Brad Carroll - Dakno MarketingWhen I started thinking about who would be best able to offer consumers the most insight on the use of Blogs, I immediately thought of Brad Carroll. Brad is the owner of Dakno Marketing and is a marketing consultant to some of the top Agents, Speakers and Coaches in the real estate industry.

Since Brad eats, breathes and lives real estate web design and blogs, he brings a unique perspective on how consumers can get the most out of real estate blog sites.

Kevin: What can consumers get out of a blog that they can’t find on a standard real estate website?

Brad: I think a big thing is fresh information. Since most standard websites don’t timestamp their articles, it can be hard to determine the age of the article (and more importantly, if it’s still accurate). Blogs on the other hand usually focus on the here and now. In addition, most blogs allow visitors to comment on specific blog post. This gives consumers a chance to connect with the agent.

Kevin: Can you go into a little more detail about “connecting” with the agent?

Brad: I won’t win many real estate agent friends saying this, but a consumer should really use the blog as an opportunity to interact with the agent without having to give up their identity. That’s the beauty of blogs. The consumer can stay in control. If they have a question, they can simply submit a comment on the blog without revealing their contact information. You quickly find out if the real estate agent is going to go the extra mile and be a true information resource. If an agent is willing to answer your question on their blog, then it shows that they truly have the interest of the consumer in mind.

Kevin: That’s a great point. I know website visitors hate it when agents make the visitor give up their identity before giving them any information.

Brad: Yeah, this still amazes me. The internet is a vast information resource. If a website makes me “sign up” and holds the information hostage, I will just go somewhere else. I think I speak for most consumers when I say that I want to be educated before I contact someone. That’s where some real estate agents go wrong. To be honest, I don’t understand why they don’t get this. After all, wouldn’t they rather work with an educated consumer anyway? That’s why I love your website so much. There is an amazing amount of information about Miami Beach Condos! And it’s freely available without any strings attached. I think that is also why blogs have caught on so fast. It’s free and relevant information.

Kevin: Yes free, but not always reliable. How can consumers sort though the true information and the sales gimmicks?

Brad: What? You mean not everything I read on the internet is true? But I am bidding on eBay for this great ocean front property in Kansas! But seriously, there are a few things that help weed out the people who just use their blog as a bait and switch sales tool…

  1. See if the real estate agent credits their references. Most legit blogs will often reference other opinions in their blog (in the form of links) additionally; they will credit any quotes or statistics that they used in their blog.
  2. Check other sites for relevancy. Is anyone else in the blogosphere (the blog community) discussing this same topic? Is their data in line with other sites?
  3. Check the date and frequency. People trying to use their blog as a sales gimmick are typically lazy. They will try to get the most mileage with the smallest amount of work. So check the date of the last post, and check how frequently they add content to the blog.
  4. Use your gut. Typically, just looking at the blog from an objective point of view will help determine if you smell a rat!

Kevin: You mentioned other blog sites. Where can consumers find other real estate blogs?

Brad: My two favorite places to search blogs would have to be Technorati and Google Blog Search. You can search by keywords in a post such as your City, or by specific blog sites.

Kevin: Any more advice for consumers using blog sites?

Brad: Just remember that a blog should provide an inside peak at the way the real estate agent thinks and operates. It can reveal their expertise (or lack thereof) about the market, the area, and more. At the end of the day, consumers want an expert in their corner. They like having the opportunity to research agents via their blogs, before diving in and emailing or calling the agent direct, and giving them their contact information. Anonymous posting of comments, gives them that opportunity.