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The senior living industry has a voice. You can hear it on Bridge the Gap podcast!

CW Ep. 20: Sales & Marketing with Traci Bild

Traci Bild, CEO of Bild & Co., discusses a crisis of confidence: how to effectively market senior housing during a crisis of consumer confidence.

Hi, this is Traci Bild, CEO of Bild and Co. I’m recording this podcast for Bridge the Gap, and we have a lot to talk about today. So this topic is A Crisis of Confidence: How to Effectively Market Seniors Housing During a Crisis of Consumer Confidence. So here we are at the time of this recording, it’s September 2020, and we’re dealing with the devastation of COVID-19 and in particular, the media chaos it’s created within our industry, which really has been lumped in with the skilled nursing space that caters to a much higher acuity resident. Who’s much more frail and more likely to get COVID than an individual and an assisted living or independent living community, or even an active adult or CCRC. 


So the goal of this podcast today is to really have a candid conversation about the problem. What is the problem we’re facing right now? It’s a crisis in confidence. How do we pivot and rebound from that? What is the solution? I’m going to be talking to you today about communication and PR strategies. These are complex time-consuming, but if you’ve spent the last one to two decades building a phenomenal business that takes care of seniors and provides a lifeline of support to families and employees, there is nothing more important for you as an executive in this space than to stop and learn, or get a strategy in place to combat what is happening to our industry, because this is affecting you, your brand, your business. So we’re going to look at: What should that communication look like? And I’m going to give you some nuts and bolts, fantastic resources that you can utilize to begin learning how to really have an effective PR presence in your local market and nationally or globally if that’s your desire.


I’d like to start by just looking at some people that we know in that celebrity world who have really gone through this in the past or other CEOs or industries. This is not the first time clearly this has happened to an industry. It’s just the first time it’s happened to our industry in such a difficult way. So I’d like to start with the CEO of Mattel. And some of you may remember this back in 2008. So Bob Eckert was the chairman and CEO of Mattel. And he had said that he would never forget the way he spent his 53rd birthday on August 14th, 2008. He sat in front of a television camera in a conference room in their headquarters in California delivering the same bad news over and over and over. Mattel was actually recalling more than 18 million toys, the most in the company’s history. And if you recall, it was because of lead paint and design flaws, and there would actually be more recalls to come.


And what was interesting is that he accurately delivered both the same messages to the public as he did to his employees. His emails, phone calls, and meetings, all emphasized one clear message: no matter what the impact on the company’s revenue, safety came first. So Mattel committed to fixing the toy problems and protecting children’s safety, no matter what. So the first thing I want to just ask you if you’re taking notes or you’re just, you know, kind of thinking in your mind as you listen to this podcast is you have to decide, especially if you are an executive, an owner, a developer, an operator, what is your one key message? And I know it’s really easy to think, well, I have three or four, right? That’s sometimes easier than really owning one, but we need to keep it simple. And we need to train our entire organizational field to be able to reinforce those, that one message at the site level.


So his was that safety came first above revenue. They were going to protect the safety of the children at all costs. So according to different news reports and Eckert was a father of four. He really believed that in the long run, no matter how difficult this was, that his company would be better in the long run. So he really went into this with a very clear intention. So after the fact, when he recorded these media interviews, Fortune Magazine spoke with him and he really reflected on why the company didn’t just weather this difficult storm, but they actually saw morale climb actually all around the world. They just continued to apologize to parents. There were global recalls and whenever there was the opportunity, they apologized to parents. 


And here’s the reality: As we’re seeing with Mattel, anyone who’s in an industry or owns a business or runs a business of any significant size, a crisis will eventually test you. Anything can go wrong at any time. And the impact on your brand really is determined by one factor, and that is how you respond. And I’ll tell you, this is something that I’ve learned in my life. My children know this, my spouse, my friends, my employees, my number one lesson as an entrepreneur for 30 years is that it’s not what happens in life. It’s how you respond to what happens. And that is so important right now. It’s how you react at your best or your worst. Are you defensive, weaken your response, arrogant in how you respond, will determine how you control what’s happening. And it’s really important to handle this in your local market service area, very swiftly to help the damage be minimized. And you really do want to come out of this as a better company. So when you were looking at this crisis, we’re in a confidence and I’m going to back this up here.


