PoPville founder and editor Dan Silverman | ep_jhu via flickr
Once again, congratulations are in order for PoPville‘s Dan Silverman. For the third year in a row, Washington City Paper named PoPville.com the Best Community Blog in Washington, D.C.
As happy as we are for Dan, this comes as no surprise to us. PoPville has been a key member of our publisher network, bringing peerless coverage of local events to the D.C. area. Since 2006, Dan, a Rockville Centre native, has been covering such topics as quality of life, real estate, restaurants, bars, retail, architecture, gardening, pets, transit, and crime. The Washington Post once wrote that Silverman “probably knows more about the District than some beat cops.”
Neither will the people of D.C. be surprised by this honor. PoPville is often quoted as a source in The Washington Post, and this commitment to local reporting results in ever-growing traffic to the site: 1.75 million page views and over 480,000 unique visitors in March 2014 alone. It’s no wonder that Washingtonian magazine called PoPville the “King of Neighborhood Blogs.”
So raise a glass (or two) to PoPville! Long live the king! We look forward to you winning again in 2015.
We’ve been excited about this for months. Now it’s everyone else’s turn.
Ever since the Daily News broke the story about the upcoming launch of ExploreBK.com (“Booming Brooklyn is about to get its own tourism website,” April 2, 2014), the story has been picked up all over the place, including the New York Observer, Crain’s, Brownstoner, Technical.ly, and Brooklyn Magazine.
From the Daily News piece:
The “it borough” is about to get a tourism website of its own, courtesy of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce and Brooklyn tech company BlankSlate, officials told the Daily News.
Set to launch on May 9, ExploreBK.com will seek to amp up Brooklyn’s reputation as a tourist must-see for travelers locally and around the world.
“ExploreBK.com is going to take all of the great things in the coolest place in America, from shopping to dining to events, and put it into a one-stop shop website for all things Brooklyn,” Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce president Carlo Scissura told the Daily News.
The Observer added:
The website, ExploreBK, will feature information on major attractions and events in the borough, along with information about restaurants, business and hotels. BlankSlate, which also runs the Brooklyn real estate blog Brownstoner, will create content, sell ads and sponsorships, and take some of the revenue generated by the site.
New York already has an official tourism website, NYCgo.com, and there’s even a Kings-County specific site run by the borough president’s office, which features super-hip graffiti designs. But Brooklyn is just so cool that it needed one more.
If, in a couple months, you find your favorite Brooklyn street swarming with tourists, we hope you won’t be too mad at us.
Please help us welcome the compulsively readable Candy’s Dirt, SecondShelters, and Red Brick Town to our continually expanding publisher network. With the addition of Candy’s Dirt and SecondShelters we jump headlong into the Dallas/Fort Worth real estate scene while Red Brick Town cements our dedication to everything that’s great about the Washington D.C. metroplex.
Candy’s Dirt and SecondShelters are the creations of Candy Evans, one of the nation’s leading real estate reporters. Candy was a longtime contributing editor to Dallas’ D Magazine and its sister publications, and in 2007 founded the wildly successful Dallas real estate blog, DallasDirt, where she broke the news on the location of President George W. Bush’s Dallas home. She also blogs for Realtor.com and Haute Living.
Candy’s Dirt focuses on general Dallas/Fort Worth real estate news while SecondShelters casts its eye on second homes. Her apt description of Candy’s Dirt easily applies to both sites:
CandysDirt.com offers readers house porn, celebrity real estate, neighborhood profiles, what’s hot (and what’s not), sales insight, REALTOR profiles, new developments, the “f” word (um, foreclosures, what were you thinking?), builder talk, real estate news, and consumer Q&A’s. We showcase great listings, helping them to break away from the noise. We cover those neighborhood homeowner association meetings that make everyone’s blood pressure rise. Come tax appraisal time, we have The Tax Doctor right here. We even have a real estate attorney on staff for the really tough questions. We do it all from our base in Dallas/Fort Worth, where we love to report the Dallas and Fort Worth Dirt.
Red Brick Town is the brainchild of Lee Hernly, a dedicated enthusiast of the D.C. suburb of Alexandria, Virginia. As Lee explains:
The Red Brick Town blog is a news, information, and community affairs site focused on living in Alexandria, Virginia, working in the D.C. area, and enjoying all that our Washington, D.C. offers. The blog was born out of a desire to keep my fellow residents informed on the happenings in and around our neighborhood and to promote a safe, interesting and fun community. Topics to be covered include: quality of life, real estate, things to do, business, retail, architecture, pets, transportation, crime and more!
