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93: Josh Cobb: The Rise Of Digital Real Estate Media: Agents Taking Back Control

By |August 26, 2016| No Comments


Before the 90’s, there were only a few channels that brands could communicate with consumers. These channels included direct mail, fax, phone, television, radio, billboards, magazines or newsletters. It used to be that media companies held all the power because they controlled these distribution channels and the audience.

Traditionally we would need to pay these media companies for the privilege to reach an audience on these channels. But this is certainly no longer the case. With a seemingly endless number of channels where our brand can have a presence today, we can all act like a media company ourselves with little to no help from the media. Armed with a smartphone and a Facebook account, anyone can be a publisher.

In this episode of Real Estate Pros, we discuss the advantages of building your own audience instead of paying our industry’s media for the privilege to get in front of theirs.


Before the 90’s, there were only a few channels in which brands could communicate with consumers: either at an event, by fax, through direct mail, by phone, on tv, radio, billboards, magazines or newsletters.

The Rise Of Digital Real Estate Media

Today, there are seemingly endless channels where consumers can access content from Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Snapchat, Instagram, email, websites, webinars, podcasts, Google, SMS, Apps, online video and many more. Before the 90’s, media companies had all the power because they controlled the distribution and the audience.

But that’s certainly no longer the case.

In 2016, the power is almost completely in the hands of the people. Consumers don’t need to get their news and media from media companies anymore – consumers are the media. Armed with a smartphone and a Facebook account, today anyone can be a publisher. This is a major development in the media landscape that impacts every business – especially media companies.

Those of you who follow what’s been happening in the social media landscape will have noticed that live video is a hot thing right now. You may have seen our major portals broadcasting live auctions on their Facebook page each weekend. This sort of thing was unheard of only 12 months ago, but now, consumers are hooked. I myself enjoy sitting down on a Saturday morning with a coffee in hand to watch our industry’s finest agents in action.

We should be thankful that we live in a time where these technologies allow us to act like a media company, without any help from a media company. We all have the ability to reach a large audience on our own with nothing other than a smartphone.

But as more of these amazing tools are made available to real estate professionals, I fear for what could happen.

Just as quickly as media companies were disrupted by social media and other digital channels, they could very easily hold all the power once again and we could find ourselves at the mercy of these big players if we’re not careful.

Stay with me – I’ll explain what I mean.

Media companies are very good at something we’re not in real estate – building an audience.

An audience is something very different from a database and I define an audience as:

A group of people who would be genuinely upset if your marketing stopped tomorrow.

The traditional media company business model is built on revenue from advertisers who want to get in front of their audience.

Without an audience, media companies don’t have a business model and unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past decade, you’ve likely noticed the decline in traditional print publications and its mass redundancies.

Media companies have needed to reinvent themselves to a major extent over the past decade and as new technologies become available – live video on Facebook for example – whereby media companies have an opportunity to grow an audience and charge advertisers for the privilege to reach that audience, they’re going to take it.

If we use live auctions on Facebook as an example of the kind of content that media companies are producing – no-one gave them permission to start producing this kind of content. They simply picked up a smartphone, logged into their Facebook Page and hit record.

My question for you is… Who is telling you that you can’t do the same?

Media companies, such as our major portals, are investing millions of dollars in creating content they know people will engage with. They have to. Because without an audience, they don’t have a product to sell to advertisers and they don’t have a business model.

The fact that you list, sell or manage property doesn’t prevent you from being a media company yourself.

I’m not suggesting that you try to compete with the content budgets of our major portals. But wouldn’t it be nice to have all of the people that matter only to your business, come to your website instead?

That is the opportunity you have as a real estate professional today.

You can be far more local than our industry’s media can be. You are on the front line. You are the one with the insights and you can create inherently helpful, hyper-local content for your community.

But no-one is going to help you. You need to do take control of your online presence.

Would you rather be a real estate business that pays our industry’s media for the privilege to get in front of their audience? Or would you rather be a media company yourself, that just happens to sell or manage real estate?

It’s an interesting thought and one I think we all need to consider.

Good luck.

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