Humanitarian and U2 front man Bono can now add “columnist” to his list of accomplishments. He published his first op-ed piece in the New York Times this past weekend.
Considering his access to the world from places unattainable to most of us, I’ve been wondering why he would choose a newspaper over the stage, his band’s website, One.org or the myriad social networks that span the web.
Bono chose the Times.
Granted it’s a well respected newspaper. But it’s still a newspaper. And for those of us here in real estate, it’s a medium many in our industry have all but forsaken.
What does Bono know that we don’t?
I know real estate’s experience with newspapers has not been all that congenial or rewarding over the last decade. But perhaps your lack of success runs on a two-way street. Consider how, over the last decade, despite massive shifts in consumer interests and branding and communications practices, real estate continued to use the newspaper as it always had.
With double trucks framed by agent faces, generic copy, empty messages and pointless Realtor of the Month ads, what did real estate advertisers honestly expect from the paper? After all, what exactly was it your ads were trying to say? And toward whom were they geared?
Certainly not consumers.
Perhaps what Bono understands is the simple fact that people still read the paper. Lots of people. And while they may not always respond well to the array of ads within it, they might respond well to a thought provoking editorial.
Real estate leaders. You know so much. Some of you have lived lifetimes in the housing business. You understand the cycles, the ebbs, the flows. You have a vast understanding of how markets trend up and down.
Is it too far-fetched to believe that newspapers might be the perfect medium to carry your occasional op-ed piece? Think of them as a platform to share your feelings, analyses, sentiments and, perhaps, even a vision.
All these years you have tried to build a brand based on modes of communication that offered only crumbs from your table of real estate knowledge. Perhaps going forward, you might want to take a page out of Bono’s book and consider another look at the newspaper and the impact you could have on your marketplace if you leveraged it properly.
Sure you can write a blog or publish a letter from the desk of the CEO on your Website. That’s probably not a bad idea. But until your blog is delivered to the door step of homes throughout your marketplace, this may very well be an option worth considering.