Written By: Adam Dince
When I relocated to NYC in 2009, I moved in to what is known as an “up and coming” or “gentrified” neighborhood in Brooklyn. For those of you who not familiar with these terms, they subtly refer to process of forcing out legacy low-income tenants from their homes and moving in more lucrative tenants at a much higher rent.
My first few months in the neighborhood brought me bit of grief. It was apparent that I wasn’t welcomed. Not me personally, but me as in the “man”.
In my building, I met a few people whom I became friends with and they showed me the ropes. They complained about how bad our property management company was and believe me, I saw it first had. Not to go in to details, but if you’ve seen the movie “The Super” you get the idea. I was appalled that New York City would allow people to live in the manner the property management company facilitated.
As winter arrived, I was shocked to find that the heat in the building didn’t work. In addition, our building was old and the seals on the weak seals on the windows allowed the cold air to come in. Some of the tenants in the building left their oven doors open with the heat on high just to keep warm. At this point, I had enough. I made numerous phone calls to the property management firm to have them fix the heat. Nothing happened. I called the City, nothing happened. Call upon call, visit upon visit led to nothing.
After a while, I realized that I would have to take matters in to my own hands. I created a free blog on Blogspot and started writing about the atrocities in our building. I optimized the fandango out of it and got it ranking for a large number of terms related to our property management company, including the address of the building. I then set-up a Google Alert so I’d be notified when a page was indexed in Google’s search results.
Within a few days, my blog was ranking in the top three positions for all of the terms I was targeting in my content. And then low-and-behold… one day while at work, I get a call from my property management company. They were calling to let me know that a team of people would be in my apartment to fix the heat and seal my windows. The nice lady on the phone then politely asked me if I would mind taking down my blog and I responded, “When you fix everybody’s heat!” She pushed back a bit with reasons why that couldn’t be done and I responded, “Do it! And don’t F with people in marketing!”
That evening, there was a knock at my door. When I opened it, there stood a group of my co-tenants. One of the gentlemen thanked me for helping to get the heat fixed and asked me to be the liaison between the people of the building and the property management company. I gladly accepted and I we had a good laugh about how I had strong-handed the property management company.
To be honest, I was surprised that a little bit of content strategy and old-fashioned SEO was able to accomplish more than the fines the city of NY levied against our building’s management.
I share this story because it’s important to know that we can use our SEO abilities to foster change in our communities in unique ways. There are non-profits, volunteer organizations, animal rescues, etc… that could all use a little help getting found. And I encourage those of you who are fluent in the Google Jedi power of organic search, to make a positive difference.