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September 14, 2011

Who’s going to take the Blogging Challenge?

by mark mclean

In 1963, in a speech talking about the building of a dam, John F Kennedy coined the phrase ‘A rising tide lifts all boats’. It’s a phrase seldom used today but the interpretation is simple. One person, in literally any industry, has the power to lift the entire industry by doing good work.  Of course the negative is true aswell. One person, by their failing, can hurt an entire industry. So why am I using a president’s words as a precursor to a blog on this Monday Morning’s meeting? Simple. This week we had a great guest speaker who, in my mind, demonstrates a true desire to be the very best in his business. By spreading the word he believes other agents will excel and the unprofessional ones will simply fade away.

Mark Savel, is a young realtor from another Toronto real estate company. We met last year and have maintained a steady friendship both on and off-line. Mark is an expert blogger. He has built his business on writing witty stories about condo openings and other real estate matters. He has been quoted in newspapers and over the last few years has built up a strong following. When I was his age, I had no business being in real estate but Mark has proved his worth in one of the most competitive businesses with skill and finesse. He is also, as my agents would attest, a very relatable and approachable guy who is also incredibly modest and humble. Of course, when we talk, we talk about real estate blogging and I listen intently to what he is up to. A few weeks ago I asked Mark if he would speak to my agents about his successes in the blogging world. It took a bit of time but we finely got him in for a little question and answer session. Here are some of the questions that I posed to Mark;

Q.  How many posts do you do a week and what kind of topics do you right about?

A. I do about 3 posts a week. In one of those, I try to do something serious, maybe market conditions, or policy changes. The other two are kinda fun and entertaining. Once I wrote about a small sofa with an ipod docking station. The condo sofa post got something like 1500 hits on Google the first week and propelled my blog to top spot.

Q. How long did it take you to build up your following?

A. When I first started, it took me about 9 months to start to get repeat readers. 3 blogs a week. Constantly at it. Today, given all the social media sites available, you should be able to ramp up a fairly successful blog in a little over 3 months.

Q. How do/did people find out about your blog?

A. Spreading the word is pretty easy. Twitter of course is a big part of it. I have a thousand followers. Also LinkedIn and Facebook. People can also find you organically  by putting good tags on your blog. Tags are essentially key words that people may search for. Also, make sure your blogs have captivating titles.

Q. Do you do any video blogging?

A. No. Its not really my style. I wouldn’t rule it out for the future though.

Q. So, blogging can be a successful farming tool?

A. Absolutely. Each post takes me about an hour, but  I get about 90% of my business directly from it. I stay on top of my posts. It is important to keep measuring my performance to see what works and what doesn’t. Google analytics and Klout Scores are good measuring devices.

Q. Any other thoughts you want to add?

A. It’s important to remember that if you are posting facts, they should be accurate and verifiable.

Mark loves to talk about real estate blogging. In his mind, social media is a great way to connect with buyers and sellers. He is, beyond a shadow of a doubt, proof that it works. So, why don’t mare agents do it?  Fear of the unknown, laziness, unwillingness to try something new? take your pick. All day Monday I got a lot of positive feedback on Mark’s talk. Agents commented on the great free advice and were impressed by him talking to a company other than his own. 

Mark, you are a stand up guy. Keep up the great work. Now lets see how many of my agents take up the blogging challenge.

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