I have a lot of papers printed out because there’s just so much going on with this topic, but you might’ve seen the recent story in McKnight’s. And it was polarizing to a lot of executives. A 41% don’t trust assisted living nursing homes to keep residents safe. During pandemic. The survey said they don’t trust assisted living communities and nursing homes to keep older adults safe amid the coronavirus pandemic. And it goes on to say that 49.5% of baby boomers said they don’t trust senior living and care providers to keep residents safe, whereas 49, excuse me, 43.9% of the silent generation report the same distrust, which usually they’re more compliant. They’re feeling vulnerable. And that compares to 42.3% of generation X, which would be my generation who are caring for our adult parents reporting distrust. That said 43.1% of baby boomers responded that they trust facilities somewhat, as 51.4% of the silent generation, which means we have the ability to affect that.


We have the ability to tip that trust in our scales. And what’s really damaged us is the media coverage. It’s been relentless and focusing really on the fatalities in nursing homes. We really don’t hear about or see those same fatalities in the assisted living or independent living space, active adults communities. But the media unfortunately has lumped us into this nursing home conglomerate. And we know that those residents in particular, because they’re older, frailer, they’re more vulnerable to the illness. But what we must do is that we have to fight back. We, that means individual COO, COO sales and marketing executives, leaders at all levels, executive directors at the site level, we have to fight back in our local market service areas. We can’t wait for our gentle or NIC or ASHA to do this for us, they’re working on it, but they’re also trying to do things like get money for the industry and better PPE. You’re going to have to take some of this into your own hands.


 So, as I say that, I always like to tie in stories because I feel like when we hear stories that aren’t so personal to us, we’re able to step back and reflect and think more objectively. So I was thinking, as I was preparing for this Bridge the Gap podcast about Martha Stewart. So she was such a darling. We all can remember this story. She was probably the most prominent business woman of our time when she was addicted for lying to investigators about a stock sale. She was a successful, as we know, very, very successful magazine publisher, a bestselling author. She had a daytime television show. Her programs are broadcast all over the world and her empire encompasses thousands of home furnishings and other products. And in 2004, when she walked into a West Virginia federal prison to serve her sentence, there was a lot of speculation about the future of her company.


And I remember thinking, wow, like, it’s kind of sad how people enjoy seeing her go through that. And it, you know, it’s not good to see people work their whole lives for things experience that type of catastrophe. By Martha’s own estimate, she lost about a billion dollars, but what was so remarkable was not what happened, but how she responded. Her comeback. So upon her release from prison in 2005, she hit the talk show circuit. She could have done otherwise, right on Oprah. She shared prison stories. She was actually happy and delighted when prison officials put her in charge of cleaning. She said, I knew how to wax floors. That was easy. The hard part was learning how to clean the waxer. I’d never used a rug cleaner. So she actually returned to profitability the year after her release, which is incredible.


She actually announced new multi-year agreements with new partners, for flooring products, wine, her interior paint line became available at SEARS. She published more books and became a contributor on the Today Show. So how did Martha manage to stem the loss and perhaps become even more admired, which I would agree with? I mean, she’s best friends with Snoop Dog now, right? It’s like, she’s a part of pop culture. She faced the music. She did what she had to do and she pressed forward and people admired her for that. She told the truth, she was vulnerable. She was humble. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned and being what I would say personality, right? ‘ve been in the senior living space for 20 years. I’ve spoken at hundreds of conventions for all different types of either sales training or organizations that support women.


