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.
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.