Yesterday Seth Godin wrote a great post with some advice for real estate agents. One portion talked about using available resources to become a local/community expert.
He offered up his new Squidoo Mayor of Your Zip Code as way to "start a discussion group/info page about what’s happening in your slice of the world". No Mayor of Your Postal Code as of yet.
This is great advice for real estate agents who are expected to be local experts anyway. Even more essential if you have a lot of out of town clients moving to your city.
A blog could accomplish the same purpose - I wrote about this in October in a post called Meet Your Clients Before You're Introduced, and offered a few ideas for how a blog could "help establish a personal connection before you meet a potential client".
The first idea was to Become a Local Expert. Here's a few specifics to help show potential clients you're a local expert without having to tell them:
1. Photos -
- Who doesn't like nice photos of your neighborhood, community or city? And if you were moving into the area, you'd love to look at these photos.
- You don't need to be a pro - use a tripod, go out on a nice day, and click away. With digital cameras, a few shots of any particular scene will probably yield some decent results. Then put these photos on your blog, web site, ActiveRain Localism, Flickr...
- What to photograph? Community landmarks, points of interest, events, schools, recreation facilities, nature trails... or even beyond your community. If locals go there - take a picture!
- Speaking of Flickr - get your larger sized photos hosted and distributed with Flickr. If photos help sell a community (or listing), why use small, 200 pixel photos when your camera - and Flickr - are taking images 10x that size. Flickr enables you to use them.
- Looking for great photo tips? Visit this blog - Photography for Real Estate
- Since you have the nice community photos (#1) - why not turn them into a community slideshow? Add in some royalty-free music from Shockwave-Sound or Beatsuite and you have a compelling show that will let your potential clients sit back and watch your community... with your branding... and on your web site...
- Here's a show I did for a client - it's been on YouTube for 16 months - and on Vimeo for about 5 days... a mix of royalty-free photos and music, personal photos, and some basic transitions. On YouTube it's been watched 4,300 times which isn't bad for something we put up and then waited to see what happened - minimal time investment, and it shows off the local area:
3. Google Maps
- Google Maps allows you to create fully customized maps - and the embed them on your site of blog. Awesome features.
- Create a map with all your personal photos pinned to the locations they were taken.
- Add your slideshows to the map.
- Add testimonials to map.
- Add fascinating facts.
- Add local service providers.
- Add a Giant Pyrogy.
4. Local Events Resource
- Use your blog to spread the word about local events - even quick posts with links to online newspapers, press releases and of course other local blogs.
- Offer your blog as podium and platform to get the word out about their group, message or event (just remember who your audience is and who's doing the speaking on your blog).
- Offer to promote an event for some comp tickets - that you then give away on your blog with a contest for clients, subscribers, commenter's etc.
5. Write Reviews
- Blogs are journals after all, so keep of journal of where you go, what you do - and turn it into a review.
- Visit a restaurant? Write a review, link to the restaurant, then tell them you did it. You don't have to report every time you go out - but if you find a cool new spot, and they have great food and service - why not share this info?
- Take in an art exhibit? Link to the exhibit, the gallery and the artists web site.
- Maybe this glimpse at your personality beyond the office, or listing presentation or the open house will be a differentiating factor.
Any real estate agent can say they're a local expert - why not show your potential clients that you are.