One thing I’ve learned in why my following is so strong is because I don’t sugar coat things. I’m not afraid to be vulnerable and tell you how I’m feeling. What have we got where I struggle and how I failed. I do the same thing when I go to schools to speak to children because in our culture, all we see is wins, right? We see success. We’re so afraid of failure, but it’s in the time of failure when we learn life’s greatest and most valuable lessons. That’s why I know that we will come out of this stronger as an industry. So what we need to do is decide as individual business owners, how we will respond. So I have a list of things that I want to review with you. And really, if you can, you might want to have a pad and paper.


You know, I’m a teacher. I give real systems processes. I don’t like just to tell people what to do. My company is all about showing people how to do it for themselves, how to model and replicate success across the company. So we know that we have this crisis of confidence. Now, when we look at the numbers across all types of senior living inquiry to tour, including virtual tours is around 25%, which is low. So this is down from I think the last I’d seen was around 42% pre-COVID. So we’ve seen a big drop in tours. Now it’s getting a little better because operators are putting better systems in place, but we have a long way to go. What’s interesting is that toward to move ins really haven’t seen a change at 35%. And actually with many of our clients, we’re actually seeing this number increase, which tells us that those people who are inquiring are serious and they are moving.


So what we really want to or down at is how do we get more people to inquire, which is what we’re focusing on today and how do we make sure our sales process and systems are in place to get that in quite a tour conversion, backup to what the building code benchmark is a minimum of 60% with a stretch of 75. So if we look at tours being down, you know, 25, 30% right now, you have the ability to impact that. So what I’m going to focus on, and in my other podcast, I focus a lot on that whole inquire and tour piece. Today, I’m looking more big picture at communication. Press. How do you tackle this? 


So here we go. Number one, we need a solution. And right now that requires a very effective communication strategy. So what I mean by that is, you know what you’re doing, your employees know what you’re doing, and maybe even your residents, right? Obviously they’re there. But what about the 20 people right now at this moment, online Googling assisted living in Palm Harbor, Florida, that are clicking on your website and they might go to seven different websites. And it’s very confusing. They all look the same. There’s really nothing that’s differentiating. And as I’m searching, I’m coming across these negative articles that are talking about how your loved ones might die if they move. And as we saw in the data, people are already concerned. They feel guilty when making this decision. Now we’re adding on this very true evidence that the senior population is vulnerable. And unfortunately that evidence isn’t differentiating between product types. So you need to do that differentiation. 


So for example, high level, if you’re social distancing, how are you social distancing? You need to get into the granular details and bring this to life for the public at large. And the same messaging can be shared with your residents, families, referral sources. So how specifically are you social distancing within the community with your residents? And as it relates to incoming residents who are quarantining, how long are they quarantining? Where, how did you come up with that timeline? Where, and how are tours conducted, right? So you might think this is all, you know, common sense, but what we do is not common to people who are very concerned and scared. We need to be very transparent. And you want to remember that you want to overcommunicate and always share the why. So how many COVID cases have you had? What does that timeline like? So, yes, we know in March it was bad. In April, it was bad. The whole world was caught off guard. So you need to message the story. So how did your individual community or portfolio of communities compare to other communities in the state, which you should be able to get that information from your local or statewide associations, even your national ones, and how did you respond differently?


And if you really did well during this period and did not have COVID what did you do? How did you learn to do that? What impact did that have on your residence? And also looking at that, you have to focus on what it is. You want to message versus what you don’t want to message. So if you have a hundred residents and one had COVID, maybe two had COVID, we need to be very candid about that. But also saying out of a hundred residents, we effectively protected 98 residents. And maybe it’s 75 staff members from COVID and while they did get COVID, one was successfully returned back to her apartment, her home. And unfortunately we lost one and this is devastating to our staff, our community, family, to the family of the residents here is what we’ve learned. Here’s how we pivoted, right?


