The Challenges Of A Professional Real Estate Blogger
Online interaction in today's time has become one of the key forms of building customer relationship and even grounds to build trust and credibility. This and also the need to be considered a subject matter expert in the given niche area together is important and a challenge, too. Only when all these together are accomplishes is when the content you offer would automatically reflect that approach. The audience members will notice and will find the blogger credible. Appreciation and recognition will follow.
The core of blogging is that the author writes a first-hand experience and thus, has to ensure that the content is exciting and engaging. In case of real estate blogging, to achieve this can be a task at hand and not make it boring.
Moreover, for any independent blogger in the world of Indian real estate, the major challenge is to get access to the developer and the projects. Once a blogger does a critical review of a project or the developer, there could be a chance of keeping them at distance. Some of the initial bloggers in Indian real estate have faced the dilemma of the information gap.
AS Sivaramakrishnan, Head-Residential Services, CBRE, South Asia tries to find a method into this when he says that the Indian real estate traditionally has not been content or dialogue-driven. Till around 2012, most of the advertisements and other communication material were only sales centric. They were never communicated beyond the revenue and sales conversion and hence, the sector is now witnessing a shift to professional writing or blogging.
“Even today when there are a number of blogging options and the digital media has gained a significant ground, most of the blogging about the real estate is the networking forums of aggrieved buyers who are creating forums for complaints to put collective pressure on the developers,” says Sivaramakrishnan.
The larger question is whether these complaint groups could be termed as the blogging? These discussion forums are not actually professional blogging where the company or the project is evaluated or some constructive criticism is put forward. But yes, this is also in some way the starting point from where tomorrow professional blogging may take shape.
The digital media has nevertheless seen the genesis of professional blogging with the advent of a number of real estate news sites. Even the property brokerage sites have added either the blogging or the news section, of late. Unfortunately, most of these news/blog space is the replica of print media.
The idea is to simply convert the print media readers into digital space readers because the medium is not only cost efficient but also getting more and more traffic. Needless to add, the traffic is by and large being seen from the point of view of converting into business leads and sales only.
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Subhda Shikre, a PR professional in the real estate sector admits that Indian real estate will take some time before they reach the level of being content driven. According to her, the prevailing mindset is how not to communicate and conceal the harsh facts as much as possible.
“Even when the communication team wishes to let the larger audience know about their strength or achievements, the larger worry of the developer is whether there would be any backlash. Since they have so much to conceal they to not want to entertain a blogger coming forward to reveal,” says Shikre.
Of course, this simply means an increase in advertising revenue for the digital medium. But none of these websites could be termed as the professional blogging platforms. It is more of a B2B initiative than a B2C initiative on part of the digital media platforms.
Then there are challenges of professional blogging in this space. The developers in this part are so engrossed in one-way communication that they are also not open to scrutiny on an open source medium like the Internet where they have no control. Builders' advertising can not arm-twist once the blogger posts his opinion. In other one-way communication, they have the advertising clout to control the negative responses of the readers and viewers.
In traditional print media communication, nasty responses never reach to the larger audience in the name of the editorial prerogative to keep the information healthy and safe from libel laws. No wonder, while the bloggers have not been excited to narrate their interesting journey into the world of real estate, due to lack of it, the developers, too, enjoy this absence of additional media scrutiny.
The online sharing of the personal journey called blogging could hence not gain around in the world of Indian real estate.
The writer is CEO, Track2Realty. The views expressed are personal.