Wednesday, April 9, 2008

What The Real Estate Consumer Wants From Your Blog

For some time now, there has been, let's say, a...disagreement between many prominent bloggers regarding what the typical real estate consumer wants when they come to your blog.

On the one hand, there is a faction that believes that the consummate real estate blog should be chock full of juicy morsels of information concerning...real estate. Listings, prices, mortgage rates, open houses, foreclosures, short sales, how the local market is doing, etc. Everything a person needs to know about real estate, all wrapped up nice and neat. The torchbearers of this camp, including such illustrious names as Mary McKnight, Bryant Tutas, and Laurie Manny believe that, in order to give your clients want they want, you should feed them a majority of real estate-related info, all the time. Doing this, they argue, ensures that you will place high in the search engines for your keywords, ensuring that potential clients can find you and ask for your services. And after all, isn't that what you're in business for?

The other camp, helmed by the esteemed Jim Cronin, James Kimmons and Todd Carpenter, espouses the view that you should provide your readers with as much community information as they can stand. The reason for this, they say, is to establish yourself as the community expert by writing on subjects such as community events, reviews of local businesses (such as restaurants, dry cleaners, banks, etc.), local government as it pertains to home ownership, and local history. Now, this also appears to be a worthy goal for any realtor wanting to corner their market, dontcha think? Yeah, I thought so too.

A third, but somewhat less well represented, group has taken the stand that, hey, maybe if you kinda strike an even balance between real estate and community info, I might just stick around for a while and maybe, just maybe, I'll contact you when it's time for me to buy/sell/rent/invest.
Blogger Sean Purcell had an eloquent take on this position over at BloodhoundBlog. Me being the diplomatic, middle-of-the-road kind of guy that I am, I tend to pitch my tent in this camp, or at least try to. This way, I'm hopefully giving my present and future clients equal measures of what they want and want they don't know they need.

Having said all this, I don't see a whole lot of information about someone actually asking Mr. and Mrs. Public exactly what it is they want when they read a real estate blog. So I asked.

There's a pretty engaging web site called BuzzDash where you can take little mini-opinion polls covering a multiude of subjects, including real estate. You create your own little poll and if the honchos at BuzzDash deem your question worthy of asking, they post it to their site. And being the generous guys they are, they let you post it to yours, too. Just take a look at the sidebar to the left and you'll see my personal mini-poll as it appears on BuzzDash with up-to-the-minute stats on what the people want. Cool, huh? Not very scientific, perhaps, but cool nonetheless. It's going to run for 30 days after I posted it, or until May 9th. If you'd like to keep track of the results, just come visit my blog anytime, the poll will remain up until it expires. Or, if I can get it extended, maybe forever.

Just remember, take the results with a grain of salt. The consumer doesn't really know what they want anyway.

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