Tina Cassidy Archive
Today, at the MassTLC unConference in Boston, I was part of a media and press relations clinic that columnist Scott Kirsner led, along with Jen Reddy, SVP of Global Marketing for Communispace; Bernd Leger, Vice President of Marketing at Localytics; and Adam Zand, PR manager at TomTom.
The session, aimed at helping companies learn how to raise their visibility, became a Shark Tank-style pitch fest where founders stood up and explained why someone should want to cover them. First, it should be said, there were some great business ideas in that room at the Hynes Convention Center: crowd-sourcing for new video games; turning a photo of white board notes into a Google doc; and a solution to allow employees who may be dispersed to all sign good-bye cards for colleagues who are moving on.
I’ve been doing real estate public relations for a long time. In the last few years, it was clear to me that while the media landscape was changing, so was PR – drastically. And yet the real estate industry, like the Earth itself, continued to turn slowly on its own ancient axis.
Very few developers right now are using social media for community relations purposes. But they should, as I explain here. And most brokers are still relying on email for marketing properties. And they shouldn’t, as outlined in this post. Who’s renting apartments and jumping into the housing market? Millennials, a group most real estate developers only know as their own children, now need to be marketed to. But how?
I’ve already chronicled BuzzFeed’s meteoric rise here. But there are some additional stats about the site worth considering as well as some tips from Eric Harris, its executive vice president of business operations, about how to create viral content. First, the numbers:
– BuzzFeed now has 75 editors
– 75 percent of its traffic is from social referrals
– 60 percent of its visitors are millennials
– 50 percent of its traffic comes from mobile
– The site has 60 million unique visitors per month (that’s double nytimes.com, folks).
So it’s clear that BuzzFeed is a holy grail of sorts – for content that you want to go viral. While everyone might think they want viral content, the qualifications to make it so aren’t for everyone. Here are some of Eric’s tips for making content readily shared via BuzzFeed:
Many real estate developers have been slow to adopt social media to help market completed residential or commercial construction projects. But those who have are seeing the value in how it can bring to life the branding of new neighborhoods or shopping districts, or draw in prospective tenants or buyers.
However, there is one area where developers are still lagging on the social media front: the permitting and community relations phase of a project. This is not surprising — after all, many developers want to attract as little attention as possible to something that could be controversial and they believe that having a presence on Twitter or Facebook provides a stage for angry abutters to air their complaints.
At the White House correspondents’ dinner, President Obama said, “I remember when BuzzFeed was just something I did in college after 2 a.m.”
Indeed, while the website founded by MIT grad and Huffington Post co-founder Jonah Peretti is 7-years old, until recent months, BuzzFeed might have been something only college students were reading at 2 a.m., searching for LOL cats and photo bombs that they could share on Facebook.
But all that is changing and it feels as if suddenly, BuzzFeed has all the media buzz.
- Propelled by high-profile news events such as the Newtown shooting and Boston Marathon bombings, the site seemed to intuit exactly what readers wanted during and after the crisis and its content was even more viral than usual. In January, the site had about 30 million unique visitors. In April, that number had spiked to 65 million uniques. The New York Times’ website has nearly 29 million monthly uniques.
In the horrifying moments after the Boston Marathon bombings, after ensuring that everyone we knew was safe, we told all clients who might have scheduled tweets to shut them off. Some of them already had and some were shocked that it took almost 20 minutes to finally stop the process.
Thankfully, having a business Twitter blackout has become standard procedure during any crisis because a brand’s social chatter – even if it’s not self-promotional – seems wrong when people are trawling for vital information about breaking news. Going silent is the digital equivalent of giving a fire truck the necessary 500-foot perimeter to do its job. Get out of the way of the #disaster hashtag.
Last month, as I was trawling Twitter, I experienced one of those moments of truth that often lead to a blog post. “Stop the Madness! Why do we spam the crap out of each other #CRE?” It was an excellent question from @TenantAdvisor. His screenshot (above) showed a whole bunch of emails from the real estate world; no doubt property listings or announcements about recent transactions.
This is especially true in the brokerage community, where deal flow means everything, competition is fierce, and an old-school approach to marketing is pervasive. But when everyone else is doing lead generation the same way, namely by email and even cold calls or printed fliers, it is simply not effective, as I explained in a previous post.
First, let me say that doing the Pope’s PR would be a really hard job, even for a Catholic. He’s controversial in some quarters, his audience is spread around the globe, and his message needs to be translated into many languages. Critics also say the Holy See lacks transparency and is clinging to historic doctrine at a time of global social change. But on top of that, its communications methods are quaint: Latin Mass still happens, and news of Pope Francis first went out by smoke signal (ok, that might be more high-tech than you think).
Of course, not all of the church’s problems can be solved by PR. But there are a few obvious communications tactics that could create the perception of real change and perhaps even lead to it.