So it’s owning it. So look at Martha. Whoever thought Martha Stewart, right? The Grand Dame, so to speak would go to prison. How humiliating. How much she had to humble herself, but look at what it did for her brand. It endeared people to her. So it’s really important that you have someone who can advocate through video. People need to see the empathy, the sincerity we are in a multifaceted multimedia world. You’ll notice when you are digesting by content. I always have videos that go with my written blog content. We have our different trainers and staff members, distributing videos, probably three, four days out of the week on different topics. So we’re writing, we’re speaking, we’re recording this podcast. We’re posting on social media. You have to address people in the ways that they learn, which means that you have to offer it in different formats.


Your objective right now is to educate consumers on how your senior living community is different from say that skilled nursing facility. Why is it that a skilled nursing facility has had such a high level of infection, rates and deaths compared to your assisted living community? What is the difference? Teach your consumers, help them understand, invest in a package, immediate package and get it on your website. That really helps to educate prospective buyers, families, referral sources, and residents. And I’d highly recommend that you speak individually to each of these groups, if possible. And then when you are building this content out and don’t worry, I’m going to give you more nuts and bolts. You want to talk about details? You know, what is the average age of your residents compared to a resident in skilled nursing? What type of conditions does an assisted living resident have in comparison to a skilled nursing? And why are they more vulnerable? 


Okay. how are you combating things like social isolation, amid quarantine. This is one of the biggest areas of pushback that we’re seeing in our operators nationally is that families are afraid not only as COVID-19, but also of the isolation and the impact on their loved ones, mental health. So what are you doing specifically? Who are you partnering with, who is facilitating interview residents, get them in podcast, interviews on videos, requests, written testimonials from residents and family members. Let them speak. There is nothing more powerful than a third party endorsement. And it’s means you have to, it is work. You’ve got to go out there and you have to ask, you have to create the campaign. And if they are raving fan customers and they see what you’ve done to protect them during this time, despite the difficulty, they would be more than happy to do that for you.


You want to communicate: How often are you testing? Which tests are you using? How quickly do you get the results back? How do you communicate those results? How are you keeping caregivers safe in comparison to residents? What if a caregiver gets sick? What do you do? So this is a lot, and it is critical that you have someone to own communications. This person needs to be able to speak clearly and concisely. They have to be able to be enthusiastic and positive and a great brand ambassador for you, and they have to be vulnerable and honest. So it might be a spokesperson that you have that represent your brand. During this time, you might have a fantastic CEO who can do that for you or a director of communications. You have to have something it’s, it is not an option to just ignore this. And ideas would be to create a campaign that offers a daily update, snapshot, a weekly summary, and then a monthly summary.


So you’re basically spending a few minutes each day, updating your stakeholders, providing a weekly summary and then a monthly more in depth review. And yes, this sounds like a lot, but your brand is at stake. And you want to make sure, including resident, audio, testimonials, interviews with them about what it’s been like to live through. COVID at your community. Look for the wins, the inspiring stories. Journalists also love these, and we’re going to get to the journalist aspect here shortly: Capture video. If I were you, I would set up some kind of screen with your brand on the back of it. And have a camera and a room where anyone can go in and record a video at their own leisure. So if you’ve ever been to the nine 11 Memorial museum in New York, there’s a room and it’s set up to record. You could just walk in there.


My husband did it, he’s a pilot and we’re both flying on that day separately. And he went in and he recorded his testimony of being on the airplane when he was ordered to descend from the airspace and his experience and his emotions. And they now have hundreds of thousands of testimonials. And you know what? We can model that because no one’s going to sell this better than your residents. And by setting up a little booth or a room like that, which you could do very, very, very affordably with today’s technology, you can ask. Have visitors do that as well. When they come in, employees, you want to get all perspectives and build that library. And as in talking about this, this communication, this is first, you have to set up your strategy and once you have your strategy, unfortunately the hard work has to be done of capturing it.


