As you will soon see, there are virtually endless supplies of information and resources for real estate professionals. One concept that is predominant in this community is the idea of giving back by writing blogs, adding comments, and inviting other members. The underlying principle is that by educating and informing both customers and professionals, we make the whole industry better. So, in an effort to both save you time and to educate, I prepared this article for new AR members to help get you started.
One of the first things that you need to do is setup your profile. Your profile is your real estate resume. It allows others get to know you and your frame of reference. This, in turn, gives credibility to your posts and makes referring agents or potential clients feel comfortable contacting you. While this should be obvious, many people forget that their profile is a reflection of themselves at a given point of time. As you change (learn new things, form different opinions, gain accreditations, etc), make sure to update your profile.
Several other bloggers have written in depth posts about setting up your Profile. However, I believe that Brad Andersohn's 3 part series is both the easiest to follow and the most comprehensive set of blogs on the topic. If you follow all 3 posts step-by-step, you will be ahead of many veteran members.
Once you have your profile established, I encourage you to read other blogs. See what you like to read and what other members find interesting. Check out groups such as Active Rain Newbies, Week in Review, and The Art of Marketing You. Use the comments section to add insights, thank the author for a tip, or to ask questions.
When you are ready to start posting more blogs, don't be afraid, JUST DO IT. As you read through AR, you will notice that some people post about anything and everything while others limit it to professional content. You will even come across blogs that are written to argue one side or the other. However, I think that the vast majority of bloggers (myself included) would tell you to write about what you feel comfortable with. This is a reflection of you. If you want to be seen as the consummate professional and area expert, post only about real estate related topics and your area. If you want others to know more about you and what makes you tick, then share stories from your daily life. I do encourage you to read Margaret's article on "Seven Questions to ask before posting on AR". Pay special attention to #1. If you want to rant, ask questions, etc it is a good idea to use the Member's Only section. Barry makes several good points as well.
Finally, a quick note about points. You will notice that you receive points for updating your profile, posting comments, posting blogs, etc. You will also see that people are ranked by points in each area. While it is nice to be ranked high, never forget that CONTENT IS KING. The last thing that you want is for a potential customer to find your blog and think less of you after reading it. IMHO, modeling your blog's after Lisa's would be an admirable goal. This one in particular is great.
Good Luck! I hope this helps and I'll see you later in the rain.
If you are ever in the Louisville or Shepherdsville, KY area, be sure to contact me. I'm always interested in having a few beverages and talking Real Estate, Active Rain, or whatever.