#187 Mail Right Show With Special Guest Christy Murdock Edgar
How To Write Content That Generates Great Quality Leads!
Nationally-recognized real estate writer Christy Murdock Edgar creates content for some of the
biggest names in real estate and REI and consults and coaches on content marketing strategies
for clients all over the US.She is a current faculty member with Florida Realtors and leads
workshops and training events for brokerages both online and onsite nationwide. In addition, as
Inman’s Marketing Mastermind, she writes about the latest thinking in marketing, content, and
technology built specifically for the real estate industry
00:11 Jonathon: Welcome back folks to the Mail Right show. This is episode 187. We really got a great guest this time on the show folks. I know I say that almost every time when we have a guest. But I’ve been really looking forward to this interview. We’ve got Christie Murdoch Edgar. And she writes Inman and there’s not much she doesn’t know about content writing. Would you like to quickly introduce yourself to the listeners and viewers?
00:38 Christie: Sure. Hi, I’m Christie Murdoch Edgar and I’m writing real estate. I write for brokers and real estate companies all over North America. And as you said, I also write for in men. I have a couple of columns there and then I do a lot of feature pieces for them as well.
01:00 Jonathon: That’s great. And I’ve got my great cohost, Robert Newman. Would you like to introduce yourself to the new listeners and viewers Robert?
01:06 Robert: Sure. The five of them. I’ll introduce myself. No, I’m just kidding. My name is Robert Newman. I’m the founder of Inbound REM. I am a real estate technologist of well over a decade. And if you want to learn about some of the lead generating platforms and how to use them or who do you use and why do you use them? You should check out my website. And you should also check out John’s website. He’s been working on an automation tool for a long time that is starting to really be a thing that you should look at.
01:38 Jonathon: Thank you for that Robert. So Christie, I know quite a few agents and they all know on their website they should be writing some decent content blogs. And they start off with all enthusiastic and then it dies quickly. Or people say, I have no idea what to write in no shape or form. So maybe we could start this conversation off with some ideas or some insight or what kind of content and the mechanics and how much time they should play some writing content. For their blog their website. How does that sound Christie?
02:18 Christie: That sounds great. Absolutely. I actually dropped a blog post about this yesterday. Because I had talked to a client who said, well, it doesn’t really matter what’s on the blog. I can just put anything as long as Google reads it as something new. And I ended up not bidding for the job because it was like we were so not on the same page. I think it really matters what you’re writing. And what I always tell people is you want a combination of really up to the minute interesting current content. And then I think maybe like a third of evergreen content. So there are definitely those questions that everybody gets all the time about the finance process or about the local market. And there’s a place for that. But I don’t think that you want a blog that has all that because you’re going to end up with something that people can find in lots of places.
03:21 You’re going to end up saying some of the same things other people are saying. So my thing is always get people in there with something exciting. But then let them see some of the other evergreen content so that they know that’s a resource they can come to for everything. So I think that’s one of the things I would say to people is have a mix. Some people want that very safe, kind of tried and true content and you just can’t build your whole blog out of that. Because it’s just not going to draw in people. And that’s part of the thing. You’ve got to get them there in the first place.
03:59 Jonathon: I totally agree with you. So what would be some more exciting topics to write about? Than the normal things you would come in your mind connected to real estate agent’s website.
04:15 Christie: It’s all about authenticity. And it’s all about who you are as a person, not just as a real estate agent. So one of the things that people are really afraid of is narrowing their audience too much. I’m gonna write about this little neighborhood and then nobody’s going to want to read it. Or I’m going to miss out on a client who’s interested in something else. But the reality is if you’re writing for everybody, you’re really writing for nobody. You’ve got to be writing for somebody specific. And I think narrowing down a little bit, getting into a niche that you’re writing for. Getting into a really specific area that you’re writing for. Or even if you know everything about shopping in your town. Like you’re a big shopper, you know all the shops. That’s a great thing to write about if you know about, because you’ve got kids and you know everything about the schools and the little festivals and activities that go on.
