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Give Credit Where Credit is Due

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A lot of real estate bloggers are being used as sources for real estate stories in big publications like The New York Times, Kiplinger, The Chicago Tribune, local newspapers, etc. But are we getting credit for our time? is it really worth the effort for us when we see these big names?

I can only speak for myself when I say I get excited when a known publication contacts me because I think of the exposure I may get. We all know that the more our name is out there, the better it is for our business, so why not?

The experience may not always be pleasant because the outcome may not be what you envisioned. On many different occasions, I have gone out of my way to cooperate with reporters and writers to help with their stories, find them clients to speak to and interview, spend a lot of time answering questions and helping with their story to get little or no credit in the end.

I have asked upfront for at least a link to my site in exchange for my time and the excuse for not getting the link or a mention was that the stories were cut by senior editors the last possible minute.

So here’s my question to you – do we continue helping these publications to use us to write their stories without demanding something in writing first? Is there an easier way to do this or am I simply overreacting? I’m hoping someone has come up with a win-win formula and would kindly share.

At least The New York Times was courteous enough to mention my name when I was taken out of context. A local news station doing a story on St. Joseph as the “patron saint of Realtors” was not as kind after taking a client to a botanica to buy a St. Joseph Statue, filming her burying it, interviewing her and myself and then cutting me out of the story altogether and not even mentioning the client’s address to at least give a little exposure to the listing. And the last straw was me taking a writer from Kiplinger around Miami to show her listings, hooking her up with clients to speak to, providing market information as well as photos and then getting a link to the site as a photo credit inside the binding of the magazine where you practically have to tear the issue apart to see a little tiny “miamism.com” in there.

I would like to add that in every single occasion, the writers/reporters were extremely nice, really enjoyed spending time with them and were very apologetic after not being able to give me credit. (So the point here is not to knock on them but on the process).

Can someone share some light into this uncomfortable issue? Because personally…..I’m done! They can go to try the next gullible guinea pig, there’s just so many hits I can take.

Ines is all Miami, all the time. A Miami Beach Realtor® with Majestic properties, Ines authors Miamism.com, PrimeMiamiBeach.com, and MiamismPix.com and is always on communication's leading edge. She goes out of her way to engage and be engaged, often using Mojitos to keep the mood light and give everything she does a Miami flavor. You can find her goofing off or instigating trouble at Twitter, Flickr, Facebook or LinkedIn.

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23 Comments

23 Comments

  1. Barry Cunningham

    June 24, 2008 at 3:17 pm

    We avoid this by having hired a press and media PR agent. If you want good solid and potected press, spend the money and hire a good PR agent..worth there weight in gold.

    Reality is most agents simply will not spend the money.

  2. Ines

    June 24, 2008 at 3:29 pm

    That’s interesting Barry – we’ve hired PR experts to produce press releases, but never worked with a Press and media PR agent. I guess I could understand where a radio show could benefit from this, I wonder how they would hire a real estate team with a blog.

    I will definitely do some research and if you don’t mind sharing in what capacity these agents help you, it would be interesting to hear your take.

  3. Benjamin Bach

    June 24, 2008 at 3:30 pm

    I come from the point of view of giving without figuring out the return. It usually works out in some other area – the law of unintended effects. Sometimes though, people just take. That’s too bad for them

    I’ve had media contact me, ask me a ton of questions, promise me the moon, and then not mention me at all in the story. It sucks. But eventually someone mentioned me, and then … it went from there

    My first few listings seemed like I was all give give give, no getting. Then eventually… it kicks into gear.

  4. Dave

    June 24, 2008 at 4:20 pm

    Ines, no worries, in 5 to 10 years, you’ll be contacting them for information about their contacts on your story “Where did all the “journalists” go : Death of the network news media, the rise of bloggers”

    Blogging is becoming the new news… And it will only get better… NY times I believe just released how their ad revenue dipped by double digit numbers from last year… Print and traditional media is falling by the wayside…

  5. Barry Cunningham

    June 24, 2008 at 4:45 pm

    Hi Ines…we constantly get asked to give quotes and appear on nationally syndicated shows. We have begun recently getting requests from tellevision as well. (CNN, FOX, MSNBC)..so before we got involved..like we always say on our show, we hired an agent to screen opportunities and to insure we get featured as we desire.

