The recent NAR convention reminded me that, it was about a year ago in Las Vegas at the time of the previous convention where I decided to get out and meet some of my peers in the "blogoverse." Active Rain is a great resource in learning new and effective ways to market yourself, your business and your properties. When I first got here, I was a "lurker" for quite some time. Interestingly, one of the first people I "clicked" with was Brad Andersohn. Some of you probably remember when Brad worked for a title company and (as he still does) gave so freely of his knowledge and of his time to this community. I quickly learned that, blogging and social networking was so much more than "pimping" listings. I'm not sure why, but I didn't really expect to find any real value in this "over hyped" type of networking. I had read about blogging but didn't have a real grasp of it's true meaning or usefulness. I did have an idea for a "hyper-local" niche but wanted to learn more and effective ways to take advantage of it. Heck, the term "hyper-local" didn't even have nearly the buzz as it does today but I knew we were on to something.
After "meeting" Brad on-line, I began to read more and more and would comment on an occasional post or (gasp) even try to write something once in a while. You see, in the beginning, my niche idea was going to be "just" a web site. We think it will be a really cool site (soon) but, bringing in the blog aspect to our project has been WAY more fun and successful than I could ever have imagined!
Here is kind of what has happened over the last year.
I decided to try and learn from the "best" bloggers and most knowledgeable people I could find. The following people have really been helpful to me or have been someone I have come to respect their work. (in no particular order) While there are others, I have personally met each one of these people and truly consider them friends. If you are new to blogging, you "need" to read all you can from each of these people. Heck, even if you are not new to blogging, you "need" to know these people. Following is a "small" list of some of the country's best bloggers that I can call my friend. I truly believe that I can pick up the phone and have a great conversation with each of these people at any given time. (more common to "talk" with them via Twitter or their blog though)
"Active" Brad Andersohn: I really enjoyed meeting Brad at the Inman Connect real Estate Conference in San Francisco. Brad has helped me on several occasions and I am grateful to call him my friend.
"Active" Rich Jacobson. Great guy, we had a chance to talk for quite some time at the "Blog World Convention" in Las Vegas recently. Rich gave me some great ideas on how to effectively use Localism. We will be implementing them in the very near future.
"The" Jeff Turner. One of those guys that really "gets it" when it comes to social networking. When Jeff talks about this stuff, it is really easy and beneficial to listen. Jeff and I have had some really great discussions here in Tempe, in Las Vegas and in San Francisco. We have had some fun and I appreciate all he does for so many people.
Ines Garcia. The Miamism.com blog absolutely rocks. They write about the community and show pictures that really make you feel like you want to live in their area. Serious, when I think Miami, I think of Rick and Ines Garcia. When I think of a friend that has done a great job branding a community, I look at the ways they do it in Miami.
Ok, this could get really long so, I'll just mention a few more of my faves that are my friends across the country and then some here in the valley.
Daniel Rothamel, the "Zebra" rocks the stripes! Also works with Inman News. He is a "big deal" with an amazing personality.
Todd Carpenter, a pioneer in the mortgage business and a blogging supah star.
Pat Kitano, another truly brilliant mind and one of the nicest people you could ever meet. You should participate in his knowledge packed sessions, they WILL help your business. Sign up for the series NOW!
Nicole and Reggie Nicolay, they know how to "sell" social media. Tons of fun, loads of talent.
Heather Elias, a smile to die for and a blog that rocks.
Ginger Wilcox, she is a great example of "giving back" to her community. Read her blog!
Brad Coy, really understands how to use social media. A good friend.
Andy Kaufman. sorry but just, "wow!" you gotta get to know this guy.
Laurie Manny My friend, opinionated, controversial& fun. "Google" Long Beach Real Estate. enough said.
Ricardo Bueno, this star is rising fast and doing some GREAT things!
Teresa Boardman - an amazing talent, and such a warm, fuzzy personality! :-)
OK... those are great people I have met from all over the country. Below is a short list of some of the bloggers (and people) locally that I have become friends with. Yep, some of them have become really good friends!
Of course, this isn't a "complete" list of the friendships I have made and I know I will kick myself for leaving a few out. I almost didn't write this because of that fact. I really do believe this is a great list of people and, who knows, next year, I might write an even longer post to share.
So, in summary, why should YOU blog? Why should YOU engage in "social networking?" The reasons vary as greatly as anything but, I will tell you this: It works. These friendships I have made are priceless and the benefit to my business is truly exciting. We each, in one way or another, can help each other and that is fun. Sometimes, a "helping hand" is as simple as someone linking to my blog. Sometimes, it is generating a great referral base of qualified and successful agents. Without my blog, I would probably not have met these people and would probably not have recently been featured in the Arizona State Press, contacted by the Arizona Republic, or had the opportunity to be in November's issue of REALTOR(R) Magazine. Soon, I will update Rail Life with some of the other recent "press related" benefits we have had from writing a "silly little blog."
Please feel free to check out some of the social media sites below and to add me as one of your friends or contacts. As one of the writers for the Arizona Real Estate Blogging Network, it is my goal to help share as much information as possible with you. Please join us at our monthly meetings.
I'm Nick Bastian with Realty Executives in Tempe AZ and I approve this message. :-)