In light of yesterday's lawsuit, I think that it is an appropriate time to talk about online reputation and what I think real estate blogging should include.
Real estate is a relative late comer to the blogosphere, but the concept has spread like wildfire because there is great demand for real estate information in general, particularly in a challenging market. Readers recognize that a Realtor micro-focused on a particular market can often ‘drill down' and provide information not readily available anywhere else.
I consider Real Estate Blogs to be business-focused. As Brokers, we have an established revenue model and blogging is an innovative marketing tool, not unlike listing syndication or websites. With that in mind, I consider that our focus on blogs should be to provide information.
When addressing blogging terms like transparency, advocacy and conversation initiation, my interpretation of those concepts in relationship to real estate can be summed as follows - provide truthful and accurate information without bias and overused sales terms.
I go back to the old days when the marketing mentality was to "make the phone ring." Write an ad for a listing and leave out the address and the price. The mindset was that people who wanted information would be forced to call you. Those days are long gone. It is now all about information. We have all learned that providing factual and accurate real estate information is beneficial to everyone.
People criticize newspapers for editorializing the news - editorial belongs on the editorial page, inflammatory personal opinions and observations are best left out of your posts in a business blog.
As an example, if you are posting a market stats report in a neighborhood where the inventory is climbing - there is no need for you to say "Listings are increasing at a catastrophic rate". These sensationalized statements are best left to the "bubble" blogs who are trying to gain readership so they can sell ad space. As real estate brokers, we have a business model - we would like to continue the practice of selling real estate, and if providing good information can do that, so much the better. Adding inflammatory opinion just to gain eyeballs adds ZERO to your business plan.
Now, I appreciate that many blogging purists will disagree with me. They will tell you they love to engage and create conversation through controversy. That certainly has its place in many blogs - but for me, it adds nothing to what we , as Realtors, are trying to accomplish. I would never sugarcoat anything about the market. Facts speak for themselves. If the inventory in an area is up 30% and sales down 30%, the numbers speak for themselves. We are helping no one by ‘sensationalizing' the situation...not the area, not the market, and certainly, not ourselves.
Your online reputation is not just about blogging. It is about everything you do online including where you choose to syndicate your listings, the quality and accuracy of the information on your website, your log of comments and even the selection of vendors you choose for your online marketing. Make your selections carefully, your online reputation will define your business reputation.