Entrepreneurs wondering if PR is worth the effort may have a whole new respect for the power of the press thanks to real estate icon Barbara Corcoran. She was swimming with the sharks long before the concept of Shark Tank, as well as spinning the media to make headline news as her brand building bait long before Donald Trump was a household name.
Corcoran delivered a keynote at the Four Seasons Resort in Orlando, Florida to #Engage15, an elite
business conference of who’s who in the bridal industry, with a no-holds-barred series of tips, secrets, and stories of her rise to fame and fortune.
Tip: Perception makes reality.
When Barbara Corcoran started her real estate business in the 1970s, she was a self-proclaimed nobody with little real estate experience with a natural knack for sales. With no money to buy ads in the New York Times next to rivals like Donald Trump, Corcoran sat down at her typewriter and created the now infamous “The Corcoran Report”. She sent that curated list to the real estate journalists for the Times and before she knew it, writers were quoting her in the Sunday real estate section. The Times made Barbara Corcoran the “go to girl for real estate” when she put out “The Corcoran Report” by churning out statistics. Her phone started ringing off the hook with deals, and so it began.
Today the Times is still quoting “The Corcoran Report,” proving the power of the press can create an image leveraging data and statistics, even if it’s
sales data from a competitor. The typewriter might be obsolete, but the status update is hotter than ever as social brands like Buzzfeed giving new meaning to the power of lists and brands continue to take the lead as listed content proves to be credit for increased engagement and virality.
#SocialPRSecret: The secret to success is to control or steal your competitor’s limelight.
Tip: Put someone in charge of everything you’re not good at.
Corcoran believes there are two kinds of people: expanders and containers. In PR, the expanders might be those who are good at connecting with the media (both online and offline), while the containers tend to be more introverted and better at researching media lists and organizing budgets on the backend.
#SocialPRSecret: Two halves that together equal wholeness are also known as yin and yang. Balance business teams so that you have someone who is good at what you’re not.
Tip: Shoot the dogs early. Ouch!
As ruthless as it seems, Corcoran emphasizes the need to “just let go” of team members who aren’t pulling their weight and proving ROI value. “If you are upfront with requirements, talent will fire themselves because they know they did not cut it and meet expectations,” Corcoran said.
#SocialPRSecret: Create an automatic system to get rid of people who aren’t performing.
Tip: Fun is good for business.
The two best dividends in business ownership: having fun and getting lots of press! Make that a double. Known for her lavish company parties, Corcoran points to a picture of her with a martini in hand and notes that it’s good for business to create a fun culture in your company. Tech companies like Facebook, Etsy, and Google are all notorious for crafting an alluring employee culture that blends work, play, and family. Other trending companies such as LinkedIn recently started offering unlimited vacation time—now that’s good PR!
#SocialPRSecret: Become the hot company everyone wants to work for as a strategy to retain talent and reduce employee turnover.
Tip: Fail first, win second.
Everything good happens on the heels of failure, Corcoran told the crowd. Seven years ago, Corcoran signed the contract to be on Shark Tank only to have one slight glitch: the producers never signed the contract and backed out at the last minute. She was devastated and determined to not take no for an answer without putting up a fight. Check out the email she sent to Mark Burnett Productions. The rest is history!
#SocialPRSecret: Never take no for an answer.
Do you have any Social PR Secrets? Share them in the comments!