    When you see pundits on shows, and as we do on our own show, it is customary to make sure you provide contact information. Often times this is the “fee ” paid.

    For good representation it costs about $3,500 – $5,000 in the form of retainer until you start getting paid endorsements..if you get paid endorsements.

    I don’t know if you have listened to our show or not recently and this is not a push by any means, you will have heard the escalation of guests on our show. Last week for instance we had the great fortune to speak with Kim Kiyosaki of Rich Dad Poor Dad, Rich Woman fame. We have also spoken to Dr. Dani Babb and many other high profile guests from business and real estate.

    So yes, it makes sense for us to have a press agent and a legal agent as well.

    From a local Realtor’s perspective it is all about where you want to take your business and who you want to cater to.

    The names I mentioned earlier were based upon our focus to snare a good market share in such a short period of time. Our first blog post was just on January 2 of this year. The PR efforts most assuredly allowed us to grow so fast. So it definitiely works.

    You have to ask yourself, what can a major PR campaign do for your business? That answer will tell you if a major campaign and it’s expense are worth it.

    We had an inquiry last week from someone who wanted to know with the coming hurricane season how would a hurricane affect real estate sales down here. We answered, got picked up nationally, and our real estate side of things had a gentleman fly in from London, look at a property and purchase a townhouse west of US 1 simply because of the insurance rates.

    I guess it works…lately over 80% of our real estate blog readership has been european as we recently spoke about exchange rates….tons of ways to influence and utilize the press to speak about your business.

    I come from a marketing background..a marketing life…this business is a no-brainer to impact becasue most agents do not know how to market. They’re out there being told to knock on doors and make cold calls…yikes!!!

    Here’s a hint, if you spend $5,000 – $7,500 to have a major ..killer PR campaign put together, how many houses would you have to sell to make it worth your while. One thing is for sure, you won’t have to knock on doors or cold call anymore.

    That’s the way we looked at it.Simply sending out your own press release may get you some backlinks, it may also get you picked up in the Steubenville Gazette…if you want to be on CNN or Fox, or MSNBC as an expert in Miami Real Estate would it be worth it to you?

    I am waiting for the pitchforks now…it is strange how so many are jumping aboard a movement to tar and feather vendors when your business can explode leveraging those strategic partnerships.

    Want to know more, go ahead and email me and I’d be glad to help you…and unlike many who troll comments for business, I am not looking to make any money off of you. Besides, you’re down here in South Florida..we’re neighbors!

  6. Jay Thompson

    June 24, 2008 at 4:57 pm

    Interesting timing Ines, as I’ve spoken with a reporter from Saskatoon, Canada and the local newspaper real estate reporter today.

    I’ve got a great relationship with the local real estate reporters and they always “credit” me. Sometimes (but not always) with a link, but the name and brokerage name are always in the articles. And it has resulted directly in client contact. We also add it to our listing presentation, which we really don’t use that often, but when we do it seems to appeal to sellers when they see a list of articles and local TV news appearances. Right or wrong, it does seem to add credibility in some folk’s eyes.

    In my experience, the national publications are worse than the local publications when it comes to proper attribution.

    @Barry wrote (in part): …it is strange how so many are jumping aboard a movement to tar and feather vendors when your business can explode leveraging those strategic partnerships.

    Is it really “so many” or is it one man’s crusade/soapbox? Regardless, it’s one of the more ridiculous arguments they’ve laid down yet. If one does not like a vendor, the answer is simple — don’t use them.

  7. Athol Kay

    June 24, 2008 at 5:07 pm

    It seems to require a perfect “sound bite” to get directly quoted in print media.

