April 2015 | By Mario Jannatpour
How much money are you spending to keep your company blog and website updated and current? Do you have a staff person managing your Facebook and Twitter accounts? Are you posting articles on LinkedIn to help recruit new agents? All of these business practices are important, but they require a lot of time and effort — and sometimes a lot of money.
Podcasting might be the best low-cost method available today to market yourself and your company. The good thing about podcasting is that not everyone is doing it. How many real estate blogs are there on the Internet? Countless. How many real estate websites are there? Millions, right? How many podcasts are there in your area talking about real estate issues? Not many.
You can’t surf on the Web when you’re jogging; you can’t read a blog while you’re washing the dishes; you can’t watch a video while you’re driving a car (and anyone who is should probably be arrested). But you know what? You can listen to a podcast doing all of those activities — and many people do. Almost everyone has a smartphone nowadays, so that means they all have access to a podcast on-the-go.
Last year, I started my own podcast to help build my brand as an author in the real estate community. It didn’t cost much to get started: I bought a $50 microphone, spent $50 for call-recording software that integrates with Skype, and purchased audio-editing software for $20 a month along with podcast-hosting services for $20 a month. That was it. I have a basic Windows laptop, and I recorded my podcast in my home office. I’m no techie, but it was not hard for me to figure out the process of recording, editing, and posting my podcast online.
I was really excited when I started out. I had delusions of grandeur that my podcast was going to get tens of thousands of downloads a day, and I could quit my day job and move to Hawaii. Ah, yes, it’s always good to dream. In reality, I had two downloads after the first day, and after my first week, I had 30 downloads total. It’s safe to say that pretty much only family and friends were listening. Naturally, I was disappointed, but I stuck with it.
Tip: Know your target audience. Mine is aspiring and new agents, and I tailor my podcasts specifically to this group. I record podcasts on my own, but I have also been fortunate to record podcasts with generous guests who are willing to give back and help new agents. To date, I have interviewed Richard Robbins, Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn, Jared James, Jack Cotton, top-producing agents, and new agents just starting out. Month by month, my audience grew, and I started feeling really good about what I was doing. In March I set a new downloads record — just over 10,000, which is very exciting. The quality of my content and my recordings has also improved over time.
Podcasting is a huge opportunity for brokers right now. Here are some ways it could benefit your company:
- Recruiting: Podcasting is a great way to connect with the next generation of agents. The baby boomer agents are moving on in the next five to 10 years, so you need to find new agents for your company. Well, guess who listens to podcasts? Check the demographics.
- Generating company leads: Having a popular podcast will connect you to your target audience. Cover local real estate issues and market trends and provide important tips to potential buyers and sellers. Consider interviewing home inspectors, lenders, local government officials and economists, landscaping experts, interior decorators, stagers, public school officials, top agents, new agents, industry experts, and anyone else you think would offer value to your potential clients.
- Making your website more valuable: Yes, you can submit your podcasts for potential availability on iTunes, but you’re also going to put your podcasts on your website, which will help your SEO. Then post links to your podcast on your Facebook business page and your Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ profiles.
- Building your brand and gaining respect: Because you are providing real value with your content and interviews, your brand recognition will grow, helping you to stand out from the competition.
One other benefit of podcasting is that there are many resources available online to help you get started. My advice is to start podcasting sooner rather than later because I believe the window of opportunity for being a market leader in this field will close within the next year or so as I see more and more agents and brokers getting into podcasting. If you’re good at it, you’ll offer value to your listeners, which will lead to your podcast growing over time.
I still have my day job, but my step is a little lighter knowing I have created a successful podcast on my own. If I can help you in any way, just let me know.
Reprinted from realtor.org, April 2015, with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. Copyright April 2015. All rights reserved. http://www.realtor.org/