The Blog Tour USA pulled into St Petersburg Florida about 8p.m. on July 10, 2007 just in time to catch one of our local glorious St Petersburg Florida Sunsets. Sandbars to Sunsets - we've got it all here!
Sharon Simms and her husband George, were our hosts for the evening. They graciously opened up their waterfront St Petersburg Broadwater home to the men of Sellsius, Joe Ferrara and Rudy Bacharaty III, on this leg of their trip to meet bloggers across America.
This was the first time I had gotten to meet my Pinellas County neighbor, Sharon and her husband, George.
She is currently the top Realtor on Active Rain, who until today I had only known though reading her blogs. I affectionately call her "The Top Banana". I learned she is someone who has always used technology to improve the service she gives her clients and it was obvious how much we all embrace technology and have implemented it into our real estate businesses today to give our current and future clients a better experience.
We first inspected the new home being built across the street and enjoyed the view of the water and sunset from the 2nd story of the construction. Like typical bloggers we enjoyed capturing the moment for posterity and the Internet (are they not the same now?) - we also cracked each other up "filming each other"
Then Joe gave Sharon and I a tour of the Legend in Progress...Blog Tour USA- their home on wheels. Oh if this motor-home could talk the tales it would tell - the first clue is the sign on the door when you open it soliciting "Real Estate Confessions" - All I can say is what happened on previous stops - was not revealed - I believe we'll have to wait for the sure to be bestselling video - Bloggers Gone Wild - Real Estate Confessions from the Streets.
Of course it wouldn't be "home" without dueling laptops and real estate marketing material from their sponsors. (You got your monies worth as he made sure we got everyone's info including a Trulia t-shirt). Joe invited us to share in their tour by signing their keepsake life-size card.
Sharon invited us all in to get comfortable and get better acquainted - she and George provided fabulous food and drinks. We talked about so many topics and shared ideas and our opinions that the time together just flew.
We were all surprised and sad to find that it was already 1 am. (now July 11th). No one wanted the night to end and we all had early starts scheduled for today - but for me,
I knew this was a rare opportunity to connect with some special people and learn from other leading bloggers and develop some new friendships - I knew I would be able to catch up on my sleep another day :-) Rudy and Joe are so friendly and down to earth - it's easy to see why people gravitate towards them. If you get a chance - it's worth the effort to meet them in person.
Here are some of the Sellsius pearls of wisdom Joe and Rudy share with us:
- Take advantage of all the avenues out there to promote yourself and connect with future clients (like Active Rain, Trulia, Your real estate companies website, etc. ) but never lose sight of building your own brand (translated: have your own blog and website too!); This needs to be remain a priority;
- That it's never wise to put all your eggs in one basket;
- Read, comment, visit other blogs and websites to learn new things about the business and how others are using technology to improve it;
- Keep your eyes out for "video blogging" - they believe it may be the next wave in real estate blogging;
- That Content is king on the Internet - with Google, Yahoo, MSN etc. - approach your blog like a term paper and site authoritative sites when possible - you'll educate your self and your readers while being perceived as more relevant on a given topic.
- Focus - you can't be all things to all people - get clear on your area or focus along with the tips above and you will see your Page Rank increase and your relevance increase - you will establish yourself as an expert in an area.
- Never forget to "take it to the streets" - don't build your business, your services or your blogs for an ivory town in some real estate office - always get your reality check back on the streets - in the real world.
So as I read a press release this morning that July 11th is also the one year anniversary of Active Rain, the wildly successful Real Estate Social Network (built around blogging) it's easy to see why... I would never have even known of much less connected with and met the men of Sellsius without Active Rain.
Who knows if I would have ever gotten to know Sharon or any of the other leading Real Estate Agents and Bloggers that I have developed friendships and professional mastermind groups with from around the country.
I believe the power of real estate blogging lies in the fact that blogs can now delivers so much more real time information to the local consumers and they are responding to it positively. As Realtors, we also benefit by having access to so much more information and new ideas as well from other top real estate agents - so it is truly win-win and I'm glad I am a part of it.
Me - I believe the runaway hit of the summer will be the Bloggers Gone Wild Video - Transparent Real Estate at it's best! (Ardell your money was well spent) There's still time to be in the movie - check the Blog Tour USA schedule and get out and meet Joe and Rudy at a city or town near you.
When you do - tell them Cyndee Haydon of the Clearwater Home Connection said "HI"
My final thought is ...in the Web 2.0 World we live in today and beyond - you just never know when you could be the "star" of an article coming to a blog or video blog near you! SMILE!!!