The New Content Creator

Is my strong belief that any new hire that comes to work for a property management company in 2014 and beyond be a producer of content.

In addition to

I think leaders must continue to reorganize the way work is structured so that every person from Porter to President has time to create content.

Content can range from “a day in the life of” to the intricacies of how to set up financing for a Multifamily Property acquisition.

I’m not suggesting that you shouldn’t hire for competencies related to running the day-to-day activities of a property. You should hire for that. But, in addition, hire for bringing your business to life through meaningful content creation.

You’re – on a mission to find content creators – Multifamily Maniac


Apartment SUCTPO


This was my contribution to one of our dry erase boards in the Real Life STL Media space at Mills Properties.


Funny letters that mean a ton. Stories Unify Communities Tell Powerful Ones
I read that somewhere (please call me out if that belongs to you) and I lived it.

As we make a move to build out a digital agency that will serve
small businesses in and around STL; part of our calling card will be based on storytelling. Powerful storytelling. And powerful place creation.

We will aim to tickle the gamut of emotions – angst, frustration, empathy, sympathy, guilt, shame and the queen mothers of them all – love and laughter.

Your looking forward to executing some crazy cool stuff,


Writing Tip for Apartment Bloggers

Are your spelling and grammar skills on the downside of good?

Mike Brewer at talks about Apartment Blogging

Are your spelling and grammar skills on the downside of good? Do you struggle with the use of its, it’s, affect, effect and other words?

Guess what Apartment Bloggers

Your not alone.

Not to long ago I had a conversation with someone about this apartment blog.

They told me that they read nearly every post. I thanked them and asked why they did not chime in with a comment from time to time as I admired their contributions in the property managment field.

Well you see I am not real good with words. I retorted – are you kidding me – have you really read my stuff? It’s ripe with bad editing. Missed grammar, spelling and inane mistakes born out of a rush to deliver.

Back in the day – I really fretted over it. Today I file it under the remark in the pic above.

Every article that I post is as much about my desire to be a better writer, thinker and doer as it is about displacing some value on the industry I love.

Want to be a Better Apartment Blogger?

Get busy writing, publishing, commenting, correcting and doing it all over again the next day.

Your getting sharper every day that I take the time to write Multifamily Maniac,


More Outlets Does Not Equal a Better Story…

Are Apartment Content Marketers just being noisy?

…People do.

This is a simple unscientific case for passionate apartment marketing (professional or otherwise) content producers [Read: conduits]…

I picked the following quote off of a blog some time ago and pasted it into a file for future posting. Now, after a few search engine attempts, I can’t find the author of it so if it’s yours – please claim it and I will give you the due credit.

There seems to be a curious thing happening – the more outlets for stories we get… the less and less we’re hiring writers, content strategists, editors, designers. It’s like the second spawning of “reality programming”- no need for writers … it’s real life.

It’s a very interesting dilemma that we find ourselves facing in the apartment marketing space; do we go it alone in an amateur more reality based way or do we go pro? It’s not a simple answer but a necessary question to consider. And, the reasons run concurrent with trends in the way we influence, are influenced, how we consume and how we distribute information as a society.

The Niche is Coming Into its Own

With the absolute proliferation of platforms that host and syndicate blog content along with the opportunities to narrow our focus by creating lists and circles on the likes of LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ and the king of the them all Facebook, we all have a niche to serve in some way.

Niches are not a new concept but they themselves are new to the likes of being served information in a passionate and pointed way. And, in mass from marketers, friends and acquaintances. And, thus the need for a professional or an amateur but passionate writer…

The Simple Case For 

Apartment MarketingI am very much a visual person so I took the time to draw this out on a piece of paper. While visual, I am clearly not artistic so feel free to toss fruit from the front row…

Be it you advocate professional content producer/managers or the Sunday driver version; I think you would agree that you need a guru…[term used very loosely – in fact I hate that word – let’s go with…] someone who knows what they are doing.

