BLOGGING WILL NEVER CATCH ON WITH REAL ESTATE AGENTS

By
Real Estate Agent with Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate 303829;0225082372

WHAT?  YOU THINK LENN HAS COMPLETELY LOST HER MIND?

Perhaps.  But, perhaps not. 

Let me rephrase the title:  BLOGGING WILL NEVER BE A MAJOR SOURCE OF BUSINESS FOR REAL ESTATE AGENTS.  How about that?  Still think I've taken leave of my senses? 

LENN.  HOW CAN YOU SAY THAT? 

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a statistical junkie.  I love statistics.  I've often said "No production claims have any meaning without a statistic".   Or, "Show me the numbers.  Numbers don't lie."

HOW MANY REAL ESTATE PRACTITIONERS ARE GOING TO BE "BLOGGING FOR BUSINESS"
Well, it's all in the numbers.  Look to the requirements for sustained, successful blogging as a serious source of real estate business.
Homes for sale in Maryland
To successfully blog for business, you will need:
1.  access to a computer,
2.  time to blog
3.  ability to have your blog found on the Internet
4.  the ability to type - not required but surely helpful
5.  the ability to write

(1)  Access to a computer isn't a real barrier these days or in the foreseeable future.  Most real estate agents have a personal computer for use at their office, home or home office.  This is a critical tool for serious real estate practitioners. 

(2)  The time.  Not really a problem if the agent considers blogging for business a part of their job.  Serious bloggers find or make the time.  Blogging for business is no different than previewing homes for business, or sending out mailers for business.  AcvieRain members and a few social network sites the exception, there is little help for aspiring bloggers.  Think of the folks who don't put up a web site because they don't understand how.  Blogging can be light years ahead of a web site template.  So, why would we believe that blogging will grow at the same rate the Internet did. 

(3)  An understanding of basic SEO and how to get your blog found by consumers.  Your blog must be visible, searchable, organized, timely, contain fresh content, be interesting and attractive to compete with other blogs on the Internet. 

(4)  To blog for business, the ability to type is helpful to permit the blogger to focus on the information and not  "where is the "e". 

(5)  Ability to: write, write regularly, write reasonably well, write with authority, write with passion.  Along with the ability to write comes the ability to organize information in a manner that will appeal to the consumer.  To understand the writing limitations of many agents, we merely have to read a few "REMARKS" in their MLS listings.  Worse yet, read some agent created addenda to contracts.  Some are incomprehensible.  Many are dangerous.  

WHY DO I BELIEVE THAT BLOGGING WILL NEVER CATCH ON WITH REAL ESTATE AGENTS? 
One of the reasons I believe that blogging will not be a major advertising resource for real estate agents is based on my experience with many, many agents.  Think about the numbers who do not yet use e-mail.  Why do so many agents not use e-mail.  I believe that some of the reasons is the number of agents who (4) don't type and (5) don't write.  Or, they neither type nor write

BROKERS ARE SUPPOSED TO LEAD THE WAY.  But, do they?  If the broker isn't blogging for business, will the agent, especially the new agents understand the value?  I don't believe so.  I've been blogging for business for a year and not one agent or broker with whom I work closely has a blog and most don't even have a web page. Without the business I send to them, they would have none. 

MANY PUBLIC SCHOOLS ARE EXPOSING STUDENTS TO THE KEYBOARD IN EARLY GRADES these days. 
BUT, I believe that most public schools
are teaching students to use the computer to experience programmed learning activities.  Students who are taught basic skills through computer programs do little to no writing.  The programs are primarily read and multiple choice.  It's been that way for about 20 years.  Reading, writing and arithmetic are now reading, select the answer in the correct block and the new math which is not necessarily reliant on adding, subtraction, dividing or multiplication.   

REAL ESTATE LICENSES REQUIRE A HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA
Without basic writing classes in elementary, middle and high schools, students who do not attend college, and that includes a lot of real estate agents, with the usual exceptions, will not have the writing skills and passion for writing required for successful and sustained blogging for business.  Writing is an acquired skill, but too often folks believe that anything new must be taught, not just learned. 

WHAT LED ME TO THIS CONCLUSION?
I know a lot of agents.  I probably know about 250 agents personally.  Of all the agents I know, probably only  about 5 are regular bloggers.  Only about 25 could be relied upon to answer e-mail.  Obviously, I'm not basing my predictions on ActiveRain members.  We defy statistics.  But, look at the ActiveRain members who have a total of under 1,000 points.  Can they be considered serious bloggers?  Some I introduced myself and thought they would become active.  Never happened.  Many agents I know still work out of an office and don't even maintain a home office. 

