MTV, move over. A Texas Realtor is making music video podcasts to showcase his company’s properties.
Of course, the virtual-tour videos, with eye-catching images such as a waterfall winding its way down a terraced, lighted front lawn, are not exactly MTV fare. There’s nary a glimpse of Britney Spears or Madonna, osculating or not.
But the videos do offer buyers a new way to eyeball Bruce Kink’s properties as they come on the market. The Woodlands, Texas, Realtor has produced 10 videos available for download on his Web site offering virtual tours of his listings with a music background. From now on, he will create video podcasts for his listings as they arrive, Kink said, and will soon add voiceovers.
Because it is a newer technology, it may be necessary to install updates to the various players to view the podcasts. Instructions for doing so are available on the Kink Team site.
The podcasts launched only last month, but have already generated major buzz, Kink said.
“Since introducing the podcasts (two weeks ago) we have seen an increase in overall Web traffic of almost 40 percent, with a popular podcast directory being the largest source of traffic,” Kink said. The Realtor has been besieged with questions from clients on how to get their homes posted in podcasts, as well as other agents who want to jump on the podcast bandwagon, he said.
Podcasts are audio files, usually MP3s, that can be downloaded to any portable MP3 player, such as an iPod, or personal computer. Now that iPods can play videos, Kink is capitalizing on this capability to showcase his properties.
Interest in podcasting is just beginning in the real estate and other industries. And though real estate agents including Zahara Mossman of Miami Beach, Fla., and Ira Serkes of Berkeley, Calif., are making podcasts to advertise their properties and themselves, Kink’s video tours are a new wrinkle.
Podcasting is different from other types of online media delivery because of the way it’s delivered. Listeners can subscribe to “podcatching” programs like iPodder that periodically check for new content on specified feeds and download it to the user’s computer.
In July, ByOwner.com, a for-sale-by-owner real estate site, started offering podcasts for the FSBO industry. In June, Martopia, a national marketing firm for the mortgage and financial services, launched its Executive Insight Podcasts of corporate positioning messages.
Realtor Kink got the idea for the tours when he decided to revamp his Web site six months ago. He turned to fellow Texan Mike Price, whose company, SiteTraffic.com, does Web work for real estate and other professionals.
“My job as Bruce’s consultant is to find new and exciting ways to stay on top of media,” said Price. Since crafting the first podcasts for Kink, the creative director has whipped out podcasts for four other real estate professionals in the area, he said.
“In Houston, the real estate agents are tech-savvy early adopters,” said Price. “The Houston MLS, HAR.com, is outstanding. It has done a phenomenal job of creating back-end tools for agents.”
Price believes podcasting will catch on big time with Houston area agents, and indeed nationally, this year.
“It’s going to get embraced real quick. Especially in the Houston market,” the creative director said. Indeed, Kink commented that in the two weeks since the podcasts went up, he has gotten a number of phone calls and e-mails from agents interested in the approach.
Here’s how it works: The videos are created from still photos. Using editing wizardry, Price and his staff add transitions, capture 360-degree scenes, add dissolves and zoom in and out to give the videos a sense of forward motion. The team also adds a music background, and, in some cases, voiceovers.
The cost: an initial $129 setup fee and $89 per listing thereafter.
“It makes a good impression on sellers that you have a new and exciting way to bring in buyers,” said Kink, whose eight-member team includes his wife and fellow Realtor Diane Kink.
“I haven’t seen this kind of podcast before,” said Laura Fisher, a Michigan Realtor who is an exclusive buyer’s agent. “It’s a nice marketing idea. If you can convince people to subscribe to your feed, it seems like a good way to keep your listings in view. It may turn out to be one of those methods that mostly make the seller feel good that their product is being marketed, but that has its usefulness.”
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