I have been reading the book: Grouped by Paul Adams the Global Brand Experience Manager at Facebook. You might recognize my pic as an adaptation from the book. He makes a much deeper case for what I am trying to loosely convey in this post so buy his book – it’s a goodie. (The link is not tied to an affiliate account).

As we further fragment based on interests and or outright fatigue, the ability to connect via influencers (seemingly more a myth than realistic) is waning and or presenting itself as more of a fallacy. Small groups connected by someone who cares and someone who knows what they are doing will be the way to continue on with the conversation. Continue down the current path or seek the alternative and we’re just creating noise for ourselves. And, as the number of outlets increase, we have to ask ourselves are we just being noisy in more places? Instead, be a conduit and bring together the small groups that will move business in the future.

See that person in the middle of my pic – for the theory to work, that person must know (intimately) someone in each of the four outcroppings. The way this works is that this person is the conduit of/for information (influence) to flow between the outcroppings or small niche groups. Without the conduit, the potential potency of this group is never realized. They will never have the chance to know one another because they will have no real reason to do so.

The job of that someone who knows what they are doing and cares enough to do it is to bring the groups together in a way that is appealing to the individual members. He/she gives them a reason to believe. A reason to be merry. And, a reason to be intimate with one another. Intimate in a way that moves business forward.


As I flesh this concept out in real life experiments – I’ll be sure to post updates.

Your – interested in interest graphs – multifamily maniac,




#apartmentmarketing: Blog Format Question

..should apartment marketers truncate their blog post offerings?

Short and sweet today –

One of my favorite blogs, one I read everyday without fail, is Valeria Maltoni’s – Conversation Agent. First rate content always.

Apartment Blog Trunk

I gave up on RSS feed reading about a year ago as I spend more time in my inbox. Nearly every blog I read is done through Outlook now and as such I give more time and attention to the things I read. In other words, I generally do not skim the headline and move on.

About a month ago Valeria made the decision to truncate her email subscription delivery meaning we only see a portion of the message and are forced to click on a link to see the rest.

Result: I read fewer of Valeria’s material to the end. Sorry Valeria.

I understand the reasons for cited in her Saying it in 200 Characters post  back on Aug 10, 2011.

My question – should apartment marketers truncate their blog post offerings? We are trying it a Mills [Shameless plug – the Mills Blogging Team is Putting a Dent in the #STL market place].

Would love to hear this communities thoughts? And, thank you in advance for taking the time.

#Apartmentmarketing: Waiting

Today’s call to action – wait.

“If you wait until there is another case study in your industry, you will be to late.” Seth Godin

Girl in wait
What to do?

It goes against the old axiom, ‘good things come to those who wait.’ Anymore you get cooked in the squat if you wait too long. With the advent of the Internet came an accelerating pace of change. Moore’s Law even exists, to some extent, in the world of property management. We are seeing newer, bigger, better and flashier ways of attracting new people and keeping relationship with them over a long bit of time. It’s nuts out there.

Oh, and we have a blog…

Multifamily: Second Mover’s Advantage

At Mills Properties, we like to think that we are exercising the second mover advantage. While we did have our company [internal] blog in place nearly three years ago now; we were a bit delayed in getting our forward facing blog out to pasture. It did put us behind the eight ball and in the same respect, it allowed us to make observation of several other industry movers and shakers. That time and those observations gave us the ability to design a strategy that has yielded some very good results for us.

At just six months in we have achieved the following with our blog:

Mills Blog












It’s been the result of some hard work and dedication on the part of many people, first and foremost. Beyond that I would suggest that it’s been the result of setting back and making some observations, learning from others experiments and applying as much as we could.

Today’s call to action – wait. Sometimes, it is okay to wait, watch, learn, strategize, act and fail fast. We did!

What have you gained by waiting?


