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Behind the Buzz – BP sits down w/ VANCITY BUZZ

Blueprint is Vancouver’s largest lifestyle and entertainment company, known for throwing the top music events and festivals, in addition to owning and operating some of the city’s best nightclubs and restaurants. Given our love and passion for providing the hottest cultural happenings in the city, we saw a natural fit to collaborate with Vancity Buzz, the city’s leading digital media news source.

Blueprint’s co-founder, Alvaro Prol, caught up with our dudes Karm Sumal & Farhan Mohamed from Vancity Buzz to hear more about how they’re continuing to drive Vancouver’s culture and entertainment forward through their website and how they have taken spreading the latest happenings through social media to another level:

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How would you describe your company, and what you do?

Blueprint (BP): We are a lifestyle and hospitality company, we produce hundreds of shows and concerts annually; we own and operate over 13 businesses.Music, food, drinks, and getting people together – that’s what we do!

Vancity Buzz (VCB) – Vancity Buzz, you can call us digital media, I guess we’re not exactly a blog anymore and we’re not a newspaper. We’ve branched off to talk about news, what’s going on in the city, events, news stories, profiles, and basically just the inside source to Vancouver’s happenings.

So how did you guys get to know each other?

VCB: We go back about two years – I guess in today’s fast-paced social media world that’s a while back – but we have always loved what Blueprint has done! They do what we want the city to do, bring in live music, festivals, and just liven up the city. Our relationship just seemed natural because they bring the best of entertainment to the city, which makes it easy for us to share content and what’s going on, plus they’re easy to work with!

How has the relationship evolved today?

BP: From the beginning to where we are now, it’s really changed. They were really working within the website at first, and where we saw the opportunity with these guys is where they have taken social media – they break the news on social media, share events, and what’s going on sometimes before any other news site. This is something they are delivering really well, and that’s where I see our relationship growing, because we have so many things happening and they have a way of getting people to listen! That’s what I think gives these guys their unique advantage.

In terms of Vancity Buzz’s social media reach, how has that grown? 

VCB: It’s been crazy growth! It’s been super interesting because the grassroots of where we started was on twitter, where we really used the platform as an interactive tool to engage with people one on one. Where as Facebook has become more of a forum for conversation, as soon as we post something, people are going to comment and engage and get talking about it.

BP: That’s something you can’t get on radio or TV – engagement – and that’s where Vancity Buzz has the advantage. 

Blueprint, what do you think Vancity Buzz is offering to Vancouverites that is helping make Vancouver better?

BP – With the VCB guys their platform is unique, and I remember telling them, “I want you guys to get bigger and bigger!”. The unique perspective they bring and how they’re doing social media is something that we’ve always strived for at Blueprint and I think that’s why our relationship is so perfect, it just works for both of us.

Vancity Buzz, same question to you, what do you think Blueprint is offering to Vancouverites that is helping to make Vancouver better?

VCB – Blueprint brings an element of fun to the city, people sometimes think of Vancouver as “no fun”, but Blueprint brings the entertainment – for example, festivals like CONTACT Winter Music festival, or the Mad Decent Block Party. Also, the evolution of the nightlife scene in Vancouver is growing and taking steps in the right direction Blueprint is producing tons of concerts and trying new things or things that they know people want, like bringing hip hop back into the city with their Blueprint LIVE shows. 

Where do you see opportunities for more cultural or lifestyle focused happenings?

VCB: There are a lot of niche scenes that don’t get enough recognition, so we like to talk about it and uncover the unknown happenings in Vancouver. The city has a bit of a stigma of being “socially isolated” where people tend to stick within their groups. What we want is to see people come together and for Vancouver to become more of a social city! With time it will happen and you just have to try new things, and Blueprint is a company that is trying new things, and our job is to really make sure people know about that and what’s going on in the city!

How do you guys find out all your news?

VCB: It’s just out there! We’re also at the point now where more people are coming to us with information, but in the past we would go and scour pages, see what people are talking about on social media, what events are going on, and we would put it on the site and aim to act as the pulse of the city. 

What are the most popular news stories you publish?

VCB: Sometimes we publish things that we think will be a small story, we push it out and it blows up and so many people are talking about it. We’re now getting into series, for example, “Things going on in Vancouver in the fall”, but sometimes random stories like announcing In and Out Burger coming to town for one day, things like that just blow and people share it. It’s hard to say what in particular is most popular – sometimes you think a post is going to blow up, then it doesn’t, then something you think won’t get many views, just blows up, so you never really know!

Some critics out there describe Vancouver as a “boring” or “sleepy” city, how do you guys try to break that stereotype?

Blueprint: We do hundreds of shows and continue to fight the stereotype – even if that means staying up as late as we can to bring the best in entertainment to the city. Vancouver in comparison is not as big as other cities, but we work within our limits and bring scalable sized festivals likes Squamish Valley Music Festival and CONTACT to the city. Even though we’re not the biggest city, I think there’s still a lot of fun, a lot of music, a ton of concerts going on, that make Vancouver feel alive.

What do you find is the most unique attribute about our city that you bring into the success of your business?

BP: For us, it comes down to the people in the city and it’s really how we get to do the things we do and what we’re passionate about. It’s not about the city itself, it’s about us and the city that we’re in and our goal is to keep bringing events and shows that people want to go to.

VCB: I think for us, the tech community in this city is really shifting, for example, how Vancity Buzz started was myself (Karm) and a buddy in my basement thought of the idea and started it up. Now we have people in an office, employees, and millions of readers, just through years of hard work, very little money and putting our own time and money into it. Taking that chance on something that you just love doing, and I think more and more people are taking those risks to start something that you’re passionate about, and that’s what’s important!

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