The Wilbert Group Blog

How Mark Bisnow Did the Impossible: Built a Profitable Business News Outlet in Today’s Market



When Bisnow first came to Atlanta in 2009, Mark Bisnow hired me to write for the commercial real estate e-newsletter. I had left the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and was freelancing for a variety of companies, including Coca-Cola. It was a fun few months putting my reporter cap back on, and I was intrigued by the model. Mark wanted breaking news, lots of photos of people (not traditional head shots!) and witty, not-too-serious writing. He understood commercial real estate is a people business and he played to that.

Quickly, I was too focused on my own entrepreneurial dreams (i.e. The Wilbert Group) to freelance, and Mark needed a full-time person anyway. He hired Jarred Schenke who has done an incredible job and made Bisnow an important player in the Atlanta CRE news game. Bisnow nationally has done very well also and has developed a lucrative events business to complement its e-newsletter model.

Yesterday, Fortune broke the story that a private equity firm paid $50 million for Bisnow. As so many media companies struggle to stay relevant and turn a profit, entrepreneur Mark Bisnow started a media outlet, grew it and sold it for a pretty penny.

Here are four reasons I think he was successful:

  • He understood he needed to go niche (and not try to be all things to all businesspeople)
  • He played to people’s shrinking attention spans and desire for visual content
  • He got that email is still a very important channel (Snapchat is cool, sure, but the power of email is way under-rated)
  • He hired good journalists and gave them clear direction
  • He married lucrative events with business journalism

The good news for all of us who love CRE news is that Bisnow and Jarred will continue to operate as usual.

Congrats to Mark Bisnow and team on their success!