Roxanne, Glamour Shots, and Casper the Ghost - Blog Tips for Rain Drips

By
Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams West Sound Realty

In the movie, "Roxanne," Steve Martin plays the part of a small town fire chief who writes a bunch of mushy love letters for one of his fellow firefighters. The recipient of the letters, played by Daryl Hannah, is captivated by the words, but when she finally meets the fireman face-to-face, she quickly realizes the two don't match.

 I remember when I first started my career in real estate back in Lawrence, Kansas. I was with a Realty Executives franchise (Realty Executives/Hedges Real Estate) that was owned by a good friend, Bryan Hedges.

Back then, real estate was all about the Agent. People would spend tons of money on marketing their image, their branding, or their team.

One female agent in town was especially popular. She would plaster her picture all over town - shopping carts, billboards, phone books, even the Big Screen at the local movie theatre, just before the feature film was shown.

Funny thing is, when I finally met this popular agent during a weekly home tour, I was completely dumbfounded. While her promotional picture was very striking (for the less politically correct, that would translate to being a 'hottie'), in person she looked nothing like her picture. Either the photographer spent an inordinate amount of time in PhotoShop, or her picture was taken 20 years ago.

Okay, so what's my point? Well, Brian Brady posted an article recently that stirred quite a bit of controversy (why is this not surprising?) concerning the use of ghost writers in blogging. And specifically, should members of ActiveRain receive points or have their articles 'featured' if they don't create the original content themselves?

To read Brian's post, go HERE.

I guess I tend to be somewhat of a purist, but it seems to me that publishing a 'ghost-written' article to your blog defeats the whole purpose of conversational blogging. If the primary reasons behind blogging is to effectively 'engage' your readers in meaningful dialogue, and to convey your unique personality, perspective, and passion, how can this be accomplished when the blog author ISN'T the author?

 I suppose, in some instances, I can concede that 'ghost-written' articles can possibly serve a purpose. Perhaps in some industries where the relationship between the business and the consumer is not so intimate. Or maybe, someone just isn't gifted as a writer, but they want the benefits that new, fresh, relevant content can bring to their search ranking.

Still, what will happen when some potential client who has been lurking on your blog, reading your articles, finally takes the next step and commits to meeting with you? Who is going to show up? Will they recognize YOU?

Or will they be dumbfounded?

For further consideration, read two additional articles I've written along the same lines:

"Counterfeit Blogging" - What's in Your Blog?

"Original Content" - Using Your Own Voice in the Rain

~     o     ~     o     ~     o     ~     o     ~     o     ~

social-media-is-a-conversation

Rich Jacobson is a licensed real estate professional providing knowledgeable empowerment and relentless representation for his clients of residential properties and vacant land throughout all of Kitsap County WA and portions of Pierce, Mason, and Jefferson Counties. You can also find him at KitsapLife.com, SOUNDBITEBLOG and Crabbing in the Hood, or e-mail:  kitsapagent@gmail.com

Posted by

Follow KitsapAgent on TwitterFriend Rich Jacobson on FacebookJoin Rich Jacobson's LinkedIn NetworkSubcribe to Rich Jacobson's YouTube ChannelListen to My Sweet Tunes on Last.fm

close

This entry hasn't been re-blogged:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
Topic:
ActiveRain Community
Groups:
Active Rain Newbies
Blog Tips for Rain Drips
Dedicated Bloggers
HELP/FAQ (Read 'Purpose Statement' Carefully!)
Social Media Marketing
Tags:
ghost writing
original content
effective blogging
soundbiteblog
activerain community support

Anonymous
Post a Comment
Spam prevention
Spam prevention
Show All Comments
Rainer
77,224
Yvonne Root
rooms b.y. root - Prescott, AZ
Home Stager - Northern Arizona

Oh Rich, You are so darn popular here in the Rain that there were already 52 comments by the time I was able to comment. That in itself says something about your premise being a good one. Yes, people like what you have to say and how you say it so when you "speak" they are ready to listen. I know a few of those commenting have stated they don't mind spelling and grammatical errors from a blogger as long as they know the post is from the heart. Welllllll, there may be some members of the general public who feel that way too. But I dare say that if folks come to us for information they don't want to spend time trying to figure out what the heck we are saying.

Our daughter is taking a college course concerning website development. The text for the course is titled, Don't Make Me Think. The thrust of the book is that when a consumer is searching for information they will only spend moments before moving on if the information is not easy, easy, easy to find and access. Surely the same must be true for our posts. 

Since I recently discovered what blogging is I've been trying to learn everything I can about how to put a blog together and how to make a blog log that will be interesting for potential clients. One of the thoughts I had early on was that if I were looking for a _________________ (real estate agent, home stager, mortgage professional, whomever) there are certain people I would not even consider because they don't seem to be able to put one thought after another, they can't spell, they don't know the basics of sentence structure, and on and on. (I'm not talking about intentional misspellings or grammatical whimsy -- which certainly has its place in any writing.) Worse yet, I've seen some people who are trying so hard to impress others that they say things about themselves in their blogs which simply stretch the imagination. Stretch the imagination so far one is left wondering if the author is stupid or he assumes the reader is stupid enough to believe his flights of fancy. 