05:18 Write about that. I have a really, really good friend and client in Alexandria, Virginia. And she writes about life with a toddler in this very specific part of Alexandria, Virginia. Because that’s what she knows and it’s awesome. And her content is really useful. And there are a lot of young moms out there who are going to get a whole lot out of that and really, really connect to her in a deep way. And I think that’s what it’s all about.
05:48 Robert: Lovely. So guys, I’m going to jump in here and edify or clarify on something that Christie opened up with guys. There’s a difference two types of contents she’s mentioning. She said Evergreen and then she said a regular blog posts. So Evergreen, just for those people that don’t know this would be most of our audience Christie. Is the terminology that we use in the professional writing world that identifies a piece of content that you intend to keep on the website forever. So in other words, let’s just say that that you as a realtor do a market report, which a lot of realtors do. So you have a couple of different things that you can do. You can produce a new market report every single month or you can produce an old one. Or what I like to do is I like to do two. One is a monthly update and another one is the state of the market for the year. And you have a number of different things that you want to do, but guess what?
06:42 You don’t actually want to keep putting down a market report that then says 2019/2018. it’s actually healthier in Google’s eyes to do a global market update for a Geo specific area and then update that once a year every year. And that’s what would be called an evergreen piece of content. You have every intention of keeping the same piece of content on your website for the life of the website. And as long as the content is high value, that’s an extremely strong strategy to utilize in terms of SEO. And then the other type of content, which is what Christie was mentioning, like interest pieces, lifestyle pieces, things like that, they could be timed or reviews on restaurants can be time. Like this new restaurant opened up on West Seventh Street, which falls directly in the real estate area. I service that kind of thing. Anyway, I just, that’s what I wanted to say earlier, Jonathan.
07:55 Jonathon: It`s your example about the lady writing about Toddlers. For a large section of real estate agents I see. I totally agree with you there with what you said. But it’s slightly difficult way of positioning yourself. That a lot of real estate agents struggle with. Am I right about that?
08:18 Christie: Absolutely. And I think a lot of it comes from that fear that you’re going to miss out on somebody. If you’re not talking to the broadest possible swath of the market, there’s going to be some great million dollar listing that you’re going to not get. And in reality, I think the people who are big generalists struggle a lot more than the people who are really focused on a niche, who are really focused on a segment of the market. And so to me to get your stuff read and to have effective distribution, which is the other piece of it that I think so important,
08:56 That really requires a much focused sense of who your audience is and who you’re writing for. So again, if you’re writing for everybody, you’re not going to have that. So the more you can drill down and really understand who you’re best equipped to speak to, the better you’re going to do. Plus the people you get from that are going to be people you’re going to enjoy working with. And they’re going to enjoy working with you. And that’s so key. I mean, we’ve all had clients who we’ve either had to fire as a client or they were not happy. They were just never happy with us and it was just never a good fit. And I think if you’re bringing people in through content that really should be something that’s sort of a first stage in connecting you to those people. And so when you’re connected to them, you’re just going to have a better working relationship.
10:03 Jonathon: Use that word distribution, I think I understand what you mean by that. Can you go in a little bit more about that?
10:03 Christie: And this is what I wrote an article recently, this is the biggest mistake that you’re making with your content. And I think that that’s really true. People have this beautiful content and they don’t do anything to promote it or distribute it. So you can distribute in lots of different ways. You can certainly send it out through social media. You can certainly send it out in an email blast. You can do sort of a video version of it or an info graphic version of it that links back. And then you’re thinking a little bigger. You can look for media channels where you can start producing content. Or you can start sharing content that you have done on your blog. You can have another version of it for a media channel. That was really how I started with Inman.
10:53 I had a blog post that got a lot of attention and I just thought it would be a useful thing for people. And I sort of blind pitched it to an editor at Inman and she’s turned into a really good friend and we do a lot of work together. But it started out purely as I was seeing response to something from my blog that I shared there, my business permit.
11:19 Robert: What was the subject?
