What I've Learned On ActiveRain
This is post #1104 for me on AR. I started actively blogging here almost 3.5 years ago, then got addicted to the community and the process of blogging and commenting. I scaled back somewhat over this past year, but I'm trying to make blogging part of my daily routine again in 2011 and beyond.
What are some of the things that I've learned?
Mainly, I learned that ActiveRain is filled with great, supportive, interesting people. As such, I've enjoyed the friendships I've made here since 2007, and the opportunities that I've had as a result. Of course, I've had referrals and sales, but I also got invited to check out Facebook and Twitter by my AR friends. Additionally, one of my friendships (with Ken Cook) led to an online radio gig that I've had for just over two years now (http://blogtalkradio.com/jckc).
I learned that being myself works. I don't share every intimate detail of my life online, but I have shared stuff about my family, background, interests, and other pretty personal events. Real estate is a relationship business, so I figure most things that I would share with clients in person are fair game online. That being said, my filter may be different from yours. Whenever someone asks me, "What can I blog about?", my response is the same: Pretty much anything that you are comfortable writing about publicly is okay. The key there is that it's your own choice.
I learned that being persistent pays off. I see lots of solid bloggers who have fallen by the wayside because they gave up too early. Blogging is a long-term strategy with the potential for short-term results. If you are finding your groove on AR, don't stop too quickly and cheat yourself out of potential business. I got my first sale early (39 days after I started), but if I hadn't, I hope that I would have continued, since I've had many sales since then thanks to the relationships I made, many of which were developed in comment streams on specific posts, then later by phone.
I realized early in the process that being formulaic simply doesn't work for me. I remember hearing things like, "write 50% business, 10% personal, and 40% market data" or similar statements back in 2007. I think this is nonsense. Write what you know and like, and try to include posts about your work and specific neighborhoods. The act of writing regularly will make you a better blogger over time. I promise that if you look at my first few posts here, they weren't that great. :)
ActiveRain has fueled my interest in writing. This probably doesn't need a lot of explanation. I have several book "projects" that have been in the works for awhile. I need to buckle down in 2011 and flesh these out.
I have to admit that being an AR "celebrity" has been helpful to my self-esteem (ego?), especially during a couple of tough years in real estate. Our business is flourishing currently, but that wasn't always the case in 2008 and 2009. Thank you to those of you who subscribe to my blog here and who take the time to leave comments. I'm sorry that I no longer have time to respond to every single comment (as I did in the first year or so). This blog has 43,729 comments as of this writing. There just aren't enough hours in the day. I promise that I read every one of them, though. :)
Thanks for taking the time to read this one. I hope you have a stellar 2011!