Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Real Estate Blogger Makes It Big


Inman News published a story today about a mortgage broker in Minneapolis who credits his blogging to bringing in $4 million in mortgage originations, a new job and a radio show. His blog, Behind The Mortgage, broke the story of a 2005 FBI investigation into local mortgage fraud gaining a lot of attention from the local media, and consequently consumers in his marketplace. Inman reports:
The blog has been a marketing boon to Alex Stenback, who created the site in October 2004 "out of my own frustration," Stenback said. "There was no good spot to find out what local people were talking about regarding local real estate and mortgages."

The local newspapers carried such news, as did other sources, "but to find all the content was hard, because you had to go to so many resources. I tried to aggregate the information and pick up things that were interesting and start conversations about them," Stenback said.

Stenback's approach to the fraud story is classical for blogs: He posted the letter with a comment that sources reported the FBI was investigating mortgage fraud in the Twin Cities, saying, "Though we've yet to corroborate these reports, and no specific companies were named, we thought we'd throw this out here (we check our facts in real-time here in blogland). Anyone heard anything?"

"The victims of this thing (mortgage fraud) are the public," Stenback said. "Why not let them know what's going on, rather than making it secret?"

"Blogs are a great way to get business directed to you," the broker said. He bases his estimate of business attracted by the blog on e-mails from people who tell him they heard of him through Behind The Mortgage.

"The advertising on my blog is very low-level," said Stenback. "I don't use the blog as a promotion of my business. People appreciate it as a resource, and they reach out to me.

"If you have a blog or a radio show, you don’t want to turn it into a commercial. Answer people's questions, give the information, and the business will come," Stenback said.

In Stenback's case, not only new business but a new job and a radio show grew out of his blog.

After learning about the broker through the blog, CTX Mortgage Corp. offered him a job as a senior loan officer/sales manager. Part of his duties involve contributing to a weekly radio show the company sponsors and hosts by providing content.

"We thought it (the blog) was a great warehouse of information we could use in order to provide content for the radio broadcast. It certainly helped that Alex is articulate and understands the market and we could play off that," Velasco said.

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