A couple of weeks ago, Tre Serrano’s YouTube channel, San Antonio Suburbs, caught the editor’s eye from San Antonio Express-News.
After speaking with the editor, Serrano knew an article was coming. What he didn’t expect was the title to be a direct hit to agents: “Real estate agents on YouTube have called San Antonio the ‘worst city in the U.S.”
Byron Lazine spoke about the Express-News headline on last week’s The Real Word and what could be coming for industry professionals.
The media is going to do this. They’re going to attack agents because it’s an easy target. I first guessed this a month ago. They want to attack (agents) and the industry because they’ve got nothing else to attack.
BAM dove deeper into the topic, speaking to Serrano about his experience and posing the question we’re all wondering for 2023:
Is mainstream media coming for real estate agents?
Dirty Laundry or Relevant Information?
Serrano’s YouTube channel, which has over 5,000 subscribers and produces content for and about San Antonio, is filled with authentic responses from residents of the city. It’s become a place where everyone in the community can share their experiences of San Antonio living—something Serrano wished he had when he moved to the area 12 years ago.
People share why they left San Antonio, and they share why they stayed in San Antonio. There are people that have lived in San Antonio their whole lives, and they’re seventy years old, explaining how it used to be. It’s just what comes from the information I put out… It’s a platform for the locals and people that recently moved here or are thinking about moving here to speak to each other. The platform is allowing many people to share their stories.
But when Serrano opened the email from San Antonio Express-News, it was more accusatory than encouraging. He wanted to know why Serrano was airing out “San Antonio’s dirty laundry” and couldn’t fathom why a real estate agent would share the cons of a city where they live and work.
Although the email (and follow-up phone conversation) came off as short and snippy, Serrano explained his channel’s purpose and why real estate agents provide information about a city’s shortcomings.
Realtors are about advocacy, and being an advocate is sometimes telling people the worst of where they can potentially move to. And the authenticity is just something that I know my clients appreciate, and the information, to me, is valuable for people to know.
The Article that Started it All
Serrano’s video featured in the article, Don’t Live in These San Antonio Areas, has a title sure to hook anyone thinking about moving to the city. And content creators know that creating a hook is critical to getting a message out.
(Tre’s) a great YouTube video producer, certainly for the city of San Antonio. He’s getting people to click—and he’s educating.
In the video, Serrano highlights different neighborhoods in the San Antonio area, providing information on:
- Why Live There?
- Drive Time
- Neighborhood Price
- Property Taxes
- Home Age
He shares rental prices, equity potential, and the pros and cons of each neighborhood. It’s filled with information that home buyers and investors want to know before making a purchase.
So what issue does San Antonio Express-News have?
Perhaps the title was just a way to hook its readers. Or perhaps they didn’t watch Serrano’s video in its entirety (or the other videos mentioned in the article).
Either way, the article pointed at real estate agents for sharing negative aspects of the city, stating:
“Real estate agents and other content creators on YouTube provide snarky takes on the Alamo City and its neighboring cities, offering a “true view” of what it’s like to live there.”
Behind a paywall, the article goes on to quote agents on reasons why they create videos about the pros and cons in their local markets (to educate consumers on all aspects of the city). Similar to how one would research the pros and cons of a car before making a purchase, consumers want to know the ins and outs of the community they will be living or investing in.
Note: Get Tre Serrano’s full thoughts on the San Antonio Express-News piece here, where he reacted to the article with Patricia Escobedo and Mina Slaughter, two San Antonio agents with active YouTube channels.
Not an Isolated View
The San Antonio Express-News is not the only publication to reach out to agents.
Jeremy Knight, the content creator behind the popular Moving to Austin Realtor YouTube channel, said he’s had frequent requests from media outlets over the past year.
I’ve had several media outlets reach out to me over the last year in regard to my YouTube content. In my experience, they are confused about why we would talk honestly about the market.
Also, they want to know how we are getting business out of making content. Every time I’ve talked with an outlet, I can tell they are wanting to use my answer to tell their readers I’m trying to get business out of my videos. I’ve had them ask me several times what I get out of it and how much I make from my content.
Mainstream media outlets don’t understand the reason behind local content produced by agents, a topic discussed by Knight and Serrano in last week’s podcast, Media Attacks YouTubers Over Free Speech.
Fortunately, we know the difference it can make for buyers and sellers.
Using Social Media Platforms to Educate and Inform
By now, we all know the value of creating content to educate and inform clients and prospects.
But this type of negative feedback scares many agents from getting on camera.
So, where does the motivation to spread information come from? For Serrano, knowing that his content helps people outweighs any negativity that comes from it.
The negativity is going to happen. But if you come from a place of knowing you’re speaking to your future buyers and sellers, and you’re coming from a place of giving information, then it’s easier to take the negativity from these news articles or, you know, trolls on YouTube.
He also reminds agents about their impact on local communities. After all, who knows the area better than you?
Agents need to stop being intimidated by news articles and bloggers because nobody is more involved in neighborhoods and lifestyles than Realtors. They hear so many stories from so many people. You need to open up your voice because people want to know that information. And you’re the best person to give it to them.