California members of the Women’s Council of Realtors are participating in a new blog network that combines content at a single Web site from bloggers throughout the state.
Homescopes.com, a site that launched in October (see Inman News story) featuring blog content from a group of seven Coldwell Banker real estate agents in Northern California, was the first blog network built by Domus and Realivent. This new WCRblogs.com site has 12 members so far.
Both sites pinpoint the location of blog network members on a map, and the sites display a list of titles for the blog posts, with the most recent posts displayed at the top of the list. When visitors click on a title link, they view the full blog post at the member’s Web site.
Bloggers’ photo and contact information are featured in a column alongside the blog headlines.
Pat Kitano of Domus Consulting Group refers to the blog network sites as "virtual feed readers" for blog content. "Consumers who find WCRblogs will naturally gravitate toward reading the bloggers in their city or area of interest."
And, he said, the network may boost membership in the Women’s Council of Realtors, as bloggers join the organization to participate in the blog network. The council, an organization that offers professional development for women Realtors, has 17,900 members nationwide, with about 2,800 members in California. Other planned blog networks, scheduled to launch this month, include a Southern California network and a Northern California brokerage company network.
Marian Bennett, a Realtor in Half Moon Bay, Calif., who is a member of both the Homescopes.com and WCRblogs.com networks, said she has been impressed with the traffic she is getting to her personal blog site through both sites. She joined the Women’s Council of Realtors to participate in the WCRblogs network.
"I’m definitely getting leads from it and the types of leads coming through are those that are a really good fit for me," Bennett said.
The ability to network with other members of both blog portals is also valuable, she said. "It’s an amazing opportunity for agent referrals," she said.
Participation in the Homescopes network, because it was new, "was a risk," she said. "It was quite a bit of money to get started. None of us knew each other." But, she said, "It turned out to be quite a wonderful group. We are all getting to know each other very well."
Bennett tracks hits to her blog site using Google Analytics tools and her site traffic through the WCRblogs.com site is "consistently in the top 10," she said. "For the first time in five years I am actually having to manage the leads," as the traffic has been climbing.
Roberta Murphy, associate broker for Villa Sotheby’s International Realty in Del Mar, Calif., a community near San Diego, said the simplicity of participating in the WCRblogs network was a draw for her.
She said that group blog sites supply an abundance of timely and relevant posts that a one-person blog cannot. "I generally know when I go to one of those (group blog) sites I’m going to get something meaty."
Sites that offer a large collection of individual blogs can take a lot of time to sort through, by comparison, she said, as "information flows like a river, it’s so fast. Sometimes it’s hard to grab what I would really call authoritative information."
The WCRblogs site, she said, provides perspectives from Realtors in different areas of the state and allows her to view one site instead of multiple sites to get information.
While individual members of the blog network may go two or three days before placing a new post on their own blog sites, the network site is updated more regularly because of the collective participation.
"I may go two or three days before putting up something on my blog, but the person who goes into the WCRblogs network is going to get detailed, real-time information," Murphy said.
While she hasn’t received any new business yet from her participation in the just-launched network, she said she hopes that consumer interest will pick up.
The network should be a useful referral tool for agents, she said. "A lot of agents I deal with now I’ve met through blogging. You get a feel for their voice, what they’re about."
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