Pam Coyle, 
April 20, 2010

Thomas Scott, a friend and former colleague at The Times-Picayune, recently asked me to help punch up a press release. He’s vice president of marketing at Showhomes, a home staging franchise business, frequent blogger and social media thinker.

I got a great up-close lesson in the new ways of the information world.

Titled “5 Reasons Selling a Vacant House is a Mistake,” the release was a bit wordy and flat, but I had one of those “ah-ha” moments before even reading it, just knowing the subject and title. We writers get lucky some days.

“A vacant house is like a vacant stare. Something is just not right” became the new topper. Following these 350 words as they spread has been a blast. On April 7, Thomas posted the item on trulia.com. The next day, he posted it on his ActiveRain blog. As of Sunday, the blog had generated 47 comments.

RISMedia, a real estate information company, picked it up on April 12 and distributed it widely. Multiple realtors and mortgage brokers across the country used it in their own blogs. As marketing VP, Thomas’ job is to help sell more Showhomes franchises. A few weeks earlier, Showhomes had been mentioned in a Wall Street Journal story. He got one phone call from a reader. A West Coast blog that picked up “5 Reasons” generated more than 40 calls.

Words still matter. How they get to those who want and need them is what has changed.

To see the “before” and “after,” click here.