Why Realtors Use Podcasts to Build Their Personal Brands
“How’s the luxury market doing? Crap. It’s doing absolutely crap.”
For those uninitiated with Chicago broker Matt Laricy, or his podcast “Laricy Live,” that market assessment might seem unusually candid.
But the bluntness is part of the appeal, Laricy, one of the city’s top brokers, says. The podcast, which now has over 128 episodes, has become an extension of how he markets himself to potential clients.
“I’m not trying to hide who I am,” he said. “This isn’t an act.”
Laricy said he makes a small amount of revenue on ads for the show, but that doesn’t really compare to what he brings in through his brokerage. The majority of the return on investment is through attracting potential customers.
“If I put it on a monetary basis, I’m probably down, but like if I put it on a brand basis, I’m way up,” he said. “I was getting coffee two days ago, and someone’s like, ‘Hey, I watched your podcast, like I really like it. I’m not buying or selling but like, I love your stuff.’ How do you quantify that with money?”
Laricy started the podcast before the pandemic, but decided to do a 10-part series on what was going on with the pandemic housing market after watching ESPN’s 10-part docuseries “The Last Dance” on Michael Jordan. After that, he says, the podcast gained momentum as he found his niche. For those getting started, Laricy recommends consistency above all else. He said it’s the kind of project that doesn’t show returns for months.
DJ Paris, the president of sales and marketing for Kale Realty, echoed that sentiment. Paris hosts the podcast “Keeping it Real” where he interviews the top 1 percent of real estate agents nationally about how they’ve grown their business and found success.
After mulling it over with his boss for a year, Paris was given the green light to try a podcast for a year.
“It was more just an experiment I guess than anything,” he said. “I was like well, would people find this interesting? Would they find it helpful? And then that was kind of it and so I just started reaching out to the top 1 percent of agents … and have this sort of place where people can go and say ‘Oh, that agent I respect and I like, I wonder how they do it?’”
Paris said that the podcast has sponsors, which cover the bills for the production staff, but the project itself is more about brand awareness and education.
Commitment is also one of the biggest throughlines Paris has seen with the over 500 interviews he’s done.
“What I’ve learned over the years is that it’s not about the big shifts that seem to be the real important sort of reasons for why people get to the top of the mountain.” Paris said. “It seems to be the small daily disciplines. It’s the little habits. I’ve rarely interviewed somebody who was like wow, this one thing really defined my career. It was, ‘Well, you know, I woke up every day, you know, got to work early and worked hard.’”
But Paris doesn’t recommend podcasting for the average agent, given it’s time-consuming to create content and the market is saturated. Instead, he recommends short-form video within the neighborhoods each agent is working in, using the local community to foster engagement.
Some podcasts are purely educational, like the Illinois REALTORS podcast. The 501(c)(6) organization that represents the interests of the real estate industry, has produced over 150 episodes. Anthony Hebron, the vice president of marketing and communications for Illinois REALTORS, said the organization solicited feedback from its members around 2019 and started it.
They found that a podcast was something the members wanted, because so many of them spend a lot of time driving from listing to listing. The podcast created an easy way to stay up to date on advocacy and issues without having to take time out to read a newsletter or update.
“So you know you’re in the car, you can just play it, it’s very accessible for them,” Hebron said. “We’ve found that it seems to have taken off very well. … Ours is very informational, but conversational. So it’s not preachy in any way.”
Education is a factor for Paris, too. He came to the real estate industry from a marketing background, so the podcast has also served as a way to better educate himself on how to grow a real estate business and a way to spread that knowledge to those who are early in their real estate careers.
“So I’d love to say that I just did it for the money but there’s not that much money in podcasting,” he said. “And we’re one of the successful ones, so I know just how little money there is. It’s more of a labor of love. It fills me up and the numbers keep growing, so I’m assuming that means the audience is into it. And as long as they’re still into it, I’ll just keep doing it.”