Upon joining the BlankSlate publisher network, all three sites received a makeover using BlankSlate’s design templates and were added to our advertising networks. We’re looking forward to helping the latest members of the BlankSlate family continue to flourish and bring you everything you’ve always expected from them…and more!
We’re proud to announce the relaunch of The Staten Island Board of Realtors website, boasting a brand-new redesign by BlankSlate.
The Staten Island Board of Realtors wanted to offer an online experience that was more complete and authentic to their community than what a national real estate listing site can offer. Our solution was to turn their site into a destination that includes real estate listings but also deep local and neighborhood information that is continually updated.
We started by redesigning their branding and website, with a clean, modern, and responsive design that looks great on all devices. Next, we will help with creating content for their blog, which we will keep fresh with posts written by writers from our publisher network.
At the moment, the change is mostly cosmetic, but over the coming months, we will be introducing a suite of exciting new features for the site, including a revamped real estate listings section, real-time sales and rental market trends, and complete local business listings.
Our goal is for SIBORRealtors.com to become a trusted neignborhood information resource, offering more ways than ever for people to explore what it’s like to live in Staten Island.
BlankSlate is a digital marketing agency that specializes in forging local connections between brands, businesses, publishers, and audiences.
We understand that every community is different. People in Brooklyn have different lifestyles than people in Dallas. Manhattan real estate buyers see the world differently than 20-something D.C. culture mavens. Brands and their agencies understand this, too, and they come to us to help them with their local marketing activation.
Potential customers respond to messaging that aligns with their interests and provides them with value. Messaging that teaches them something, makes them laugh, or opens a window of opportunity. With those goals in mind, BlankSlate has dedicated itself to making great content, and finding the most efficient way to deliver it.
It’s an exciting time to be working at BlankSlate. We’re moving into new communities, new technologies, new opportunities—and we need great people to join us in the journey.
Operations Manager – Open
Content Marketing Sales Executive – Open
Senior Web Developer – Open
Manager of Content Marketing – Open
If you’re interested in hearing more about these positions, please contact us. We look forward to hearing from you.
Newburgh, NY, is a town on the Hudson not far from New York City — and not so far from Brooklyn.
As is the case with many former industrial towns in Upstate New York, Newburgh has its share of large commercial buildings that are standing empty. Its “A River of Opportunities” initiative was instituted to attract industry back to Newburgh. So it was only a matter of time before they set their eyes on Brooklyn and its surplus of creative entrepreneurs.
A River of Opportunities developed a series of video profiles of various businesses that had relocated to Newburgh, and looked to BlankSlate to promote this series to the right Brooklyn audience.
These posts, supported by a display advertising campaign, were distributed across the BlankSlate Publisher Network of influential Brooklyn blogs.
Following are some examples of the work:
- Atlas Industries, Bringing Craftsmanship and New Opportunities to an Empty Warehouse in Newburgh
- Newburgh Brewing Co. Fulfills Dream in Empty Warehouse in Newburgh
- Thornwillow Press, Bringing Craftsmanship to an Old Newburgh Warehouse
We hope our Brooklyn neighbors won’t blame us for any ensuing mass exodus to Newburgh.
To learn more about how we can support your economic development initiatives, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
When a magazine or newspaper covers an art exhibition, film, play, or other cultural event, they usually employ one of three different approaches. There’s the review, of course, which depends on the taste (and possibly mood) of the reviewer. There’s the profile, focusing on the history and personal life of the artist and only peripherally about his or her current work. And finally, there’s the “angle” feature, which often lumps one or more works of art together as examples of some trend or other cultural phenomenon, real or invented.
All very entertaining to read, but what if the presenter wants more control of the message?
Sponsored posts allow cultural institutions to tease their events in an editorial environment while ensuring that all of the specific elements of their message come across to the reader. They are written to be as entertaining and interesting as they are useful.
The tried and true BlankSlate approach to sponsored posts:
- Work with the agency or client to develop concepts for the campaign
- Find the right voice for the message, avoiding any approaches that might come across as a sales pitch
- Draw upon the talents of the most talented writers and editors in BlankSlate’s publishing network to craft engaging posts, geared towards different segments of the audience
- Strategically distribute the content across the various properties that make up BlankSlate’s publishing network
- Extend the reach of the content to desired level through paid and organic engagement across social networks
BlankSlate called upon this process when working with Mindshare on a marketing campaign for New York City’s Museum of Modern Art. Following are examples of posts about featured exhibitions and events at MoMA, crafted by our stable team of writers and editors and distributed across our publishing network.