If you need resources, I have a really great video team that I can refer you to. That’s very affordable that I can connect you with, just email me directly at I will make those introductions. But then you want to think about, you know, about 30 days after you start to collect the stories, right? People love stories. Press loves stories. Google loves stories, right? It’s all about answers and questions and humanity. So then we want to look at the PR angle. So PR in itself is difficult. And if you’ve never used a PR firm, I’ll just share with you being the author of three books. And, and one of my books being very mainstream, get your girl back for women. I went down that road, right? Looked at hiring PR firms minimal was $15,000 a month, right? You’re going to, you can find it for 5,000 a month, but you’re going to get what you pay for.


So it’s very, very expensive. And unless you’re referred, in my opinion, extremely risky PR is like shooting at a target board with a blindfold on, and really not even knowing where the board is hung. I mean, it’s, it’s very complex. So I’m going to show you how to do more of a do it yourself, PR strategy. And if you decide to go this route, I’m going to give you some tools. Now I want you to know that this is time consuming. It’s frustrating, but when you get one win, it is probably the most exciting thing ever. Now, if you’re signed up for the NIC conference here in the fall, I’ll be talking about this at my NIC panel session to some degrees. So make sure you tune in to that as well. But there is an email that comes every day that you can sign up for.


Okay. So write this down. It’s called Haro, it’s H-A-R-O and that stands for Help a Reporter Uut. Now you can sign up to get this once a day. I get it morning, midday, and evening. And what this is, it’s a platform to where reporters from all over the world, and you can designate, you just want the U.S. to the world, whatever it is, we’ll submit to hiero for stories that they’re writing on. And what the HARO does is it connects the journalists with the experts or the individuals who can serve as a resource for the story. So this is something you want because this means press. Now, when you sign up for HARO, it’s overwhelming. It’s very long, but you’ll very quickly get the hang out of it. Hang on it. So I just looked this morning, right? So the, the first thing that I get at the top of my list is health.


It’s all health health related stories. It’s broken up by topic type. And the focus I pulled just for this podcast is seeking experts on caregiving. The source is very well health. And if you click on that link, you can read the summary and decide, is this something I would want to be a resource for? Is this a periodical, a magazine, a news piece I’d like to be a part of. So this individual is seeking an expert on caregiving, which if you’re listening to this, you must be right. It tells you who the journalist is, the categories, biotech and healthcare. We have the email to submit, and this is really important. I’m going to tell you how to submit, because if you do it wrong, you’ll be deleted. And then she says, I’m searching for an expert on caregiving to comment on the recent report from blue cross blue shield on the state of caregivers in the U S so this is just one example.


She said, my article recovered the recent research, but also focused on tips for caregivers when it comes to balancing caregiving and taking care of their own health. So what you would do is respond to this story, but it can’t be about you. All right. So you got to get out of your box and think about the reader. And what you would do is pivot. Hey, in my organization, we have 150 caregivers, and these people have been through this band pandemic together. And I have these three tips that I would like to share that are just life changing and helping them to balance caregiving and taking care of their own health, because we have seen tremendous burnout over the last six months due to COVID and caring for a total of 5,000 residents. Right? So I’m going to tell you how to do that in a moment.


That’s kind of how you’d want to respond. There was another one doctors, how to host a safe socially distance, Thanksgiving dinner. This is going in National Women’s Magazine. Okay. You might think, well, why would I respond to that? And again, this was just from this morning, right? There’s, there’ll be some that are for massive national publications. It could be an inc magazine. So you have to look and see is this one I’d like to be a part of, but here I immediately think, well, you guys definitely in the senior care space, know how to host a safe, socially distanced dinner. You’re doing this right now. Some of you still have your dining rooms open. You have your family dining rooms. Some of you are still delivering to individual apartments, but you would then be able to share your strategies. And when you drop your numbers, that we have 10 different senior living communities that serve 1,250 people, three meals a day, right?


