Inquisitive, Non-Accusatory, Really Want to Know Something Question from Barry Cunningham

Real Estate Agent with Fathom Realty West Sound WA State 52404

Barry Cunningham, the Infamous Host of Real Estate Radio USA (Yes, just like in the movie, "The Three Amigos" - he's not only famous, he's IN-famous!), recently posed a question on one of my Agent Genius articles, so I thought I would post a response here, and kill the proverbial 2 birds with one stone.

My article was entitled "Taking the 'HYPE' out of Hyper-Local Blogging" and served to exhort RE bloggers to eliminate or minimize the amount of self-promotional clutter or 'noise' taking up space in their blog posts.

Here's Barry's question:

"One thing I wonder, and maybe Rich can add…In looking how Localism is being promoted, it seems that AR is encouraging bloggers to basically become extensions of the local newspaper.

You know I follow the tutelage of Mary McKnight and one of the things she always says is to keep your local posts about real estate..NOT about current events and such. Point being we don’t want to be answering questions about what time the parade starts.

In as far as hyperlocal blogging, what’s everybody think? Should the current events be involved or should it be just about real estate.

My feeling is I want to attract buyers, that’s my demo…If I post about the girl scout troop brownie drive is the buyer going to matter?

Interesting conundrum. I once wrote about a restaurant that has all you can eat crab legs and I get a lot of traffic for people searching all you can eat crab legs but they don’t search properties or look to buy…they just want the restaurant info.

So why is localism pushing the whole community thing when it really does not do anything for real estate..or so it seems."

Well, personally, Barry, I think good effective 'Hyper-Local' blogging necessitates balance - a balance between qualified, experienced, and knowledgable real estate information, AND good relevant local content information/resources. Many times, a skilled writer can weave the two elements together almost seemlessly, thereby increasing your readership. One of my favorite posts entitled "Real Estate is for the Crabs!" is an example of this.

The New Localism will become more of a point of connection for neighborhoods and communities, where residents and local businesses can interact with one another. Think of it as thousands of micro-social networks tailored specifically to real world geographic communities. Our members will be afforded the opportunity to 'own' and dominate their respective neighborhoods/communities through quality, relevant content, and to establish themselves as the local real estate expert.

While I would agree that a large portion of our marketing efforts should be tailored towards people who are actively in the 'hunt,' I would also suggest that an equal emphasis needs to be placed on maintaining meaningful exposure/contact with our Sphere, and within the communities that we serve. Not everyone we come into contact with is interested in buying or selling right this minute. But eventually, they will. Or they'll think of someone they know who is. Consistent involvement on Localism will offer an effective means to accomplish this strategy.

And, if there's one thing we've learned in recent years, it's that consumers accessing the Internet have an ever-increasing desire for more information, especially as it relates to their relocation process. They are no longer satisfied with simply accessing listing information. They want to know the unique nuances and flavor of potential areas. Creating an archive of hyper-local content, rich with relevant search terms, and narrowly geo-targeted to specific communities/neighborhoods, will help to feed this appetite, and naturally improve your ability of being 'found.'

As much as I have enjoyed some of Mary's past articles, especially as they relate to SEO, I would respectfully disagree that a local blog should contain only information that is relevant to real estate.  Readers aren't always interested in current 'Days on Market' or absorption rates. A well-balanced local blog will serve up a menu that appeals a variety of tastes.

Barry, after having followed a number of your comment streams, and gaining some measure of appreciation for your particular business model, hyper-local blogging probably isn't a good fiit for you. Most of your clients aren't necessarily concerned with local content. They could care less about where's the best place to go for fresh sushi. They're more concerned with cap rates, ROI, and expanding their portfolio.

I hope this helps to explain things better, and adequately answers your question.

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Rich Jacobson is a REALTOR® and licensed Broker with Fathom Realty. He's a Crab Hunter, Clam Digger, and Oyster Shucker, skilffuly vanquishing anything in a shell! He is the Social Media Evangelist for Life on the Kitsap Peninsula & The Western Puget Sound in scenic WA State.

Comments (42)

Pete Jalbert
The Maui Real Estate Team, Inc. - Paia, HI

I think part of the job of Realtors is being a defacto embasador for your local community. That entails highlighting local events and lifestyle.

