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[Case Study] Gerry Barker: Placester’s Publisher Platform Optimal for Cox Newspapers

By Matthew Bushery

Interviews

gerry-barkerName: Gerry Barker

Title/Company: Manager of Revenue Products at The Palm Beach Post

Website: Palm Beach Post

Providing a comprehensive real estate solution is now a necessity for publications of all sizes and readerships with an online presence — and for good reason. The home search has become increasingly local, as buyers want to be able to scour their local markets for the most fitting properties based on their housing preferences. Moreover, real estate agents use these online channels to promote their own brands and gain recognition as trustworthy, reputable representation in their given markets.

Cox Media Group and its four subsidiary newspapers understand the value digital real estate sections provide both consumers and industry professionals. That’s why the corporation has made it a priority to ensure buyers can easily find all listings that interest them (with their myriad details and specifications) and agents can further expand awareness of their brands to their primary audience.

Palm Beach Post Manager of Revenue Products Gerry Barker, the point person for helping Cox’s publications find a real estate provider, knew a change needed to be made with the newspapers’ sections. After hearing about one provider that has gained great reviews for its publisher services, he sought out the new solution to upgrade the real estate products and services offered by Cox’s news outlets. Here are his thoughts on using Placester’s real estate publisher platform.

1)  Tell me about your role with Cox Media Group and the media properties it owns and operates.

I work primarily with the Palm Beach Post on various advertising, product-related projects, but when it comes to our real estate sections, I’ve been working on securing modern, search-optimized real estate sections for our four primary papers: the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Austin American-Statesman, Palm Beach Post, and Dayton Daily News. We wanted to revamp these papers’ online real estate sections.

2)  Why did Cox place an importance on developing modern real estate sections for its news publications?

We have always had an online real estate product for the Cox publications, but we wanted to find a cost-effective solution that featured great search technology with a special emphasis on search engine optimization (SEO). That’s when we came across Placester.

We had heard of the Placester real estate publisher platform and were able to speak with another one of their major publisher customers. Those conversations led us to look more closely at Placester’s product and learn about its advantages. We soon realized this was something that would benefit all four of our major newspapers.

3)  What have you enjoyed about Placester’s publisher services? What has helped Cox the most?

One thing I really like about Placester is they do one thing and they do it really well: Real estate. Placester also places a big emphasis on SEO. It’s so important these days to offer a search-optimized real estate section that offers a great search experience while also working well with the search engines. The search technology offered through Placester for listings was very comprehensive. Visitors enter their search terms and the Placester platform clearly understands the user intent and helps them navigate the listings perfectly.

4)  What benefits do you think the real estate sections have provided both agents and consumers?

Having new features to sell, like the Community Page, is a definite plus. One of the key ways we differentiate our site from Zillow, Trulia, and similar ones is the local connection and content. This really reinforces that distinction. This, along with the improved search results, responsive design, and SEO benefits, provides a far better experience for the reader as well.

5)  What has the process of working with Placester been like since the project’s inception?

The communication between our team and the Placester team has been seamless. It’s been so smooth from the get-go. We had to launch four real estate sections for four different newspapers in six months — that’s a very big task to undertake on both sides, ours and theirs. We really put together our management and product teams quickly to work hand in hand with them to put all the pieces together to make the sections come to fruition in the time frame we had.

Simply put, everything worked and has worked really well with Placester from the start. Everything they promised was delivered on time. Everything they said they would do, they did. The team I worked with, including Dave Givler, proved to be responsive, and I think that’s very important that I’ve been able to reach out to them with any issues I have at any time and get prompt answers. That’s really critical, because if you don’t have solid customer support and service, the relationship wouldn’t work.

6)  How would you describe the Placester publisher platform to others considering our services?

I would say Placester provides publishers leading-edge search technology that comes with responsive design, is SEO-friendly, and offers a great user search experience for home buyers. The Placester team has done a tremendous job in helping us. Even though our partnership is still in its early stages, we’re very happy to be working with them.

Learn more about Placester’s real estate publisher solution by clicking here, or by contacting us at publishers@placester.com or 617-715-3752.

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