I’m really glad that Tim O’Keefe agreed to the interview because he represents a different type of real estate blogger. He uses his Real Estate Marketing Blog to highlight the marketing services he provides to real estate agents. I really like that I can turn to his blog for interesting and opinionated posts on how to better market real estate blogs. Like all the real estate bloggers that I’ve interviewed, a lot can be learned from both his style and his content.
What inspired you to start blogging?
As a Search Engine Optimizing Company, I was blogging long before launching The Spider Juice Technologies Corporate blog-http://houseblogger.typepad.com. I tested, wondering if it was given any special priority by search engines. Contrary to what many believe, I found that they are not treated with any more special priority than a typical website.
However, the real difference was that blogs are not static like a typical website. They are usually focused. In fact, the more focused the better as far as positions go. I knew that search engines love content. The more content you offer the more chances that keyword phrases (intentional or otherwise) will get picked up and positioned. That was the hook. Easy publishing, because a blog is just a real simple and easy to operate Content Management System.
I found that that a blog still needs to adhere to the principles of the Search Engine Marketing Triangle. That is at the top of the Triangle, a page needs to have “on-page content” optimized. Most blog software does an OK job of “out of the box”, on-page optimization.
The bottom two angles are about Link Equity or inbound links. Because of RSS and Pinging, blogs can find natural and automatic links that are necessary for a web page to position highly. These links tend to offer much more natural structures into the blog page. I found the system to be beautiful as an additional tool for my clients. So about a year and half ago, I began to test on client sites, as well as launching my own blog .
Are there any special topics or issues that you enjoy covering?
I believe it essential to have an opinion on how to do a business. Otherwise, why hire you or me? The blog allows us to speak directly to our audience. It best be something useful and unique. In the beginning. I did what I find most newbie bloggers do. That is parrot back already over reported information about real estate. BOHHRING!
It became quickly apparent that if this thing was going to be worth anything to my business, that it had to be extremely useful for the reader. So my blog will rant and editorialize various topics to do with SEO, Pay per Click, lead generation/follow-up and anything about online marketing. I rarely will offer anything without giving an opinion. I do that because the blog is my chance to offer my personality on my business.
The typical searcher scans through webpages, looking for something useful. How do they know if it is important? You have to tell them either directly or indirectly. That engages your reader and gets them into you. Guess what? At that point there is a good chance that you just rose above all the other agents out there, and you have etched out a bit of their brain to remember you. Because, your opinion matters to them! This is what gets subscriptions, RSS reads, and of course more traffic.
Authors of articles, or books and publications are given a psychological Authority over their market. There isn’t a whole lot of money in writing books. But write a book and you will be given instant implied expertise. That psychology works with any kind of writing, including blogs.
Another way to say this is that I look at blogging as a way to position ourselves as thought leaders.
What have you done to personalize your blog?
When you have an opinion it is all about personalization. I don’t think personalization is accomplished by taking a picture of me with my family and my cats. It is offering an opinion that hopefully is valuable enough, and persuaded in a way such that the marketplace says we are viable.
I will weave stories from my personal life in order to make a point. I think I have mentioned my wife, kids and even the Youth Football team that I Coach. I don’t believe that I have brought my cats into a post though. LOL
Do you have any favorite posts?
The Bubble and MLS posts are definitely soap box issues for me. I also, have written about various market segments that I think are wide open for growth.
What are some of your favorite blogs (real estate or otherwise)?
Let me go down my RSS Reader- Albion and see- http://michelfortin.com, http://BoldApproach.com, http://sethgodin.typepad.com, http://seobook.com, anything political, and so on. I love reading intelligent and even conflicting opinions.
What tools/websites do you find most helpful in putting together your blog?
Typepad is simple. WordPress and Drupal, rock as far as functionality. I like them for different reasons/features.
How does blogging fit into the overall marketing of your business?
To read me is to know me. My work hopefully pre-frames my readers into knowing that we are experts. There are no surprises. The hardest thing in the world for a business to do is differentiate itself from the other “noise” in the industry. The blog allows you and me to make our expertise a foregone conclusion. Thus, we are able to shorten the sales process and get down to the nitty gritty of doing business quicker.
What plans do you have to improve your blog over this next year?
I will be adding Audio, Video and my blog will be an entry way into upcoming books, and Membership site for the do it your selfer agent.
What is the one tool or feature that you wish your site had?
What do you think real estate blogging will look like 3 years from now?
More integrated into traditional website models.
(Read more interviews with some of real estate’s top bloggers under the Real Estate Q&A category)