Here is my dilemma concerning that sort of writing -- Is that good for me because it will drive the consumer to my door? Or, is that sort of writing reflecting poorly on the entire industry?

So --- having said all that, I think that a GOOD ghost blogger may be the answer for some persons who want to be able to convey their abilities within their chosen field but are not adept with the sometimes difficult task of writing. A GOOD ghost writer should be able to learn the "voice" of their client and help their client achieve success in the blogasphere. (Oops is "blogashpere" a made-up word?) The problem Steve Martin had was he wrote in his own voice. He was, after all, in love with his audience. A GOOD ghost blogger will allow his client's love of his client's audience to shine through.  

Oct 12, 2007 10:39 AM #54
Rainmaker
246,143
Gena Riede
Riede Real Estate, Lic. 01310792 - Sacramento, CA
Real Estate Broker - Sacramento CA Real Estate (916) 417-2699

Rich, good analogy. I know that I am always shocked when meeting a Realtor who continues to use a photo from years past...and twenty pounds ago. I have to interject here...Jeff Turner thinks I look younger than my photo...and I'll always be eternally grateful!!

Although it's not against the law to ghost write, as a reader without being told up front, I would be put off. To me, it's just another dent into the consumer's lack of confidence and trust of Realtors. Personally, I would never do it. I think my readers and the consumer want honesty and that's what I'm about...so that's what I give.

Oct 12, 2007 10:40 AM #55
Rainer
58,137
Jennifer Esposito
JenRan Realty, LLC - Woodstock, CT
You have very good points.  Why are some agents so afraid to be themselves?
Oct 12, 2007 10:45 AM #56
Rainer
19,620
Alan Burwell
McHugh Realtors - Sequim, WA

No photos here for me as I'm posting for my office. :)   I do have an agent photo that I had taken when I first started selling with Windermere in Westport, WA.  To this day, it is still my best picture.  Except for the glasses.  I've since started wearing contacts.  My writing is also my own.  Why pay for something that I can do myself.  Good points Rich.

PS.  Rock Chalk Jayhawk. :)  from a fellow ex-Kansan

Oct 12, 2007 11:50 AM #57
Ambassador
508,165
Jason Sardi
Auto & Home & Life Insurance throughout North Carolina - Charlotte, NC
Your Agent for Life
I would love to hire a ghost writer, but I can't find anybody that writes as crappy as I do:-)
Oct 12, 2007 11:51 AM #58
Rainmaker
335,122
Ann Cummings
RE/MAX By The Bay - NH and Maine - Portsmouth, NH
Portsmouth NH Homes - Service With a Smile!

Hey Rich - I've often wondered about those pictures that look absolutely nothing like the real person.  I've had clients tell me that I look just like my pictures, which I guess is a good thing even though I know I need new picturess.  I guess I just don't change my looks all that much. 

I've got friends here in my area that have their pics all over their signs, ads, business cards, flyers, etc., and no one who doesn't already know them would have any clue that's who they really are.  What's the point in that?  When I go to the door or meet someone who's already seen pictures of me, I want them to know it's me when I arrive.

Ann

Oct 12, 2007 11:55 AM #59
Ambassador
529,056
Rich Jacobson
Keller Williams West Sound Realty - Poulsbo, WA
Your Kitsap County WA Real Estate Broker
Jason Sardi takes a close 2nd Place in the Humorous Comment Category....(see just above)
Oct 12, 2007 01:57 PM #60
Ambassador
529,056
Rich Jacobson
Keller Williams West Sound Realty - Poulsbo, WA
Your Kitsap County WA Real Estate Broker

Yvonne - a wonderfully and very thorougn response. But how many ghost writers will realistically take the time to learn about their blog client, enough so that they can capture the essence of their unique personality and perspective? I highly doubt such a thing ever occurs.

I guess my basic stance is that if you are going to pay for a ghost writer to contribute to your blog, why have a blogsite in the first place? Invest your money in other marketing efforts. Pay someone to create a really top notch highly searched website instead....

Oct 12, 2007 02:01 PM #61
Ambassador
1,479,460
Karen Kruschka
RE/MAX Real Estate Connections - Woodbridge, VA
- "My Experience Isn't Expensive - It's PRICELESS"
I always get a chuckle out of some of the agent photos that look like they came out of the high school yearbook.  Additionally, I wonder what the client must think when they meet the agent for the first time.   I have my promotional photos taken every three or four years.   Karen
Oct 12, 2007 02:05 PM #62
Anonymous
Anonymous
Anonymous

Ha ha...there's one agent in our area who uses a photo from 20 years ago! I'm sure she always shocks them when she walks through the door...

My hair is alternately curly and straight though, I'm sure that throws people sometimes. But it's all natural and I can't swap out two pictures on a daily basis! LOL!

