This month marks the third anniversary of my very first blog post on The Tenant Advisor. In September of 2009, I set out to implement a comprehensive social media platform for my commercial real estate practice and from the very beginning this blog was designed to be the centerpiece of my strategy. While popular social networks such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter have been key components in my social media efforts, blogging is and remains the single most important aspect of marketing my services online.
The primary objective with my blog and social media efforts has always been about creating more business opportunities versus attaining critical acclaim. Have my social efforts created new business opportunities specifically new clients and real estate assignments? You bet it has and while the popular social networks have played a role, I believe the single most important aspect to promoting your business online and differentiating yourself from your competition is to create your own content.
The Benefits of Blogging
Social media has come along ways in three years in terms of acceptance from the business community and the commercial real estate industry. There has been plenty of hype and debate on the merits of social networks and it’s effectiveness. While we can all debate whether or not we should be on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook or the latest new shiny social network, it is hard to argue with the premise that a highly visible presence online can reap rewards.
You Have Been Googled
There is ongoing debate as to whether social networks are fertile ground for new CRE clients but one thing that is certain is that your potential clients are spending more and more time online and while they may not have a Twitter account or use Facebook for business purposes, the one thing they are doing is researching topics and looking for background information on people they are considering doing business with. They are looking online for people who can help solve their business challenges.
As I write this post, I have just passed 130,000 visits to my blog from over 100,000 unique visitors who have viewed over 250,000 pages of content. I am now exceeding over 8,000 visitors per month and the number continues to trend upward each month. Where do the majority of these visitors come from? Google Search.
Positioning Yourself as a Thought Leader
The numbers cited above in regards to traffic to The Tenant Advisor were not revealed to impress you, but to demonstrate the value of a blog. In September of 2009 the first month of publishing my blog, I had 69 visitors to my site. I would not consider myself a brilliant writer by any stretch of the imagination. I just put the time in and consistently posted 3-5 times per week. The fact I have 8,000 visitors per month is solely contributed to hard work and consistency. What I write about are the same things you are talking to your clients and prospects about every day. Anyone can do it, if they are willing to put in the time.
Since I started my blog some 3 years ago, I have been profiled in a book, interviewed and quoted in numerous business publications and appeared on the local television news. The day the news and camera crew showed up in the office for the interview caused quite the stir among my colleagues. I have also been asked to speak at numerous industry events on the topics of both commercial real estate and social media. Three years ago people from within the CRE Industry in Houston knew who I was primarily because I have been around for awhile. Today, hundreds of people around the country perceive me as an expert on the Houston office market and thought leader in my industry. Why, because I write and publish it online.
Staying on Top of Your Game
There is nothing easy about blogging, it is without question hard work. In three years I have written over 825 blog posts. Some of those posts took maybe 10-15 minutes to create and others hours of thought and drafting. The point is making a commitment to blogging forces you to stay abreast of all the latest trends in our industry and while coming up with new topics is increasingly challenging, the benefit is I have become a more knowledgeable and informed broker, which translates into a higher level of service for my clients. Today, I know way more about trends that are impacting the workplace, technology and the nuances of corporate real estate as a result of my blog.
The Business Will Come
The ROI questions is the one I get most frequently. Are you getting new business opportunities from The Tenant Advisor? The answer is yes, it doesn’t happen overnight, but it happens and after 3 years, it happens increasingly more frequently. The first deal came after about 6 months. Then in the second year the opportunities increased and I closed a couple of nice deals and put some real money into my wallet. Today, I am working on numerous assignments with companies who initially discovered me online. Candidly, I hope the industry (competition) remains pessimistic about the benefits of blogging. I am counting on it!