Culture Scan

At the intersection of real estate, media, and pop culture.

How One Agent Used Song Parodies for Business—And Went Viral Doing It

Real estate professionals can be ingenious when it comes to personal marketing. A few brave souls are even making their own music videos as a way to get their name out, while entertaining the internet. One agent enlisted local songwriters to write an original song for a video about her town, and a brokerage used a popular hit to draw attention to a specific listing. Since October 2018, Chicago-based eXp Realty agent Sean Cochran has been leveraging his own songwriting and performance skills to make parody videos that feature his lyrics, set to the tune of country hits. His most popular video—which he uploaded in July—parodies Garth Brooks' "Friends in Low Places" and has already passed one million views on his Facebook page. 

We asked Cochran to tell us his secrets to reaching viral fame, and how other real estate professionals can craft their own successful videos:

CULTURE SCAN (CS): Tell us how you got started creating real estate song parody videos.

SEAN COCHRAN (SC): I've been writing poems and rap songs since I was 12 and have made a couple of rap videos, too. I never thought about being a professional rapper or songwriter, I just knew I enjoyed writing lyrics. My friends and I would walk to school and take turns beatboxing and rapping. Eventually we got better and that's how we learned to freestyle, which parlayed into writing. [In my real estate business], I knew I wanted to do a video but I specifically did not want to do a rap song—everyone does rap.

CS: Is that why did you chose to pursue country music?

SC: Yes, I wanted to be different. Before I went to Houston last spring to visit my mother, I said to myself, "I can't go to Texas without a cowboy hat!" So I went to a western wear store in Aurora, Ill., and bought a cowboy hat. When I got off the plane in Houston, an airport employee asked me, "You're not from here are you, sir?" I said, "No, why do you ask?" She replied, "Because there's one rule: you can wear cowboy boots without a hat, but you cannot wear a cowboy hat without the boots." She gave me the name of a store [and] I went straight from the airport and bought boots. When I got back to Chicago, I already had a pickup truck. And after getting the hat and boots, I figured, "Well, heck! I'm halfway there!" I used karaoke tracks to make my Garth Brooks and Josh Turner parody videos.

CS: How does making these videos serve your business?

SC: Real estate is show business. [Real estate professionals] grow on trees. There's a ton of us running around. All you can do is try your best to make a name for yourself—stand out from the crowd. 
In my day-to-day business, I'm focusing on generating leads as well as making Facebook ads and posts. I go to networking events, and I do lots of cold calling. Every once in a while I take a break to make a video. Making videos gets my social media activity and engagement way up. More engagement equals more contacts, more contacts equals more conversations, and more conversations equals more deals.

CS: What advice would you give to others in the industry who are interested in doing videos for their business?

SC: Make sure you have professionally recorded audio and video. There are quite a few real estate parody videos out there, most of which have not gotten a lot of traction. The production value and sound quality go a long way. 

CS: Anything else?

SC: If there are agents or brokers out there who want to do a parody song video but don't know where to begin, call me! I'm planning to launch a service where I will write, produce, direct, film and edit parodies for other people. A one-stop parody shop of sorts. There's enough room for everyone. We can all go viral!

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The Culture Scan blog explores the intersection of real estate, media, and popular culture. If you have an example of how culture plays a role in your real estate business, feel free to send story ideas to REALTOR® Magazine’s Lauren Tussey. You can learn more about Culture Scan's focus here.

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