Fortune Magazine's 2009 Top 100 Best Companies to Work For Provides a Lesson In Blogging to Real Estate Companies- Part II

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Fortune Magazine's 2009 Top 100 Best Companies to Work For Provides a Lesson In Blogging to Real Estate Companies- Part II


In Part I of this blog post series I took Fortune Magazine's Top 100 Best Companies to Work for List and used it as resource to provide a list of companies whose blogging efforts are a textbook study for the real estate industry. The  list was broken into four categories:  Multiple Blogs/Team Blogging, Corporate Blogs, Social Responsibility Blogs, and Participation from Target Market Blogs.  I also called for an action item for real estate companies to take their favorite blogs from the list that hit the bulls eye for brand identity, valuable content, consistency, and that had an unforgettable quality and to  subscribe to these blogs.

This list of companies who blog was  just the beginning of this series.


Come on board the blogging train as I navigate these categories for you and as promised provide the take aways from this original list of blogging corporations.  The ride might leave you feeling a bit breathless but also giddy with anticipation as ideas for you blog begin to formulate.


Multiple Blogs/Team Blogging

Real estate companies can use this concept to make sure their blogging is consistent.   By assigning an administrator to the team blog you can make sure it complies with company guidelines, that it is in adherence to COE policies, and that it stays on topic and focus.  The administrator can also serve as a blogging coach who guides real estate bloggers into best practices and new blogging tools to help their efforts.

Take a look at the snapshot of the Zappos blog below.  There are over 100 bloggers who write on this blog, "Inside Zappos" and they are led by an administrator.  What is interesting to note is that while there are two CEO executives and two COO-CFO executives who are bloggers on the Inside Zappos blog they are not the administrators of this blog.  The Inside Zappos blog is consistently adding new content- created 21 months ago it boasts 1033 total posts. Everyday there is a post published on the blog and some days there are multiple posts published.

Zappos provides a great example of a successful multiple author and multiple blog effort

 



The Inside Zappos blog stay on topic.  It's tag line is "Fun and a Little Weird" and it delivers it's focus with posts titled,

Each of these posts were fun and/or a little weird.  When I read these posts I really felt like I was inside Zappos.  The posts being published on this blog do not stray from their theme.

Zappos also has multiple blogs-12 to be precise - ranging in topic from fashion trendy to running but then they do something a little zany...they throw in a separate blog for parents.  Then again, the Zappos brand extends beyond shoes.  Zappos's blog strategy of maintaining multiple blogs helps to bring awareness to the multiple offerings of the Zappos brand and brand identity.

The multiple blogs/team blogging concept is useful for real estate franchises and small brokerages alike.  If you are a smaller brokerage you may want to consider bringing in your ancillary vendor partners to form a team blog and/or engage your internal customers.  If you are a real estate franchise you could have a blog for each region, or each niche market your company serves.  Real estate franchises and small brokerages alike should definitely consider a separate executive blog  to open the curtain from behind the brand and lets people know who the PERSON is behind the company.


Corporate Blogs

A single corporate blog is a good choice for a small mom and pop real estate brokerage or a small real estate company focused on a niche market.  A corporate blog,when well planned and executed, enhances the company's brand. It's content offers a strong value proposition to its customers.  A single corporate blog is not hidden, but is built right into the company's website in a prominent location on the homepage.

A good example is the Whole Foods blog, Whole Story.  Whole Foods, a company that services a niche consumer market (organic shoppers) wants to talk with its customers on LinkedIn, Flick, Twitter, and its corporate blog.  They don't keep this call for two way conversations a dirty little secret.  Their call for action is located in the top upper right hand corner of their website(i.e.above the fold).

Whole foods communicates with ease on its corporate blog



The Whole Story blog has a consistent brand message.  The look and feel of the blog is the same as the Whole Foods Corporate website on which it take up residence and enhances the Whole Food's Internet Real Estate (i.e. http://blog.wholefoodsmarket.com/).  It contains an incredible amount of content on topics ranging from recipes to free trade.  The blog invites  you to connect with Whole Foods on Flickr, Facebook, and Twitter, and contains a video and library podcast.  The Whole Story blog has multiple authors that includes the vendor partners of Whole Foods.  The Whole Story blog email subscription page also offers subscription to their Recipes bi-monthly newsletter and their bi-monthly store specials and events newsletter.

In one easy to use subscription form Whole Foods seamlessly integrates their other online marketing efforts and their branding opportunities.


Action Item for Real Estate Companies


Study the Zappos network of blogs and the Whole Foods Corporate Blog, Whole Story.  Think about these companies brands and unique selling proposition.  Discover how they incorporate their culture into their blogs and how they deliver consistent content to their readers that is interesting, unique, and valuable.  Subscribe to a few blogs from the Zappos blog network and Whole Story, the corporate blog of Whole Foods.


I will continue this series with an analysis of Social Responsibility blogs and  Participation from Target Market blogs in Part II of this four part series.  Stay tuned.




Do you need a blog marketing strategy? Whether you are just getting started blogging or have been blogging for awhile consider a blogging tune-up.