  8. Ines

    June 24, 2008 at 5:32 pm

    Benjamin – I play by those rules with everything in life – but after feeling like I was taken advantage of as well as those clients of mine that volunteered, I have to draw the line. I totally believe in “give and you shall receive” I just wander if the big mediums are taking advantage sometimes.

    Barry – I realized within the last year that studying architecture (although I love and loved every minute of it) may have been a wrong career move since I am enjoying the marketing aspect of it so much (at least the creative aspect of marketing). I really appreciate you going in depth because I really know very little about marketing and never even considered getting a professional to put together a killer PR campaign like you mention. In the big scheme of things, spending $5,000n to $7,500 doesn’t mean much at all, if it gets results………I figured you were talking about a small fortune. I will definitely have to pick you brain a bit.

    Jay, I also have a good relation with a few local writers and at times they have come to me to write a story so they can later quote me (camaraderie at its best). I totally agree with you that ,

    The national publications are worse than the local publications when it comes to proper attribution

    The one that irked me the most was the news channel because it was hours spent by me and the client and they turned their back on us. it’s sad how now I can’t trust inquiries from the media.

  9. Barry Cunningham

    June 24, 2008 at 6:00 pm

    Ines..anytime.

    Jay..yeah you’re exactly right about the “vendor” soapbox and the remedy. Don’t use what does not work for you. It really is that simple.

  10. Ines

    June 24, 2008 at 6:33 pm

    Athol – and before it happens, you feel like you are walking on needles because anything you say can be taken out of context. Is there a formula for the “perfect sound bite”?

  11. Michelle DeRepentigny

    June 24, 2008 at 8:16 pm

    Really interesting timing, I received a call from the REALTOR Commercial Alliance today. The representative emailed me what will be published about me next month and asked me to feel free to add anything I felt should be included or correct any inaccuracies.

    I’ve had several quotes in the local newspaper and links from their blog to my market statistics also. I also particpated in one in depth round table for another magazine, where I also had the opportunity to proof my responses that were included. I suppose I have been fortunate, but if not offered the opportunity to review the information, I have learned to ask and to decline if if is not given.

  12. Ines

    June 24, 2008 at 9:23 pm

    Michelle, thanks for your feedback THAT’s exactly what I’m talking about. It’s not them against us, it’s about working together to make something happen. A chance to review the information would be a win-win scenario and can understand why the big media players refuse to do that because it would mean too many cooks in the kichen (can you tell I just watched Hell’s kitchen?) 🙂

  13. Oahu Real Estate

    June 25, 2008 at 6:07 pm

    I have a story about something like this. Forbes Magazine contacted my company, http://www.hawaiilife.com, regarding homes that hollywood stars had purchased. We went out of our way to use our local knowledge to compile information for their article because we were told we would be given credit.

    Well…they used all our info, but said nothing about their source! Thanks Forbes.

  14. Matthew Rathbun

    June 26, 2008 at 6:03 am

    I’m cynical, I know. I am not and never will be a fan of the media. I took a course on Media Relations course that was fairly extensive years ago in a different life. The panel at the end of the course were all local media folks and when asked what we could do to be sure that our input was actually used. One panel member said: “Only say things that support the reporter’s story, refuse to comment unless credit is promised in writing before the interview and know that if you are quoted, we’ll make you look stupid” I appreciated the honesty and it has been a main reason why I have declined almost every media interview ever offered.

    I’ll do panel and chat discussions, but never where the reporter can manipulate my words.

    Of course all the media folks were nice to you, you were doing their job for them – for free.

    IMHO until the media lays off the “gloom and doom” housing stuff, they are the enemy and we shouldn’t be assisting them with more fuel for their attack on the real estate.

    Having said all that, you might be surprised to find out that I agree with Barry, hiring a marketing or PR person for your company is a great idea. Too many agents and brokers are trying to pull this off themselves… Be a Manager, a salesperson, a planner, a coach or a marketer – very few people can do all of it….pick one and outsource the rest.

