We’re pretty loyal to our media mentors. We blog for the same reason they blog:
- Seth Godin
- Marc Davidson, Brian Boero and Jessica Sweeney of the 1000Watt Team
- Jay Thompson, formerly the PhoenixRealEstateGuy
- Matt Beall, Winston Wellborn and Neal Norman of Hawaii Life Blog
These professionals have re-written the game because they do something the majority does not—provide relevant content. Yeah, in the case of Kawasaki, Alltop is an aggregation of other people’s ideas; there’s a lot of quantity, but a pretty fair amount of unique quality too. These four have built their reputation on quality over quantity. They’re not one-hit wonders or spammers; they’re gifted and relevant.
In 2008, I spent the most fruitless week of my real-estate career attempting to maximize my blogs and sites with all sorts of keywords, SEO, backlinking and other terms I’ve now, it turns out, forgotten. It’s hard to do something complicated and monotonous if your passion behind the project is unwilling. At the end of the day, I’d rather be uniquely relevant than wildly popular. I’d rather write about roadkill and my weekend bike crash because, well, that’s worth talking about. More than foreclosure rates or what action the Fed might take next.
Seth Godin has over 500,000 unique readers a day on his blog. Seth has nothing that optimizes his site. He is Seth. His relevance is big. His ability to create content is nearly unprecedented. He has 500,000 readers not because he is duping Google, but because of the merit of his ideas. Jay Thompson (aka @PHXREGuy) was the same thing in real estate. He sold his blog for a third of a million and is now the Warrior Priest of Zillow.
In the end, a real-estate business worth managing will accomplish more with 100 to 200 loyal fans of quality information, ideas and causes than one that goes after the disaffected masses. Almost 70% of all buyers and sellers want to work with their agent again, and yet only 11% do. Blogs should tighten the community and tighten the bonds. Correspondingly, SEO-focused blogging has nothing to say and creates a large number of disposable clients.
Our clients aren’t disposable.
Blogs should be about discovery. Blogs should be about curiosity. Neal Norman, one of the top agents in Hawaii, is also one of the biggest contributors to the blogs of Hawaii Life. Neal is strikingly handsome and has a gravelly George Clooney voice. Neal could just show up and be Neal and sell a ton of property. But when asked about why he blogs, he answered “I’m passionate. I like dirt. I like wood. I like dirt and wood.” It’s one thing to say that, it’s quite another to back it up. Neal runs his numbers, and posts about them. Neal has an architectural aesthetic that owners of $20 million estates appreciate. Neal is a surfer, so when he writes about the Eddie, it matters. Neal’s blogging, it matters. It’s his playful sand box where past and future clients discover that the brains and passion behind the handsome is actually quite formidable.
For us, blogging is about expanding our world view, and tying our world view to voices and data we trust. But it’s mostly about sharing. Something that thrills and excites, that’s worth talking about. Like the merits of ditching the waders and wet-wading when fishing. Blogs are a beginning and a continuation of stories, threads that put the other pieces together. They are an entrance, not a resolution. They are not always poetry, but they should leave the reader transformed, and perhaps newly fluent in ways that they were not before they encountered the post.