Interview with Mary McKnight of RSS Pieces

[photopress:mary_mcknight.jpg,full,alignright]As the online face of RSS Pieces, Mary has quickly become an influential member of the real estate blogging community by freely giving her expertise on many technical areas of real estate blogging. She’s fun, interesting, opinionated and intelligent… What more could we ask for?

What inspired you to start blogging?

I actually started blogging years ago on a number of fitness sites because it was a passion of mine and blogging was a way of connecting with other aficionados and sharing my experience and knowledge. That’s where I developed my unique voice and my strategy for driving traffic and penning posts that keep readers coming back. believe me, I crashed and burned many times when I first started blogging. Back then, there wasn’t a manual for how to do it- it was all trial and error. But over time, I came up with a formula that worked. So, when we entered the real estate market with a blogging product, I applied the same successful
formula I used for my fitness articles.

Are there any special topics or issues that you enjoy covering?

I love anything about emerging technologies so topics covering web 3.0, the semantic web, FAOF and SIOC are what I’m interested in covering now. But my roots are definitely tutorial posts. I like writing them and I love knowing that in some way I have helped Realtors to build their knowledge base so they have the tools to grow their business. I’m a big believer in giving people the tools to build their business regardless of which blogging product they use.

[photopress:rss_pieces.jpg,full,alignright]What have you done to personalize your blog?

I always try to use a conversational tone and talk to my readers rather than type at them. I hate to be lectured or read dry technical manuals (which I read a lot of), so I like to keep my posts fun and often campy. I also like to share little bits of my life in posts so readers can connect with me directly. I find that when people feel that they know you and can connect with you they are more likely to contact you or share themselves with you. I receive the most comments and emails from posts where I share bits of my life. Here is an article I wrote about humanizing your blog for intimacy.

Do you have any favorite posts?

By far my favorite post was the meme- I loved watching that virus spread throughout the industry and beyond.

I also have a special place for each post that I penned as a guest host on other blogs because I can’t believe anyone would trust me with their blog!

My favorite tutorial posts are:

What are some of your favorite blogs (real estate or otherwise)?

Good question. A blog has to be stellar to make my feed reader and here
are the top 5 feeds in my reader from Real Estate and Other.

Real Estate:


What tools/websites do you find most helpful in putting together your blog?

The RSS Pieces system was built by the ground up by our own staff so all the tools we need for SEO and add-on functionality are already inside the system but here are some of my favorite development and free SEO tools:

Macromedia Homesite, Widexl, NUAH, iWebTool, Zen Studio, W3C, RSS Pieces SEO tools. We also are always looking at what the power bloggers are doing and what the industry thinks is on the horizon.

How does blogging fit into the overall marketing of your business?

Blogging is an essential component of our marketing strategy since we are a blogging company. I think as a blogging company you have to prove that your system works by making it work for your own company. I hope that our little blog does show clients and prospective bloggers that you can build success with blogging in a fairly short period of time through strategic content, a little bit of home grown marketing, quality SEO and a lot of attitude.

What plans do you have to improve your blog over this next year?

  • Implementation of the semantic web in our blogging platform so each of our blogs will web 3.0 enabled
  • Drag and drop template configuration so users can rearrange the way their sites look without having to call the developers to recode them.
  • Better online image editing and gallery management in our editor
  • Better support for people using cell pones and PDAs

What is the one tool or feature that you wish your site had?

Better support for people using cell pones and PDAs.

What do you think real estate blogging will look like 3 years from now?

I think the line between blogs and websites will be blurred so much that people won’t be able to tell the difference. Blogs will take on more traditional website features like listing searches and mortgage calculators. They will begin to replace their website counterparts. This is the direction in which RSS Pieces has been moving. Traditional blogs are pretty featureless by nature, more and more companies will begin to add features to their blogs so they can become their central on-line presence. Also, once FAOF and SIOC are in place, blogs, forums, aggregators and other social media sites will become more interconnected giving blogs a firmer foothold on the Internet as information resources.

I also think that natural selection will occur and as the blog population grows, weaker blogs will die off and the overall quality of the remaining blogs will increase.

Thanks, Mary, for taking the time to answer these questions!

Everyone else, feel free to leave a comment or peruse these other interviews with other influential real estate bloggers…