So you’re serving, you know, 3,000-plus meals, you know, think about this and you’re able to convey the magnitude of what you’re doing. And then if you can show them that you can help their reader host their own socially distanced, safe dinner, boom, you’re going to go to the top of the list as a resource. And then what’s really exciting because you start to collect these magazine covers and you can share them with your local media. So if you get published and they reference your name you know, Tracy bell, bell building co is an expert in healthcare. And she offers this advice to people who are looking to socially distance during a holiday dinner. Okay. So now you can take in and I can show that I’m being featured in National Women’s Magazine. And I take this and I write my local newspaper.


So the Tampa Bay Times the Tarpon Beacon and, you know, whatever it is. And I say, look, you know, we were just featured in this magazine with these tips, those smaller magazines and papers will pick up on bigger stories. And then you could end up with a full page spread because you look like an expert. You were featured in a national magazine. So this is really important and you really have to go through the grunt work to get to the big stuff. And you would then every day need to spend time on PR. And what I’m doing is actually showing you how to do it on your own. So, for example, when I was publishing, get your girl back every day, I made at least an hour effort. So I took an hour to my day. I went through the Herro queries. I cut and pasted the ones I wanted to respond to.


And I crafted my response, which is a three part response I’m going to share in just a moment. And I would follow the directions exactly. This is so important. Do not try to be fancy, do it your own way. Half the battle is following the directions of how the journalist wants to receive the information. So you can do this every day, day in and day out for 30, 60, 90 days and not get a single bite. So you have to be in this for the long haul, and it doesn’t matter if you’re doing it, or you’re hiring a fancy press from PR firm to do this for you. It’s the same thing. When I wrote my book, I did this ultimately I was also blogging at the same time. I started to get my bites, right. So I ended up within a year being in USA Today, the Wall Street Journal. I was on the today show with Kathie Lee and Hoda sunrise, Australia. What else? Lee Cohen, Sunday Morning news, which is millions and millions of Sunday morning viewers. Inc Magazine, Entrepreneur Magazine. So there’s so many more, and this is how I did it. 


So here’s the thing: There’s proof in the pudding here. So I am speaking from experience. I’m not telling you what to do because I read this somewhere. I’ve done this. So it’s really important that you understand how important execution is. And of course, all of those bigger press, once you get into the national press. I mean, imagine if you could become an expert, who’s able to go on the nightly news and talk about an advocate for senior living and the good it brings to a senior’s life amidst a pandemic compared to being at home alone and isolated with no access to, you know, going to the grocery without being at risk or family, right.


You can really speak candidly. So you gotta really think what the end game is insight. My big end game was I wanted to be on a national show. And when I got the today show, it was just incredible. I’m not gonna lie. It was amazing. So weird, Al Yankovic was actually in the green room with me. And for those of you that know him, you know what that means? It’s just hilarious. I’m an eighties girl. So when you respond, follow the directions, I cannot say that enough. So it will tell you what they want. Only give them what they want, do not promote yourself, do not promote your company or your community. They will put that in the article when they reference who their expert they’re talking with or that they’re interviewing is with. So whenever I do an interview, right, like with the senior housing news or McKnight’s so whomever in our industry, they’ll say Traci Bild, CEO of Bild and Co. That’s all, I’m grateful for that.


That’s all I need. People can click on the hyperlinks. They can read about my company. If they want to. The reason I’m there is to help the reader to solve the problem. So when you’re responding, you always want to in the subject line, I always put what the article name is that they’re researching. So once we write, they’re not in caps, I put it in lower. Then I very concisely have what I call an intro. So I’d put like for this journalist here, hi, Jennifer, I’m responding for your query for caregivers to comment on your blue costs, brew shield, a report on the state of caregivers in the U S period, go down, hit the space bar, go down. I have a company with 500 caregivers that serves 10,000 seniors of which 80% receive care on a daily basis from our caregivers.


