3 min read February 2023 — In the media landscape, it’s important to be both proactive and reactive. Nathan Reyna, media relations & content specialist – Northeast region marketing at Avison Young – US, shared with Invest: his role and perspectives in media relations and how communication across departments is key.
How would you best define your role in media relations?
I’m the go-between for the media and brokerage. I’m the day-to-day touchpoint for brokers in my regions (Northeast and Midwest) to relay their transactions, thought capital and visibility efforts to the region’s media outlets, and vice-versa. I’m also the first point-of-contact for any media seeking expert commentary, data, or references for their stories.
How do you work with media outlets to drive messaging for Avison Young?
Working with the media is as much about being proactive as it is reactive. You have to understand your messaging inside and out – that requires doing your homework and reading articles by your target publications and reporters, understanding the topics you’re communicating and what is relevant or “newsworthy” to those publications. I do a mixture of reaching out personally to meet one-on-one with reporters, whether in person or virtually, and regular outreach with news releases. I’m also keeping an eye on what is coming out in the press – whether a response warranted, any corrections that need to be made, expanding on the topic, etc.
How important is collaboration with other departments in making sure that messaging is front and center in the news?
Like in any industry, communication is extremely important. I’m not an expert in commercial real estate, but I have to be able to expertly communicate it. That means regularly seeking conversations or touch points with my team internally to understand what it is we’re sharing with the media. This also helps me brainstorm the best angle to share and who we may be able to specifically target. What works for one outlet might not work for another. I need to be able to make those recommendations – and that comes through understanding what I have in my toolbox to offer.
Ultimately, though, the press will pick up any ‘front and center’ news that they want – all we can do is prepare and present our best content, framed as clearly and appropriately as we can, and hope that the relationships we’ve forged with a specific outlet would help keep our name out there. That’s why I’m dedicated to forging those relationships with reporters and editors – if they know me and what I can provide, we have a great shot at leading the news cycles.
As a global leader in real estate, what are some of the key challenges in public and media relations that come to mind at Avison Young?
Navigating the ups and downs in a dynamic and reactive market is certainly a challenge. If it’s a down market, understanding why and providing those insights, or what solutions we can recommend. If it’s an up market, sharing how we can capitalize and strike while the iron is hot. I’m fortunate that Avison Young has a global network of thinkers and strategists who understand what’s going on and can help find the right narratives to share.
How are you keeping diversity and inclusion top of mind when executing different content campaigns?
The good thing about being in media relations is that it’s inherently objective – and when Avison Young has content that is ready to distribute, it’s something that is accessible for any audience. For instance, we have developed Ten Trendsopens VIDEO file that are happening right now in commercial real estate, and they range from affordable housing to the metaverse. These trends were developed with all different audiences in mind – it’s up to us to define those trends within the scope of our local audiences, and it’s a fascinating process.
What advice would you give to recent graduates entering a media relations role?
Do your homework and make sure you know what you’re saying, who you’re saying it to, and why you’re saying it.
Be open to criticism and rejection – not everything you share is going to make it, but that is precisely what helps you craft stronger, more resilient messaging. There will be times where you feel you’re shouting into the void, but you may be surprised with what resonates with someone in the press. Learn what works for your media relationships and tailor your messaging for them. And be flexible!
Finally, learn to lead. People in your firms are looking to you for advice, direction, and support. Avison Young is my client – they’re looking to me to provide my job as an expert, much like I’m looking to them as experts in commercial real estate. Media relations is about confidence in the message internally and externally – when you make a recommendation, people will listen.
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