Over the years Realtor associations have expressed interest in starting blogs, and some have followed through. I have been watching the association blogs. It is hard to get them off the ground and to keep them going.
Some associations rely on agent volunteers to write, and others rely on staff or some combination of the two.
I went searching on the Internet looking for blogs written by associations and found several. Most don’t appear to get much traffic or have a clearly defined audience. Some of the posts look like they are for agents and others seem more consumer-oriented. For the uninformed, it is hard to determine the mission of some of the associations based on their blogs.
Some of us who have had blogs for years are not sure we want our associations writing posts for consumers. I would rather have consumers come to my local blog for local real estate information.
I would rather continue to be the source for local market statistics and not have to compete with my association to remain a local trusted source.
There is one board that publishes local market statistics and it has become a kind of go-to place. The board provides analyses for the numbers, just like the local media does. I call it spin, and because it is an association publishing the blog it usually puts a positive slant on the numbers and almost always predicts that the coming months will be better.
Is it really the role of the local, state or national association of Realtors to be a go-to place for consumers? I am not convinced that it is, but I am not totally against the idea, either. If it is done right, associations could give us all credibility.
But sadly, it isn’t often done right and I cringe at the thought of more self-serving real estate content floating around the Internet. It is often either the tired "now is a great time to buy" or "why you should use a Realtor" pitches. …CONTINUED
In one city I found a blog written by the local board that seemed to feature commentary from one member and linked back to her blog. I wonder how the other members feel about that? Should a board feature one member — one Realtor?
Another association blog I found reminded me of those morning radio shows during which two or more DJs banter with one another. The association staff have the same kind of back-and-forth conversations on the blog. I wonder if that blog helps the association members or the association.
I am not certain that Realtor associations should have blogs or that they are a good thing, and the associations that have them should know who their audience is and have a reason for writing to them.
The blog should promote all members equally and have content that is of value to the members. If members don’t use the blog, associations shouldn’t waste the time and effort just so they can say they have a blog.
There is probably a way that an association could use a blog to communicate with members and to promote the association, but I think a private blog that is just for members or maybe a group on Ning would be the way to go.
Some associations have Facebook pages and they don’t seem to be very active, but it is another way an association could reach out to members without getting in the way or coming in between us and consumers.
Several associations are now using Twitter. I have been following some and they are like the blogs in that it is unclear who their intended audience or message is.
The local association I belong to has a weekly e-mail newsletter and a Web site with useful information on it. Our MLS has a landing page for agents that has news on it and useful information on it, too. As a member, I don’t see the need for an association blog.
Teresa Boardman is a broker in St. Paul, Minn., and founder of the St. Paul Real Estate blog.
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