Marketing Works Today

Integrated Digital Marketing & PR Consulting from Brown Ltd.

Brand Journalist or Another Title?

Real Estate Brand Journalism via Email

You can call me anything you want as long as I get paid and you don’t call me late for dinner.

I’ve been doing “brand journalism” and content marketing since the 1980’s at IBM. Before that I was a national magazine and newspaper reporter, contributing editor, stringer, feature writer, managing editor, etc… Lots of titles.

It’s all semantics.

The lines between a classical journalist and a content maker are blurred almost beyond recognition.

I’ve had magazines ask me to write puff pieces for advertisers for their news section. I’ve produced videos for companies that ended up as segments on Discovery or a local affiliate, I’ve produced “News Minutes” for radio that focused on an advertiser’s product or service, and on and on.

Media company journalists are content makers. So are brand journalists.

The media company will say they are objective and don’t take a position on a story. The brand journalist clearly takes a position. Do you believe the media company?

I’ve learned since sitting in media company editorial meetings pitching stories: There is little, if any, objectivity.

The fact that an editor or editorial staff would choose to run a story on a celebrity divorce, instead of a story on the Marines that were killed this week in a war zone, automatically demonstrates bias. They are biased based on what their audience wants and their business model vs. what really is important news.

The act of choosing a particular story, one quote over another, who to quote, one fact over another fact, is an act of bias. There’s very little that’s “objective” about it.

And that doesn’t include purposefully spinning a story the way media companies do. They have their “editorial positions” on issues and as a reporter, you better follow them, or out you go.

Each writer and editor brings all their experience and baggage to the party. You can try to fake objectivity, but using judgment about a story is an act of subjectivity.

The news business is a business first. The “code of journalism ethics” is a fairy tale [Oh, there I’ve gone and said it – let the hate email begin]. Nice thing to aspire too but not followed or in most cases not practical. The code is to sell eyeballs and ears, as many as you can, so you can increase ad revenue, not some lofty goal of news nirvana.

Newsletter Postcard

The only reason there is evening news from a local affiliate TV station is to put content around the advertising – not the other way around. Do you really care about the car wrecks, burglaries somewhere else, weather emergencies outside your neighborhood, etc? What is the journalism “code” for that?

It’s great to tell all sides of a story. That’s what hard news and feature journalists are supposed to do. But it’s rare when it happens for a lot of reasons: time, space, budget, knowledge…

Most Americans trust journalists less than lawyers or car and real estate salespeople. Why? Because they know objectivity is a myth. They would rather that the writer/producer just be honest about it… like brand journalists are.

Brand Journalism (or whatever you want to call it) – helpful information that customers and prospects care about, usually told as a story – has driven more press to my employers and clients than thousands of press releases.

In fact, I have publishers from newspapers, magazines, and GMs from TV stations contact me to get in on the action. They figure it’s better to find a way to work together than compete. It’s all about the quality of the content and the analytics. Get more eyeballs than the press, and the press will come running.

How about this for a title: I’m a for-profit content maker. No? Better yet, just call me paid.

Filed under: Brand Journalism, Content Marketing, Print, Real Estate Marketing, Writing, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Media Relations is not Public Relations

David Meerman Scott has done it again. He makes an important point in the public relations / media relations industry.  Read his blog post, including the comments, and understand the differences:

http://www.webinknow.com/2010/04/media-relations-is-not-public-relations.html

Filed under: Blogging, Public & Media Relations, Social Media Marketing, , , , , , , , ,

3 Sources to Help You Take the Guesswork Out of Marketing & Advertising

I’ll bet you want to find out how to get more qualified leads, prospects, clients, and sales?

I’ve received a lot of questions in the last couple of weeks about what are the best sources for practical information on marketing – especially online.

One of my specialties is to look across industries, find best practices, and test to see if what I learned applies to a particular industry.  This method has helped me introduce new marketing methods and systems for many products and brands.

There is NO magic bullet for marketing, especially in this economy, even though there are a lot of marketing pros searching for it, and a lot of hucksters promoting it.

Like many industries, marketing is an evolving science.  I say science because if you are doing it right, you don’t spend a dime on marketing without a strict measurement system in place – that means a well-thought-out-system [including Math] to check the results!

This next statement is going to surprise you. Please let me explain.

Two of the best sources of advertising knowledge today come from an early advertising copywriter, John Caples, that wrote “Tested Advertising Methods” in 1932, and Claude Hopkins, an engineer and inventor that wrote “Scientific Advertising,” also in 1932.

Most of their principles for testing marketing and advertising work today – you just apply their methods to traditional advertising AND online.  I read these books early in my career and have worked to apply what they taught me to direct mail, traditional advertising (print, TV, radio), and online.

