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RISMEDIA, April 18, 2011–-As part of a kickoff for, a new lifestyle and community website that recently launched, Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty has introduced an online video contest with a $1,500 grand prize for the best hometown video.

Hudson Heartbeat provides community residents with the opportunity to connect, talk and learn about the latest news and events in and around the Hudson Valley. The site is populated with user-submitted information, photos and videos, as well as with content generated by Heartbeat staff and community resources. The Hudson Heartbeat video contest was launched as a fun way to encourage residents to share videos about how they work, play and explore in their Hudson Valley community. is hyper-local, with pages broken down by county, town and in some cases, by village. Readers have access to local news, community profiles, Twitter feeds, uploaded photos and videos, and user-generated content.

“This promises to be one of our most notable accomplishments in 2011,” said Matt Rand, managing partner of Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty. “We have created, and are fostering an interactive community so people can share information, photos and videos with others in their area. We want people to get excited about their communities, add content and engage with their friends and neighbors, so that we can continue to add color and character to the site.”

Hudson Heartbeat is looking to highlight people working, playing and living in the Hudson Valley. In addition to the $1,500 grand prize, other prizes – including an iPad 2 – will be awarded. Winners will be announced in September.

To upload a video, users can go to the website and click on the video contest box on the right. Videos will be submitted for approval and posting, and the public will have the opportunity to post comments.

“We’re reaching out to schools in the area – to invite them to take videos of various places and activities in the Hudson Valley,” said Jamie Troia, director of marketing for Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty.

Submitted material will be posted on individual community pages. In addition to video, site visitors can submit original news and information, community profiles, photos and videos. Troia said the Heartbeat Team is even in the process of building out an events module that will accept local happenings to create a dynamic online community calendar.

Rand Realty launched the website to meet the need for a lifestyle-based hub with hyper-local content. “We got a lot of feedback from people wanting more in-depth information on their towns,” said Troia. “As we are a part of the communities we serve, it was a natural fit for us to develop a site where people can meet, congregate and contribute content. is a grassroots community lifestyle magazine. People interested in hyper-local news will be interested in this website.”

Troia believes the site will soon include links from tourism boards, chambers and other groups wanting to communicate what’s going on in their communities. “It will become a broad resource,” Troia said. “Chambers and other organizations can direct people to our site, and we can direct people to theirs.”

Troia said the firm does not intend to compete with local news sources. “We are not in the reporting or news business, we simply want to put together content that will show off what a wonderful place we all live in,” said Troia. “It’s a great resource for people looking to live in the Hudson Valley, and for those who already live here and want to learn more about what’s going on in their community.”

Troia said Rand Realty came up with the name “Hudson Heartbeat” because the company wanted something that indicated that it is a live website where content is continually fresh and updated, and users contribute photos, videos and stories regularly. “People will be able to keep their thumb on the pulse of the community,” he said.

About Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate – Rand Realty, founded in 1984, is the No. 1 real estate brokerage in the Greater Hudson Valley with 25 offices serving Westchester, Rockland, Orange, Putnam and Dutchess counties. Rand has more than 800 sales associates, as well as a commercial real estate company (Rand Commercial Services), mortgage company (Rand Mortgage), title company (Hudson Abstract Services) and insurance agency (The Hudson Group Insurance Agency). The company’s Web sites are:,,, and  Rand Realty is also on Facebook and Twitter.