I have three tips that we have found have really helped our caregiver employees to take better care of themselves distress, particularly with the loss of life they experience due to the aging process on a daily basis. Here are the three tips I would like to share with your readers. So I’m just like going from the cuff here. Okay. But simple one. And it might be, we have a green room. So we put a green room together. It’s a very soft space with the Bromo therapy. It was an old storage closet. We put about 15 plants, soft lighting. I’m thinking Grey’s anatomy, right? Grey’s anatomy. The doctors go into this plant filled room. They’re overwhelmed, they’re stressed, they’re crying. So, you know, you’re, you’re putting this together and you can even make a joke, right? Because journalists are people. We saw this, a caregiver came to us, shared the Grey’s Anatomy episode about this green plant based room of peace.


We’ve implemented. It’s the favorite room for our caregivers. It’s always got a wait list. People go in there. We actually even created one for our family caregivers separately. So when they come in to visit their loved ones they can actually step back and unwind as well. That might be one to we’re sending our caregivers home with a dinner for four once a week. And we find just by being able to take the pressure off our caregivers, to figure out what to make and making it this one small gesture is giving them a night of freedom, free responsibility. And it’s brought according to our surveys from them, their stress stress levels down by 20%. Right? So what I’m saying to you is what three things, and I never offer more than three. Now they want five tips. You give them five. If they say they want one, you give them one, you want to really follow their directions.


So you give your tips and then you do what I call it. Yeah. So you have your intro no more than one small paragraph, right? Then you have your tips, bullet, bullet bullet, or one, two, three, then you ever outro. Okay. I hope you find this useful. Should you choose to use this information as part of your story, I can be reached at give them your cell phone, your email and your contact information. That’s it. So this is super important. So you’re direct to the point you’re responding direct to the story. You are not self promoting. You are actively being a resource for this journalist. And if you have other resources that you think would be great, like an introduction to somebody else, they love that. Like, if you need more resources, here’s someone I know that is just fantastic at this, that will even move you up higher on their list.


And the goal is that out of the 20 people, responding to me selected as a resource for this story, that this person is going to really find your tips helpful and pick you. Timing is everything it might. So you also have to look at when do you need to respond by? This is super important. I learned this early on because if they needed that tip information and by one 15 on Tuesday, okay. And it’s three o’clock- do not send it. It’s too late. They’re not even going to look at it. So you want to make sure you read the criteria in this help a reporter out info, and that you meet that criteria. So realize you’re going to learn. You’re going to get better at this. If you do this, you want to commit minimally to a 90 day, Monday through Friday, blocking out about an hour, a day of querying and, and working through these PR responses.


Now you can take this same concept and get your local press to your local beacons and papers and your TV stations. And you can also go to the editors there, journalists who are doing stories, and you could submit a story idea to them and remember journalists love great stories has something really funny happening, something really inspiring. Again, it’s gotta be about that story, not about you. And if there’s a great story you saw, and you have a story idea that could spin off of that, just look for who was the journalist, who was the writer look for that point of contact, and you always want to reference their story. So you want to say, Hey, I saw your story. And the Tampa Bay times on residents who built an outside environment for fun to meet with their grandchildren and quarantine, I don’t know.


We have something very similar. We thought you’d like to learn about. So you’ve referenced their story. I like to put in the date and you tell them what you’re responding to. We have a client that what am I I’m Slack this morning? My employees were sharing Evan at, Oh, I’m going to say it Okinawa, our name they’re a client of ours with a new development and they have a fantastic Facebook page. It’s just really good. They’re scheduled, they’re under development and they’re scheduled to open this fall and they were in the Milwaukee journal Sentinel. They’re the topic of the news was building during a pandemic, like what a great headline. And you always want to think in headlines, even with my blogs, if you follow my content, my seniors housing, executive book club my monthly blogs, they usually do one to two.


