In April, we had our fifth bloggy birthday, and I missed it. No party hats, no ponies, no dancing bears. I think I was at a walk-through.
While it doesn’t seem like it, it has been over five years since I hit the “publish” button on my most hideous, inaugural post. It was a post that was shallow, boring, and laden with typos and grammatical errors. At least some things never change.
What has changed is that, back in the early days, blogs were not assigned in the prenatal unit. We liked to call ourselves “early adopters,” but the fact is that there weren’t that many of us with the deranged notion that someone might want to read our idle musings about real estate and, in my case, kids, domestic animals, meatloaf, or any other random thought that might be passing through my circuitry at a given moment. Most of us didn’t have a clue what we were doing or why we might be doing it, but we were having fun.
Many years ago, during our salad days when there were approximately 17 real estate agents chatting amongst themselves online and, in the process, making their risk-averse brokers prematurely gray, we sometimes, like all children, had to make our own fun. Sometimes we engaged in some good-natured ribbing; other times we participated in our own online version of the chain letter.
It’s that meme of yore (yore being 2006) I was thinking about yesterday when, during a webinar on real estate marketing, I was asked about the “right” way to blog.
Stop laughing. Stop it. Right now!
I am fully aware that, even though I can boast three-readers, asking me to give advice on blogging content is like asking Queen Elizabeth for a good tuna casserole recipe or asking Charlie Sheen for advice on, well, anything. You’d be asking the wrong person.
Specifically, the question was, “What percentage of blog posts should be personal versus professional?” And I think my awesome-expert response was something like this: “There is no right answer. Some very successful bloggers never inject personal information or anecdotes. The idea is to be genuine, to write in a way that you will enjoy it (and, therefore, stick with it) and your occasional reader may be at least mildly entertained rather than tempted to shoot both eyes out with their two-hole punch.”
The honest answer, however, is, “I dunno.”
Face it, not everything has to be all that purposeful. Over-thinking tends to stifle. I know I was handcuffed by over-thinking when I became a Broker and began pausing a little too often to consider how the 11th Circuit Court might interpret my writing. I went through periods where I became so overly concerned with whom it was that I was supposed to be writing for that I ran out of words altogether. My most successful posts have been those where I blogged like no one was looking (which is mostly the case.)
Maybe the right answer is that we should just write for ourselves. Because, this medium’s value is in it’s opportunity to attach a personality to the bus bench photo, whatever that personality might be. It is an opportunity to be genuine and transparent. We won’t appeal to everyone; we can’t. So be honest, and whether you honestly feel like writing about market statistics or the 23rd season of Survivor, just do it.
And if anyone is interested in starting another one of those silly memes, I could tell you about my having been rejected by Survivor Casting twice, most recently at the point where I was so close a career-ending move that I could smell the bad editing and unfortunate footage of a fifty-one-year-old in a bikini. I was so close, that Steve was dangerously close to being fitted for a straight jacket over the thought of managing the business alone for two months while I ate rats in some sweltering rain forest.
Maybe, instead of waiting to get tagged, I could be true to the style I have adopted over the years and just weave my experience into a story with a real estate message.
- “Why do some of the things we do make no sense? Applying for Survivor and laminate flooring.”
- “You think you are priced right? Long market time, lots of showings, yet no offers – The tribe has spoken.”
- Old homes, old contestants and viewer ratings – It doesn’t matter how well preserved and maintained you are; most people just want to see newer construction.
- “When you ask me to complete a 140-page finalist application including releases from my entire family, many of whom themselves live in remote locations — like Green Bay — would you please allow me to use electronic signatures like we do in real estate? You’re a game show. We deal with the transfer of real property. Who do you think you are, Bank of America?”
But then again, this is supposed to be a real estate web log. So perhaps I should write something about appraisals and how the appraiser doesn’t care that you spent $300,000 upgrading your guest bathroom. They will attach a value of approximately $2.95. That’s just the way it works.
Maybe tomorrow. Because, if I am honest, today I feel like meeting a garage door repairman and scheduling some property showings. That’s my reality show. Take that, Jeff Probst!