As a wholesale lender, I am always amazed and delighted by the
resourcefulness and ingenuity of our brokers. During these
turbulent times, the nightly news seems to concentrate only on the
negative. So while it would be easy to simply accept that
information as the only truth, some mortgage industry professionals
have taken the initiative to climb up onto their own digital
soapboxes to promote the other sides to the stories.
Blogs became a popular term during the last presidential election, as each side created sites to present opinions and news. Political blogs have been a driving force and role model for many individuals to understand how to use the Internet to their advantage. Real estate industry individuals are among the first professionals to embrace this form of communication. They understand the tremendous power it can have in self-promotion, but also how to serve their community. By creating community blogs in the neighborhoods in which they specialize, they can reflect their ability to be the expert for the community. They provide community event updates, legal actions, focus on local businesses and services and, of course, lots of information regarding the real estate action in the community. By using their blog in all of their advertising, they are able to create loyalty through ongoing interest. This constant exposure repays the real estate agent in satisfaction and, oh yeah, income.
Whether in retail or wholesale mortgages, title or whatever, these lessons are being learned at all levels of the mortgage industry. In these times, it's an opportunity to focus on improving credibility while providing knowledge and services to local communities. Blogs are a simple and affordable technology platform that allows individuals to express their ideas and expertise over the Internet. If someone can write an e-mail, he has the technical prowess to publish a blog. Through open-source software, prospective bloggers can build and publish their own blogs for free in a matter of minutes.
By starting a blog, the blogger can choose from an assortment of pre-built themes to match the desired look and feel of his Web site. He is also given a free URL. While many spend initial efforts trying to come up with a custom theme or their own URL, the most important part of a blog is to start writing. Blogging takes a commitment to writing relevant content on a consistent basis. After the blogger has proven to himself the worth of the blog and the time commitment required, some blog software allows a blog to be moved to a new URL or to have its look and feel customized at any time.
Blogging makes you an expert. The time and effort used maintaining a blog reflect a commitment to the blogger's profession. The process of building a blog provides answers to questions not yet asked by the consumer. For example, providing information about the danger and advantages of certain adjustable-rate mortgage products or the benefits of using Federal Housing Administration products lays down a Web of answers searchable by search engines. Because the consumers find the answers to the questions for which they were searching, they make the assumption that the blogger is an expert in his field. This decision is confirmed by consistent reliable content being added by the blogger. And as the content grows, the Web in which Google will search grows with it.
Journalists are professional writers and are constricted with their own viewpoint and life experience. They are not professionals at being mortgage originators or real estate agents. Mortgage and real estate professionals are able to convey much more easily the complexities of different aspects of their industry. This is a great opportunity to make sure the public is obtaining the best information possible, with constantly updated information, and to increase credibility of the blogger as an expert in the industry.
Inspiration to start a blog can be found by visiting some of the industry bloggers who are pioneering the way. Check out some of the following:
Dan Green, a mortgage originator in Illinois and Ohio, writes, in layman's language, news concerning the mortgage industry.
Jonathan Miller, an appraiser in New York City, provides analysis concerning property values and trends in the greater New York City market.
Todd Carpenter, a mortgage technology consultant, writes about news, sales strategies and tech tools to help mortgage professionals.
Teresa Boardman, a Realtor in St. Paul, writes exclusively about her local market. This is a very good example of a local real estate blog.
Morgan Brown, a Southern California mortgage originator, is not afraid to air the less scrupulous actions of some bad actors in the industry.
Greg Swann, a Phoenix Realtor and advocate for reform in the real estate industry, writes and edits a group blog covering all aspects of real estate.
Alex Stenback, a loan originator in Minneapolis, writes about a combination of mortgage and local real-estate-related issues.
This cross-section of prominent bloggers reflects the wide spectrum of perspective that can be shared with consumers by mortgage and real estate professionals. In today's market, many industry professionals are in a position to trade their own time, thoughts and efforts for an effective and affordable way to market themselves. Blogging is highly affordable, but requires commitment and consistency for success; however, the payoff can be mutually satisfying for the professional, the consumer and the credibility of our industry as a whole.
Cindy Carpenter is the Rocky Mountain regional manager for SunTrust Mortgage Inc.s wholesale division located in Denver. She may be reached at (720) 489-3600 or e-mail [email protected]