Bloggers Connect Workshop – wow…

I spent all of yesterday (Wednesday July 24th) at the Inman News Real Estate Connect SF 2008 Bloggers Connect Workshop. It’s an easy thing to say “Blogging is big” and to mean it, but have you ever had an epiphany in relation to the size of an object? I’ve been to the top of the leaning tower of Pisa. I’ve hiked to the top of the Vesuvius volcano and looked down upon Pompeii. I’ve asked the woman I loved to marry me and she said yes. During these times there was a moment of no sound in my head except for my own voice saying ‘wow…’ Now let’s move back to yesterday when I went to this workshop on Blogging. I went to keep up with my ongoing education and understanding of today’s technology in relation to Blogging. I knew I’d hear much that I had heard before and hopefully pick up a few new things that I may have overlooked or originally though were trivial. I was simply blown away at the expertise I was exposed to through the workshops.

I wanted to toss a few of the highlighted tidbits that got my pulse moving or made me feel justified in some of my own thoughts. The first of which was that Blogging is not for everyone and that if you decide Blogging isn’t for you, it is not a death sentence to your business. I have had many agents ask me about starting a Blog on their website. I often try to first get them involved either here at ActiveRain or through a resource of their choice and give them ideas on where to research for Blog ideas and how to think about content. Many of them fall by the wayside as they realize they don’t like to write. It was good to hear my own thoughts being echoed that this should never have been a stoning offense.

The first two panels of the conference were regarding creating content that hooks readers and case studies on four real estate agent/Bloggers that are closing sales from their Blogs. I thought I already had a good idea on Blog ideas but between these two panels I felt that my past ideas really were short of the mark. Compelling content should compel the writer as well as be tied back to the target audience the writer is looking for. I had never thought that out loud to myself. So if I want to engage a buyer of luxury homes I should Blog about luxury homes, buyers and situations. A simple concept, but I was glad to finally get it. Many of the Bloggers had a Blog for their business focus and another for a personal hobby of passion. My instant addition to read was Mary Pope-Handy’sHaunted Real Estate Blog. I found a kindred spirit (no pun intended) in that Blog.

The next session covered the electronic bread crumb concept. You can’t just get a large readership by writing a great Blog. You have to advertise your Blog by participating in the social networks elsewhere and making sure there are ways to go back to you either via a filled out profile page or a tied in link to all you have done online. This way as you participate in a Blog comment at one spot, someone who is interested in what you said can trail back to your Blog to see what else you say. I was constantly writing down the suggestions and statements of David Gibbons of Zillow and Rudolph Bachraty III of Trulia. I have had some great experience with both of these companies offerings of listing services and profile management from helping real estate agents to do this same bread crumb concepts back to their PropertyMinder AccelerAgent Real Estate Website and lead generation that I could attribute to their sites. The rumor is that if you write about either Rudolph or David that they will come and comment. I believe it is similar to saying “Beetle Juice” three times and had to see if this was true. I always leave an offer of ‘grab a beer’ open to them if they see this and are in San Jose. Both those two and Patrick Kitano had many suggestions for places to participate in, utility software and how they accomplish some of their Blogging (or commenting) goals. I would have paid the money to see just this panel, but please don’t tell Inman that.

The idea of Blogger legal liability in the realms of copyright or trademark troubles was an interesting and sometimes disturbing session. Legal liability of Bloggers is still a grey area within the court systems. The possibilities of trouble and long term time commitments to legal proceedings always make my stomach turn. With the idea of free writing, but the easy of copy and paste, Bloggers can find themselves on the wrong side of a situation. I always understood that concept and have tried my best to keep clear of any legal entanglements. The new idea that was tossed out was that there could be legal liability to the Blogger for any of his Blog’s commenter’s posts. In the past, I would have said that I could not see a reason to edit or stop a post to my Blog unless there was an extreme case of trouble. Now, I may have to be more careful to be sure my commenters do not post anything libelous as I know that the bell will probably be tolling for me too.

The last session was growing pains and taking your Blog to the next level. The issue was reaching a wall and not being able to get beyond the readership that you have acquired to date. The big push here was similar to a prior session’s mention of social networking sites. Honest participation elsewhere in the social verse with profile ties back to your own Blog. I have to say that the four panelists in this session seemed to have the most diverse opinions in comparison to any of the other forums. I found the point, counterpoint type of session to be interesting and I took notes from both sides of the questions.

I highly recommend Bloggers in the area to catch this workshop if it is offered again. If you are feeling a lack of enthusiasm to Blogging compared to half a year ago or if you think you know it all, I believe you will find information of value from this workshop. Some of thePropertyMinder TECH-MAR Clinic that covers this area will now include a few more tips and also additions to the list of cool utilities out there to help Bloggers. Blogging can help to generate real estate leads in the long run, but it is more about just being socially active at first with the returns coming as you go along. The TECH-MAR Clinic has always maintained that Blogging is a great tool that can help the search engine optimization (seo) of your PropertyMinder AccelerAgent Real Estate Website as well as help you to become recognized in your community.

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