…previous real estate blogs weren’t getting much traffic.
About the same time I started blogging about real estate, Google came out with gmaps. In order to build a little buzz around my new site, I built a little app on top of the their platform that put NWMLS data on top of a google map. Because Google didn’t even have an API for the service at the time, this app was just novel enough to earn a bunch of great inbound links from some very well-ranked “tech” bloggers who NEVER would have linked to a real estate site under normal circumstances.
The reason this is relevant is that these tech bloggers had much better google juice than anyone in the real estate community, and by earning a bunch of links from them, RCG was able to quickly do much better in generating relevant search engine traffic than any other real estate blog. Once I had search engine traffic, the rest fell into place. I was able to attract better writers because they could quickly see (based on the leads they were getting) that they were getting results… and in turn these great writers helped generate even better search engine rankings to RCG in a beautiful recursive process…
I mention this now because Greg seems to discount the value that new bloggers can get from reaching out to existing real estate bloggers (i.e. he says that it is not in their best interest to cloud their marketing message). However, I remember a time before Greg had hit the scene when no real estate bloggers had any google juice to give. Those links from the tech community had a tremendous (and very quick) impact on the traffic that Google sent my way.
While the tech sites that linked to RCG were not a relevant audience, I heavily reached out to those people because I knew enough about Google’s search algorithms to know that a bunch of links from high ranking sites would only help RCG in the long run… and those links definitely had an impact. They gave RCG a foundation to attract quality contributors because their content was getting read.
Note that last bit is extremely important… I think most local real estate blogs fail (and most do fail!) because they are not getting read quickly enough and it is frustrating to write for a community before your community has arrived.
I totally follow the logic of creating local content geared towards creating interesting content for your local community (and was dedicating serious time in my presentations to this idea before I remember hearing Greg talk about it), I simply do not think it makes sense to say that real estate professionals should not engage the RE.net on their local blogs.
As a matter of fact, if I was starting up a new local real estate blog, the first thing I’d do is reach out to the community of people who could give me links! (Never doubt the power of linkation!). You could try to get these links from your local community (i.e. the school system website, local little league site, local coffee shop websites, local chamber of commerce sites, etc.) or you could reach out to the existing infrastructure (i.e. the RE.net) that can quickly get your site ranked. Here’s a hint: getting links from well-ranked RE.net sites is MUCH easier than getting links from local community sites.
Once you’ve got some Google juice built up on your new blog, the rules change. At that point, you may want to ONLY focus on local issues… or you may find that you are getting most of your clients by taking on consumer-oriented issues as Ardell does on RCG… or you may find that you want to tackle a different approach… The critical bit is that once you’ve stored some google juice on your URL, you’re options open up tremendously. Until you get some quality inbound links, your real estate blog is really only an idea.
So how do you get some inbound links to your new real estate blog? I can think of three ways: (1) Pay/beg other bloggers. (2) Do something incredibly interesting. Or (3) engage the RE.net community by giving lots of outbound links.
The first option is a miserable way to blog. The second takes a great stroke of inspiration. And the third option is time-consuming but something just about any real estate professional can definitely take on. So if you do decide to start writing a new real estate blog, don’t go out on your own. Enjoy the low-hanging fruit of the RE.net!