As for blogs, my mom asked me where I got my blogs! I told her I write them all myself! She was very impressed. I think everyone should write their own stuff, I don't get the point of a ghostwriter.

Oct 12, 2007 03:35 PM #63
Rainer
77,224
Yvonne Root
rooms b.y. root - Prescott, AZ
Home Stager - Northern Arizona
Rich, I think you are right. I think. I'm not totally swayed as yet. I myself have said that some people certainly shouldn't blog because they do more harm than good. I always follow that thought with this one -- they should find a different way to market. Yet, there still exists the possibility that a well chosen and good ghost writer could pull it off. Gosh, it is done all the time with books. Why not blogs? Here is part of the equation which hasn't been touched on yet. It harkens to the chicken and egg question. Which came first the good blogger or the excellent real estate agent? Oh man, I'm off to write one of my blogs. Either that or I'm off to write a blog for Yvonne. :) 
Oct 12, 2007 06:11 PM #64
Rainmaker
37,480
S W
Seattle, WA
Rich, I hope to never "dumbfound" anybody! Neither with a picture nor with my blogging persona. That said, it could be possible that both a ghost writer and the agent are simultaneously equally a certain way, such as eccentric. In that case, perhaps a client wouldn't notice the discontinuity...
Oct 13, 2007 12:13 AM #65
Rainmaker
305,524
Brian Brady
San Diego VA Home Loans/858-777-9751 - San Diego, CA
VA Home Loans/San Diego
Sara.  You'd be made in a heartbeat. Nobody could capture your spirit in a ghost-written article.
Oct 13, 2007 01:19 PM #66
Rainmaker
246,143
Gena Riede
Riede Real Estate, Lic. 01310792 - Sacramento, CA
Real Estate Broker - Sacramento CA Real Estate (916) 417-2699

Rich, Ghost writers in my opinion can't capture the essence of a person. And in my humble opinion, I consider ghost writing deceitful unless and until the author is so published. I would feel duped and never wish to read that person's articles again. Just that simple.

I guess I would want to ask the person paying for this...why bother?  Find some other avenue to waste your money on.

Oct 13, 2007 01:26 PM #67
Rainer
96,277
Karen Villa Schweinfurth
RE/MAX Northwest Realtors, Inc. 425-308-3669 - Everett, WA
ABR, CRS, SRES, CyberStar

I agree that blogs should be original - maybe we should have two AR's one for the hardworking folks -- one for the ghosts!

I agree that some agents are not as proficient in the writing category as others; however, if you name and picture is pasted on the blog you better know the content.

Oct 13, 2007 02:15 PM #68
Rainmaker
119,078
Gary McNinch
Better Properties Real Estate - Renton, WA
Broker, Renton WA Real Estate

MY photo

I was in my neighborhood, farming along, inviting my neighbors to an open house and came to my buddy, who has a new surveillence camera by his front door.  Since they were not home, I put my gorgeous mug up to his camera.    I also put the open house invitation so they could see it.  

Well he sent me the photo of my gorgeous face (I've trimmed the whiskers, didn't like them).  It is now on AR.  This is for fun, building realtor relationships and getting my opinion out there.  My pretty picture is on the website, print marketing, etc.      Keep smiling and bloggin,

Oct 13, 2007 10:34 PM #69
Ambassador
529,056
Rich Jacobson
Keller Williams West Sound Realty - Poulsbo, WA
Your Kitsap County WA Real Estate Broker

Sara - as I had shared on another post, unless the blogger has a 'live-in' ghost writer, I don't see how they could take the time to really learn and capture a person's essence enough to convey it in writing. I think today's consumers are pretty savvy. They would spot the discontinuity a mile away...unless it was all "ghost"

Oct 14, 2007 01:44 AM #70
Rainer
47,744
Susan Walters
Keller Williams Realty, Ann Arbor, MI - Ann Arbor, MI
Cheating both, glamour shots and ghost-written blogs.  If you cannot be real about yourself, in image and content, then why would anyone want to work with you and trust what you have to say?
Oct 14, 2007 01:52 AM #71
Rainmaker
414,204
Betina Foreman
512-771-6318 Austin Home Girls Realty - Austin, TX
Realtor, C.N.E. Selling Homes in Lake Travis & Central Austin!

You are soooo RIGHT! I know there are some people who have staff "write their" blog. I like you feel this is wrong. It is classic "bait and switch". You read something and think you "know" the person, and then find out that is not who your dealing with. This is a sad reflection of our times.

Betina

Jan 18, 2009 10:02 AM #72
Ambassador
529,056
Rich Jacobson
Keller Williams West Sound Realty - Poulsbo, WA
Your Kitsap County WA Real Estate Broker

Betina:   It works in some industries. I just don't think it's appropriate in real estate, such it's such a highly relational business.

Jan 18, 2009 10:05 AM #73
Anonymous
Post a Comment
Spam prevention
Show All Comments
Ambassador
529,056

Rich Jacobson

Your Kitsap County WA Real Estate Broker
Ask me a question
*
*
*
Spam prevention

Additional Information