Early this week, someone associated with Anonymous – a group of quasi-political web site hackers took down Go Daddy – holders of URLs. The hacker group has attacked government websites in the past and perhaps corporate ones that they didn’t like for reasons I don’t know, perhaps supporting child labour. Frankly I did not pay much attention to any of it. Hacking seems to me to be like graffiti – all so senseless and juvenile.
But when they attacked Go Daddy, they brought it to me and I noticed. I didn’t notice that my sites went down. But I did notice sometime later that all of my blog posts over the past two years had disappeared. I don’t back them up so I thought “Oh, my god, they are lost forever.”
They weren’t. My web guy had everything restored by noon the next day. Anonymous had released some sort of code that blocked the posts and it was an easy fix. At least that is what my web guy said.
But in the hours that I had lost everything, I had a thought. It was this.
None of the blogging I have done over the past two years has brought me any business. None of the blogging here or on 365 things to do in Kitchener Waterloo has lead directly to one home sale, not one new buyer, not one home seller.
“Why am I doing this?”, I thought.
When I first decided to go into real estate full time, leaving behind a company job with a secure pay cheque, I thought I would like to run my real estate business a new way, a way different from what the rest were doing. There is a certain sameness with real estate marketing. With agents, it basically falls into two categories.
- I’m number one. We are the number one team, the best brokerage… We are great and we will sell your home fast and for top dollar.
- I’m nice. I’m friendly. I’m professional and I will sell your home in a easy and comfortable way.
You see these two messages over and over again in real estate magazines, bus benches, buses, billboards and of course on line and in the real estate newspapers. The agents that advertise the most, get the most business (but don’t necessarily make the most money)
Well maybe they do. Anyway, I didn’t want to do it that way. I thought a strong online presence would lead to business.
So with Anonymous taking down my site and disappearing all of my blog posts, I did some soul searching and decided that I would stop blogging and especially stop blogging for 365 things to do in Kitchener Waterloo.
Alasdair said that I need some web presence as people do check you out on line. You need something there. It has to show competency. You have to be online, just like you have to have business cards.
He’s right, of course. I was overreacting.
But 365 things to do in Kitchener Waterloo I don’t have to do. The idea was to post daily events so that people would, first of all get to know me as a Realtor and who has a community site and thus think of me as a community minded individual, connected to the community.
I started 365 things to do in Kitchener Waterloo as a facebook page in July two years ago. I’ve enjoyed it’s growth and the awareness it has brought me as a blogger (but sadly not as a Realtor) and I’ve enjoyed being “in the know”. People have actually called me up on the telephone and asked where a good sushi restaurant is. That’s fabulous.
But it hasn’t lead to real estate business.
I was going to stop writing for 365 things to do in Kitchener Waterloo all together. It would likely die away quickly because of the nature of the site. And that would be a shame as I like it, a lot of people like it, depending on it to know what’s going on. I had a good indication of this earlier this year when I posted something that was sold out weeks earlier – boy, people were pissed off that they could’t see Great Big Sea.
But instead of shuttering the site I’m looking for a way to make it more real estate related – real estate related in the way that it won’t turn people away who are looking for things to do in Kitchener Waterloo, but in a way that will form a stronger bond between Keith Marshall – Realtor and 365 things to do in Kitchener Waterloo.
I’m open to ideas and suggestions, and so far I’ve been advised:
1) Plaster Royal LePage Grand Valley Realty all over the site. Mention real estate in every post. Hit people over the head that this is a community site run by a professional Realtor.
Good idea. People need to be reminded again and again about something. The subtleties are lost on most people. Most people have to see something 6 or 16 times before they will actually react to it
2) Figure out where you want to be in two years time and work toward that. When we added 365 things to do in Cambridge to the mix, Amanda and I talked about starting a brokerage in the future – 365 Kitchener Waterloo Real Estate Brokerage. 365 Cambridge Real Estate Brokerage, The 365 Real Estate Network – a series of real estate brokerages that are connected to the community. I hope that the brokers at Royal LePage Grand Valley Realty aren’t reading this, but that’s a great idea. There are more and more boutique brokerages being set up, so why not a 365 brokerage franchise?
That’s a goal that’s worth working toward.
So that’s what we are going to do.
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