Star Date minus 1 - Journey into the Blogosphere

By
Real Estate Broker/Owner with Beth Butler - Big Mouth Consulting

Captains's Log: Star Date launch minus 1 day

Our mission: To Boldly go where no Real Estate Company has gone before... An agent generated hyper local real estate blog.

We will officially launch the EWM Blog tomorrow and Wednesday. After reading Lenn Harley's post and many other similar posts and comments, it would seem that our mission here is likely to fail as most bloggers out there would tell you that the majority of real estate agents will not blog. It wasn't that long ago that I heard "Agents will never use email" and somehow we managed to get past that and some of the other technological challenges. So let me go back a few months and tell you about how we have prepared for the launch.

1. We hired Jim Cronin, Real Estate Tomato and his team to design our blog. We mirrored the Active Rain platform so posts can be public or private. The private blog will become our main communication source for the company- no more group emails or memos. The private blog is embedded in our intranet site making a hybrid site. The public log is similarly embedded in our main website. In both cases, the decision to combine the resources seemed to make sense. Internally, when someone logs into our intranet site to do a contract or submit an ad - the blog feed should serve as a reminder that subtly says "Have you blogged today?". Also, with all of our managers and staff blogging about what's going on a great archive of resources begins to emerge. We have been backloading things like training schedules, videos, how to's etc. On our main business site, it will be hard to tell where the site ends and the blog begins. Featured posts will make it to the front page - this is a big incentive for our big producers who are most anxious to dominate that page because of the traffic it gets. The blog content will also build more viewers because the site will have a continuous feed of fresh content.

2. Hedging the content bet. We have 750 agents plus 100 or so staff - so content should not be an issue. Even a relatively small amount of participation will result in a decent amount of content. I appreciate that blogging purists may see much of what many agents will write is crap - but I would beg to disagree. This is not a high brow site with intellectual ruminations (except mine of course). Local user generated content is more informational and less thought provoking. But just in case, I have made some outside deals with community newspapers, other real estate bloggers and some "authored" content just to make sure the quality level is high.

 3. Creating a buzz. This is where the Star Trek stuff comes into play. We will be rolling out the blog over a 5 week period - in a contest format with a Star Trek theme. In each of the 5 weeks, we will discuss and teach 1 topic to build specific content. For example, week 1 is to blog listings. Ines Hegedus-Garcia has graciously agreed to judge the first week of entries. No, Ines does not work for our company, she is technically a competitor, but I don't see it that way. She writes good stuff, sets a standard for any agent ,and blogging should cross company lines. At the end of the day - we are all in this together, aren't we? Ines, and a few other local real estate bloggers will be contributors on our site. I have also been emailing the entire company as a lead in. Everyday some great posts to understand what blogging is all about.

4. Using PR to build the audience. We are fortunate to have a great PR firm who has been lining up interviews and articles about the blog. They will slowly be released over the term of the contest and immediately following to build some readership. We have designed a series of print ads that will run in our traditional media sources to direct readership on things like open houses, market stats, etc.

5. Share the load. I began early with our management team to get them to go in and do posts as they will carry much of the day to day burden of getting the agents to blog. I will spend a considerable amount of my time going from office to office - but everyone on the staff needs to promote the benefits of blogging.

So there you have it - the log to date. Tomorrow I will don my Spock ears and introduce Jim Cronin and his team to launch the blog.

Other thoughts on the company blog... and a cute "theme" youTube video on Star Trek and Real Estate

Why Blogging is like a Sales Meeting

Opportunity Time - Can a Company Blog Replace Floor?

Will Top Producers Blog?

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Anonymous
Aziz Abdur-Raoof,Howard Co. Real Estate Scoop
Beth -- congrats on thinking outside the box.  Keep us informed when you launch.
Aug 20, 2007 01:56 PM #15
Anonymous
Aziz Abdur-Raoof,Howard Co. Real Estate Scoop
Beth -- congrats on thinking outside the box.  Keep us informed when you launch.
Aug 20, 2007 01:56 PM #16
Rainer
20,277
Monica Rich
Berkshire Hathaway Florida Realty - Coral Gables, FL
Coral Gables Real Estate

OH MY GOD!  That video is too much.  I laughed my a** off.   We are in for SOME week!!!

p.s. I was wondering what my good Canadian friend (Chris Basick) has been up to...  I'll be waiting to see his Blog ;)

Aug 20, 2007 01:57 PM #17
Rainer
7,314
Ines Garcia
INES GARCIA/Avanti Way Realty - Weston, FL
Real Estate for Real People

This is our newest challenge! You keep us entertained....this is fun.

Aug 20, 2007 02:04 PM #18
Rainer
32,950
Beth Butler
Beth Butler - Big Mouth Consulting - Miami, FL

Angie - thanks and I will post a link as soon as it is viewer worthy.

Dick - from your mouth to Spock's ears ;) 

Christopher -  I actually think the blog makes communication easier - write it once and it is there forever.

Scott - Looking forward to it - you all will do great.

Missy - Thanks - I hope I have a success story to share.

Aziz -  Let's hope its not too far out there - need the agents to grab hold and write!

Monica -  yep - fun we will have and maybe we will learn something too.

Aug 20, 2007 02:06 PM #19
Rainer
32,950
Beth Butler
Beth Butler - Big Mouth Consulting - Miami, FL
Ines - we have to laugh right?  Our market is depressing - laughter is good!
Aug 20, 2007 02:13 PM #20
Rainmaker
223,300
Rick & Ines - Miami Beach Real Estate
Majestic Properties - Miami Beach, FL

Beth - all I can say is BRAVO!!  (although it's not a word that is in my vocabulary).  You know I love your ideas and what you are doing for your company and for your agents is definitely "out of the box thinking".  I think what I like the best is your involvement in this whole project.  I look forward to judging your first week and thank you for the opportunity - and by not being part of EWM, you know my opinion will not be biased.

btw - that video was DOPE! 