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Rainmaker
588,565
Susan Neal
RE/MAX Gold, Fair Oaks - Fair Oaks, CA
Fair Oaks CA & Sacramento Area Real Estate Broker

HI Rebecca - These are great examples of what blogging can be.  From the attitudes reflected, it is clear why these are among the best companies to work for.  They seem to care about their employees and their customers.

Oct 05, 2009 01:57 PM #2
Rainmaker
564,419
Chris Olsen
Olsen Ziegler Realty - Cleveland, OH
Broker Owner Cleveland Ohio Real Estate

Hi Rebecca -- I'm glad you touched on USP -- very, very important.

Oct 05, 2009 03:52 PM #3
Rainmaker
176,539
Rebecca Levinson, Real Estate Marketing and Online Advertising Consultant
Real Skillz-Clear Marketing for Your Real Estate Vision - Lake Geneva, WI

Jane- Thank you and yes as real estate professionals are entrepreuners and solopreuners this information would be applicable....apparently you saw the connection right away so awesome, hope it proves useful to your blogging endeavors.

Susan- Exactly.  I just highlighted two in this post but there are so many examples in the first post in the series, one that comes to mind is a blog dedicated to the memory of the chairman of a hospital that just passed away.  Powerful and very human.

Chris- USP is critical.  It is a factor that can make or break a blog.

 

Oct 05, 2009 05:10 PM #4
Rainmaker
1,561,863
Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED
RETIRED / State License is Inactive - Portland, OR

WOW Rebecca . . . you really did such a nice job on these blogs!  Thanks for doing the "Reader's Digist" version for us, with your comments and takes!  Appreciated.

Oct 05, 2009 05:25 PM #5
Ambassador
1,706,758
Joe Pryor
The Virtual Real Estate Team - Oklahoma City, OK
REALTORĀ® - Oklahoma Investment Properties

Great post, and you hit on two of my favorite companies. I saw the Zappos's CEO at Inman, and they are the new corporate paradigm with their marketing mantra "Deliver Happiness". I added up the amount of money I spent at Whole Foods in Houston during medical treatment there, and I didn't regret an extra dollar for quality. Like in Purple Cow, these companies first deliver a great product and service, then back it up in their marketing outreach, a potent combination as you so well illustrate.

Oct 06, 2009 01:06 AM #7
Ambassador
3,036,244
Anna Banana Kruchten CRB, CRS, Broker, Instructor
HomeSmart Real Estate BR030809000 - Phoenix, AZ
602-380-4886

Rebecca this is excellent material - a post that needs to be bookmarked and studied. Thanks for  all the ideas and tips.  And I just got started - can't wait to spend more time on this one!

Oct 06, 2009 01:06 AM #8
Rainmaker
292,404
Home Loan Search.Online
Home Loan Search Online - Newnan, GA

Thanks for blogging info. I have seen the whole foods blog but now I'm going to have to check out the Zappos site as well.

Oct 06, 2009 01:17 AM #9
Rainmaker
124,961
Anne Marie Malf
Malfi Marketing Solutions ~ for real estate professionals - Yardley, PA
Real Estate Marketing Consultant/Virtual Asst, Bucks County,PA

Rebecca - this is awesome.  What really spoke to me are 2 things.  1st that zappos has many writers and blogs that range in topic.  I think this is a great concept for real estate teams and brokerages who can keep consistent content out there and having bloggers that speak to their particular area of knowledge.  2nd the Whole Foods story about how they have their call to action  to connect with them right there for the taking.  You truly put this information out in such a great way that can really get us all thinking (as usual!) ~Anne Marie

Oct 06, 2009 01:32 AM #10
Rainer
42,405
Dynamic Page Solutions
Dynamic Page Solutions - Mesa, AZ

Rebecca,

Your post is very timely for me as I have a new client that would fall under Team Blogging. I understand that staying on topic (real estate) and keeping it interesting and informative are important factors for a successful blog, but can you explain why or how consistency of style would impact the effectiveness of a group blog?

Oct 06, 2009 03:21 AM #11
Rainer
26,032
Kimberly Thomas, Broker-Associate
www.KimThomasHomes.com - Voorhees, NJ
Keller Williams Realty - Voorhees, NJ

Hi Rebecca,

Your posts are always so chock-full of good information!!! I'm pleased to say that an Insurance Agent friend and I are already doing a team blog! It's working out great for us.

Kim Thomas

Oct 06, 2009 03:39 AM #12
Rainmaker
146,196
Kate Wheeler
Country Homes and Land Murphy NC Realtor - Murphy, NC
CCIM - Murphy NC Real Estate for Sale

Rebecca - You've done the research for all of us and picked the cream of the crop for us to study.  I loved your idea about creating a team approach with the real estate company and related businesses combining forces in one blog.

Oct 06, 2009 04:32 AM #13
Ambassador
164,480
Monica Bourgeau
Portland, OR
Business Coaching

Rebecca - interesting post, I love looking at what other companies are doing well. Whole Foods also does a really good job with Twitter, they have real conversations with consumers such as where do you find a certain item in their store.

