Blog - Announcements
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!
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.
BlankSlate just completed the new Red Hook Waterfront site and the results look great.
This is not your typical commercial real estate site. The website belongs to The O’Connell Organization, a family owned and operated real estate development company that is behind many of the large Red Hook warehouses. The company has a substantial presence in the community, participating in many civic and economic development activities. Their marketing approach mirrors their business approach: accentuate the neighborhood’s unique attributes and focusing on the community while also promoting the role they play. The website has a key role in this strategy, acting as a place to display available commercial listings, while also serving as a blog for the community.
BlankSlate was engaged to create the site and on-going content for the site’s blog, as well as to promote listings and raise awareness of Red Hook by placing in-blog ads and syndicating the site’s blog content on other well trafficked Brooklyn sites.
The listings on the site are comprised of retail spaces, offices and warehouses that can range from $1,000 to $25,000 per month. The listings pages are filled with photos and include all the expected property information. All of the fields are customizable in the site’s admin, enabling listings to be showcased as needed.
Swamplot is the newest site to join the BlankSlate network, leveraging BlankSlate’s inContext WordPress Theme and ad sales capabilities.
Swamplot, founded by Gus Allen, is an uncompromising blog about Houston real estate.
From the site’s about page:
IF YOU ARE INTERESTED in Houston real estate, buy Houston real estate, sell Houston real estate, invest in Houston real estate, dream about Houston real estate, or simply live in Houston real estate, . . . well, here you go. You’ll find informative and entertaining stories about Houston real estate here at Swamplot.
Swamplot dredges up and spills out news, leads, and information about Houston homes and commercial property for sale, home design, home renovation, architecture, landscape, and Houston neighborhoods. The site covers the entire Houston real-estate pyramid, from the con men who founded this city to the newcomers you’re hoping will buy your home for far more than it’s worth.
Swamplot uses BlankSlate’s inContext WordPress theme. One of the advantages of using inContext is the ability to customize and style everything from the header to the colors to the fonts in the WordPress admin without coding — and when we say ‘everything’ we mean a site gets automatically formatted for desktop, tablet, and mobile. That being said, if custom features are needed, inContext can be easily modified. Swamplot had some features that it wanted to carry over from its previous site, and a Wordpress developer was able to make these features in a couple of days work.
Northside Media Taps BlankSlate to Move Brooklyn Magazine to WordPress; Expands Ad Sales Relationshipby blankslate / Announcements / October 7, 2013
You might know Brooklyn Magazine, published by Northside Media, for its thought-provoking, addictive-to-read coverage of all things Brooklyn. You want to know where to find the best gluten-free food in Brooklyn? Or how the real estate market in Red Hook is doing? They’ve got articles about that.
Now all that engrossing content that keeps readers entertained and informed is optimized for consumption on desktops, tablets, and mobile; has improved SEO and social integrations; and is presented with a cleaner design and bigger photos.
Like many publishers today, Northside chose to refresh their site by moving to WordPress, and happily they also chose to expand their relationship with BlankSlate to help get this done.
BlankSlate inContext Theme Customizer
BlankSlate used its inContext WordPress theme to enable Northside to get the sophisticated, minimal aesthetic Brooklyn Magazine is known for. The inContext theme enables publishers to create a site that meets their design vision, usually with no programming.
Brooklyn Magazine will generate more ad sales through BlankSlate’s sales team too. BlankSlate has been working alongside Northside Media’s internal sales team for several months, helping to optimize their digital revenue by offering the scale of BlankSlate’s publisher network. The sales relationship, plus the advertising capabilities built in to the inContext theme — rich media units, site takeovers, and sponsored editorial widgets — have already resulted in increased revenues and a more diverse ad portfolio.
With this spankin’ new site in place, the Brooklyn Magazine editorial staff can now create the witty, quirky, sometimes critical content their readers know and love and get it out more easily, to even more readers, and generate more revenues.
If you are interested in learning more about this project, the inContext theme, BlankSlate’s ad sales offering, you can contact BlankSlate here.
Good news for the publishers in the Blankslate network and the readers of their blogs! We added new social buttons across all of the blogs using our InContext theme for WordPress. Now, as pictured above, readers can share their favorite articles on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, StumbleUpon, Tumblr and Pinterest. In addition, the Twitter button pulls hashtags from the categories and tags in the articles. As many of our publishers are actively sharing content via social media, these additional buttons will make it even easier for readers to spread the news too!
Brownstoner, the largest site in the BlankSlate network, has just announced the addition of Manhattan rental and sales listings to their already extensive real estate marketplace. This is great news for home buyers and renters, as well as the brokerages represented, many of whom already feature listings in Brownstoner’s Brooklyn, Queens and Upstate marketplaces. There are now 13,500 listings in Manhattan. We could spend all day drooling over these gorgeous Manhattan apartments, like this one at 1025 Fifth Avenue!
In addition, real estate agents now have their own pages, which are search engine optimized to make finding a particular agent’s listings as easy as possible. You can find an agent’s page using the formula http://manhattan-realestate.brownstoner.com/agent/agents-name. Agents who list their properties on Brownstoner’s Marketplace can easily login and view their stats to see how many people have been interacting with their listings.
We’re excited to see how people react to the new Manhattan listings. The pages started getting hits before the announcement went live!
Check out Brownstoner’s Manhattan Marketplace here.