#220 Mail-Right Show With Special Guest Christy Murdock Edgar
What content should be on my website?
Christy Murdock Edgar is a Realtor, freelance writer, coach, and consultant with Writing Real Estate and a faculty member with Florida Realtors. Follow Writing Real Estate on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
Jonathon: Welcome back folks to the Mail-Right show, this is episode 220. We got a previous guest coming back, a friend of the show. We’ve got Christy Murdock Edgar coming back on the show. And I also got my co-host, he wasn’t well last week and the week before he was roaming the far-East, but he has come back. We’ve had some technical problems, but we pushed through. Robert, would you like to quickly introduce yourself to the new listeners and viewers?
Robert: I would love to. So my name is Robert Newman, I am the founder of an Inbound Marketing Company that specializes in real estate. Inbound marketing is exactly what we’re doing right now. It’s creating different types of content and drawing your audience to the quality of the questions that you can answer for them. In other words, the quality of your information and that is a very different type of marketing than paying somebody to just go to your website. Like, I’m going to advertise on Google or Facebook and you’re, and you’re going to see a one-page splash and you’re going to click on something and go, as opposed to I’m going to watch a tutorial or listen to a podcast because I want to learn something.
Jonathon: That’s great, and Christy, would you like to introduce yourself to the listeners and viewers?
Christy: Sure, my name is Christy Murdock Edgar and I write for Inman and a number of other publications and companies and private clients, and I am the owner of Writing Real Estate.
Jonathon: That’s great, so we’re going to be talking about a number of subjects, but I thought we’d start off with a recent article that Christy had wrote that caught my eye, and I thought it’d be a good starting topic for discussion or we might fill the whole ff hour with it. And that’s “What content should be on my website”, and I’ve been asked this question numerous times myself. So, Christy, you wrote the article, and you heard the question, what content should be on my website?
Christy: I hope so, I think one of the big things that people talk about when, and it’s a little controversial because I have people who are really married to the idea of having an IDX feed so that people can come to their website and do searches for homes. And for me personally, I think you’re much better off putting that time and money, and effort and space into content. I really do, I’m a big believer in content, it’s really what has driven my business and driven my growth, so that’s really what I favor. So I think terms of being smart and targeted about the writing that’s on the webpage itself and then also adding a content element, like a blog or maybe video podcasts, et cetera.
Robert: So we talked about this as the show was getting started and you mentioned to me that you are personally and we can tell John and I can tell, or I don’t know. I assume he can tell, but you’re a very prolific blog writer. You write a lot of content, you don’t just write it for yourself, you write it for your clients, you write it for Inman, and so that’s your bailiwick. Like if I was going to ask you, what is your preferred type of content; you’re going to say writing a blog, something like that. Is that correct?
Christy: That’s correct. Now I did really get myself out of my comfort zone with video this year, so that’s new to me though, but yes, for what I do, I do primarily the written word.
Robert: Okay, so when you’re like deciding to write something for yourself or your client, one of the topics that you mentioned in the article that John picked up off Inman is “Keyword research”. And you’re saying, hey, your blog developer can find some keywords. I’m curious though because I want to know how you, Christy, how do you research your keywords when you’re deciding on a blog topic, what do you do?
Christy: That’s a great question and actually because it’s not just in your blogs, it’s also in the content on each page of your website. I know when I first created my website what I did and what I continue to do is Google myself. I Google topics that are related to things that I do, I Google the way that I think a real estate agent looking for a writer would Google. So when I first started out I was ranking really high for real estate writer, I think it was, no, maybe it was real estate writing but I wasn’t ranking at all for real estate writer. And so I had to go back and tweak the language on the front-end and the back-end of my website, just to make sure that I was characterizing myself in both of those ways.
So a lot of times it really is just about kind of getting in the head of your ideal client and figuring out how they would seek you out. And then seeing kind of month after month, where are you, or where’s your competition? That’s the other big thing, you know, look at the other people who are in the space where you want to be, and see how they’re optimizing and what are the different search terms you can use to bring their web page up.
Robert: And the title of this particular article. Guys, if anybody’s going to look, it was put under “Dear marketing mastermind, what content should be on my website?” And one of the things that you address in there, because you just kind of touched on it a little bit, is you touched on the length of a blog post. How many do I need to post each month and how long should these blog posts be? And the reason I said you just touched on it is because he said you just tweaked the language to be to match a keyword that you wanted to target. The thing about Google is that, with semantic keyword recognition, that’s where long-form content can really come in handy is my opinion, is where you’re trying to target numerous keywords inside a single article.
