A couple of years ago I was at a social event with a bunch of local bloggers — most are in the real estate industry. I overheard a conversation that was going on behind me less than a foot away. They were talking about this woman who is relentless, ruthless and unstoppable; they said she is a machine.

When I turned around to listen, they all started laughing. They were talking about me and my blog. That was a little more than two years ago and nothing has changed. There is a post on my blog everyday. These days I get some help from a neighbor who likes to write and from a past client who works in the real estate industry. They write a post a week and I write the other five.

They used the word "ruthless" because they are what I call friendly competitors.

A couple of years ago I was at a social event with a bunch of local bloggers — most are in the real estate industry. I overheard a conversation that was going on behind me less than a foot away. They were talking about this woman who is relentless, ruthless and unstoppable; they said she is a machine.

When I turned around to listen, they all started laughing. They were talking about me and my blog. That was a little more than two years ago and nothing has changed. There is a post on my blog everyday. These days I get some help from a neighbor who likes to write and from a past client who works in the real estate industry. They write a post a week and I write the other five.

They used the word "ruthless" because they are what I call friendly competitors. I started the blog as an experiment in 2005 and by 2006 I started coming up No. 1 on page one of the major search engines under certain keywords. My competitors would like to have my position in the search engines, and I won’t give it up without a fight.

I started another blog last winter when business was slow and I was bored. I have posted on it every day since. It is a photo blog. I started taking the photos for my real estate blog, and with all that practice I got pretty good at it. But I took more photos than I needed, and I wanted a place to post them.

The blog is doing very well. One of the by-products of that blog is a listing: the seller is a photographer.

The photos were never for sale, and it wasn’t my intent to sell them, but more than a dozen have been purchased and I have a contract to shoot some more. It isn’t what I set out to do but I have been taking a lot of photos and some of them were bound to turn out well.

The ability to take pictures is an unintended consequence, and the photos themselves are a by-product of my real estate blog.

My goal was to be found on the Internet by people who want to buy or sell real estate in my market area — and to build integrity, provide value, and to show people the beautiful city I live in.

The unintended consequences of my Internet presence have taken on a life of their own. I generate revenue somewhat passively from these by-products of my blog, and the income grows a little each year. The content that I generated four years ago is still out there working for me. …CONTINUED

Writing this column every week is a great example of an unintended consequence: Inman news found me because of my blog and my Web presence.

Closer to home, I get free publicity through the relationships I have built over the years with the local media. They read my blog, and what I write is quoted. Sometimes I get interviewed for newspaper, radio or television.

On a national level, I have been mentioned in papers and national publications including the Wall Street Journal.

That doesn’t help my business much because real estate is local, but it has resulted in some other opportunities, such as local and national speaking engagements and the opportunity to network with people who I would not ordinarily meet or even know about.

Those opportunities also generate more opportunities to snap photos in some pretty interesting places.

I wish I knew how many people I have met because of my Web presence. There have been many, and some have become close friends over the years. The relationships themselves have made it worth the effort.

My blogs have taught me many things, and I continue to learn from them with every post. Learning which by-products to ignore and which to embrace is an ongoing challenge.

When I make the wrong choices my business suffers. When I make the right choices I get opportunities, make a little extra money and grow from the experiences.

Teresa Boardman is a broker in St. Paul, Minn., and founder of the St. Paul Real Estate blog.

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