Podcast Episode 301: Deirdre Breakenridge - Raising Real Estate Capital Online Means Telling Your Story
Watch Some of the Highlights Here
Best social media platforms for real estate syndication
Effectively managing social media content production
The difference between PR and social media
Deirdre Breakenridge is a serial author.
She's written multiple books.
She is a renowned speaker.
She is a LinkedIn Learning instructor.
Deirdre has over 31,000 followers on Twitter, and she is an absolute Master of Digital Marketing.
See below for more information and links to Deirdre's profiles and websites.
What you're going to be learning in today's podcast is the importance of telling your story online, and how to optimize it for social media;
how to build relationships online;
how public relations (PR), and social media interact so that you can build your authority online.
You’ll hear about the passion potential for your prospect.
You're going to learn about the importance of consistency in your messaging, and everything that you do online.
And you’ll discover ‘cornerstones, and cobblestones.’
Watch the Full Podcast Here
Read the transcript of the podcast while listening along:
Adam Gower: Hi, there, this is Adam Gower welcoming you to Series Three of my podcast, The Real Estate Crowdfunding Show: Syndication in the Digital Age. The objective of this series is to provide you with really tangible, immediately usable information from the wizards of the social-media world, of the online-digital-marketing world, so you can immediately apply what you learn in these podcasts to your capital-raising efforts online.
Adam Gower: I am delighted to introduce you to my first guest, Deirdre Breakenridge. Deirdre is a serial author. She's written multiple books. She is a renowned speaker. She is a LinkedIn Learning instructor. She has over 31,000 followers on Twitter, and she is an absolute master of digital marketing, and the intersection between PR, and social media.
Adam Gower: What you're going to be learning in today's podcast is the importance of telling your story online, and how to optimize it for social media; how to build relationships online; how public relations, or PR, and social media interact so that you can build your authority online.
Adam Gower: She talks about the passion potential for your prospect. You're going to learn about the importance of consistency in your messaging, and everything that you do online. Deirdre also talks about cornerstones, and cobblestones.
Adam Gower: Be sure to go to GowerCrowd.com for resources on how to raise capital online, and hit the Insights link, top right, for the Shownotes page for this episode, and for access to a detailed presentation of how to actually build your own social-media platform online - exactly what's involved - what are the key components of doing that. GowerCrowd.com.
Adam Gower: Now, here is Deirdre Breakenridge. Let's get straight into it. Tell me, if you don't mind, about your background, and your pathway that led you to where you are now. Let's start with that to contextualize who you are, and then we'll roll into the questions.
Deirdre Breakenridge: I've always been a writer at heart, and I could take that back into the fourth grade, but we don't have enough time. I'm a storyteller. When I went to college, I was fortunate enough to love storytelling. It was either journalism, or public relations; that's what was offered to me. I went the PR route. I realized public relations is a passion, but I also needed the marketing, and the business behind it, so I got my MBA.
Deirdre Breakenridge: Today, I see myself as someone who helps other people get unstuck. As a storyteller, what I do is I help you get unstuck. You can find your voice, your passion; connect the right way, on the right channels. Ultimately, it's all about building relationships, and business impact.
Adam Gower: Storytelling, that's a fascinating insight. Let's definitely come back to that thread. Tell me now, what is the difference between PR, and social media?
Deirdre Breakenridge: PR is all about being able to communicate in a way to build relationships. If you think about it, if you're in PR, you're the bridge between what an organization, or a brand communicates, and the public; you're the one who is either shifting opinions, or you are protecting the reputation, but you're always translating back how the public feels to the company. Through that comes your storytelling, and the right messaging. A lot of what we do in public relations is getting brands closer to their constituents.
Adam Gower: How do you educate somebody in telling their story? How do you teach somebody to discover what their story is, so that they can tell it in a digital world?
Deirdre Breakenridge: It's really interesting, and I will answer the difference - the social-media part - but I just want to jump on that, because it's so important. A lot of times people think that the message that they want to share, people care about, but the difference is, in order to really have a story that resonates, and share something that you're passionate about, it has to meet with what I call the 'passion potential' of your audience. That's where social media ... Social media, think of it as your greatest channel, your greatest ... These communities where you can have storytelling.
