These days we don’t throw away tubes of toothpaste until we’ve squeezed them dry. It’s amazing how much more we can crank out of them. Long after we considered them done.
Here Ye, Here Ye
It seems each time I publish a post that offers my Blue Ocean view of print media, I stir up the conversation pot. Whereas most folks who write seek positive reinforcement, I find the bite of disagreement far more nourishing.
Back in January, I wrote Crumbs from real estate’s table after reading Bono’s first op-ed piece in the New York Times. I suggested that there are still viable grounds to build awareness and audience through newspapers. I know they appear done. But they aren’t dead yet. So why not squeeze them like the seemingly empty tube of Tom’s that sits in my bathroom. You’d be amazed at the possibilities that may ooze out.
Well the debates ensued. Some of it played out in the comments on the post. Some in my inbox. Still more took place on Twitter. That’s where I encountered Eric Stegemann, Managing Broker of River City Real Estate in St Louis.
Eric was cool. But not a believer. And he had every right to battle my logic. Long ago he removed his firm from the classified section of the Post-Dispatch that no one reads. A great move indeed.
But he was convinced that there would be no way this paper, or any, would entertain an editorial contribution from him or any other broker. Unless of course his name was Bono, Managing Broker of U2 Real Estate. And even then… maybe.
I disagreed. I’ve worked with newspapers since 1984. First as a publicist, then as a full-fledged PR firm in the entertainment industry. In 1998 I a founded a media syndicate that was distributing real estate columns to 400 newspapers by 2001 – a concern that continues on today.
My riposte including the following logic: Papers are losing their paid reporters. Yet they need content to exist. Especially local, market-centric or consumer interest content that is well written.
“As a local broker, there is no way any paper would accept an advertorial piece without a commitment to buy ads,” Eric counter-riposted. “And that’s not going to happen.”
“Then don’t write an advertorial,” I parried. In fact, don’t even mention your brokerage. Write about what you know. What you are passionate about. Something you know for a fact others will be interested in reading. Something the newspapers won’t resist.”
I instructed Eric to write and send it to the paper Bono style. Op-ed. I should have made him a money bet. I’d be able to convince my wife to finally replace the scrunched up tube of Tom’s.
You can’t always get what you want, but sometimes, you get what you need
Eric didn’t get his article published. But the paper decided to write their own article on his topic — sourcing Eric. The reporter interviewed him for 45-minutes. The article – all about loan modification scams – made the front page of the local paper, circulation 19,000.
Ongoing, they view him as a source. It may take a while before he gets his own articles published. Or maybe that time may never come should this paper’s tube finally expire. But until then, they want to hear more from Eric. And he’s going to give it to them for as long as he can. Or until they squeeze him for ads.
Eric needs to also think about what’s next should the inevitable occur. When the 19,000 that subscribe no longer do. He’s on it. You can be sure of that.
This was great news Eric. You put a smile on my face. A Tom’s toothpaste smile at that.
– Davison Twitter: 1000wattmarc