I find this particularly important for where I live in Maui. People aren't moving here due to corporate relocations. The majority of the people who come here are coming for lifestyle choices. There are many on the fence about making the move due to concerns and perceptions that they might get island fever. I need to be able to show them that there is more to life on Maui than the beach and I do that through a lot of community info posts.

Jul 06, 2008 10:53 AM
Richard Weisser
Richard Weisser Realty - Newnan, GA
Richard Weisser Retired Real Estate Professional


Fact: Market data can be compiled without individual intervention. There are plenty of data aggregation sites out there.

Fact: People LIKE to read a writer's perspective on a local level, to seek expert opinions about an area.

Fact: What you write and how you write it says a lot about who you are.

So I'll continue to write about anything that I think will enhance a reader's experience. I'm looking forward to the new Localism, can't wait to see it in operation!

Jul 06, 2008 11:00 AM
Barry Cunningham

Bill ..Bill..Bill what are you talking about. how many times over and over do I have to tell you..WE DO THE SAME THING...our business is your "investment" side is one thing, our real estate side is another.

I keep telling you that but for some reason it's not at all registering.

We market and write to very disticntly different audiences depending upon who we are targeting. In a very short time we are OWNING the long tail and the Direct SERPS...organically not with PPC...not sure what you are saying.

In any event, the CONSUMERS and the Investors are finding us in good numbers from our blogging efforts...directly attributed to Mary McKnight.

How many bloggers can say they have gone from non-existent to owning the SERPS and being on google page one in less than 50 days? It's a lot of hard work, we used some..some community stuff (of course we did) but we followed the RSS Pieces playbook to the letter.

Jul 06, 2008 12:11 PM
Rich Jacobson
Fathom Realty West Sound - Poulsbo, WA
Your Kitsap County WA Real Estate Broker

Andrew Kyle:  Localism is being totally revamped. The New portal is nothing like the old one. You'll see what I mean this next week!

Jul 06, 2008 01:30 PM
Rich Jacobson
Fathom Realty West Sound - Poulsbo, WA
Your Kitsap County WA Real Estate Broker

Bill:  This comment was 'spot-on'.... "But I think for agents, it's an extension of physical farming, which traditionally was a long term, but rewarding effort."

That's a good way of putting it. Why not do both? Why not target consumers ready to pull the switch AND attract consumers who simply become part of your readership, and will become eventual clients or referral partners?

Jul 06, 2008 01:35 PM
Rich Jacobson
Fathom Realty West Sound - Poulsbo, WA
Your Kitsap County WA Real Estate Broker

Barry: The Bottom line here is the Bottom Line. Whatever works best for you, to achieve the best results in reaching your specific target audience, and translates into money in the bank. Excellent question, by the way...

Jul 06, 2008 01:41 PM
Steven L. Smith
King of the House Home Inspection, Inc. - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham WA Home Inspector


I am going to be interested to see the new localism. I had a few articles in it, and some photos. It was obvious that much more could be done with it.

Jul 06, 2008 05:10 PM
Kathy Clulow
RE/MAX All-Stars Realty Inc. Brokerage - Uxbridge, ON
Trusted For Experience - Respected For Results

Rich - Interesting answer and more interesting comments.

What I like about active|rain is it is like an octopus (As my webguy/hubby puts it in his post My Blog Is An Octopus.) with many tentacles or sides with a central body or hub. It is up to the individual to use the tentacles best suited to their business model.

Jul 07, 2008 05:50 AM
Kelly Sibilsky
Licensed Through Referral Connection, LTD. - Lake Zurich, IL

I'm not entirely sure that the public should or would look to real estate agents for every bit of community information. After all, we have a chamber of commerce whose job it is to provide this sort of stuff. The public should look to us to be the experts on selling and buying real estate locally, not to find the nearest Chipotle. Nonetheless, I like sharing my local finds and will continue to do so, but I'm worried that we are trying too hard to be all things to all people when we should be specializing in real estate matters.

Jul 07, 2008 01:47 PM
Rich Jacobson
Fathom Realty West Sound - Poulsbo, WA
Your Kitsap County WA Real Estate Broker

Kelly - I would agree that there is an inherent danger in forsaking our primary calling, real estate, and trying to be all things to all people. I think a balance can be achieved - one that gives the consumer additional valuable information other than current listings or market conditions, and allows you to establish your expertise and credentials as the local authority in real estate. We already possess much of the information, and can certainly 'package' it better than our local chamber does....