Oct 06, 2009 04:57 AM #14
Rainmaker
232,107
Emily Lowe
The Lipman Group | Sotheby's International Realty - Nashville, TN
Nashville TN Realtor

I do this same thing with my other business (a music teaching studio) - just starting to build up the "team" of bloggers, but am going to be watching to see how well it takes off and how consistent the content, etc. is.  It's all about bringing in more business, after all!  Thanks for sharing!

Oct 06, 2009 04:58 AM #15
Rainmaker
176,539
Rebecca Levinson, Real Estate Marketing and Online Advertising Consultant
Real Skillz-Clear Marketing for Your Real Estate Vision - Lake Geneva, WI

Carla- It is a shame I could only write about two for purposes of condensing in these posts.  But I will most likely repurpose into an EBook with the full version, because all of the companies in the first post are prime examples.

Joe- Exactly and it's also true of smaller companies.  There were a few smaller businesses on the list that I am sure will be turning to social media marketing soon.  Their websites are primed for it because the content is already there.  Much of what a consumer remembers, buys and refers is based on their experience.  So you have to ask yourself in your web offerings, your blog offerings, what does the consumer walk away with-What's In It For Them? What is their experience?

 

Oct 06, 2009 05:36 AM #16
Rainmaker
176,539
Rebecca Levinson, Real Estate Marketing and Online Advertising Consultant
Real Skillz-Clear Marketing for Your Real Estate Vision - Lake Geneva, WI

Anna- Glad to hear.  I have two more posts coming in this series, lol.

Integrity Mortgage- When you are on the Whole Story blog note that they also use Multi-media- video and podcasts to enhance their blog offering.  A visitor could stay on that blog for quite awhile- and that is exactly what you want them to do.

Anne Marie- You got it my friend.  Absolutely great offerings, loved that subscription page...simple and clever.

Oct 06, 2009 05:40 AM #17
Rainmaker
176,539
Rebecca Levinson, Real Estate Marketing and Online Advertising Consultant
Real Skillz-Clear Marketing for Your Real Estate Vision - Lake Geneva, WI

Dynamic Page Soultions-

Sure if I think I am understanding your question I will answer.  It is okay to have different bloggers with different voices on one blog.  In fact it is more than okay, it keeps the content consistent and fresh.  Also there are more chances that you will have greater readership, as a reader might resonate with what one blogger says versus another.  There is a connection between reader and blogger....some readers just do not resonate with the voice of some bloggers.

Now in terms of content, staying on topic, this means different things to different people and I am going to have a few posts coming out about this very subject....However, the microversion is this,

Real Estate is multifaceted as are real estate blogs.  If I am a reader do I necessarily always want to hear about everything  you blog?  Probably not.  I might be interested in your listing posts, certain neighborhoods/subdivisions you post about, CMAs (Comparative Market Analysis, Community Events.  Maybe I am a short sale seller....so I am many not be interested in your luxury listings and skills in that market.

Real Estate is macro level, These other topics are on a micro and we need to really think thru how we are offering the information to consumers- how it is presented and if we allow them to only receive the content they are interested in.

If this hasn't answered your question let me know:)

Oct 06, 2009 05:47 AM #18
Rainmaker
176,539
Rebecca Levinson, Real Estate Marketing and Online Advertising Consultant
Real Skillz-Clear Marketing for Your Real Estate Vision - Lake Geneva, WI

Kim - That is awesome.  I  know how helpful, firsthand, that can be.  I will be blogging also about blog contributors soon.

Kate- What a powerhouse blog that is and how about what it does for local networking.  I wouldn't just choose the obvious partners depending on the theme of your blog.  If you are looking to incorporate community information, add local businesses outside of real estate.  It all goes back to a unique value/selling proposition.  What are the objectives and goals of your blog?

This is why, if you have multiple goals/objectives you many need to use the multiple blog approach.

Oct 06, 2009 05:51 AM #19
Rainmaker
176,539
Rebecca Levinson, Real Estate Marketing and Online Advertising Consultant
Real Skillz-Clear Marketing for Your Real Estate Vision - Lake Geneva, WI

Kevin and Monica- Right on and yes Microblogging is part 4 of this series:)

Emily- That is awesome, good luck to you.  You will have to share your process in a blog post sometime:)

Oct 06, 2009 05:53 AM #20
Ambassador
2,011,382
Christine Donovan
Donovan Blatt Realty - Costa Mesa, CA
Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M

It makes sense to have consistency.  I like the idea of multiple contributors to make sure the blog is consistently updated.

Oct 06, 2009 04:24 PM #21
Rainmaker
176,539
Rebecca Levinson, Real Estate Marketing and Online Advertising Consultant
Real Skillz-Clear Marketing for Your Real Estate Vision - Lake Geneva, WI

Christine- It definitely is a good strategy, consistency, on topic content, and the addition of some different blogging personalities.

Oct 07, 2009 04:22 PM #22
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Rainmaker
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Rebecca Levinson, Real Estate Marketing and Online Advertising Consultant

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