This is a guest post from Bruce Kirsch, founder of Real Estate Financial Modeling (REFM). REFM has a full range of offerings including training and consulting, an ever-evolving library of templates for analysis of all types, and strategic alliances with some of the best partners in the business.
When I started REFM in the fall of 2009, I was about as anti-blogging as one could get. Now I’m as pro-blogging as one can get. Wouldn’t you be if this were your website traffic graph? (Can you guess when my blog Model For Success was launched?)
6 months from 4/6/2010 through 10/5/2010: 10,561 visitors
6 months from 10/6/2010 through 4/5/2011: 23,422 visitors
Source: Clicky tracking of www.realestatefinancialmodeling.com
At the time I launched REFM, I was a one-man company, so even the thought of having to consistently be a “personality” via a Blog was unpalatable. There just wasn’t any time since I was also creating products, editing products, selling products, marketing, teaching, paying the bills and emptying the garbage, among other glamorous entrepreneurial tasks.
At the time (naturally without ever having really read any blogs), I regarded bloggers as vain, self-indulgent, wannabe celebrities. “I’m too busy doing actual work,” I would grumble when the idea was brought up to me on multiple occasions by those wiser than me, and I would dismiss the thought with prejudice.
After hearing the assertion from multiple sources of the importance of Bloggers as opinion leaders, I warmed up to the idea of at least reaching out to some Bloggers to make them aware of my products and services in the hope that they would review them favorably. This is how I met Joe Stampone, who now consults for REFM on all things social media.
Joe runs A Student Of The Real Estate Game, which has a readership that is a terrific fit for REFM’s offerings, and he (to my relief) wrote a positive review of my very first product. A few weeks later, he asked me to submit a guest post to his blog about evaluating whether real estate is the right career for you, and that was my first experience writing in a “blog style”.
The writing itself wasn’t so bad, primarily because it was practically a requirement that the post be short, so there was no pressure to expound upon ideas or make long, drawn out arguments. Once I saw how Joe’s review and the guest post drove traffic to my website, I started to get it through my thick skull that maybe I should in fact do this for myself.
I read a few “new marketing” books, and all of them urged the creation of a blog as a marketing tool, so I finally gave it the full consideration it deserved. My website was my storefront and public presence, and I wanted to get more traffic. I had tried email marketing like everyone else, and sometimes got good results and sometimes did not.
When I launched my blog in October 2010, I was instantly struck by the increase in website traffic, and I have been extremely pleased ever since. I will admit that it is a lot of work and pressure to consistently create fresh, interesting content, but I am so glad that I have the Blog both for marketing purposes and for personal purposes as well. It’s strangely cathartic and therapeutic to write down your thoughts, even if it is just your thoughts on something going on in the real estate world. (I guess this is why for thousands of years people have kept diaries.)
Now that I am on the “new marketing” train, I have also started to recognize the value in engaging with the social networks such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. I am currently working with Joe to provide compelling offerings on all of these platforms.
Since I am on the faculty at Georgetown, I am also thinking of holding “office hours” once a week on Ustream.tv, which could be a neat and fun way to interact not only with my students but also with anyone else who wants to ask questions about real estate finance.
Are you a potential Blog convert? What’s stopping you from getting one going?
If I held office hours once a week with free Q&A on real estate finance, would you take advantage of it?