But if you’re going to do that, then that article has to be deep in order for Google to give you credit for all of the keywords that you want. So what’s your opinion, let’s cover what you already wrote in this article. You talk about different blog posts, lengths 300, 650,000 words, 2000 words, 3000 words. Give me a couple of scenarios, like why would you go and produce a 300-word article? Like when would you do that versus when would you do a 3000-page article? Like how do you make that decision?
Christy: Right, so the 300-word thing is a little bit of a legend. It’s just a figure that people have always used in terms of a minimum that your page is not going to get crawled as a new piece of content unless there are at least 300 words. Now, I have had people say on the tech side that that’s not true, it can be a little bit less or whatever. But the point is you’re not going to get any love in terms of SEO out of a 300-word article. So, if you’re introducing like a video or some other thing, you might want to include that little 300-word synopsis as opposed to just a short, like 150-word paragraph. But then in terms of a real blog post that’s going to get you some kind of movement or traction I think you want to be at least 650 700 words up to a thousand, and that’s for pretty standard blog post.
And then when we get into what we call long-form blog posts, that would be 2000 to 3000 words. And so that’s going to be a post that sort of maybe an ultimate guide to something, right, or the last word on some topic. So maybe if you want to talk about all the schools in your market as a real estate agent, then you would have a big long-form blog that would go through all those different schools, maybe all the neighborhoods, all the country clubs, whatever you want to focus on, so that’s where you get into some of those really long posts. The goal with those not only do you get to fit in a lot of keywords but they rank really high because of authority. Google, along with length and other elements looks at the page authority, and they consider something that’s really long like that to be more authoritative as a source than something that’s like 600 words.
Robert: Sure, okay, have you heard of or read any of Brian Dean by any chance?
Christy: Maybe a while back, not lately.
Robert: So Brian Dean is the author of a website called Backlinko and he’s a guy like in the Pantheon of SEO writers. He’s one of the top three, you’ve got Brian Dean, and you’ve got Neil Patel. Brian Dean is legendary because he only has about 60 blog posts on one of the most popular blogs on the topic of SEO in the world. And what he does is he updates each one of these ultimate guide kinds of posts. He basically does only deep content, and instead of writing new content, he oftentimes goes back and refreshes his old content. I’m curious if you personally, and my opinion on this, by the way, is that different strategies work for different people.
But it seems to me that when I talk to experts or people who do this for a living, everybody has their style, like what they’re going to recommend to their clients, how long that’s going to be. I’m curious when you talk to a new client, do you have like, and you’re talking to them about content, do you have a recommendation template where you say you need 70% deep form ultimate guides and then we can do 30% lighter content on the site? Do you have a methodology that you present to people?
Christy: I generally talk in terms of the ratio of sort of timely content versus evergreen content. So that’s one of the conversations that we have because I want a certain amount of the content to be something that they can go back, and they can update it,
but it can more or less hang in there so, that I think is important. I generally talk in terms of a smaller percentage of the long-form blogs. And thinking about my own blog, it’s probably more like 20 to 25% of the long-form blogs because it’s one of those things that I think changes. It used to be that the sort of thousand-word blogs was really popular and then the long forms started really becoming popular, but the algorithms do change over time.
And so I don’t necessarily want somebody to go all-in on long forms and then find that they need some things that are a little bit shorter, or that are a little bit more timely. So generally that’s what I think of in terms of like 75% evergreen and probably 75% in that thousand word range. And then the other part would be for either the long forms or the really sort of current things that are responding to something short term.
Robert: Okay, that’s an interesting take. John, are you just so happy to have me back that you’re just letting me like, you know I can go on forever about this stuff, so–
Jonathon: [Inaudible 13:12] Robert.
Robert: I don’t believe that for a second.
Okay, we’re going to go for a break, in a few minutes, Christy. But have you seen the kind of content, because you’re working on the coal face, your producing these content for your clients? Have you seen any new trends this year? We’re coming to the end of this year about certain topics that you weren’t writing like the year before?
Christy: I think everybody in real estate is really thinking a lot about technology and thinking about how they can position themselves and respond to things like Eye buyer things that are out there, that I think a lot of real estate agents are a little anxious about. They sort of see as disruptive and so they want to have something to say about it, so that’s certainly something that I’m seeing a lot. And then I’m also seeing, just in general, I used to say that real estate was sort of the last bastion of content because I would talk to people and they really didn’t even understand the idea of content marketing.
They didn’t know what a blog was, they didn’t have anything going into creating content, and I mean that was like in really big urban markets was really savvy people. They just weren’t there and all of a sudden it has just exploded. And I really think that everybody kind of; even if they’re not there yet, they know it’s somewhere they need to get. So I definitely see the urgency for people, and people are more, much more willing to put time and effort in, and money and then they used to be, for sure.
