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:



Comment balloon 24 commentsPaula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA • January 29 2018 09:25PM


It’s very important to be authentic to who you are when you’re blogging because your representative is you, and your brand is you when it comes right down to it.

Posted by Laura Cerrano, Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher (Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island) over 1 year ago

Hi Laura, you are so right--and the public picks up on it too if you are off you game...If you have not written from that place that really shows who you are and what you know.

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) over 1 year ago

A long but well written article Laura Cerrano that is very agreeable.  The Z's the Street E's and the T's are a thorn in our side!  They have managed to edge themselves in between us and the consumer, no thanks to the powers that be.  More will try to suck us professionals dry.

Posted by Bruce Hicks, Your Lifetime Friend/Helper! (Best Homes Hawaii) over 1 year ago

You are the local insider, who lives in the community, is the community especially in a small town USA especially. It is exciting if you blog daily and have different streams working toward three main goals. Local information, property listing showcasing, chipping away at describing the process of buying, selling. That round robin using images, video, graphic information blended together will drown out the RTZ recycled blah blah blah looks the same. Be the local journalist, videographer, photographer, historian, chamber of commerce, go to for anything in your community information center hub. Thanks Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, Sr. LBA, there are many niches in our real estate audience too for sure. To serve home grown local information to daily right? You are so right about local history.

Posted by Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573, Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker (MOOERS REALTY) over 1 year ago

Good morning Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, Sr. LBA, 

Glad to see your worthy post featured! You are so right..being authentic and writing on local history in your niches is key. The public definitely picks up on what and who you know in your community and word is spread!

Posted by Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR, Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate (Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.750.6899) over 1 year ago

If Zillow were smart, they'd buy Activerain.   Then they'd have the listings that everyone wants and they'd have the local information.  A buyer wouldn't have to go anyplace else for information.

Posted by Tim Maitski, Truth, Excellence and a Good Deal (Atlanta Communities Real Estate Brokerage) over 1 year ago

Great post and a source for anyone who hits Wordless Wednesday today!

Posted by Corinne Guest, Barrington Lifestyles (Corinne Guest, Realtor | Barrington Realty Company) over 1 year ago

Write about what you know and people will find you. Thank you!

Posted by Nathan Gesner, Broker / Property Manager (American West Realty and Management) over 1 year ago

Nathan: You said it! That is exactly what I believe we need to understand at the deepest is not easy but then, nothing is if it is good and decent. To take original content from us as the big Z has done so efficiently and profitably (for them) is a cheaters way of doing business and I think the public ultimately will catch on and avoid any real contact with them.

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) over 1 year ago

As an agent, we can fill in all the blanks.  The big websites have the listing information and for the most part that is impossible to compete against.  However, a buyer or seller wants somebody to connect the dots, somebody who can filter all of the information that is being bombarded at them and provide concise wisdom and specific direction.  That is where an experienced agent is worth their weight in gold.  

Posted by Morgan Evans, LICENSED REAL ESTATE SALESPERSON (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) over 1 year ago

Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, Sr. LBA, ~ and I get to follow the Priest, hard to follow his act (lol.) Anyway, whether we are writing local market posts, educational posts, posting listings, or just posting for fun, this outlet is our voice and it is a great tool and fantastic podium for us to take advantage of AWESOME POST  


****I stand corrected - the priest is gone, that was fast. Great job AR

Posted by Jon Kolsky, Licensed California Real Estate Broker (Kolsky Realty & Management) over 1 year ago

Hi Jon: I saw that on my phone and there was no way to report it on that device--someone else must have reported it--thank goodness!  Thanks for reading my post and also for the compliment!! I hope it encourages agents to tackle blogging in a more consistant and interesting way regarding their listings---If we express what we know about our niche areas we prevent the sites that claim to "know" everything local from misleading the public.

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) over 1 year ago

Paula makes for a good hostess....

Posted by Richie Alan Naggar, agent & author (people first...then business Ran Right Realty ) over 1 year ago

Hi Richie: Thanks for reading it--I know it is long but I tried to be as comprehensive as possible! 

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) over 1 year ago

Hi Paula,
There is a never ending supply of things to blog about, that's for sure.  Every day offers up new fodder.  


Posted by Carol Williams, Retired Agent / Broker / Property Manager (Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals.) over 1 year ago

Hi Carol: Thanks for reading this post! I hope I was able to inspire some new ideas too...I like that you got the "WHAT IS WAS BEFORE IT IS WHAT IT IS"! That idea comes from ages ago when my firends and I had time to sit around the pool and talk about the area...we played that game quite a bit and can you imagine now how many new places come up for the idea?? I can remember when McCarthy's, here in Southampton came up as one place and it has now been three different restaurants since---same as the Old Post House on North Main Street as well..Originally built as a stagecoach stop! There are so many historical places that are now new businesses.

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) over 1 year ago

You make excellent points. As a realtor, knowing what is in the area, the little known history and quirks, can help create a rapport with the sellers, buyers, and locals. Thank you for sharing.

Posted by Corey Martin, Real Estate and Management Solutions (Martin Presence Group) over 1 year ago

Hi Corey: You are so right on the mark! These are the things that, very quietly, the successful agent has in his/her toolbox. It is a way to bond with the potential client--to build a trust that you can't build any other way! Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts...

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) over 1 year ago

Great article Paula Hathaway and thank you for sharing. In-depth original content blogs is what Google is looking for to aid web searchers. This is the perfect defense against Zillow who can’t compete in this arena. Thanks for sharing.

Posted by David Wright, Real Estate Refined (Benchmark Realty, LLC) over 1 year ago

Blogging about our area can provide a lot of information that buyers or sellers cannot get elsewhere. Focusing on our local area is key - I have to do more of that.

Posted by Kat Palmiotti, The House Kat (Grand Lux Realty, Monroe NY, 914-419-0270, over 1 year ago

Nicely written!  I'm learning a ton from your article and all the comments!

Posted by Brenda Whitman, Live in Laramie Real Estate, Broker/Co-Owner, Laramie, Wyoming (Live in Laramie Real Estate, Laramie, Wyoming) over 1 year ago

Yep, the only way to beat the big machine is to humanize the heck out our efforts. Local, local, local, go the heart of what our target clients  are looking for in terms of their values. Specilized niches are a great way to showcase ourselves as local experts...tough for the biggies to do...and many agents don't understand that by giving up trying to serve all the market, they will do better super-serving a segement. 

Posted by Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD, REALTORS® in Clark County, WA (ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors) over 1 year ago

Great post.

People love stories. So tell them great stories from your life in your market and they will come.


Posted by John Wiley, Lee County, FL, ECO Broker, GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA (Right Move Real Estate Group- EXP Realty) over 1 year ago

Hi John,

Thanks for reading it! I believe in story telling---more than any other thing in your tool box, story telling will leave a lasting memory. I have had buyers and sellers comment that they think about the things I tell them about the area they chose to live in and they love it! They now have memories that they will pass on to their kids and friends alike....

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) over 1 year ago