The Internet is changing faster than real estate practitioners.  In fact, I believe that the nature of the Internet serving home buyers and sellers is changing much faster than the percentage of agents and brokers who are adding blogging to their advertising or marketing arsenal.  Now if you disagree with this premise, please comment.  However, if your comment is based on "I", "me", "my", or "mine", it will not have any statistical significance.  ActiveRain members, especially the serious bloggers and members with their own outside blogs are not statistically significant in the world of real estate brokerage.  In fact, a large percentage of the members who blog on ActiveRain and outside, are in the mortgage business.  It is entirely possible that bloggers in the mortgage business, in the next 2-3 years, will be more significant than real estate agents.  There are some very large markets in the US that don't have an operative MLS. 

I believe we have a long way to go before blogging for business is serious business.  Agents and brokers who now blog for business have a significant head start.  In fact, we may find, a few years from now, that the percentage of agents who blog for business is not any more statistically important than it is now. 

It's all in the numbers.

 

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Erica Ramus
Erica Ramus - Ramus Realty Group - Pottsville, PA - Pottsville, PA
MRE, Schuylkill County PA Real Estate

Along those same lines, 

I cannot believe the number of agents in my area who don't use their email. Sure it's printed on their card, but when you go to set up a showing or ask a question, you realize they're not regularly checking in. I emailed someone on Thursday for a Sunday showing. When she didn't reply by Saturday I left her a voicemail. She replied immediately (she wears a pager!). "Oh, don't ever email me if you want a quick response," she said. "I don't check that every day. And don't bother emailing me on the weekends at all. It's my break from business. I check in on Monday"

 

Hello? How are agents who don't know her personally supposed to know this? If you have an email on your MLS sheet, check it daily! And this is one of our MLS's most productive agents. I have no clue how she sells what she sells without being email-savvy. 

Unfortunately, this is not rare around here. 

 

Aug 20, 2007 09:04 AM #115
Rainer
35,151
Rolo Cuadrado
Colorado Mountain College - Frisco, CO

Remember when some people did not have fax machines? or cell phones? Email will follow the same course, and become indispensible for everyone. Then blogging may or may not follow.

Aug 21, 2007 02:22 PM #116
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Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Lenn, I've been wanting to read this post for a long time.  When it was featured, I browsed it but didn't have the time to really digest it.  In retrospect, the experience has been enriched by reading the comments and your responses.  The points that you are making are so on target.  I would tell most new agents today to skip the website and concentrate on a blog...but that's just my humble opinion.  At least as a broker, I'm practising what I preach. :)
Lola.  I am in the process of improving my blogs.  But, for now and a while, they are just for Google Juice. But, they work like magic.  I love being on the cutting edge. I know you do too.


In New York, to get a real estate license  you don't need a highschool diploma. So the numbers of literate agents are lower. The blogging rate is lower. I agree with your statment. Good post.
Malika.  My goodness.  What is required in NY??  I want stronger entry requirements.  Hopefully, the student does at least have to take their
test  I've got to say that in my area, I know of some who could not possible have taken the test here because they have zero English skills.


Along those same lines, 
I cannot believe the number of agents in my area who don't use their email. Sure it's printed on their card, but when you go to set up a showing or ask a question, you realize they're not regularly checking in. I emailed someone on Thursday for a Sunday showing. When she didn't reply by Saturday I left her a voicemail. She replied immediately (she wears a pager!). "Oh, don't ever email me if you want a quick response," she said. "I don't check that every day. And don't bother emailing me on the weekends at all. It's my break from business. I check in on Monday"

Hello? How are agents who don't know her personally supposed to know this? If you have an email on your MLS sheet, check it daily! And this is one of our MLS's most productive agents. I have no clue how she sells what she sells without being email-savvy.
Unfortunately, this is not rare around here. 
Erica.  I have found that e-mail is virtually useless in this area between agents.  They DO NOT use it. I'm more likely to get a response from a FAX. 
 

Remember when some people did not have fax machines? or cell phones? Email will follow the same course, and become indispensible for everyone. Then blogging may or may not follow.
Rolando.  Thanks for commenting.  We'll see.  We'll see.
Aug 21, 2007 02:47 PM #117
Anonymous
Anonymous
kcluke

Wow. Lenn, I've been thinking the same thing. I've learned so much and enjoy learning new things. As far as the issue of time to blog goes, I'll be you those agents who complain of not having the time do have the time to sill reality TV at night. We all have the same amount of time. It's what you do with it.

Thanks!

Aug 21, 2007 08:09 PM #118
Rainmaker
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Tom Plant
WINEormous.com - Murrieta, CA

Lenn,

I think you're 100% on the maqrk. Of the half dozen agents I've referred to AR three have created a profile and the others have done that and poosted once. You can lead a hoesw to water.... Hey, I'm drinking!

Aug 21, 2007 09:42 PM #119
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Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland
HomeRome Realty - Baltimore, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

Lenn, This is another powerful post. I have invited at least a gazillion new members. 55 have accepted and so far only one is an active blogger. Go figure!

 

Aug 21, 2007 10:36 PM #120
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Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Margaret.  Same here.  I still invite real estate folks from out of my market area.  But, I don't invite competitors to join.  That just doesn't make sense to me. 