Deirdre Breakenridge: As public relations is the way that we build the communication, and build the relationship, social media is where it can take place, because it's media. In order to do that, to tell you the truth, you have to know what people are about. You have to understand their concerns, their issues, what they need, what they want; if they want to be entertained. Then you can match what you want to share to what they care about. That intersection, that's what I call the 'passion potential,' and that's where what you do and say really matters to [cross talk]
Adam Gower: The story is less about your story, and it's more about what ... Kind of articulate that a little. The story that what? The listener [inaudible]
Deirdre Breakenridge: It's something that somebody needs. You can share your story, and it can fall on deaf ears, but if you're sharing your story because you're matching it to somebody that cares about it, or has a similar passion, or wants to join your cause, or wants to buy your product because they're absolutely miserable because their product isn't working, it's at that intersection that you're going to create the ability for them to say, "Ooh ..."
Deirdre Breakenridge: I don't want to say 'move them through a marketing funnel,' but it's from awareness all the way to them trusting you. You're building a relationship. There's preference because they like your product. Then they suddenly believe in you and they're seeing you in such a way that they want to advocate for you.
Adam Gower: Right. There's actually no difference between the way that you communicate online in social media, or via PR, than there is when you actually meet with somebody, right?
Deirdre Breakenridge: That is one of the greatest points to make about social media or any touchpoint you're on. Who you are, and the way that you show up has to be consistent through all of your media, including social media.
Deirdre Breakenridge: I'm known as a storyteller, and author, and educator. I can't be in person, and not be a helpful, giving educator, because I'm a helpful, giving educator in social media ... There can't be that disconnect. That's one of the problems with a lot of brands, and companies, and professionals. They act one way in person; they go on social media, and they have some kind of different persona, and that doesn't work.
Adam Gower: It has to be authentic, right?
Deirdre Breakenridge: It has to be authentic, and genuine, because even though ... If you're a real-estate developer, or you're in real-estate development, it's still about people and it's about who you are, how you show up, and your thought leadership, too.
Deirdre Breakenridge: That's where, yes, we all want to develop our projects, and get out there, and raise funds with, let's say, the investment community. or you want your, even, awareness around a project. If you don't have an authentic, genuine self, and people don't trust you, or care about what you're doing, you're never going to be able to take that step to raising funds, and really creating the project that you want.
Adam Gower: Right. Let's kind of drill down on the difference between PR and social media. Obviously, in both of these contexts, authenticity and consistency is imperative, but what is the difference, then?
Adam Gower: Just to kind of contextualize my understanding of the difference, PR is getting an article published in the press, and social media is a tweet that I might do myself.
Deirdre Breakenridge: Getting an article in the press is a small piece of public relations. That's the publicity arm; that's the media relations. Public relations is also executive communications. It could be community relations. Public relations is analyst relations. It could be event management. It could be ... Now, it's attached to marketing; its content marketing.
Deirdre Breakenridge: Social media is more the platform and the communities where you can share. Not only can you share, but you can collaborate and rally around the stories, and the things that you're doing, in terms of the messaging, and everything that you're building - the campaigns.
Deirdre Breakenridge: Social media, think of it as the channel that really brings the awareness; gets you the reach; helps you to build the relationships, because people are there, and can really drive back to, let's say, your website that houses these great projects that you're working on. I see social media as more of the media platform, and public relations is all the work that kind of goes behind it.
Adam Gower: Very interesting. What are the different types of public relations that there might be? When I talk about them, I'm thinking of one of the vids that I've seen you already in, where you talk about different ways of delivering your message. What are those, kind of the key ones, and how do you integrate those, I suppose?
Deirdre Breakenridge: For me, public relations is making sure that communication gets to the right groups. I think it's really important, because even when social media started, I was working with a bank ... It was really interesting to have the leadership team say, "Oh my gosh, we've got this great newsletter that reaches our customers, and we're doing the Christmas CDs ... Should we stop these ways of marketing, and these products, and the type of efforts that we're doing, and shift to social media?"
Deirdre Breakenridge: I would say no, because in public relations, when you develop those messages and you understand the brand and the stories, you're going to want to be able to share where people expect you to be; where they're congregating, so that you can reach them the right way.
Deirdre Breakenridge: In public relations you might have a number of different ways that you're reaching people, communicating to them, so that you can build a relationship. It just so happens that, today, because you have millions of people on social media, you have an opportunity to be in a certain platform, and to build a relationship there. Not the same as being in person and maybe shaking a hand, but certainly a way to build up a relationship credibility so that maybe, hopefully, one day you can be in person to shake a hand, and do a deal.
Adam Gower: All right. Let me actually spin back to this idea of story, because there are so many different ways of getting your message out there. You've described the social media as being channels for your public relations. Again, how would you ...
