Blogging = sales. You may have heard that from lots of real estate types, but it’s actually been true for Ardell DellaLoggia, associate broker of Kirkland, Wash.-based Sound Realty. She started blogging at searchingseattleblog.com on January first – this year – and within two weeks was invited to join Rain City Guide, a Seattle-based real estate blog that is one of the country’s most popular.
Within five days she had picked up a client based on her blog; four months later, her blog has generated four transactions. “Blogging is how you advertise who you are so you get the clients that are most compatible for you,” says DellaLoggia, who was kind enough to sit down with Inman’s “Flipper” — Alison Rogers — for a Q&A:
Q: You only started this January? Isn’t that late to the game?
A: I think it’s maybe late to the game of blogging, but not for the purposes of getting clients. John Reilly and Saul Klein, the people who run the e-PRO program for the NAR (A National Association of Realtors course that produces an Internet Professional certification), asked me to try . . . My original deal with myself was, “I will blog until I have three clients.”
Q: You got your first one within weeks. Tell me how to do that.
A: You have to interest somebody who is about to purchase a home, not just somebody who is interested in real estate. I take what happened to me today, and what questions my clients had, and blog about that.
It attracts people who have the same questions.
Q: I find a lot of writing on the Web pretty generic.
A: You can’t just say, “There’s never been a better time to buy a house.” In order to blog you can’t say what every agent says. It’s like going to a listing appointment with the same CMA as another agent; your client might as well throw darts at a dartboard.
It helps that I’m one of the few agents who has sold in five states: Florida, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, California and Washington. On the East Coast I sold for Coldwell Banker, on the West Coast primarily independent shops.
All that experience gives me a different perspective on people.
Q: How often do you post?
A: Some days none, some days four; I try for an average of one a day.
I was a secretary back in the day, and I type fast. I can write a blog post while I’m taking a cigarette break.
Q: Sigh. I’m trying to develop a site (http://www.frontporchllc.com/) that combines static information and blogging, and it takes me two hours to write a post with good hyperlinks.
A: You have to remember blogging is ephemeral, for the most part.
People are looking at your front page! When your posts are two months old, they’re pretty much gone. You don’t go back to your diary and see what you did when you were 10.
Q: Back to grabbing clients. There’s an agent who’s in the top 10 or 20 at the biggest firm here in New York, and I’ve looked at her blog, and no one comments on it.
A: Do you want people to leave comments, or do you want them to e-mail you about buying property? Of the four clients (that blogging brought in) that bought houses only one of them commented on the blog. One called, and two of them e-mailed me.
Q: So in a sense it’s not about the blogging, it’s about you being a great real estate agent.
A: The type of posts I wrote attracted people who were ready to purchase . . . But learning to deal with the blog clients is different from dealing with referral clients, because of the speed at which things move. My first client contacted me on the 17th and I met him on the 19th and took him to two properties that I just wanted to see.
Q: Wait. You didn’t take him to see perfect properties for him?
A: No, no. When I meet a client, I know their price range, but I don’t ask them what they want till they see what they can get for that money. They come in saying one thing, but you’re supposed to figure out what they’re really going to do.
So then we made an appointment for Saturday the 21st. I saw a new listing come up at 11 that morning and we had an offer in within hours. It helped that it was Super Bowl weekend.
My fourth client came in simultaneously with my third, and it’s closing next week.
Q: What blogs do you read?
A: Growabrain, of course, is phenomenal; I don’t know how he does it. (But) I usually don’t read blogs, I research blogs to see what other people are saying. I do a lot of searching for the terms “Kirkland real estate,” to see who is coming up on top. It helps, if you see something coming up on top, to comment on a ranked search site.
Q: How many times do you hyperlink in a post?
A: I don’t know how to do those things; my husband or the moderator does it for me. I do find that mentioning myself or keywords in the article beefs me up in the search-engine rankings real fast. The fine line is that at some point I have to say, “contact me.”
Q: Other tips?
A: Describe who you are – and run a photo. Agents who will put their face on a billboard or a shopping cart won’t put their face on a blog.
You have to be honest; once people decide you’re not credible, they turn it off. I change the facts just enough so I protect confidentiality. If I sell a house for $750K, when I write about it, it’s $350K. The story of the woman who thought her toilet was a sump pump? That wasn’t yesterday. That lady’s probably dead.