Jul 07, 2008 03:09 PM
Jean Powers
Kane & Associates call 510.908.9002 - Alameda, CA
CRS,e-PRO,HAFA,SFR Broker, Northern California

Rich, great response to Barry's remarks and questions! I agree that most postings should be about real estate. Unfortunately it can become boring at times and  feel that we should also  show the public that Realtors are human too! I agree that we can combine both real estate information and the fun side of life!

Jul 07, 2008 04:29 PM
Pam Winterbauer
Pam Winterbauer Real Estate - San Ramon, CA
"Providing Blue Ribbon Service"

Rich......great comments to Barry's remarks.  Real Estate is our main forcus but the interpersonal also helps in relationship building.

Jul 07, 2008 04:35 PM
Derenda Grubb
CENTURY 21 Mike D. Bono & Co.'s - Lake Charles, LA


Great Post.  I totally agree with the desire of todays clientelle to obsorb more and more information,  I am constantly revamping my website to add more information and data to provide for clients to search in comfort before they become involved.

Jul 07, 2008 04:43 PM
Lola Audu
Lola Audu~Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI Real Estate - Grand Rapids, MI
Audu Real Estate~Grand Rapids, MI ~Welcome Home!

Rich, Thanks for taking the time to post on this.  Sometimes, I feel like those of us involved in the blogosphere in the real estate industry at this time are like pioneers in the wild west frontier. 

I don't think that there are any simple answers.  One thing I've observed in the virtual world is that there are few 'sure things' and sometimes stuff works or fail in a manner which cannot be anticipated.  But you never know unless you try...and then sometimes, you find yourself successful beyond your wildest dreams. 

Jul 07, 2008 07:05 PM
Erik Hitzelberger
RE/MAX Alliance - Louisville REALTOR-Luxury Homes - Louisville, KY
Louisville - Middletown Real Estate

Rich, I'm certainly anxious to see the unveiling tomorrow. I have an overall plan to build an infrastructure of reaal estate specific information and then expand with community events, etc.  The idea behind this is to attract buyers and then make sure that they stay.  Hopefully, it will fit with the Localism model.

Jul 08, 2008 05:02 AM
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

I suppose we are entitled to blog about whatever we like.  Readers can decide what to read.  As a former seamstress, I will try to craft a seamless product that will make consumers happy.  In a way, almost everything is related to real estate.  Doesn't that "all you can eat" restaurant sit on a piece of ground?  Are there homes for sale near that restaurant?  Do the restaurant owners also own a home?  It's all good.

Jul 09, 2008 08:34 AM
Carole Cohen
Howard Hanna Cleveland City Office - Cleveland, OH
Realtor, ePRO

Rich, you and I are of the same thought process on what hyperlocal means. I wish I could tell you all the people i have met by blogging about local issues and places. In reality, and I believe this, real estate is not just about houses and what they cost. It's intertwined with the vitality of a community, the jobs there, the services, restaurants, the laws local govts might want to pass. I dunno but blogging has gotten me friends and contacts and yes clients! So we must be on the right track. Having said all this everyone has their own style so why can't they just do what they want and we can do what we want :-)

Jul 12, 2008 08:06 AM
Rich Jacobson

"So why can't they just do what they want and we can do what we want?"

Carole:  Therein lies one of the great mysteries of the world. For whatever reason, some just seem hellbent on criticiszing everything. Others simply want to assert themselves as the resident authority on all things networthy, or have overinflated egos in need of constant attention. Who knows. You would think that at some point we could simply agree that each of us is different, and each of us has different ways of approaching the market, and conducting our business. <sigh>

Jul 12, 2008 08:16 AM
Carole Cohen
Howard Hanna Cleveland City Office - Cleveland, OH
Realtor, ePRO

lol well put Mr. J

Jul 12, 2008 08:25 AM
Not Yet Licensed

You would think that at some point we could simply agree that each of us is different, and each of us has different ways of approaching the market, and conducting our business.

Yes.  That's a nice ideal, Rich.  But how can we ever be happy knowing that you're conducting your business in the wrong different way???  :)

And my second question is: What on earth is a cassabanana?  That's the secret code I have to enter to post this time.  LOL

Aug 16, 2008 07:54 PM