Not Getting the Media Coverage You Want? 3 Tips on Getting Free Publicity in the News

If you were at a cocktail party, standing with a group of people, what is the one thing about your company that is going to make everyone want to know more?

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Public relations was a hot topic at the recent Inman Connect San Francisco. And it’s no surprise why: PR can be a powerful promotional tool for a business to gain free exposure in their local news. Yet often real estate companies are not using PR in their marketing mix, give up after a few unsuccessful attempts of not getting coverage or confusing PR with advertising.

PR is earned media – not paid media. The core difference is that advertising is pay for play, where you are in control.  If you can afford to pay for the placement of an advertisement, you control the message, you control when its distributed, and you control how long it’s out in the marketplace. In PR, the control is in the hands of the media.  The reporter and media outlet control if and when it will run, how that story will be written or edited, and who else will participate in it.  In PR you have to “earn” your way in by “pitching” media on an idea and convincing them why a particular story is worthy of coverage and why you should be interviewed for that story.

Coldwell Banker can help you navigate through the complexities of PR. Here are 3 tricks of the trade for generating media exposure in real estate:

IT’S A 24/7 NEWS WORLD. Take advantage of this by using your MLS data and packaging it up with the monthly National Association of Realtors (NAR) Existing Home Sales report. Around the third week of each month, NAR issues national real estate data.  Not only is this information of national interest, but you also can give it local appeal by adding those same data points from your MLS – things like average home price, inventory levels and time on market. When you compare the national numbers to the local numbers, ask yourself: Is your average sales price up or down compared to the nation? Are your days on market longer or shorter? These comparisons are a great way to “localize” the story.  There isn’t an easier way to position yourself and your company as the premier source of local real estate information to the media and its readers/viewers.

BREAK THROUGH THE NOISE. Reporters are inundated with story ideas, so make sure your pitch or press release stands out. For example, if you’re opening a new office somewhere in town, don’t write the traditional press release announcing the opening of this office. Why not paint a bigger picture? What’s happening in that area of town? Has there been recent construction for new commercial development? New home developments? Interstate/highway expansion? Population growth in this area? You will have to do a little research, but packaging up your new office opening with a larger story of city/neighborhood growth could increase your chances of actually getting coverage. Yes, the story won’t be exclusively about your new office (let’s be honest that story was never going to run anyway), but now you might get included in the larger story as a source and potentially getting your company mentioned as a part of that growth story.

TELL THE RIGHT STORY OF A HOME. Coldwell Banker Global Luxury represents some of the world’s most stunning homes that generate national media coverage. The key to getting the media’s attention when it comes to covering a luxury or notable listing is getting outside the listing description model for a press release. Is the owner someone notable? Use the first 50 words to tell that story. If the owner isn’t going to generate headlines, then use that headline and opening paragraph to tell the story of the uniqueness of the property. Does it have smart home or green features? Can you look out a window to see something no one else in town gets to see? Is there some historic element to the house waiting to be shared? Bottom line: If you were at a cocktail party and standing with a group of people, what is the one thing about this house that is going to make everyone want to know more? Use that element as your pitch to the media.

Looking for more tips on how to get the most of your real estate PR, visit CB Exchange and search “public relations.”

Senior Manager, Public Relations for Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. Grew up in south Florida as an avid Seminole fan and attended college in the mountains of North Carolina. Athena wanted to wake up in that city that doesn’t sleep so headed to Madison Avenue to start her marketing career. Athena has worked for Coldwell Banker for 13 years where she can be found generating buzz about this awesome brand in every way possible. On any given day, she can be found crunching numbers to searching for amazing Coldwell Banker properties to serve up to the media for features. In her spare time, you can find her either digging up a new area in her yard for another flower bed or scouring Etsy for that next amazing handcrafted gem. She resides with the Bukowski of our generation (AKA her husband), two cats and a fish in Atlanta, Ga.

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