The exceptions are agents and brokers to whom I refer business.  I want them in the Homefinders.com Group so I can communicate with them.  But, sadly, few even read the posts. 

Aug 22, 2007 06:57 AM #121
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Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland


Tom.  Same here. 

I have, however, invited a few folks for RealTalk forum that have joined and become active. 

Aug 22, 2007 07:00 AM #122
Rainer
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Don Diltz
Coldwell Banker - Menlo Park, CA
DRE:01204965
I think you are right.  For one thing, real estate agents who are really busy won't have time for the blooging exercise.  There are a lot of ways to develop business and blogging is just one.  The real value of blogging is, I think, just to have a vehicle for contact with clients and soi.
Aug 23, 2007 09:47 AM #123
Rainer
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Diane Velikis
Coldwell & Banker Busch Real Estate - Luzerne, PA
Luzerne County Real Estate
Len, I think the number one reason why many of my collegues won't blog is intimidation...Sounds like too much work to do. Sounds like it takes time toearn how to do......
Sep 25, 2007 12:37 PM #124
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Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Don.  Right you are.  It does take a commitment.  But, if you "blog for business", as I do, you make time.

Diane.  I agree.  That's why I'm so kerschmulked when someone writes a post about spelling and grammar.

We need some new blood and some new perspectives.

 

Sep 25, 2007 02:09 PM #125
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Barbara Todaro
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Franklin, MA
"New Franklin MA Homes"

Lenn....I manage the office....I blog....just jumped and went from there with much guidance from you and others....I agree that blogging will be done by managers/broker/owners.....I have many in the office who have joined AR....one blogs on occasion....the rest I strong armed to join!!!! and they are not rainmakers....my team gets business from blogging....the broker/owner and I are now talking about a blogging program within the office....

Aug 28, 2010 07:38 PM #126
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Bill Burchard
3B Realty: 951-347-3818, CA - Murrieta, CA
Broker, Realtor - Murrieta Homes For Sale, Califor

Wow... you wrote this three years ago, Lenn, and it still rings true. In my opinion (I know, no statistics...) ;)

Nonetheless... In my opinion, I suspect many newbies get sold on the implied fantasy of blogging. The fantasy that... "If you blog, they will come." Blogging isn’t a magic potion that miraculously causes potential clients to hire you. It’s a tool... one tool... that you may use to reach out to others, to make them aware of your presence. But if someone becomes aware of your presence, then your blog better have substance. Otherwise, they’ll scroll on by, just as if they’re idly driving by a blank billboard.

I believe that the purpose of blogging is to allow potential clients to connect with you on a more personal, albeit professional, level. It’s not a marquee to simply post your latest listing. A blog is alive, not static. And as you point out, many (most?) real estate professionals can’t communicate well in this particular medium.

Aug 28, 2010 11:45 PM #127
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Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Barbara.  I manage a network of agents/brokers.  Only one other of about 15 blogs, not regularly and rarely about real estate, most political stuff.  Fine with me.  They are also my competitors, therefore I manage the business that comes from my blog and they benefit from my blogging. 

Bill.  BINGO!  In fact, many of the older agents don't even type and cringe when they have to touch a computer.  Fine with me.

Aug 29, 2010 06:20 AM #128
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Missy Caulk
Missy Caulk TEAM - Ann Arbor, MI
Realtor - Ann Arbor Real Estate

I came back here to re read based on your comment on T's blog on Inman. Still valid for 2010, somethings never change.

Aug 29, 2010 10:10 AM #129
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Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Missy.  Isn't that a fact.  The important thing is to get it right in the first place.

Aug 29, 2010 01:47 PM #130
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Realty Works Temecula
Realty Works Temecula - Temecula, CA
Real Estate, Temecula, Murrieta, Menifee

Lenn:  This is quite a post and very true, I see why you remembered it from so long ago, you went into such great detail.  Thanks so much for sending it to me!  I will go back and read the comments too!

Sep 12, 2010 06:47 PM #131
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Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Thanks Jane. 

I know many agents who would blog if they could. 

Learning to type isn't that hard.  I see agents begin to shake when they have to do a property search.

So silly.

Sep 12, 2010 07:15 PM #132
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Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland
HomeRome Realty - Baltimore, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

Lenn, After 3 years, this post still rings true. I remember  speaking to a group of agents, I  asked how many knew what a blog was, how many read blogs and how many were actually blogging. The three hands that were raised that blogged were brought there by me.

Typing, email and scanning is not a skill that is completely comfortable with some agents.  So....BLOGGING WILL NEVER CATCH ON WITH REAL ESTATE AGENTS

Margaret

Sep 12, 2010 09:06 PM #133
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Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Margaret.  Thanks.  You're absolutely right.  The one liners of Facebook and Twitter seem to be more their style. 

 

Sep 13, 2010 06:04 AM #134
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