Adam Gower: What advice would you give to somebody who has only ever been used to the personal touch - to actually meeting somebody and getting to know them in person, over lunch, and over time ... Communication over- maybe even over years, before somebody actually invests - to moving into the high-speed world of online communications, and tuning into what your story is, so that you can get it out there effectively? What advice would you give to somebody trying to figure out how to do that?
Deirdre Breakenridge: I would say, first of all, is you have to understand where you want to participate on social media. There are so many platforms, and you can just get stuck in, "I'm gonna be on Instagram, and LinkedIn, and Twitter, and Facebook, and maybe I'm gonna be on Pinterest ..." No, no, no, no ... It's too much.
Deirdre Breakenridge: You really have to start understanding where conversations are happening. You have to understand, also. maybe where the media is, and perhaps where you might want to engage with media. You might want to figure out where your investors are, and what they're doing, and keying into those conversations.
Deirdre Breakenridge: If you are a professional, and if you're in real-estate development, it is ... You are a professional. There are certain places that you're going to look at. Time is money, correct? I wouldn't spread myself thin. I would make a point of being on LinkedIn, because that's professional relationships. I would also ... Twitter is great for news, joining the conversation, and media. Also, visually, Instagram is great to share photos/images/video of your products- projects.
Deirdre Breakenridge: The one thing I want to make note of is that you can't just jump in, and sell. It is about being human. It's about what you bring to the table in your story. Connecting to design, connecting to maybe a community project, because it's green; it's an efficiency project. Whatever it is, those are things that you can talk about, and join conversations with the right people.
Deirdre Breakenridge: If you show up and you're present, then whatever is behind you ... If you show credibility, your company - what's behind you - shows credibility as well, but it is a peer to peer, and it's sharing meaningful, valuable information in conversations.
Adam Gower: All right, so let me ask you this. One of the biggest time sinks in real-estate development is raising money [cross talk] life out there, trying to raise money; meeting investors, or networking to meet investors, going to meet them, putting together pitch docs, preparing everything. getting everything ready.
Adam Gower: One attraction of automating that process by digitizing it, recording your messaging, and getting it out there is that it's going to free up my time so that I can actually be involved in the business of real estate, and not just raising money, right? [cross talk].
Adam Gower: How would you address the concern that a real-estate developer might have that they're going to end up like this all the time? Thumbs ... "I've got to do this, and I need to be on LinkedIn. I've got to write articles," and et cetera ... How do you deal with that?
Deirdre Breakenridge: I'm a firm believer that stories are told through content. If you, the executive, can just take the time to do what you do in your natural environment, or let's say it's a media interview, or you're being captured at an event ... If somebody else is taking the photos, if somebody else is shooting that video, then that's content that, if you surround yourself with a team that can help you, and I'm not talking about a team of 10 people that you have to pay ...
Deirdre Breakenridge: I know a lot of social-media influencers who have one person follow them around all day, an assistant, to take photos and videos. Then, that person schedules everything; that person makes sure that it goes out on LinkedIn; it goes out on Twitter; it goes out on Facebook, or Instagram, because there are so many tools that can help.
Deirdre Breakenridge: You don't have to be in the weeds. Executives listening, you should not be in the weeds [cross talk] out there with the investors. You are selling your vision; you're selling your projects; you're raising money. Somebody else can easily get their hands- wrap their arms around the tools, the technology. You just have to show up, and do what you do naturally, and they'll capture you, and that can go out for you.
Adam Gower: Isn't that extraordinary? That really is. What you're saying is just do what you do best-
Deirdre Breakenridge: Yes, yes!
Adam Gower: -and let somebody record it.
Deirdre Breakenridge: Right. and I believe ... Now, I don't want to get too technical with you, but there is a way that, if you're short on resources, to think cornerstone- cobblestones. I'm going to explain it very simply. If you're doing something big, like a big event - you're on a panel session, and it's a bunch of real-estate developers, and you've got somebody at this event filming you - always think that's a big piece of content.
Deirdre Breakenridge: There are so many ways that your team of one, or three, or five - I don't know how many you have - can then cut that up; carve that up into so many little pieces. What I mean by that is it can become little videos. It can be transcribed, automatically. You can take video, transcribe it; that becomes blog posts, right? That becomes tweets; that becomes Facebook posts. Sky's the limit.