And working directly with BRIC, the Brooklyn arts and culture non-profit, BlankSlate conceived a series of sponsored posts that ran across our publishing network, announcing the opening of the new BRIC House arts and cultural center:
- A look back at BRIC House’s former life as a vaudeville theater
- A tour of the BRIC House Community Media Center with video production instructor Dontré Conerly
For more examples, or to learn more about how we can help your agency or cultural institution, please contact us.
Brooklyn has become a world capital of the “maker culture,” where a generation of artists and entrepreneurs combine new technologies and classic craftsmanship to remake the world around them on the neighborhood level.
In that spirit, Brownstoner, BFC Partners, and the Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group decided to develop 1000 Dean into a creative hub for the up-and-coming Brooklyn neighborhood of Crown Heights. Formerly a Studebaker service station, this 1920s concrete structure is becoming a suit of creative offices and studios with a 9,000-square-foot food and beer hall operated by the Brooklyn Flea.
BlankSlate was brought on to oversee the branding and web presence of this pioneering new project. To paint a picture of creativity and sophistication, we conceived a design that was clean and modern, inspired by fashion and design magazines. We started with a simple, elegant logo design for 1000 Dean. For the website, we selected a color palette and typography that complemented the building’s cool, minimalist loft spaces.
Photography plays a key role in the design. The spaces were shot to look more like fashion photography than what you would normally see on a real estate site.
BlankSlate Real Estate now includes real time local market trends for sale and rental listings. Market trends can help buyers and sellers and owners and renters make informed pricing decisions by seeing how prices are changing over time (e.g. ‘where are we in a seasonal or macro-economic cycle?’) and also by comparing prices in one place versus another place (e.g. ‘how does pricing here compare to there?’). BlankSlate Real Estate Market Trends is also a valuable tool for real estate brokers, who can gain greater insight into the communities they serve and share them with their customers.
Here’s how BlankSlate Real Estate Market Trends works:
We receive feeds from listings sources throughout the day. Listings are checked to ensure they have complete and valid addresses and can be placed on a map. If they don’t have complete information, we try to complete it using various web services.
We analyze the location data and pass the listings thru map boundaries to aggregate listings by geography. The map boundaries are developed in conjunction with BlankSlate’s publisher partners, to really define the neighborhoods in the way locals understand them. For example, here is the neighborhood map of DC that listings for Popville are passed thru.
Next, we generate statistics — like average and median price, and price per square foot — based on the compiled location data.
For urban environments, the outcome is detailed pricing information by neighborhood.
Here is Washington DC’s sale pricing by neighborhood for today.
If you really want to give voice to your business and tell your story, you should consider sponsored content. A sponsored post is one that is written and created specifically for an advertiser. It is displayed right in the main editorial column of a publisher’s site. The posts are treated like any other post you’d see on a website: they are uploaded, published, and tracked through a site’s analytics. Since they take the shape of a regular post and can fit seamlessly into a blog, they are a great choice for delivering the exact message that an advertiser wants in long form, supported by text, photos, video, or other forms of media.
Traditional advertising can certainly be effective – for example, take a look at the celebrity endorsements for Pepsi and Coke shown here. But these advertisements explicitly “sell” a product, and that’s not what our team is after when we create a sponsored post.
When they are done well, sponsored posts do not sell or even have an advertorial sound (unlike the celebrity endorsements above). After all, readers are smart and can sense when content isn’t genuine; people prefer to read posts that are interesting and hopefully entertaining — but most of all, people prefer posts that are not directly selling something to them. By writing quality sponsored posts, an advertiser has the opportunity to leverage the voice and trust of the site to its maximum benefit. If an audience already trusts the blog, the sponsored post will fit right in. Sites that serve a community and often feature what to do in the neighborhood – such as Brooklyn Based for Brooklyn or PoPville for Washington DC – are natural fits for these kinds of posts.
Sponsored posts are unique in content, but have a particular form: they contain a native ad unit under the lead image for the advertiser’s logo, link and byline, as well as multiple target links in the body of the post itself. The posts contain social media buttons that are built in, which enable readers to easily share the content. The posts are optimized for desktop, tablet, and mobile devices. It is of utmost importance that it can reach an audience, regardless of where the content is viewed.