I spend a lot of time on the header. You want it to be keyword rich. You want it to be interesting and grab your reader’s attention. So building during a pandemic, what a great headline new senior living facility will feature a hospital grade air purification system. So this is an awesome headline and what’ll happen is other journalists will read this and they’ll probably get more press from this. Or you could even if you were them, share this article on up the food chain with people like the New York times or wall street journal, don’t be afraid to go big and high if it’s a good story, but this is an excellent story locally reaching their targeted buyers on June 30th and it’s released in the morning. And it just says the development and it talks about matter development, the operator they have extra focus on controlling the spread of the virus, cleaning sanitation and infection control has always been a priority standard protocol for senior living, but matters. CEO, Aaron matters said Evan is taking big leaks forward in several different ways. We’ve been asked by residents and families, how we’re responding one way is through a rigorous process of researching and installing a very safe hospital grade air purification system that is used by both UDW hospital, Madison and Mayo clinic.


So again, it’s showing exactly what they’re doing to protect their residents. And staff matters said that the U.S. Air Force studies has shown. So he’s backing it up with other evidence, the system to kill pathogens and viruses in the air, including Coronavirus. Every department in the building has its own entirely separate HVAC system. Common area HVAC is separate from the apartments and memory care is separate from the rest of the community. And it just goes on. It’s a really good interview. So they’re really being very clear on the features that they have that are addressing the problems, the fears of moving into a senior living community. They went on to say that they feature keyless locks, a video capable interest system for visitors. So residents can see who’s visiting them commercial laundry machines for a higher level of sanitation and state of the art Whirlpool spa tub with UV water purification system.


We’re creating a personal safety visitor lounge with a separate exterior entrance and special considerations that will allow the most possible, most opportunistic possible, sorry, the most opportunities possible for safe visiting by families and friends. So if there’s another flare up. So I wanted to share that because this is a perfect example of a great story and a local magazine that reaches the demographic you’re trying to reach, but then I wouldn’t stop here. I would take this and I’d feed this up to more of the state level, especially if you have a number of communities in your portfolio, because it gives you broad third party endorsed credibility. And there’s nothing more powerful than credibility. When I can put that I’ve been on the BBC inc magazine, entrepreneur magazine you know, it, it really adds a whole nother level of credibility that I could never pay for. It has been earned through blood, sweat, and tears. And in this moment when one of our biggest problems is that 41% of people don’t trust, assisted living nursing homes to keep residents safe or pandemic, we must re earn their trust.


And we do this through education. Education is going to be dependent on communication and not just internally, you have to focus on getting that communication out there into the local communities at large hyperfocused on your 5, 10, 15 mile radius. And then once you nailed that you should have all of your press contacts. And it’s also important to follow them on Twitter and see social media, Instagram comment on their stories. If you’re doing it locally, because they will start to take notice of you. And like I said, this is a labor of love. It’s like planting a garden of the slowest growing seeds you can ever imagine growing, but once they grow, right, it’s like that Lotus flower, it grows in the mud. So despite that horrible environment, it’s one of the most beautiful, beautiful flowers to bloom, but it has to get through the mud. This is what it’s going to be like for you.


Please feel free to reach out to me with questions, comments, if you need direction advice. You can email me at There is a lot of content here. I could speak all day on this. It’s just important. I really used PR to build my company. I spent a lot of time. I spent a lot of money. I’ve taken a lot of classes. I’ve lived it. I’ve learned it. I did not delegate it because my role as a CEO is to make sure that my company is a five star company. And it doesn’t matter what I think it’s what the public thinks. And there’s nothing more important than your reputation. So I hope you find this valuable, it’s a complex but much needed thing. And guess what? You’re going to come out stronger and remember, it’s not what happens. Step back, take a deep breath.


Remember it’s how you respond to what happens. So I want to thank bridge the gap for entrusting me with their precious audience and allowing me to share these teachings with you. It’s my passion. As you can tell I love to take complex difficult problems and break them down into digestible steps that create big wins for individuals and companies. That’s what we do here every day at building co needed buys, need direction strategy. Please just reach out You can also text me at (813) 390-3349. Have a fantastic day, and I wish you great success in this next adventure.

CW Ep. 20: Sales & Marketing with Traci Bild