[photopress:inside_real_estate_screenshot.jpg,thumb,alignright]If you follow real estate issues on the web, then you’ve likely come across John Mudd. There is no one in real estate blogging that is quite like John. He’s a master at marketing giving him a nearly ubiqudous presence in real estate circles on the web!
My introduction to John was when I noticed this February 2005 press release where he was drumming up support for a blogging award. Not surprisingly, he went on to win the 2005 Business Blog Award for the best Real Estate blogger and I quickly learned that he was definitely a real estate blogger on top of his game. In addition to his highly successful blog, InsideRealEstateJournal.blogspot.com, he’s a regular contributor on the Inman blog and he runs a very successful real estate company in the St. Petersburg, Florida area where he sells luxury homes, waterfront homes and condos.
What inspired you to start blogging?
Adnan Arif. He and I went to the same college. I was in the student senate when I met him. He ran an unsuccessful campaign for student body president. What was born from that was a very nice student-run Web-magazine called MAXED. I wrote columns for it. Adnan published it. After college I wandered around for a little while, then settled into a public relations/publicity career. Then I went into real estate at my dad’s advice because it was a “money business.” Adnan sold me on my creating a real estate blog. I created one and have been getting sales from it ever since. He and I also created Hundred Acres ( www.hundredacres.com), which crashed when our host stopped service without telling us. He also has Wrist Fashion (www.wristfashion.com) and some other blogs (he should have them linked to on Wrist Fashion) that make for interesting reading from time to time.
Are there any special topics or issues that you enjoy covering?
I use my blog to generate leads that I convert into sales, so I usually like topics that inspire phone calls or direct contact using my Contact John form. I get a lot of those. Usually featured listings and recent solds get great responses, as do market reports and location reports ( i.e., downtown St. Petersburg).
What have you done to personalize your blog?
My name is on it. It’s everywhere on it. There are also news releases and plenty of news articles and blog posts about me on it. It’s my best self-promotion tool. I’m a big Web marketer.
Do you have any favorite posts?
I like the one about downtown St. Petersburg’s condo future a lot. I get a lot of calls on it.
What are some of your favorite blogs (real estate or otherwise)?
Curbed (New York version; if they get a Tampa version up and running I hope they’ll let me contribute). Inman News Blog. LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION. Blog Herald. Gawker. Blogcritics. Luxist. The Diabetes Blog. Wonkette. I enjoy Steve Rubel’s blog and Jeremy Wright’s blog ( www.ensight.org) from time to time. Any blog that links to my blog or website. These are all on my blogroll or elsewhere on my blog.
What tools/websites do you find most helpful in putting together your blog?
Blogger. I’m a self-starter. I now have one Google AdSense ad on my blog, because they let me used targeted ads. That way real estate ads don’t appear there. I use Blogrolling for links, but I don’t really need to, I just did it that way since Blogrolling came out (it used to be hip to blogroll links, until Tucows bought them). I prefer hardcoding everything in. It’s not hard to do.
How does blogging fit into the overall marketing of your business?
It is my business. My blog and my website are my business. I use mailings and ads to help brand my website. The blog drives traffic to both and helps with PageRank. All of my business comes from the Web, I would say. On a rare occasion it may come from a mailing or a sign call or meeting someone in person, but 98 percent of it comes from people I “meet” online first via e-mail or phone conversation as a result of what they read on my website or blog. I have a buyers list of around 5,000 buyers because of leads generated from my blog and website combined. I don’t know of any other Realtor or broker in the industry able to do that in two to three years on a $0 budget.
What plans do you have to improve your blog over this next year?
No plans, really. Same blogging strategy as always – post about interesting stuff that is worth posting about, get lots of leads. He/She who has the most contact information wins in a down market.
What is the one tool or feature that you wish your site had?
No wishes here, really. I would love it if I had artificial intelligence robot assistants to hep me with all this stuff, and it would be nice if I had a robot follow-up assistant. I have tried outsourcing it and no one has my technique for conversion, so it’s a waste of money and time. I convert the leads into sales, but I haven’t seen anyone else be able to. I figure I could program robots to have my style and tone. Never try to sell a prospect you get online or you will lose them.
What do you think real estate blogging will look like 3 years from now?
Not much different, but we may see more transaction management systems integrated into websites. I wish we had seen those integrated into websites a year ago. Imagine, having your customers able to login on your website to view all of their transaction documents. That definitely adds value to your services. I think we’ll see more Google map integration, although that will depend on broker flexibility. Some IDX rules are far too static or too firm to allow for that, and some blogging software won’t allow for it, either. I see more real estate bloggers reviewing real estate products. I’m getting review requests by the ton as I write this. Realtor-bloggers are opinion leaders in their industry. When they talk people in the industry listen. Not everyone in the industry is comfortable with that, yet.
(Read more interviews with some of real estate’s top bloggers under the Real Estate Q&A category)