Deirdre Breakenridge: When you think that way, suddenly you, me, and every other business professional - we're all media publishers. There's a saying, and I didn't come up with it; it's "Every company is a media company." Well, I believe that every brand, professional brand, is a media brand.
Deirdre Breakenridge: The more that we can share content in this realm, people rally around content; they trust you through content. You build relationships through content. They'll be knocking on your door, and, when you can get unique, novel, groundbreaking content into the hands of media around what you're doing, well, guess what? They have credibility. They're going to spread the word for you, too.
Adam Gower: Right, and amplify it.
Deirdre Breakenridge: Yeah, and amplify.
Adam Gower: Yeah. Wow, fantastic. Thanks so very much, Deirdre. It's just amazing to talk to you. I'm so glad-
Deirdre Breakenridge: You're welcome.
Adam Gower: -that you are just echoing what I have come to understand. I've only been coming to it for the last three or four years, so I'm really, really new to this space, so really [cross talk]
Deirdre Breakenridge: That's awesome. Then, you're ahead of the curve there.
Adam Gower: I am, I am [cross talk]
Deirdre Breakenridge: Good for you!
Adam Gower: -very much enjoying it, as well. All right, normally, like I said, podcasts, I don't record video, so normally, I'm scribbling notes, like this, while someone's talking; head down ... I'm going to have to look over here at my notes to see what I wrote earlier [inaudible] totally used to this whole new way of doing that whole bit. I'm going to cut all that out. Tell you that right now.
Deirdre Breakenridge: That is just fine.
Adam Gower: Because you nailed it. I know you have-
Deirdre Breakenridge: Oh, thank you. I hope I explained it in a way that people will feel comfortable, and not overwhelmed, because you can do it, and it's really good for business.
Adam Gower: Yeah, and it is actually a lot easier than you think-
Deirdre Breakenridge: It's easier than you think. That's right.
Adam Gower: It really ... Look, this conversation now, I'll produce an audio version; a video version; probably a transcript; may write an article out of it, and get it out on all channels, right?
Adam Gower: I would like to ask you three sign-off questions. What's the most important thing somebody just starting out to raise money online, and develop online - just starting out - what's the most important thing you think they should keep in mind?
Deirdre Breakenridge: I think they should keep in mind their audience, and the fact that you kind of have to listen, and be a part of the conversation, first, before you just jump in. If you can build a relationship first, you're better off than just sell, sell, sell.
Adam Gower: Second question - this is a tough one, I think: what has been the hardest lesson you have learned ... The way I've written it is, 'the hardest lesson you've learned online,' but what I mean is the hardest lesson that you've learned in the online world?
Deirdre Breakenridge: For me, it's do not engage with trolls, and-.
Adam Gower: What's a troll?
Deirdre Breakenridge: A troll is a hater in social media. Sometimes, you can't readily identify them. They bait you. They ask you a question, and as soon as you engage, it's ugly; they're haters, and they say really nasty things. Don't talk to them. What you learn is that you monitor trolls. Usually, when you have a really good community, they come to your rescue, and they squash and make the troll go away. Trolls are not somebody you want to talk to; don't let them bait you. It's ugly. You can't win.
Adam Gower: Thanks so much for that-.
Deirdre Breakenridge: You're welcome. I learned the hard way.
Adam Gower: New stuff ... Yeah, this is good stuff. Finally, your personal daily habits to be successful online. Your key habits online, daily?
Deirdre Breakenridge: I show up with good intentions, and I'm a giver. I like to give, and help, and it always comes back to me in a great form. I think that's what I do. I'm just a big giver.
Adam Gower: Fantastic. Thanks so much, Deirdre. What an enormous pleasure talking to you.
Deirdre Breakenridge: It's so nice to talk to you, too [cross talk]
Adam Gower: Thanks so much for being my first video podcast.
Deirdre Breakenridge: Wow, I'm honored.
Adam Gower: We should high-five. I'm gonna quick high-five to that [cross talk] All right. That's the end of the podcast today. If you are watching this, then you have seen the entire episode, but, go to GowerCrowd.com for resources on how to raise capital online, and also for access to some video shorts that just encapsulate some of the high points, and some of the most important components of what Deirdre has been talking about.
Adam Gower: Make sure to hit the Insights link, top right, to get to the Shownotes page for today's episode, where you can also access some free training from yours truly about how to build your social-media presence, and what are the key components to being successful on social media to raise capital for your deals.
That's it. Thanks so much. This is Dr. Adam Gower signing off.
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