I have to give you a little background so you'll understand my comments on this video. I have mentored Todd Coleman since December 2007. It has been a rocky road to say the least. During my career I've had the opportunity to mentor many different agents, some have made it, some haven't, but most of them have been pretty compliant. Not Todd, no matter what we discussed or what I told him to do, he's had a comment, a different method, or a zillion questions on why I was doing it "that way". Often times, I wondered why I was mentoring him in the first place, since he had his own ideas about how things should be done. At one point, I became so frustrated that I changed my cell phone ring tone for him to Gnarls Barkley's song Crazy. But there is always hope with persistence. The short story is, somewhere half way into the second transaction together we came to an understanding, maybe we wouldn't be friends in real life, but we could certainly work with each other.
So I read about the video contest on Activerain and emailed Todd a copy of Bob Stewart's blog announcing the contest and the prize, a trip to New York to join in Seth Godin's educational event. Since Todd has a film background, I asked if he could help me make a really great video. Now I've been making videos for real estate for a few years so I got busy planning. Right about this time my Mac G5 dies. I use Final Cut Pro to edit video (which only runs on a Mac), so I let the video contest drift in to the background while I got busy with work.
Then my phone rings the other day, and it's the "Crazy" ring tone. It's Todd saying that he filmed some videos for the contest and he doesn't know how to upload them or how to get them on Activerain. I'm thinking to myself, "while I'm lugging the G5 to the Genius Bar, this guy is making videos." OK, so no problem, I tell him to send me the videos and I'll upload them to Birghtcove and send him the code for Activerain.
So he emails me the first video and I push back in my chair thinking "this is gonna be good" (rolling my eyes). Well I was blown away. This guy put together some of the most amazing real estate videos that I've ever seen. They are everything that a real estate video blog should be. They are transparent, and edgy and provocative with no cheese factor. He shoots them in one take (no edits) which makes them "not perfect" and real. There is no background music, few graphics, no special effects, just real live Todd talking just like he does in real life. It's entertaining, it's informative and it draws you in. It creates trust, the audience can relate, they can relate to his flaws. It's actually brilliant.
Marc Davidson of 100Wattblog wrote a blog called Real Estate's Demons. He explains that real estate agents are one of the least trusted professionals (only 7% of consumers trust us completely according to the Harris poll). Marc wrote a list of what untrustworthy agents do and what trustworthy agents do. The list is spot on, so much so that I took his blog and made it into an office meeting a few weeks ago. Marc and Todd both have a marketing background. They both understand what the consumer wants. They both understand it's about the viewer, buyer, seller, reader, listener. It's not about us. 1000Wattblog even made a video about this very thing called, I'm not a lead. If you haven't seen it you really need to. The video says so much about our profession.
I think video blogging is the next rage, I actually think the rage is here. We're on the cutting edge with this AR video contest. I learned more from watching each of the videos submitted than I could have ever imagined. Save your special effects and silly themes for Youtube and MySpace. If you really want to video blog, connect with the viewer. Be you. Just like in real life, not everyone watching will relate to your video blog, but that's OK. You're looking for real connection and trust. The cheese factor in real estate video scares me. It makes me wonder if we continue with the silly, hokey real estate videos that the next Harris poll will rate our profession even lower. Video blogging is no different than written blogging, it doesn't work if you can't find your voice.
So I don't know if Todd's video will win the contest, but it doesn't matter. Todd is really the big winner here. He has found his niche. He now knows that he can use his video background to generate real estate leads. He can learn the technical aspects of selling real estate along the way. Todd is a marketer first and he understands his market better than most veterans. My guess is that if Todd continues to video blog like this he'll be swamped with leads.