11:19 Christie: It was the one thing you need to know to write better property descriptions And it was basically don’t bury the lead. Start, let your first line of your property description be the wow factor. Because so many people start out with sort of this is a two bedroom, two bath town home and everybody knows that. That’s what the listing is for. That’s what people searched on Zillow. So that is not helpful. So start out with the view or the entrance.
11:54 Or the privacy or the fenced yard or whatever it is that’s going to make that pop for people who are looking for some little feature. And so it was just a very simple concept, but it got a lot of play.
12:06 Well most of the greatest marketing concepts are simple. They’re hard to execute. You heard me use this, this analogy before, it’s very similar to Michael Jordan’s saying, everybody’s like, and what do you practice first your jump shot? And this is back when he was really famous and he said, no, I wake up every day and I practice my dribble. And the same thing goes for, it’s like it’s easy for you and I to just sit here and go, right, like an amazing headline. But I’ve sat at my desk and struggled with just the header of a blog post sometimes for hours. Depending on what the blog post is and you and you run through all the normal variations, top 50 this top 10 that. You’re like, Gosh Shit, I’m so tired of top whatever’s.
12:51 And then you go back to the drawing board. So I’m an expound thought that I have for the property descriptions. If I had to say one thing, try to figure out what your USP is. Every property, everything that you do, pick your favorite feature and then work that into the title of a help. Cause you did it, you just did it right. Now when you gave the example, you did a favorite feature and that’s unique selling proposition. So my house here has a Jacuzzi, it has a lot of other great things. A nice yard and this, that, the other thing, but my favorite element of the house is, is this is a saltwater Jacuzzi thing that we’ve got going on. So I would use that as part of my USP. I can maybe say it an island in thine eyes. Something like that, like eye catching and then people go, why is it an island? Well the house has a lot of water features. That’s, anyway, that’s my 10 cents 10.
13:46 Christie: I live in Florida and I write for a lot of people down here. And so everything is about how close are you to a lake, a canal, the inner coastal, whatever and that’s the first line. Almost automatically, you know, if there’s any kind of water feature anywhere. So, yeah, absolutely. That’s the wow factor.
14:10 Jonathon: We are going to go for break. I have really enjoyed the conversation so far with Christie. We will be back in a few moments and we’d be discussing, what she sees as some of the most important things she has covered in Inman in 2018. And how she sees things going in 2019. We will be back in a few moments.
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14:52 Jonathon: We are coming back, we’ve had a great discussion with Christie Murdoch. So Christie, what was some of the key articles that you’ve written yourself or you have read around some of the key subjects you thought emerged in 2019?
15:10 Christie: Things that I really saw that was interesting for me personally, but it was also interesting for the people I was interviewing was there’s so much now with climate change and the impact that that’s having on the real estate market. And these destructive storms and flooding and things like that. We saw so much of that last year or the big earthquake up in Alaska as well, was another big sort of disastrous thing that happened. And so I’ve talked a lot this year with people who are in disaster recovery and the insurance industry. And especially insurance for these big commercial developments and things, and risk management. And everybody is talking about starting really starting, which is shocking to me that that’s not further down the road, but people are really only just now starting to take that into account with the way that they build, the way that they insure. And I think for the individual agent, understanding the risks associated with your local area, that’s going to be really a big part of your due diligence going forward. And I don’t think it’s on many people’s radar. So that was the big thing that I took away from last year in terms of some of the big macro trends that I think are going to start moving down into individual market.
16:49 Jonathon: I totally agree with you. I was listening to a radio program where they are saying that people are starting now to realize that moving decisions have to take this into account. Because the ability of some areas to get insurance or affordable insurance. And this also kind of covers northern California, southern California and Nevada when it comes to fire risk as well, doesn’t it Christie?
17:15 Christie: Yeah. That was a big story that I did actually was in the aftermath of that. And it’s just, it’s incredible that we really haven’t taken into consideration. When you think about the average homeowner having a 30 year mortgage, what the market looks like today and what it’s gonna look like in terms of the impact of that over the next 30 years. I mean, it’s a huge consideration.
17:39 Jonathon: Any other theme topic stories that come to mind?
17:45 Robert: Before you do this John you should take us to break.
