Over the couple of weeks, I've had the distinct pleasure of talking and/or meeting several individuals from the Active Rain blogging community. Missy Caulk, who is just a couple of hours away in Ann Arbor called me because she was going to be in Grand Rapids, Michigan for a convention. When we met for lunch at the Amway, it was like sitting down with a good friend. We brought her a bouquet of flowers to celebrate her being named one of the "Twelve Top Female Real Estate Bloggers" by the widely read Sellsius blog. The conversation flowed easily and we laughed a lot. We didn't want it to end. So, when she invited us to join her and her team at the convention, we tagged along.
Later on, I got a call from Steve Volkers, an agent in Grand Rapids who was inquiring about the upcoming Blogging Seminar. Steve is very progressive in his thinking and I appreciated hearing about how he is connecting via Facebook and other Web 2.0 platforms in addition to Blogging. Steve's blogging efforts have yielded tangible results in leads and successful transactions. Upon reflection about my conversations, I realized that the volume of commissions from leads within the past year from 3 real estate agents related blogging efforts alone was well over $100,000. That's not small change...particularly in Michigan.
More recently, I spoke on the phone with Amber Riviere. The first time I read a blog Amber wrote was when she won the Prime Time Contest hosted by Mark Flanders with her article entitled "Drive." The reason I was calling Amber was because I had received a call from Jeff Dowler. Jeff was calling me about a creative NEW newsletter that Amber has launched called the 411 Newsletter. This on line newsletter is Amber's answer to expanding the reach of excellent blog posts to real estate clients all over the country.
You see, consumers are just beginning to grasp the gold mine of information available through real estate blogs. The phenomenon has not yet reached the critical mass which will will create a Tipping Point. But, it's a movement which is gaining members and momentum very quickly.
Amber's idea...give agents the opportunity to subscribe to an online version newsletter created from Blog Posts which can be e-mailed to hundreds of clients. As the agent you don't have to do a thing...just contact Amber to subscribe to the service. Not only is this expanding the reach of well written blog posts, it's giving agents another way to add Value to their clients without even having to write a Blog!
It is crystal clear to me now why this is going to be an extremely powerful aspect of marketing. The explosion of blogs in every arena, 109 Million as tracked by Technorati, will eventually make blogging another mainstream source of news and information. Think of how often you hear blogs quoted or see their authors on Fox News and CNN...something you rarely saw 3 years ago.
Looking back...a year ago, I couldn't understand why my kids wanted to be on Facebook and Xanga. Nor, would it have made sense to me that one of the most eagerly anticipated rites of passage, entrance into a prestigious university, would be celebrated with almost the same level of exuberance as being eligible for an e-mail address that allowed you to join the school's Facebook network. But when we took our son to college, students seemed to know each other. They settled into an easy camaraderie...not as strangers but friends who had already met and were eager to delve deeper into relationship. Seeing this first hand, in tandem with my own experience was a watershed moment for me.
When I've met potential clients who have been reading my blog, it a very different sort of introductory process. Sitting down with someone who has read your blog is like meeting a friend...one with whom you have some delightful catching up to do. The barriers of mistrust have been broken down. The true work of service and counsel can begin unhampered by lingering suspicions and misplaced apprehension. Clients have told me, they "feel they know me."
I just finished reading an interesting blog post entitiled "Lead Generation Paradigm Shift" by Pat Kitano author of theTransparent Real Estate Blog. Pat's insights about how the shift from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0 are going to change consumer relationships is intriguing.
According to Pat Kitano:
"Web 1.0 was about buying leads sourced from sites that collected contact info, usually as a toll for the consumer to see additional information. Web 2.0 promotes the free exchange of information with the presumption that the good will of such exchange would lead to a business relationship. The newest paradigm is just beginning to appear. Web 2.x will promote the free distribution of data as currency to attract leads" (I really encourage you to read this article in full context...)
If Pat is right...and I think he is, this paradigm shift will yield a blogger increasingly expanding returns through the interconnectivity of relationships realigning potential leads back to source authors in exchange for the attraction power of their ideas. Those who have already started to build this database by blogging are literally investing currency in the bank of ideas. Are you Building a Deposit which you can withdraw from tomorrow to fund your future by writing posts that consumers will WANT to read?
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