Bottom Line: There are multiple of challenges, ranging from accessibility to information gap and readersâ€™ acceptance to overall nature of business that discourages bloggers to take up real estate blogging.Â Â Â
When one first starts to interact with other people online, one is hoping to build a relationship with the other person. Before one can actually call it a relationship, he/she needs to build trust, credibility, and also need to be considered a subject matter expert in the given niche area. Only when one accomplishes those things, the content on offer would automatically reflect that approach. The audience members will notice and will thank the blogger for it.
Another major challenge with real estate blogging is the fact that the blog is always first person narrative and is experiential. In blogging the writer has to make sure that the content is always fresh and exciting. Nobody likes to keep reading the same content over and over again. It is just too boring!
However, 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 builder, there is a collective conspiracy to keep the problematic element at a safe distance. Some of the initial bloggers in Indian real estate are facing the dilemma of he information gap as the developers find it convenient to not respond to the queries.
Getting access to information is a real challenge for real estate blogging
When the nature of business demands concealing the facts, revealing is counter-intuitive
Developers prefer one-way communication of print media than an open forum like Internet
Complaints forums are often misunderstood as blogging in the sector
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 never communicated beyond the revenue and sales conversion and hence the sector was never witness to professional writing or blogging.
â€śEven 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,â€ť says Sivaramakrishnan.
The larger question is whether these complaint groups could be termed as the blogging. Definitely not! 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.
Subhda Shikre, a PR profesional with real estate admits that Indian real estate will take some time before they reach to 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.
â€śEven 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 do not want to entertain a blogger coming forward to reveal,â€ť says Shikre.
Of course, this simply means increase of 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. Buildersâ€™ 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 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 journaey 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 personal journey called blogging could hence not gain ground in the world of Indian real estate.
By: Ravi Sinha