I use systems to measure and quantify results to find out if a marketing component or campaign is working.  It’s extra work but it takes most of the guesswork out of advertising and saves huge $$ in the marketing budget.

The more recent book that will help you learn the new marketing and PR paradigm is written by a friend, David Meerman Scott.

There have been thousands of books written about marketing, advertising, and PR from 1932 to today.   I’ve studied a lot of them.

If you will combine the fundamentals from the earlier books and add New Rules, you’ll go a long way to gaining an in-depth knowledge of practical advertising and marketing that works to increase your qualified leads, prospects, clients, and sales – for the lowest cost / customer.

Let me know what you think!

Filed under: Advertising, Marketing Measurement, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Real Estate Marketing That Is Working Right Now

Before I explain the marketing mix that has worked for me in the last few years of a disaster market, you must understand that the fundamentals of real estate sales are still the best marketing: price and location

If the property is in a place people really want to live, work, and play – and it’s priced right, then this marketing mix will work right now.

First you have to find the customer types (profile them) that fit that location, price, and situation. Who has bought recently? What are their demographics and psychographics?  What type of person was the best customer? 

This info will help target your mix.

Events drive this success.  That’s the key to getting traffic and sales.  Instead of having a “Grand Opening of Sales,” “Grand Opening of Models,” or an “Open House” — have a “Family Fun Day,” “Meet the Local Community,” or “Join us for a Taste of the Town.”

I don’t mean spending lavishly.  For Family Fun Day we’re talking about a bounce house, face painter, a few games, and an iPod with speakers.  For the other events, cooperate with charities, local schools, and local restaurants to get them to participate and share the cost and effort.

Then promote the event with this mix:
- News Releases
(not necessarily to the press – go to your email list and websites)
- Web Promotion (news, community, and real estate sites)
- Radio Advertising (stations that match your demographics – Don’t bother with a remote. I’ve never had them work for real estate.)
- E-blast Newsletters
- Direct Mail Newsletter Postcards
– a special kind of direct mail that works better than all others (target demographics)
- Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
- Social Networking (Social Media Marketing, SMM)

All must be highly targeted at your top purchasing demographics and done as a campaign – not a series of unconnected media activity. It works right now!

There is no magic bullet. You have to promote for weeks ahead of your event and for weeks or months following it. When traffic starts to drop, have another event.  It’s a marathon, not a sprint!

For new home sales, in the last couple of years, I’ve had over 1,700, 1,800, and 1,900 attend for 3 different communities and events.  That’s a lot of people during a recession.  Sales were strong considering the market with over $91 million in revenue.

For re-sales, get a group of sellers and agents to cooperate in a master planned community or neighborhood to promote the inventory together with these low-cost events and the marketing mix outlined.  You will all benefit together.

What has worked for you?  Your thoughts?

Filed under: Advertising, Traffic, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Marketing Works Today

This blog is to help you learn how to connect with customers. The goal is to show you how to get the most qualified leads, traffic, relationships, and sales for the lowest cost/customer. I'll write and aggregate content that relates to the goal. You're welcome to subscribe, comment, and post. Send me your news tips!

What’s In A Title?

I've had a lot of titles [Director of Marketing, Communications Director, Advertising Director, Multimedia Producer, Managing Editor, Reporter, Copywriter]; but, I approach every project as a digital producer... what does the audience need and how can I deliver it most effectively and for the lowest cost?

Sometimes I write with pictures or video, sometimes with words. I always keep the goal in mind: sales, leads, traffic, a better brand image or awareness, or just a really good story, etc.

Yeah I create content for money. But you'll see from my background that I'm way better at making money for others than I am for myself.

I wish I had 1%. I'd be surfing with my kids all the time now.

Contact me and I'll make some for you.

Mike Brown
www.BrownLtd.com
MikeBrown@BrownLtd.com

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Search Engine Advertising

I have 8 years experience setting up, writing, and managing small business and simple product campaigns ($100/week Google Adwords) and large business campaigns with multiple divisions and product lines (up to $20,000/week in Google Adwords – more than $1.1 billion in annual sales). Contact me to create your campaign! MikeBrown@BrownLtd.com

R. Michael Brown
Marketing Consultant, Public Relations Consultant, Freelance Writer: West Palm Beach, Florida

"I help organizations increase sales, and pump up the value of their brand, using media, for the lowest cost per customer."

Digital Marketing and Public Relations consultant, writer, and producer with over 20 years experience launching brands like DiVosta Homes, IBM Multimedia, Nextel, Motorola business and government sector, and SunFest Jazz Festival.

MikeBrown@BrownLtd.com
561-756-1674

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