17:47 Jonathon: I have.
17:48 Robert: You did?
17:48 Jonathon: Yes I did.
17:50 Robert: Wow where was I?
17:53 Jonathon: I don`t know. I found the conversation very fascinating.
18:02 Robert: How embarrassing. Not unusual but still embarrassing. My bad please continue Christie. Actually I do have something a little bit more specific. So Christie, I want to steer us back to the part where we’re talking about what you write. But some of the things that I’m kind of curious about like among your blog right now, that’s actually what I’ve been doing is I’ve been looking at your blog while we’ve all been talking. That’s actually not untrue. I’ve done Shuksan and shunted off, but that’s the only thing I’ve been looking at.
18:39 Jonathon: That`s one of the joys in my life. Please Robert.
18:42 Robert: So I have been noticing that you seem to do about four images per blog post, maybe five. Is there a formula that you use for adding like content elements to your blog posts. You have a format that you follow?
19:05 Christie: Yeah. I recently read maybe two or three months ago, I used to just do sort of the big header image and maybe one other image later. And I recently read that people can only process maybe a couple hundred words before they need a break. And I always had thought about that in terms of formatting and doing different headers and different sections. Or switching from just text to bullet points or whatever. But I started using images after each section. And I don’t know how much of a difference it makes in readability, but there are studies that indicate that that does help. And it just, it gives people a little pause so that they don’t feel like they’re just reading a wall of text.
19:53 Robert: Wow, great.
19:56 Christie: Did that answer it?
19:57 Robert: It did, sorry. Everything paused for me. I think that my system got slightly overwhelmed cause I actually hit play on your Facebook or I’m sorry, I’m one of your YouTube videos. And then a friend of mine messaged me at the same, never mind guys. My system got overwhelmed and everything froze. So I’m going to point something out partially to keep you on top of your media game. I’m super excited to see that you got into YouTube and I personally I actually, John and I both constantly drill home YouTube John’s contribution to YouTube content. He has two businesses. He does two of these shows and he basically produces these in terms of these into YouTube video. I do this and I do YouTube video on top of that for my other. I love YouTube. I love video marketing.
20:44 It is one of my favorite formats. I’ve had great success using it as an enhancement to my content. I personally believe that a lot of the most unique elements about my content come from the video just because I’m a stream of conscience communicator as opposed to a writer. Writing for me is very tough, even though I’ve done very well with it, it doesn’t come naturally. I’m not a notch like a natural writer, whereas I am a natural communicator in this format. I’m not, so which I know a lot of people wouldn’t be. And that’s the first thing that you say in your one YouTube video. But anyway, world people go check out Christie’s YouTube video and drop our comment on it so that she can.
21:26 Christie: It is brand new. I literally uploaded my first video last Friday. Because I am a natural writer. I have a master’s in English. I taught English for years at one of the best schools in the country. So that’s my background. And as middle aged woman especially. And I hear this from my female clients all the time. We really struggle with how we look and being young or being whatever. And so it was something I always put off and I was talking to a PR, a friend of mine last week. And she said, okay, there’s just no more excuses. You got to do it. So I said, what am I afraid of? And so what I was afraid of was looking my worst. So my first video, which I did Friday and it is no make-up, no hairdo.
22:20 I hadn’t even had my roots done. So I mean it was rough. And so that was my idea. If I could put that out there then I never had to be afraid of anything else again. So that’ll be my weekly little quick video every week. It’s called totally driven. That’s the sort of the concept. And I film it in my car cause it’s the only quiet place with no kids and no dogs. And so that’s what I’m doing. Yeah. Thank you for pointing that out. So that is a new venture for me.
22:53 Robert: No it’s a pleasure and I got to say, as a person, as a human being, I deeply admire the courage and the tenacity and everything else. I listen, I am the video content that I personally look at. I don’t look at the really well produced stuff. Like you can see my place. It’s a mess. I believe that the value that we have is if we have a valuable message. People will tune in and they will listen to your message. I’ve been saying that for a long time. I do the same thing that you do in the sense that I prove it in this. Like I’m never going to be a guy that does fancy video. Not, not really. I don’t think I will be. I just like really heavy focus, like message focused content. And if your message is merely look, I can do this. You should be doing this too. I love that. I love that. Yeah.
