Today on the AceableAgent blog, we interview Candy Evans, one of the top real estate writers in the country and founder of CandysDirt.com . We wanted to get the dirt on how to create a successful real estate blog and promote it on social media, and Candy was kind enough to answer all of our questions. Here's what she had to say -- and some of her answers might surprise you!
1.Your blog, CandysDirt.com , is one of the most award-winning and widely read sites in the real estate industry. How did you get to this point? What’s been your recipe for success? Thank you! I think it comes because I am obsessed with real estate and writing, and blended the two. For example, I am writing this from Havana, Cuba where I have been trying to get inside every home we see. At heart I am a journalist, holding an MSJ from Columbia University. What does that mean? I have a natural curiosity to dig into topics, ask more (sometimes pesky) questions, and always try to find a new way of looking at the subject at hand. Years ago I foresaw the changes coming to both industries and actually saw how journalism and real estate could fit together perfectly in this new world. The whole point of bringing transparency to real estate is to do just what a journalist does: dig for factual information and tell the “inside story” to help buyers make the best possible decision. I also felt that agents needed a site that focused on them that was open to the public. I have tremendous respect for real estate agents and truly wanted to help them as they have helped me.
Years ago I foresaw the changes coming to both industries and actually saw how journalism and real estate could fit perfectly together in this new world.
2. In your opinion, why is it so important that real estate agents maintain a blog and social media accounts? I actually do not think that agents should maintain a blog. It’s too time consuming. It’s way more complicated than putting up a few lines, and I ask them, do you want to blog or sell real estate? For example, we spend at least one hour on each blog post we craft: 500 words, simple subject matter. You have to write it so the reader pays attention to your post over the millions of other words out there on the world wide web, and you have to be accurate, which means fact checking. I am old fashioned in that I like to talk to people I write about, preferably face to face. That is why I tell Realtors, leave the blogging to us.
I actually do not think that agents should maintain a blog.
Also, as the media focuses more on “fake news” (trying to drive readership back to them as the number one source), I think we are going to see less of a demand for small blogs. There is no question that you have to be accurate on every bit of content, which means checking with three sources. As for social media, Twitter is great (and easy, just a few words) as is Instagram, Linked In, all of them. Facebook is still the king of the social media world, and I believe every Realtor should have a lively Facebook page where you post your listings, news articles (like stories we have run on you on CandysDirt.com ), and other fun things to engage your community and grow it. One comment, if I may: it never ceases to amaze me that some agents will not have a website yet will spend thousands of dollars on print ads in papers and publications that will soon be extinct. Your website should be your most expensive business investment, as it is how everyone meets you.
It never ceases to amaze me that some agents will not have a website yet will spend thousands of dollars on print ads in papers and publications that will soon be extinct.
3. What are some tools that busy agents can use to continuously push out new social media content? Do you have any tips for real estate agents who feel they are too busy to post all the time? There are several social media tools you can use to pre-publish evergreen blog posts, “evergreen” being stories that can run regardless of current events. But it is important to keep abreast of current events and run posts that pull in current topics --- for example, Super Bowl-watching homes and media rooms. Don’t feel compelled to post all the time. You don’t ever want “fake content” that seems contrived and forced because the reader is smart enough to know it is.
4. What are some other real estate blogs or sites you love and why? Inman was a huge model for me and is one of the greatest sites in the world. I also love Curbed, though they are morphing into something beyond real estate, which is very exciting. I read a lot of sites and “papers” on line from Poynter Institute to Neiman Lab, Strong Towns, Brownstoner, to every local publication in Dallas and the big four: NYT, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and LA Times. The WSJ’s “Mansion” section is by far my favorite. I also check various broker sites.
I also love Curbed, though they are morphing into something beyond real estate, which is very exciting.
5. Do you have an all-time favorite blog post you’ve written? Which post has been most successful in terms of engagement and reaction and why do you think that is? Ahhhh, so hard to choose. Probably my tours of famous celebrity homes, such as the Crespi Hicks estate now owned by Andy Beal. The over the top sports star’s like Deion Sanders’s Prosper estate always get huge traffic, but so do tear down stories. People really would like to see more preservation.
6. Any other tips for new real estate agents who are thinking about launching their own blog or site? Yes, leave the writing to us, and don’t be afraid for a single second to experiment and try new things. Think out of the box because there is a LOT of noise out there, and you have to rise above it!