Today’s goal was to look through a few different websites and blogs that have the same focus this blog will have: real estate marketing in today’s tech savvy and media saturated landscape.
I know, I know, you’re thinking, real estate marketing? Snooze. But wait! It’s not all smiling headshots and magnet calendars. There is huge potential for creatives to work their magic in this industry. Besides, it’s always just a little fun (and maybe a just a little sobering) to look at pretty pictures of pretty houses you’ll pretty much never be able to own.
However, back to today’s plan, reviewing some established blogs in this realm. First, we’ll take a look at Geek Estate.
Created by Zillow in 2007, Geek Estate offers real estate agents advice on how to incorporate technology into their real estate marketing plan. While a little heavier on the technology than this blog intends to be, it’s still a great resource to keep up-to-date on emerging technology in the real estate industry and established technology that can be used by real estate agents to further their business.
The posts are written by a variety of regular and contributing writers who are all well versed in real estate technology. In some cases, perhaps too well versed. The blog tends to use technical terms and discuss technical applications as if their audience will automatically know what they’re talking about. It may be a little off putting to a novice real estate agent, or a legacy agent who is working to embrace the new real estate landscape.
One thing I really love is that the blog authors are really engaged with their audience. You’ll see lots of responses to comments and full on conversations or debates between the author and commenters in the comments section.
I was able to find Geek Estate on both Facebook and Twitter, but these accounts are basically just throwing out links to new blog posts. There is almost no interaction with an audience. However, there is a link to Geek Estate’s “private community” on the blog. It is a closed Facebook group with around 130 members. I was able to join the group and it is indeed a lively community. There are discussions and posts that range through real estate technology subjects. People are actively engaged, making posts, commenting, discussing and sharing information. If you’re even remotely interested in real estate I’d suggest sending a request to join.
Now for the full disclosure. Drew Meyers, who thought up this blog while employed by Zillow and now has full ownership, has just launched a start-up called Horizon, and several recent Facebook group and blog posts are centered around that. I can excuse the little bit of self-promotion because 1) It’s his blog, 2) His start-up is in the real estate tech realm and 3) there is such a wealth of knowledge throughout the blog that he and his contributing writers have cultivated.
The site gives you options to subscribe to posts via email or RSS feed, join the private Facebook group, and you can even log-in and create your own account for posting comments, but I see no option to visit their Twitter or public Facebook page. I think they’re missing an opportunity here, and it is especially suspect since one of the subjects covered is social media management. For me it knocks my confidence in their social media advice down a few pegs.
The last thing I’ll talk about is the site’s organization. It is beautifully categorized and tagged, and you can find posts easily through this method, but there is no archival system that allows you to reach back to specific time periods. Maybe I want to look at what was going on with this blog when the real estate bubble burst in the late 2000’s. I wouldn’t be able to find that without some clever digging, and ain’t nobody got time for that. This is a personal preference, and I understand the bigger necessity is to have the categories and tags, but I think that’s a way I would improve on the site’s features.
I’d also try and cultivate a more public social media experience by tweeting and posting more than just “New blog post: Here’s the title,” which is literally almost every tweet on Geek Estate’s Twitter page. That’s just disappointing. There are tech conversations you could get in on, or take that audience you have on the private Facebook group to Twitter with you. Promote your social media across other social media platforms. Again, that’s my preference, but something I’d endeavor to do with the blog.
As a whole, it’s clear its purpose is to educate and inform and it does that beautifully. The writing is clear, concise and engaging. It is a great resource if you already have a general understanding of the technology out there and want a more in depth look. If you don’t have much tech experience, some of the posts may be a bit much for you, but there’s still plenty you can glean as a real estate tech neophyte.
Now, I’m the kind of girl that can really appreciate something that’s very to the point which is why Real Estate Marketing Blog at, you guessed it, realestatemarketingblog.org, really tickled my fancy.
I’m afraid that I found this great resource just as it’s dying out, though. While posts aren’t dated, a quick review of the comment dates on the front page posts shows the most recent ones from about a month ago.
Further evidence of a crumbling empire is their Twitter feed @REMarketingTips. Up until July 2014 it seemed to be a pretty interactive Twitter page, posting their content, other content, retweeting, replying to tweets, the whole shebang. I’m not sure what happened after July, but since then there have been sporadic posts, and the posts are the same five or so posts directing you to the blog posts on the front page of their website.
Not to mention, comments on some posts date as far back as three years ago, and then as recent as a few months ago. It seems pretty obvious they are recycling content instead of creating new content. That’s got to be breaking one of the rules listed somewhere in this blog, the stated purpose of which is to provide “Internet marketing tips and ideas to help you get the most out of your real estate website.”
Before this site hit whatever road block it hit, it was clearly a pretty thriving community. Lots of comments on blog posts and blog authors responding to commenters. Their Twitter page has over 75,000 followers. They even provided a mailing list and regular newsletter. It appears these people knew what they were doing at one point and have just let it go.
To end on a positive note, though, the posts themselves are smart and easy to read and understand. The information is sound and applicable, so I would still consider it a great resource.
Think of it like a real estate marketing blog museum at this point. Still valuable, entertaining and educational, even if all the stuff in there is pretty old.