Mills Properties: Blog Stats

Thought it would be fun to share our Neighborhood Blog stats from time to time in a snap shot view.

Melissa P wrote about the team in her post titled: (B)usiness (L)ove and (O)ther (G)uts whereby she laid out the overarching premise of our new marketing strategy.

Our first blog post went live on November 24, 2010 and since that time we have achieved the following.

Stats are accurate as of lat May, 2011.






MultiFamily Blogging: Letter to The MultiFamily News Editor

Dear Diana Mosher,
Lost Me
I recently read a MHN blog post titled: Who Owns the Residents’ Experience? and I found myself a bit taken aback on a multitude of fronts. In the vein of pure professional and constructive feedback, I think posts of this nature demand a little more homework to include some real world example as a way of backing up key statements.
Left Me to Question

The article carries an interesting perspective but I think it’s a bit off as it relates to the property management world across the American landscape. So many of the REITs and privately held firms have made problem solving central to every role in the organization. Be it the Porter, Leasing Consultant, Property Manager and every position in between. And, they have been doing so for as far back as I can remember.
For example, when I worked for Equity Residential, we kept a lock box stocked with gift cards from various businesses around our community and the entire team had authority to “make it right” with any person who did not feel we were Making Life Easy [A thoughtful Equity tagline] for them. The team also had access to the use of concession monies if necessary. In that respect, it was not just the L.C. that owned the relationship, it was every member of the team, no matter the circumstance. Issues that made it to the home office were very rare and very extreme in nature.
Now that is not to suggest that there were not thresholds with regard to how much you gave away to right a wrong but the point is every person on the team was not just empowered but expected to take care of the people who spent both time and money with us.
On the point of pay; the lead and subsequent statements make it seem like the industry short pays leasing professionals in an effort to cause high turnover. I’m fairly certain that is not the case and maybe I just misunderstood the statement. In my own experience, I see L.C.s who make in advance of A.M.s and P.M.s in some cases. I think it really depends on the various comp structures out there. This point in the article does not seem to be well researched and is validated a bit by the qualifying remark in the lead paragraph.
As for churn and burn; I think this position more times than not is a stepping stone for other industries.  In my own experience, I’ve lost some great people to getting their degree in a discipline outside of the property management world. In essence, many good people use the position to earn some very good money while they go to school. Others work it until they figure out what they want to do when they grow up. And, rarely do I see an L.C. move into a corporate marketing role. Another point in the post where I yearned to see the premise.
Any more, P.M. firms are shopping the market for professionals outside the industry who bring a very diverse marketing discipline to the table. It goes way beyond most L.C.s capacity, background or wherewithal. Not to suggest it never happens but it is more of a rarity than a normal course of business.
To close, I very much enjoy the content provided by your magazine but this one fell a bit short.

Your Left Wanting Loyal Reader,
Mike Brewer

Business, Love, and Other Guts

In the beginning…

It began with strategy.  We set out to re-think our marketing.  Scratch that.  We set out to re-think Everything.  Our mission includes Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and a new website for the online world as well as other off-line ingredients.

So the first question was:  Who shares our passion and do we have the support we need to be successful? – Yes.

Here we go!

Our delectable combination…Business, Love, and Other Guts. (This combination is true for all our social media and other endeavors, not just blogs)


business: Apartments, the experience of


  1. People
  2. St. Louis
  3. Apartments (crucial that your business falls in the love category as well)

other guts: The fire in your guts that is dying to come out.  Passionate people with everything to say.

And then we blogged…

We selected Mills associates who are creative, passionate, and gifted writers – they all have a common b.l.o.g.  (Learn more about them here)  And then, we gave them the matches…

We knew we had a talented group of associates but our first blog posts were INCREDIBLE, and the next ones, equally amazing.  I feel like the best is yet to come!

Our quest is still in its infancy, but every day I am excited to see what we will ignite next.   Check out their work at

Tell us what you think!

Fabulous Mills Bloggers!