::Raises hand:: My name is Andy, and I'm a blogger. Ditched my stupid template site years ago and switched over completely to a site built in WordPress, an open source blogging platform.
All my non-referral business has come through my blog. I've met so many amazing people and made tons of important connections through blogging. Participating in the various social media sites (MyEastBayAgent, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Voices, AR) absolutely helps me establish my credibility.
You can promote your blog by including it in all your marketing, and participating in the Real Estate blogosphere (We call ourselves the RE.net) by reading, blogging & commenting on other blogs.
That being said, it's not for everybody. Blogging is a mindset and needs to be done with passion and authenticity in order to be effective. If you're still thinking about it, I'd be happy to answer any questions that you might have.
I have blogs on several platforms and each one has yeilded results. I am focusing my latest blogs "Grand Rapids Real Estate Musings" on local content of what's happening in the Grand Rapids, MI area. However to get started, I would recommend Active Rain. The network provides a lot of support and information about how to blog and can help build an audience.
The best way to do this is door to door for small subdivisions otherwise send out postcards. Another thing I do is make my presence known when visiting the subdivision. Knock on a few doors ask homeowners what they like most about living here and some of the things that make their subdivision special. I've even taken pictures of the people I've interviewed and and post it in the blog with a quote!
When taking pictures use a tri-pod or other professional looking equipment and hang out around busy front entrances during rush hour etc. try to stay there for a while even if your done taking photos people still stop and ask what you are doing. This is a perfect time to meet residents and give them your card!
It is a way to add credibility and differentiate myself from other lenders. As to promoting it, I'm still early in that process, but it's now on my business card and part of my email signature. Being part of the RE web and commenting on other sites is also in the plan.
Yes, I have a blog site, yes it's helped my business and yes it gives me credibility. I use the Wordpress platform and love it! It has definitely helped our business. One way (which was not foreseen nor planned) is that when I write about a topic, I can reprint that information our buyer packets, listing packets, newsletters, print advertising, etc. In other words, a major benefit has actually been a time saver for us all the while increasing the professionalism of the information we provide to clients and customers.
Another way it's helped is by allowing a resource of fresh content and a way for me to constantly report on what interested our clients and customers. We have Feedblitz set up on our blog and once a week it emails a weekly 'newsletter' to our clients and customers of the posts I've written throughout the week. This has been phenomenal as far as our connection with our clients and customers.
The blog very definitely gives us credibility. I'm a stickler for factual information, not fluff, heresay or opinion. When I provide facts, I also provide my analysis which I stress as my opinion. I'm very tired of in accurate reporting and 'lump' reporting (lumping all areas into one and all price ranges into one, etc) most commonly done by the media. I have been able to counteract the media in our area by consistently providing accurate, relevant and up-to-date information via our blog.
The best way I have found to promote it to clients and customers is to allow them to sign up to receive the weekly email. I also promoted it to our clients and customers to whom we already had a relationship with and already had their email addresses. This was very successful for us. Every day I add people to our database and to our email database. People love this.
Hope this helps!
If you are contemplating getting your blogsite then you probably already know the answer. Do it but one main thing is to use an existing domain instead of creating a new one. Why? You probably have already invested time into marketing/advertising a current domain and by using a new domain all past efforts are lost. Another reason is search engines value the age of domain. Older domains are seen as having more trust associated with them then a brand new domain.
Upgrading may sound like a big chore but its not...it just takes some time and effort proof is in the results it generates. Good Luck!