time real estate blogger, posting a few times a week, supposed to compete with an office of 100 blogging around the same topics and neighborhoods?
Another fear is that the push for massive amounts of SEO rich content from broker blogs will create more ‘noise’ than message. The noise will bring down the quality of the local blog content and in turn leave the searching audience jaded.
Google Giveth, Google Taketh Away
Here today, gone tomorrow. Bloggers have been enjoying their run in the search engines. Many of our clients boast 50% of their traffic being generated from unique search results. Results are being seen the same day that articles are published. Target search terms are consistently being achieved. How long will this party last?
As Cyndee Haydon pointed out: all the better to focus on feed subscribers; Google can’t take them away.
Great Bloggers Are Not Necessarily Great Agents
The internet is the ultimate alter-ego, and predator breeding ground. One can create a new personality along with a guise of expertise quite easily. This coupled with the quick exposure in the search engines will give the less than qualified, and those with less than honest intentions a good chance to compete for your audience.
Similarly, the increasing penetration of ghost writers, canned content and splogs has agents fearing that audiences will recognize blogs as ‘watered down’ resources, and not dig to find the diamonds in the rough.
Vendors and Realtor.com
How many calls have you gotten from persistent salespeople looking to sling template real estate websites? Now that blogging is being accepted as the ‘real deal’, will there be an onslaught of marketers aiming for your wallet?
Realtor.com makes a killing slinging less than effective web pages to hundreds of thousands of agents. Are we really going to have to endure a move to their peddling of blogs?
An Enforcement of the Law?
As the little guy’s voice continues to resound effectively through blogging, will the large brokerage (s)he’s a part of continue to sit back and do nothing?
Terry McDonald believes that a broker counterattack will come with the broker blog out front, and a behind the scenes movement to use real estate law to put an end to individual blogging. You see, many agents are working under a BIC- Broker in Charge system, or managing broker, where state laws require them to approve all agent advertising. If they can classify real estate blogs as advertising, expect some force to be applied to suppress the individual agent blog. Be sure they will consider this a fight worth having.
—We could go on, there were over 50 posts on the topic in our Forum from the gang listed below. Nonetheless, the general consensus has been that as long as the efforts prove fruitful, the delivery of a personal, and regular message is here to stay regardless of its evolution. The tools agents are embracing today are far more effective than the canned, template webpages of yesterday. Let us continue to forge forward.
Terry McDonald – Charlotte Communities
Paula Henry – Indy Real Estate Talk
Cyndee Haydon – Sandbars To Sunsets
Karl Burger – Pensalcola Real Estate News
Chad Lariscy – The Front Porch View
Daniel Bates – My McClellanville
Mary De Luca – Beltway Ramblings
Tracy Thomas – Blog Calabasas
Gena Riede – Sacramento Real Estate Voice
Doug Aegerter – St Louis Real Estate Voice
Jennifer Klaussen – The Arlington Dirt
Kevin Warmath – Live In Alpharetta
Hillary Shantz – The Oakville Buzz