Jonathon: That’s good news, I agree. I agree with the strategy. Alright, we’re going to have our break folks. When we come back, we’re going to be discussing more about this fascinating topic; we’ll back in a few moments.
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Jonathon: We’re coming back, I’ve been teasing Robert, I just missed him for the past couple of weeks, and nobody to tease. I felt a bit lonely Robert.
Robert: I’m sorry that I wasn’t here to give you your Insta target, and I’m so easy too, most of the time.
Jonathon: Yes, there we go. Christy is in my good book, she has a British bulldog as a pet, what a beast. What a great choice. So back to this fascinating subject content. The second question I get asked around this subject almost regularly is, what am I going to write about? So I know it differs between clients because they have different personalities, but, can you give like three or four topics that are based on your extensive experience, pretty good winners topics?
Jonathon: To gets started with to get over the block. If somebody can’t afford your fantastic expertise but want to try this themselves before they do hire somebody like yourself.
Christy: Yeah, what I always tell people to start with is, you know, what questions do you get? Because I think for most real estate agents, you hear the same, maybe 10 questions over and over. And so that might be something about the process itself, it might be something about the local market that’s very unique or specific but if people are asking you as a real estate agent that question that you’re also Googling that question. And so if you’ve got the topics lined up with your market and with the people who you work with you’re probably going to get some decent traffic from that, so then beyond that, thinking about what’s important to people in the market. So if you work with a lot of first time home buyers, condos, things like that, create content around that.
If you work with a lot of luxury homeowners, if you work with some sort of specialty market like resorts or waterfront; create content around that. So it’s pretty individual, I think. For a lot of real estate agents, there’s something going on, something unique in their market and because they want to really drive their traffic from that local market in many cases. If they can key into what is compelling, they’re probably going to do pretty well and they’re probably going to get some decent engagement in their distribution as well.
Jonathon: Before for over to Robert, would you agree this time, I think a lot of real estate agents are surprised to hear, and I think this statistics is still relevant, that normally on most websites, the second most visited page apart from the home page is the about us page. And I go to a lot of real estate agents and it’s obvious they’ve been told by their broker to knock out a bio who they’ve spent about 15 minutes on it and it’s very caned. And I think you should be spending a lot of time on your bio, and it should be quite extensive. And also the images that you used to support it should be more linked to what you really are. Am I making any sense here, Christy?
Christy: I’m sorry, my connection blanked out for a second, so I missed a little bit about that, but you were talking about the, about as pages.
Christy: I think that so much of it has gotten so generic and I write, I won’t say a lot of bio’s, but I’m asked to write a lot of bios, and I don’t love writing bios. Because for so many people, they get really stuck in this sort of formula and everybody’s saying the same thing and everybody’s using the same phrases and it’s really unfortunate and I understand the impulse. I think people are very afraid to do something that they perceive as risky, but to me, the riskiest thing you can do right now is to blend in and sound like everybody else. I would rather see, and I always tell this story. I know somebody who is an agent, who on her Instagram story, she takes pole dancing classes for exercise. And so, she will talk about that on her stories and it is fascinating and so compelling, and she has so many people who are so interested in it, and she has sold a lot of houses to a lot of pole dancers.
I mean, she’s doing something super authentic and interesting and I guarantee people would say, oh, you can’t have a successful business doing that. But I think that’s how you have to be, you have to be really authentic and you have to find something that people can get attached to you about yourself. And it doesn’t have to be pole dancing, but it can be whatever it is that makes you love the place where you live, whatever it is that you bring to the table for clients that’s different from other people. That’s what you’ve got to find.
Jonathon: That’s great, over to you, Robert.
Robert: Actually, I’m going to spend a second capitalizing on that because I’m a huge evangelist for this topic. I demonstrate it in all of my own marketing. I’m wildly personal, I break all the professional barriers that you can ever break, I’ve been coaching clients to do the same for over a decade now, and I’ve got countless stories of success in the rearview, not to mention the success of my own company based on authenticity. I talk about whatever it is I’m doing, you know, the fact that I just went to Thailand, I’m always personal. I dropped the bullshit and say, this is who I really am as a person, and you’re right, it doesn’t have to be pole dancing. Like if I was ever to get into real estate for Van Nuys.
Van Nuys is one of the most metropolitan markets in LA. It’s not a very sexy city in any way, shape or form, but it’s central to everything, which is why I live in it. And I would be talking as a realtor about the central niche of this location. It’s very blue-collar, it’s very low end in terms of the type of home inventory that you can get, but it’s also cheaper and it’s central, which is why so many blue-collar families live here in LA. That’s the kind of genuine message that I would be giving if I was in the shoes of my clients. That is no bullshit, it’s real, I would just simply say these houses are small, they’re lower quality, but they come with a lower price tag. What are you looking for? Like is it distance, is it location or is it a bigger home? If it is a bigger home, then Van Nuys is not the place for you.
