Deal or No Deal? Thought Leadership Increases Visibility When Transactions are Few & Far Between

Is the ink still fresh? Is it the biggest lease, the largest transaction, the best location? Deal coverage dominates media interest in the commercial real estate sector. But thanks to the credit crunch, there’s a dearth of transactions in most subsectors and geographies. Bigger hasn’t been better since the subprime crash of 2007, which means that for many beat reporters, there are precious few new transactions to write about.

So if nobody’s closing, nobody’s talking – or are they?

Actually, coverage of credit-constrained businesses is better than ever. Commercial real estate industry coverage in the Wall Street Journal and other national media outlets has never before been more robust, received as many front page mentions, or provided as much context beyond individual deals. Reporting teams have expanded, and interest from the wider business community has increased, largely as a result of the role real estate has played in the financial crisis. As a result, there are plenty of opportunities to share expertise and contribute to the dialogue – and many do not require a recent transaction as a news anchor.

If you want to raise the visibility of your transaction-focused business – and this goes for any transaction-driven business, whether it be commercial real estate, investment banking, or other such fields – but don’t have a new deal to talk about, there are ways to jump into the public conversation.

Here are a few things you CAN be doing to garner attention to your own expertise, or that of your business, in the press:

Recognize that it’s the size of the ideas, not the size (or lack thereof) of the deal. Editors care about trends, ideas and unique perspectives – and even more so now, when the immediate future of the industry and of any

specific market is so unclear. Sure – deals of any significant size will bring on proverbial ink to their buyers, sellers and other participants. But there’s more room for ideas, with less deals in the news.

Make friends with your analystsMany firms employ both analysts and dealmakers. If your dealmakers don’t have transactions to shine a spotlight on, concentrate on media opportunities for your analysts. Their expertise and lack of bias are welcome to media outlets seeking those with in-depth expertise and fresh perspectives on what’s coming next for their sector of expertise. If this sounds like a good idea for your firm, check out this post on analyst PR.

Discover diamonds behind closed doors. If you’re at the negotiating table and know the numbers being thrown around – you have information reporters want. The rest of us aren’t in those closed-door meetings with lenders, dealmakers and IPO candidates. Of course you can’t share everything, but what you can tell the world will help reporters and readers get a clearer picture of what’s going on in the market. And in turn, your brand will get a boost as a key industry player. What are the spreads? What are lenders asking for – and what are borrowers able to give? Who has capital, who does not?

Of course, when you do have a deal – by all means, make the most of it.  Just remember that size isn’t the only differentiator when editors decide what makes the cut. Even if it might not have warranted media attention in boom times, if there is something unique or interesting about your transaction, it’s worth at least bringing to a reporter’s attention.

Deal or no deal, your business will benefit by you sharing your thought leadership and unique perspective. The source of your next transaction may be delighted enough by what you have to say, to pick up the phone and start the conversation.

(Photo by denismc)


To reach Margy:

Phone: 312-252-7314
Twitter: @margysweeney
LinkedIn: Margy Sweeney