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Superpower Storytelling with Street Cred - 7/19/2016 -

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Superpower Storytelling with Street Cred

Pick up some great tips from the National Association of REALTORS™ on how to break free from that same-old tired approach to telling your members’ stories.

By Joe Cerquone

Real estate agent Lee Taylor, the sole performer in a music video, raps away as he dashes about Atlanta, telling anyone who will listen how much he cares about it. The piece is brief in length, but long on charm and humor. AM&P Annual Meeting attendees chuckle.

So went the opening of Meg White’s conference session, "Engage Readers via Superpower Storytelling,” presented at AM&P’s Annual Meeting in June. White,managing editor of REALTOR Magazine, the official publication of the National Association of REALTORS,kicked things off with the video and wasted no time displaying her publication’s refreshed portrayals of real estate agents.

The redo started a year ago. "We wanted stories that are more transformational, less transactional,” White recalls. To achieve that, staff brainstormed, looking past conventional notions of what real estate agents do. To hear White tell it, they faced down doing the same-old-same-old as they made their way through the mother of all brainstorms.

"We decided be open to all of the things real estate agents do” she says. The walls of convention stood tall. White’s team seemed to need the see-through eyes of superheroes. In the end, what a vision they beheld: Realtors who live and breathe their communities, who interact and contribute to them in all sorts of ways. And the final result:REALTOR Magazine gained fresh ideas about content and how to convey it. "We wanted more variety — including having agents tell their own stories,” she explains.

Staff spread the word to members that they were interested in unique ways realtors engage in their communities. The response jelled into Street Cred, a project with a presence of its own on the magazine’s website.

Who has Street Cred? Judging from a project listing, quite a varied and interesting group. Entries include a story about the agent who draws from his real estate experience to write fiction. There is also one about the realtor who supports local budding artists. And how about the incredible account of the real estate agent involved in his community at the young age of 100.

AM&P attendee-charmer Lee Taylor surfaced when Street Cred announced a video contest. Talk about a man in his métier. Long before Street Cred went online, Taylor had lots of musician friends and attended shows regularly. In a Q & A with his video, he revealed that Lee Taylor, rapper, had never been far from Lee Taylor, real estate agent. The contest gave him a chance to join the two.

"I thought, well, I can rhyme. I have a good vocabulary, and I have a unique affinity for Atlanta. I had the song in my head, too, which is called ‘Atlanta Bounce.’ It’s the piano track that we sampled for the rap song.”

Taylor won himself an honorable mention, and he no doubt wins fans whenever White takes audiences through the superpower storytelling at her publication. Meanwhile, overall contest winner — Lisa Molinari from Morristown, New Jersey — produced a polished, in-depth guide that celebrates her town’s many offerings. Her prize:REALTOR flew Molinari to its Chicago headquarters for a guest editor stint.

Yet, for Molinari the benefits haven’t stopped. She reports she has used the video to show off Morristown, something that fits what White and company envisioned. Indeed, all along a primary goal has been to create "a future where realtors are seen for the role they play as ambassadors for their communities,” White told AM&P’s Annual Meeting attendees. It is amazing what superpower storytelling will do.

Joseph Cerquone is director of public relations for the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.Association Media & Publishing sincerely thanks Joseph for volunteering to cover this session for our members who were unable to attend the Annual Meeting this year.


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