BLOGGING: A WAY TO CAPTURE WHAT YOU THOUGHT YOU HAVE, BUT DON'T!!
Unfortunately, we are seeing the result of what Zillow and StreetEasy have done to our profession. They have taken our valuable content and made a monumental fortune off our hard work and our time and in the process getting the best SEO because they now have original content--"Content is King" on the internet!!
Listings have been handed over to these giant websites as if they were going to "Help" us make money! On the contrary, these "parasitic" sites are thriving by not only getting our original content but by getting some agents to pay them to do it!! They now "Own" that content and they will never give it back, in fact they will end up charging us to get the use of it!! In the end they have a gold mine of original content that they can then sell to a new start-up-- for a fortune, I might add!
We all need to understand that there is a way to get our faces out there, connected with our locale and our own listings! Here are a few tips on how you can approach blogging as a way to build exposure on the Internet, and thus, build your own brand!
Blogging humanizes us better than any other form of marketing and we need that!
Little known information that you can glean from local families and stories that have been passed down from one generation to the next are a perfect source for a great local blog. I view blogging as an anti-dote to the "virus" of the giant syndicated websites...they are becoming more and more established and they feed on our lifeblood: Our Listings!! We need to inform ourselves so we can in turn, inform the buying and selling public---we need the original authenticity of this information and we need to share it--but this time with buyers and sellers only .
There are many sources to look for local information. Many precious historical facts about Southampton, East Hampton and Bridgehampton were lost in the 40's through the 80's as the area became a place for those looking for a social life. These people were looking to relax on weekends, entertain their peers and use the beaches and the attractions, not to settle down to raise families. This was the "new" second home buyer!
Due to the level of interest in the Hamptons as a place to "Play In The Sun" we have lost a major piece of our history to the droves of summer revelers from across the globe. In the 90's the subject of it's history was dropped from the local vocabulary because it was considered "tacky" to brag about your roots and the history of this area. It was more important to appear to be part of the trendy Hamptons than to appear to be a "local" and a "farmer"!
CELEBRITY HANGOUTS AND HOUSES Now, in the 2000's The history of our community has taken a back seat to the publicity seeking media hounds looking for the celebrity who has become the norm here in the Hamptons. The stories are now more about the activities of the celebrity segment of the population and less about the founding fathers and their surviving offspring. Celebrity gossip is a way of life here; gone is the anonymity that famous people used to find and the reassurance that they could live and let live. The approach by those who promote the Hamptons way of life is to tell stories about the "Biggest" house or the "Flashiest" Maids Quarters as they try to sell $20M to $30M properties. They could care less about telling the history of this beautiful and historical place.
But people (the buying public) love it when they find out a little-known fact about an area where they choose to live or want to live! They consume the information as if it were nourishment for the soul. They keep the stories in their minds and thoughts and they share them with friends and others who may want to live here too. Research for local information can be done in the most surprising places: Old attics in houses that are about to be sold, estate sales of old books, stores carrying local used furniture and antiques---The owners of these places are a fountain of information! The Town of Southampton even offers a glimpse into the past from the oldest record keeping and diaries of the earliest settlers as they suffered through harsh winters and vicious storms of the summers here on the East End.
WHAT WAS IT BEFORE IT IS WHAT IT IS? I have found that asking this question can open a treasure trove of things to blog about: "What was it before it is what it is?" This is one way to get information out of the local population. The public loves to feel they can shed light upon the way life USED to be here in the Hamptons! Ask away and you will be amazed how doors may open to a new way of getting listings!
A WAY TO BUILD TRUST When an agent is able to open a closed door to a home buyer or seller they have added a degree of trust that did not exist before. Any time there is information shared about a locale, (interesting, valid and valuable information that is) the level of trust rises and the relationship between an agent and a buyer or seller becomes more sound. Not only that, there is a sense that this agent will be able to answer many other questions that the new buyer needs answers to---we all know that this is what homeowners, new to an area, are going to be looking for anyway!
WHAT CAN WE DO WITH THE KIDS? This is quite possibly the most important question you can answer for a young family. When a new homeowner settles in with the family in tow, the most important thing that they ask is "What can we do with the kids?" I discovered that one of my local posts has been visited so many times on the Internet that it could only be because there is a huge need to fill the population in on kid-friendly things to do here in the Hamptons. Knowing that I have made it my major focus in my local blog posts...I keep looking and finding new things to add too. With almost 18,465 clicks on one of my featured blog posts: FUN THINGS TO DO IN THE HAMPTONS, NEW YORK I have seen the light!....This is the way into the hearts and minds of the buying public. Inform, inform, inform and you will see the results that I have seen...a never-ending source of new business and repeat business too!
LOOK FOR THE THINGS THAT NO ONE ELSE SEES... There is a fountain of information available to all of us if we are just willing to see and hear it.
As you do your day to day real estate business there are opportunities like no other profession for you to do your research for your local blog. Take advantage of every one of them: People you meet, those whom you know have lived in the target locale for years can supply a generous amount of information if you take the time to tell them what you are doing.
Tell them that you are interested in what they experienced as a young person in the area and that you need their knowledge to expand your local blog posts. They will want to help you out once you have told them what you are doing with the information.
Ask them about places that were in your area in the past---soda fountains, movie theaters, five and dime stores, etc. Ask them to share their own stories so that you can write about them...they will love that!
Keep the history of your area alive! Make the public aware of your efforts to inform them. Blogging will give you local visibility if you do the right thing with your posts---always use tag lines, tags, long tail tag lines and local names of businesses, streets and other attractions.
Build Google Juice and SEO (Search Engine Optimization) potential by being as original and as high quality in your content as possible. Make your posts short and to the point and you will see a response that will build over time. Add links and photos as much as possible--this will give you a better chance to be snagged by Google and other search engine algorithms.
**ALL INFORMATION AND CONTENT IN THIS BLOG IS ORIGINAL TO PAULA I. HATHAWAY. The views expressed herein are my personal views and do not reflect the views of Douglas Elliman Real Estate
Paula I. Hathaway, Senior Broker Associate, Douglas Elliman Real Estate
Southamtpon Village Real Estate Specialist since 1995; Also Specializes in North Sea, Noyac, Water Mill and Bridgehampton, New York
Diamond , Gold and Chairman's Circle Awards; Top Producer since 2005
Click here to see my Hampton's website to see all my listings; please email me or call me for all your real estate needs in Southampton, Bridgehampton and Watermill: http://www.elliman.com/paulahathaway
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