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Daily Real Estate News  |  January 10, 2008  |   Bloggers Debate Best Way to Attract Consumers
Should real estate professionals simply start blogging and assume consumers will find them, or do they need a detailed business plan for turning their blogs into business-lead generators?

Experts debated each approach during the session “Steer Your Blog Toward the Long Tail” on Wednesday at the Real Estate Connect conference in New York City, sponsored by Inman News.

Dustin Luther, founder of Consulting and the real estate blog site, advocated taking what he termed a “soft marketing” approach to blogging. Start a blog, write about topics you know about and are interested in, and people with similar interests will find you and your business will grow, Luther contends.

But Brian Brady, managing director of Worldwide Credit Corp., a mortgage brokerage, said that strategy will soon be passÚ as more and more real estate pros start blogs.

“We all need to get a little more sophisticated about blogging,” Brady said. He advocated putting calls to action in every blog post and every e-mail sent to potential clients. Calls to action include directing readers to your Web site, giving them a link to find mortgage rates or to search an MLS, he said.

He also argued for creating a community of readers you want to do business with rather than simply waiting for people to find your blog.

In his case, Brady, a mortgage broker, wants to build a database of 1,200 people with whom he's already spoken by phone and who have given their OK to receive his e-mail newsletter. He’s about half-way to his goal, he said.

“Know what you want to accomplish before you start blogging,” he said. “A year ago, building a blog was trendy. Now a blog is just a tool.”

At another session later Wednesday, Kevin Boer, founder of 3 Oceans Real Estate Blog estimated that perhaps only 7 out of every 100 real estate pros will be able to successfully maintain a blog with writing interesting enough to keep people regularly visiting. He advocated including Instant Messaging on a real estate blog so consumers can reach you instantly with questions. In his case, he has IM questions from his Web site forwarded to his cell phone so he’s always reachable.

— By John N. Frank for REALTOR« magazine online

To read more dispatches from this week's Inman Conference, visit REALTOR« magazine online's editor's blog, Speaking of Real Estate.

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