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Blog – The Art Of The Story

Monday evening. I’m watching TV and following up on some notes from our writing workshop here in Phoenix. When I say “our” I am referring to Lawyers Title of Arizona and Pro-Found Marketing. My name is Stephen Garner, I am a former title rep for a national title insurance company in Phoenix, Arizona – I spent 10 years helping real estate professionals grow their business before leaving to co found PRO-Found.

PRO-Found is a play on words. Take profound and split it into 2 words PRO & Found. Pro-Found. I think it’s perfect, as it says exactly what we do – help professionals get found online. Marketing has changed, I remember when direct mail and TV, Radio and obnoxious billboards or ads on city buses and bus stops were the preferred method of marketing for real estate agents here in Phoenix. I also remember the day, after 10 years when I said it was time to leave the title industry.

Phoenix is one of the most competitive markets in the country for title insurance. I often quote a number of over 60 title companies in previous posts, in reality – there are over 100 title companies. Throw a rock in the air – there is a good chance you will hit a title rep here in Phoenix. We are every where. I say we, but in reality I mean they. I’m out of that side of the business. I remember my last year as a title rep. I remember sitting down with real estate agents and showing them what they needed to do to grow their business. Blog. I would tell them how consumer behavior had changed, I would show them in their own behavior how it had –  how over 94% of consumers were now starting their home search online. I’d tell them that I would help them create content for their websites, and help them get “found” they only needed one thing. A website.

Have you ever gone to the gym and had a great workout? You probably didn’t want to go but you dragged yourself there anyway. Maybe it was an angle in a bathroom mirror you hadn’t noticed before or maybe your favorite jeans didn’t fit the way they use to but you promised yourself after that workout that you would be back the following day. Hell, you promised yourself that you would be at that gym all week! Well, did ya? Probably not. Something happened or came up or maybe your jeans being a little tighter than usual wasn’t such a bad thing after all, you probably didn’t go to the gym that next day or the day after that or – well you get the point.

Same thing with the real estate agents and the website. They all promised they would find someone to build them a WordPress website, they all committed to learning the merits of content marketing, of inbound marketing, they all said they had to make a change – they knew their future business depended on the Internet and they were not there- the way they wanted/needed to be. They promised themselves. Did they do it? You already know the answer to that one don’t you. I decided then that chasing real estate agents around to help them grow their business probably was not the highest and best use of my time.

Back to the writing class. One of the things that always killed me about the title business is how hard it is to fill a room for a class. I remember when the announcement of lunch would fill a room at SEVRAR, not anymore. I asked the agents that came to the class why they thought that was. They said there are so many people out there offering [what appear to be] the same classes. One of the agents that came told me [in the beginning] he came to be respectful but he thought he knew it all already – he had been blogging for 6 months.

In the class, We asked the agents to think of their ideal client. “If you could do business with anyone – who [price range, area, buyer, seller, investor etc.] would that person be?”. Rather than tell us who that person is we asked them to create 2 blog posts for them on their website. Don’t worry about keywords right now, just write we said. They all wrote articles. “homes under $100,ooo Val Vista Lakes” “The REO process” “What Is A Short Sale”. They all left out something huge. There is a difference between writing for search engines and writing for a person. Even though they were all writing, they were writing for a machine. There was no empathy, no engagement, no I, Me, We, They – there was no story. Remember when you were a kid. Remember when your mom or dad would read you a bedtime story… Remember how much you enjoyed it? Ever read a book you hated? Ever read a book you couldn’t wait to turn the page on? What was the difference?

The best marketers tell stories.

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Hi I'm Stephen Garner, I'm just a guy in the title industry {in Phoenix} trying to change how real estate agents market themselves and their services. To that end, I teach my clients HOW TO leverage sales technologies like WordPress, Content, Video, Camtasia, Final Cut X, iMovie and indexable IDX solutions to convey value and help your ideal client find you online when they are most interested in learning about you and your services. I work for escrows. Hire me!

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  • Vic Yepello

    Out of all the stuff I’ve read lately about how to post a good blog- this one really said something to me.  By reminding bloggers to tell a story, it says a lot about learning to create a compelling writing style.  Keep up  the good work Stephen.

  • Stephen Garner

    Thanks Vic, I appreciate you stopping by. Tell a funny story about a client of yours (no real names of course), wrap it in a learning experience and watch how many people identify with it. Happens to me all the time. Cheers