23:48 Christie: I love, you know, it’s all about authenticity and you know, I’m of a different generation but I identify more with a younger generation. That they’re tired of being sold to and a lot of the people that I feel like I communicate to our younger realtors who are really trying to build a business and build a brand and they need content. And so yeah if I can put my 49 year old face on there with no makeup, a 25 year old just starting out can definitely be doing that.
24:21 Robert: No doubt about it. I couldn’t agree with you more. Anybody could really be doing it. My 89 year old grandmother do a video with me. Like, no I’m not, I’m not kidding. I mean the power of the world that we live in, the technology, the ability to pass messaging along it to new format for storytelling and storytelling is as old as humanity itself.
24:39 Christie: That’s right.
24:40 Robert: I am deeply engaged in authentic storytelling. And I love the fact that you took the gear. Anyway, I think our audience should tune in because I think it’s a great lesson in it. Anybody can do it and should be doing it because it also allows you to engage in a different way with the content producers. When you’re doing blogs, like people follow you. Like they get to know you Christie. And my big belief is that’s a big part of SEO and marketing in general. And you don’t, I liked your story about your friend, but what it doesn’t show us. What it doesn’t tell us is how do people engage with her personally as she’s telling me stories. Like is she capable of making fun of herself? Like kids throw his food in her face this morning? And is she getting on a video going like this, you know? Well, so.
25:34 Because if you see that.
25:41 Christie: Curated and people, and I think about this a lot in terms of Instagram as well. We used to take photos so that we would have memories and they were for us and they were personal. And it didn’t matter that they were perfect. And they’ll, everything is outward and everything is produced and curated for the world to see. And it makes it really difficult to get in touch with that really authentic moment or that really authentic look. And I think video is the place that we can do that. If we’re not too precious about it.
26:19 Jonathon: I think we are going to wrap up the podcast part of the show. Hopefully Christie is going to stay on for some bonus content. Which you be able to see on the Mail Right YouTube channel and on the Mail Right website. We have a full transcript and links to some of the topics we discussed in the podcast. And it’s definitely to Christie’s blog and her new YouTube video. Christie what is the best way to learn more about you, your thoughts and what you’re up to?
26:50 Christie: Just writing real estate is my website writingrealestate.com. And there’s a blog there and subscribe and you’ll get the blog every couple of weeks. And then of course on Inman you can get on my author page and it’s constantly updated. Tomorrow there is an article coming out about what the big Lebo ski can teach you about blogging. So I think it’s going to be a really fun and people are going to like it.
27:17 Jonathon: Oh, I love that. Robert how can people find out more about you, your thoughts and what you’re up to?
27:26 Robert: Do a rain dance. Pray to the gods. No, I’m just kidding. Go to inboundrem.com. [27:34 inaudible] That was so not fun. I barely made it through our last show. I’m so sorry about that. I was not in place anyway. You can find me at inboundrem.com which we constantly say YouTube, LinkedIn, I mean all the places really. I suggest you just follow the Mail Right show though for the most part. And for those of you that are looking for some deeper knowledge or in the market for real estate website or want to talk about. Or like look at a different perspective about SEO for real estate specifically. Then you could check out my website. Other than that, just follow the show. Download the show on. I’m getting really excited about our numbers guys, help us out. Share the show with your friends who are in real estate. I’d appreciate that.
28:29 Jonathon: If you want to find out more about Mail Right, go to mail-right.com. It’s a real estate agent marketing platform with your new or your intermediate agent. And you’re looking to get your online marketing, improve it. Mail Right is the platform for you. And if you want a free demo from me, you can, there’s a link in the top right hand corner. Click that and you can choose a day and time and I will show you all the features of Mail Right. It’s being a blast Christie. In the bonus content, we’ll be talking about some of the more major subjects in 2018 and what she sees in 2019. We will see you next week folks. Bye.