A light rain couldn't spoil the excitement and enthusiasm I felt this morning as I drove into the heart of the City of Phoenix. Papa Joe Brady, my able seminar assistant, retired sales executive for First American Real Estate Solutions, and proud Luddite negotiated the streets of the boom town as we headed to the first Arizona Real Estate Bloggers Roundtable.
The Roundtable was a trial balloon post here at Active Rain. I had planned to be in Phoenix this first week of the new year to write some loan applications and visit my family. I had hoped I might convince a few AZ Realtors from Active Rain to allow me to buy them some donuts and have a collaborative discussion. Yes, boys and girls, you heard that correctly, America's Most Opinionated Mortgage Broker broke marketing to Realtors rule #1; I bought them donuts.
Many things contributed to the excitement I felt. Nostalgia was one of them because I spent 12 years in Phoenix. The compelling reason for my excitement was the Roundtable, an historic event. Today reinforced my earlier declaration that Phoenix is the epicenter of real estate blogging.
The huge draw was the presence of three accomplished webloggers: Greg Swann of BloodhoundBlog (accompanied by the lovely and articulate Cathleen Collins) . Jonathan Dalton of Phoenix Arizona Real Estate Blog, and Jay Thompson of The Phoenix Real Estate Guy.
READ: The Bloodhound's post about this event complete with a picture and follow-up action item (BLOGINAR)
The excitement was further driven by budding blogging superstars, Tony And Suzanne Marriott, Adam Tarr and Sharon Kotula, Ken Spencer, Mario Romero, and "Doctor" (check his profile) Kaushik Sirkar. The enthusiasm was apparent in newer entries to the Real Estate 2.0 world, Lorine Lovett, Brian Cross, Rich Pieropan, Nicole Whitman, Sandra Heredia, and Blake Mata.
I tried to gently moderate the Roundtable by asking three questions:
1- How did you get here?
2- Why are you writing?
3- Where do you see the future of Real Estate 2.0?
This prompted two hours of lively discussion which is not limited to but highlighted in these points:
1- Transparency is clearly working. Consumers love to "get to know" a future real estate professional by reading about them online. Jay Thompson shared the story of the Vanilla Pepsi buyer, I related how quickly I've built relationships with Realtors, and Greg Swann cautioned us that transparency is a double-edged sword; lie and you die.
2- Real estate bloggers blog to find business, Adam Tarr was unabashed in his declaration of this goal as was Tony Marriott (I stipulated), The "Old Guard" of the epicenter Greg, Jay, and Jonathan were somewhat circumspect in the desired results of that goal but were quick to offer practical solutions to those who felt it possible. That discussion led to...
3- The Solution; linking to local blogs for your "farm" area. Note that we concluded you should link to local blogs, NOT local real estate blogs. An example might be for Kaushik Sikhar to find a city council race in Chandler, AZ and link to the candidates weblogs as a mode of setting himself up as the expert in Chandler, AZ. Rich Pieropan proudly claimed the title of #1 for Luke AFB, AZ. When the group chuckle died down, Greg Swann ebulliently offered a detailed plan for taking advantage of the long tail by writing about topics relevant to the communities surrounding Luke Air Force Base and thereby establishing yourself as the expert.
4- The Long Tail versus SEO rankings. Fancy words for getting ranked high on Google search versus establishing yourself as an expert online for a specific community or market. I attempt to do this with my articles about hard money. Thoughts steered to the conclusion that The Long Tail might indeed be the future versus SEO rankings. One only has to look at the creation of Localism.com and MyHouseKey.org as examples of how some of the big thinkers in Real Estate 2.0 believe this war can be won.
5- Active Rain is the absolute best place to learn how to become a real estate weblogger. The environment is friendly, supportive, and very instructive. Newer or hesitant authors should attempt and hone the craft here. I will personally reinforce this thought by stating that the Active Rain community doesn't care if you suck. The members want to give constructive advice because we are grateful to have a forum to explain our views and improve our writing skills. Newer authors MUST take the leap here and MUST do it today.
In 13 years of lending and 22 years of financial services, I have NEVER seen a cause more exciting, a group of people more supportive, or a time more relevant.
Today was the epitome of that conclusion. Thank you to everyone working in the epicenter.
Related posts include:
Jonathan Dalton's Meeting at the Epicenter of Phoenix Real Estate
Jay Thompson's The Power of the Long Tail and Local Content Blogging
Suzanne Marriott's A Bloggers Blowout Blast!
Adam Tarr and Sharon Kotula's GREAT BIG THANKS to Brian Brady - ARIZONA'S FIRST BLOGGERS ROUND TABLE