  15. Teresa Boardman

    June 26, 2008 at 6:32 am

    I have been very selective about who I talk to which the main stream media finds unusual. I passed on an interview with ABC. A competitor took it. He now looks like a total slime ball. Often the media have their story and they “use” us. It isn’t always a good idea to talk to the main stream media but most are so flattered that they do not think about the implications or the fact that reputations can be ruined. I have been quoted in several of the publications you mention and all have been kind.

  16. ines

    June 27, 2008 at 8:17 am

    Oahu RE – I know this doesn’t make you feel any better, but it does me….knowing I’m not alone. I do think that if enough of us put our foot down and ask for credit in writing, it will stop all this non-sense.

    Matthew, talk about a reality check -wow! I don’t do “negative RE interviews” at all – might as well just lite yourself on fire there! 🙂

    T – I think you summed it up beautiful – we need to be more selective. I’m still pinching myself that a publication like Kipplinger would not give credit, it’s against what they stand for and in my opinion poor editorial ethics if there’s such a thing.

  17. Barry Cunningham

    June 27, 2008 at 8:59 am

    Most of the horror stories some of you are talking about is because you had no representation. You know..sort of like a lot of agents say about FSBO’s…

    Why is it a surprise what happens when you do not involve professional representation in the PR or marketing world. Like I mentioned to Ines, it would be wise, IF..IF..you want significant media exposure, that you retain a professional media consultant.

    We interviewed Glen Kelman yesterday and I think you all know what kind of media attention he has been getting. He has a full time PR person on staff.

    If you want major media coverage and want to make sure you are not taken out of context or simply used without mention, perhaps you, as realtors, could take a bit of your own advice and realize you need a professional consultant…the same advice spoken to many homeowners. The shoe most assuredly fits.

  18. ines

    June 27, 2008 at 9:09 am

    Just yesterday I rented a waterfront property to a local PR agent and had a long talk about this with her. You definitely sparked something up and it makes total sense.

    I will be the first to admit that the whole PR Agent thing is new to me. When I thought PR agent I never imagined they would represent little people (always imagined hospitals, malls, macro companies). It was ignorance on my part (and I don’t EVER like to admit to ignorance since I consider myself a well grounded and smart individual. So thanks for the heads up – I’m all about being well represented by a professional who looks out for my best interest.

  19. Barry Cunningham

    June 27, 2008 at 11:21 am

    Ines..you are far from being “little”…you are a star! Everyone can dominate their market and anything I can do to help, please let me know.

  20. ines

    June 27, 2008 at 1:05 pm

    Barry – now you’re scaring me! 🙂 did you take your “nice” pill this morning?? (j/k)

  21. Steve Simon

    September 26, 2008 at 6:58 am

    From my other life (eight years in elected office, resulting in being part or parcel, the subject in hundreds of hours of cable TV, and litterally 500 articles) I can tell you dealing with the “media” is as much a case by case deal as dealing with customers or clients.
    Depends which org., depends which reporter, depends upon whether they have already written the piece (your input is seasoning to be sprinkled around the edges) or they are in the gathering info. stage, depends on when their deadline is, depends on whether the writer is having a good day or a bad day, and i ‘ve also found itd epends upon whether someone shortens their (the writer’s) space at the last minute…
    To answer is to gamble, lower your expectations…
    I use a simple rule, “Get me once shame on you, get me twice, shame on me…”
    Just my thoughts 🙂

  22. ines

    September 26, 2008 at 9:23 am

    Steve – thanks so much for you thoughts, it makes a lot of sense. You better believe that the same reporter that “could not” include me because of last minute changes will not get me a second time (I totally agree with you)…..unless of course, they put in writing that I will get credit.

    The Kiplinger writer has actually kept in touch with my clients to do a follow up story – they already told her that they would agree if I would be included – let’s see what happens the second time around (hope it’s not a “shame on me” moment)

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Glorify app lets you create beautiful designs for your products.

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Your business’ Yelp listing may be costing you more than you think

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