Aug 20, 2007 02:19 PM #21
Rainer
6,818
JoAnn Hostutler
EWM Realtors - Weston, FL
Ready - set - launch - EWM is all systems go and ready!! Our commander "Spock-Beth w/ears" is ready to launch! The video was hillarious - where do you find this stuff!  I'm catching up, you may be surprised! JoAnn
Aug 20, 2007 02:35 PM #22
Rainer
32,950
Beth Butler
Beth Butler - Big Mouth Consulting - Miami, FL

Ines - I am thrilled you will judge week .  I know you will do an awesome job, thanks.

Joann - I am tracking you girl - I posted your stuff - go check. 

Aug 20, 2007 02:40 PM #23
Rainmaker
559,162
Maggie Dokic | Miami, FL | 888.883.8509 X101
eXp Realty LLC - Miami, FL
GREEN, CDPE, SFR, Pinecrest | Palmetto Bay |
Beth, please air the ears out so you can wear them again on Wednesday.  =)  I think everything about this is pure genius...right down to the featured spots for that first page.  Can you say su-eeeet?  And Ines Judging the first week?  That's the icing on the cake!  I'm so proud to be affiliated with such a forward-thinking brokerage.
Aug 20, 2007 02:48 PM #24
Rainer
32,950
Beth Butler
Beth Butler - Big Mouth Consulting - Miami, FL

Maggie - and to think I didn't know for blogging a mere 4 months ago.  I am so glad you are with us and can be a huge part of this.  No favoritism on the part of Ines - I think you may have to be disqualified from the contest - maybe I can throw in a few features for good measure ;)  

 

Aug 20, 2007 02:57 PM #25
Rainer
5,278
Victoria Bace Perdomo, P.A.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Realty - Weston, FL
The Video is so Funny.......... I guess our company blog is finally here... I can't not wait! New tools for us to learn... Wow!
Aug 20, 2007 04:03 PM #26
Rainmaker
559,162
Maggie Dokic | Miami, FL | 888.883.8509 X101
eXp Realty LLC - Miami, FL
GREEN, CDPE, SFR, Pinecrest | Palmetto Bay |
uh-oh.  I was waiting for the sound of the proverbial shoe going thump.  Booo hooo.  But I understand.  Neither you nor I would hear the end of it.  And I know Ines is above board always so there's no question as to her integrity.  Forget the featureds.  I'll earn those on my own.  How about 2 iPods for the kids instead?  LOL  And to think that at this very moment you are in the thick of things with the kick-off.  I can't wait!
Aug 21, 2007 03:45 AM #27
Rainer
94,575
Bob Carney
Taylor-Made Deep Creek Vacations & Sales - Mc Henry, MD
Licensed MD/PA Real Estate Agent
T+2 Where is the site??? Inquirying minds NEED to know!!!!
Aug 22, 2007 04:07 PM #28
Ambassador
754,794
Mike Jones
SUNSTREET MORTGAGE, LLC (BK-0907366, NMLS 145171) - Tucson, AZ
Mike Jones NMLS 223495
Waiting with bated breath...
Aug 22, 2007 04:30 PM #29
Rainer
32,950
Beth Butler
Beth Butler - Big Mouth Consulting - Miami, FL
Mike and Bob - I am so impressed that you guys checked back in.  I have been overwhelmed!  But it is going very well.  I will post tonight.  Thanks for asking - you can take a peak at blog.ewm.com.  Today's mission is to work on tweaking the site with the Tomato and his team.
Aug 23, 2007 01:24 AM #30
Rainer
94,575
Bob Carney
Taylor-Made Deep Creek Vacations & Sales - Mc Henry, MD
Licensed MD/PA Real Estate Agent

Nice...I found your Realestategenome site last night looking for this one. 

I would suggest standardizing your tagging process.  Looks like you will have listings come up in a multitude of tags (ie Realestate news).  Your category list will be longer than the blog if you don't have standards in place.  Being this is a new medium for your whole company, I am sure there are other hurdles that you will experience.  (I am interested in hearing that too)

But other than that...I am looking forward to hearing nothing but good news about your roll out. 

Aug 23, 2007 01:43 AM #31
Rainmaker
338,442
Gary Bolen
McCall Realty - South Lake Tahoe, CA
CRS - Lake Tahoe Real Estate Information

Beth - we've just got to come back and tell you how much we like the video again, and how much we appreciate you taking the time to comment on us.

We just added a few things you might enjoy: Our Bolero Button under mybloglog in the sidebar. It may be the only one of those anywhere. We also did a recap post of two things we did about us that might be fun to look at while listening to Bolero. These are about our child interviewing The Who and my brother and I meeting an NFL quarterback in our living room when we lived in Paris when we were kids.

You've got number one fans too. And it's all very cool.

cheers 

Aug 23, 2007 08:28 AM #32
Rainer
32,950
Beth Butler
Beth Butler - Big Mouth Consulting - Miami, FL
For anyone who is interested I just posted an update
Aug 23, 2007 02:12 PM #33
Rainmaker
719,075
Bill Roberts
Brooks and Dunphy Real Estate - Oceanside, CA
"Baby Boomer" Retirement Planner

Beth, I can't believe that you took on this project. It is so massive. Weren't you afraid?

Bill Roberts

Sep 04, 2007 02:54 AM #34
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