So I love what you just said and I just want to feed on that. I am going to say that you have a list of amazing topics that you put down in your articles. So those people that are listening to us, you should check out Christy’s profile on Inman, and start to follow because she throws out a lot of nuggets, which is why John and I keep asking her to come back on the show. One of those is, “what should I include in my [inaudible 24:00]”, and the list is an item or feature from your websites. You’ll ask two or three blog posts, some market updates, special news awards, honors, certificates, and designations. So I do want to stop on that one though and talk about these bios.
I agree with Jonathan and I agree with what you’re saying Christy, and I strongly suggest that there is a mix between, I think that the perfect bio page is going to include a video talking about who you are as a person. And the rest of your bio should absolutely contain any certificates or awards. And I don’t just mean from the real estate industry, I think that you should include like, have you been in the military? Did you get any Distinguished Service medals or crosses or whatever is important in that world? Are you a dog trainer? Are you certified for some reason? Not because it relates to real estate, but because it tells people that you’re a dog lover, right.
Why would you become a certified dog trainer unless you loved dogs as an example? What would you say when you’re coaching your clients and trying to get them to be more authentic, especially on their bio page? Because we just started there and I love what John said about it. So, how would you approach that topic? Like, is there anything that we’ve missed that you could add?
Christy: I think, find something that connects you to the place. So if you’re, like I have a really good friend who’s a realtor in Alexandria, Virginia, and when she creates content, she talks about being the mom of a toddler in that place. And where does she go, and what’s fun, and what are the restaurants that are child-friendly? So she is talking out of her own experience, but she’s also talking to a very specific type of client, so I think that’s the thing, you know, connect. If you can connect your experience to that place and then connect all of that to the client that you want to attract, I mean, to me that is a winner. But I think for a lot of people in real estate, and this goes back to the safety issue.
A lot of people are very focused on, like when I say to them, who’s your client avatar? What’s your ideal client? And they say, “Oh, I just want to help everybody”, and what they mean is they’re afraid they’re going to miss it out on a commission. They are afraid that if they say the wrong thing or if they get specific or if they get niche, they’re going to somehow do themselves out of business. The first thing I ever heard anybody say when I very first started talking to people about content was, it’s not going to keep somebody else from working with you if you’re talking to a specific person. It’s just that you’re at least going to be talking to somebody. And I think for so many people, they’re creating content but they’re not really talking to anybody in particular. And so it’s just general and it just gets lost.
Robert: I love that, yes. I couldn’t agree with you more, yes. Be a meaningful specific as opposed to a wandering generality. For God’s sake, don’t be scared of the result because if it like passion and authenticity will sell every day of the week, even if you’re a passionate mother. I, as a professional who does not have kids still might very well choose to use a mother to purchase my real estate. She may be talking to another market, but if I see her passion for her children, that tells me who she is as a person, it makes me more inclined to want to talk to her. And that is the bridge between marketing and sales, is do I want to talk to this person? And if the answer is no or they’re not saying anything to anybody that I care about at all, why would you ever want to have a conversation with them? We’re closing in on our timer.
Jonathon: Yes, I think we’re closing. So Christy, what’s the best way for people to learn more about you and what you can do for the real estate agent or broker?
Christy: Thank you. Visit writingrealestate.com, and you’ll find out more about me and what I do and read my blog. And of course, you can find me on social media and also at Inman. Check out my author page at Inman, if you’re a subscriber, you’ll see lots and lots and lots of things to read there every week.
Jonathon: That’s great, and Robert, how can people find out more about you and what you’re up to?
Robert: Inboundrem.com folks, go to my website. It’s a little out of date because I’ve been revamping my content for 2020, but you’ll still find amazing information on how to market yourself on the web.
Jonathon: Yes, we’re not going to have a show next week, folks. I know, shock horror and that you’re deeply disappointing, but it is on Thanksgiving, and I don’t think I could rustle up a guest, and I’m sure Robert ain’t going to be joining me. So it would just be–
Robert: Now that he just reminded me, it’s Thanksgiving, no; I’ll probably have other engagements.
Jonathon: Right, but we’ll be back the following week. I’ve rustled up some guests for January, and also there’ll be some internal discussions between me and Robert. We’ll see you after Thanksgiving. Enjoy your Turkey. Don’t stuff yourself too much, and we’ll be back soon folks, bye.