Tap the Power of Podcasting

Trump competitors by using the new outreach medium.

June 1, 2006

Every day real estate professionals strive to put their unique imprint on marketing messages so that they can “rise above the noise.” The Internet has made a huge difference in the way you market your services. And now, there’s yet another arrow to add to your marketing quiver: the relatively new medium, podcasting.

Podcasting is a Net-born neologism that refers to broadcasting audio information (music, the spoken word) over the Internet specifically to be downloaded into and played from an MP3 or other audio player or on your computer. Apple's iPod is the most well-known audio player. Because these players tend to be highly portable, they provide a unique opportunity for anyone to listen to anything (including your audio message), anywhere, anytime.

Initially, the main use of audio devices was to store and play music. However, the options are expanding. For example, universities such as Duke and Purdue offer hundreds of podcast-based classes. From a real estate marketing perspective, podcasting offers many possibilities to help you stand out from your more silent competitors. You could record:

  • Reports on various aspects of buying and selling real estate
  • Descriptions of new listings
  • Brief introductions of you and your team
  • Custom audio newsletters or articles within your newsletter
  • Weekly podcast “radio” shows that include phone interviews with guests
  • An audio real estate blog, or Web log (extemporaneous thoughts on what’s happening in your market)

Your voice can be a powerful marketing tool. With the right approach (and some practice), oral communication is far more expressive and compelling than mere words or images on a piece of paper or computer screen. Also, when clients and customers hear your podcast, they may be more likely to perceive you as an authority on real estate.

Getting Ready

Successful podcasting takes planning and commitment. In setting up a podcast

  • Determine your content. Are you going to do audio reports that don’t require frequent updating (e.g., financing options, seller disclosures, and staging a home), or are you going to commit to a weekly audio blog?
  • Create a standard format. Think of every podcast as a sandwich. The opener that grabs the listener’s attention and says who you are is the first slice of bread; the actual content is the “meat”; and the close, with your contact information and call to action (if appropriate), is the second slice of bread.
  • Assemble the necessary hardware. You’ll need a reasonably good condenser microphone. The one I use is the $29.95 Professional Microphone from Serious Magic. You also will need a sound card for your computer — but most computers have them already installed.
  • Install sound recording and editing software. This can range from $35 to several hundred dollars depending on how fancy you want to get. The basic software captures the audio but doesn’t offer a lot of editing options. More expensive options allow you to mix in music, edit the audio, and tweak the sound quality. For most real estate professionals, the inexpensive variety works just fine.
  • Record from a quiet location. Find someplace where you and your computer can be as free from ambient noise as possible. If the recording software isn’t loaded onto a laptop that you can take to a quiet place, then record your podcast earlier or later in the day when it’s more quiet at home or at the office.

You’re ready to start recording. In my August 2006 column, I’ll provide practical tips on how to write, record, and publish your podcasts for the maximum marketing impact with the least amount of effort. And you’ll hear insights from a few practitioners who successfully employ podcasts for marketing. For now, get set up and gargle regularly so that when your voice hits digital airwaves, you’ll be at your podcasting best.

Michael Russer, a.k.a. Mr. Internet®, is CEO of Russer Communications. He is a leading speaker and author in the real estate industry and has been writing about Internet marketing and virtual outsourcing since the dawn of the commercial Internet.