In March’s Marketing and Branding Month, we’ll go deep on agent branding and best practices for spending with Zillow, and more. Top CMOs of leading firms drop by to share their newest tactics, too. And to top off this theme month, Inman is debuting a brand new set of awards for branding and marketing leaders in the industry called Marketing All-Stars.

This article was last updated Mar. 30, 2023.

A well-executed public relations strategy is a powerful tool that builds both mind and market share — it can grow revenue, attract new clients, strengthen relationships and far more. In today’s fierce real estate market, good PR can give you a winning edge.

Take it from Bill Gates: “If I were down to my last dollar, I’d spend it on PR,” the billionaire once quipped.   

And yet PR is often misunderstood by the general public. Many people think it’s just about spin. In truth, it’s so much more: PR is a strategic way to build relationships with key audiences, manage a company’s image, build thought leadership and even shape public opinion writ large. 

One of the most important components of a PR strategy is media relations — that is, how your company is covered in the press. Third-party endorsements from newspapers, magazines, podcasts and other media build credibility and trust like nothing else. It’s been that way for the 25-plus years I’ve been in the industry. 

Successful Realtors understand the power of PR, media relations and the industry’s other components. Whether you’re a real estate broker, agent, Fortune 500 CEO or boutique agency owner, it’s more important than ever to leverage the power of PR. Here are seven indispensable strategies for making that happen: 

An integrated approach is essential

For PR to be effective, it can’t be scattershot — it needs to be cohesive and dovetail with your marketing and advertising efforts. In short: You need one look, feel and voice across all mediums.

First, determine your target audience, and then hone your press pitches, talking points, social media, website and other collateral to them. That last one — your website — is especially important since journalists often turn to company websites for a first impression.

Position yourself as an expert

PR isn’t just about getting your name out there — it’s about building a specific and compelling personal brand. And one of the best ways to stand out from the crowd is to establish yourself as a subject matter expert.

Think: condo expert, data guru, historic landmark authority, luxury specialist, interior decorator. Use media coverage and speaking engagements to share and showcase your deep knowledge, insights and ideas. You’ll build trust with readers and potential clients.

Publicity breeds publicity

I’m going to let you in on a little secret: When the media knows that you’re a credible source of information, they’re more likely to turn to you for a quote or an expert opinion. That’s why you see a lot of the same folks getting ink, pixels and air time.

Brian Pearl is a prime example. Pearl is a luxury Realtor and co-founder of The Pearl Antonacci Group at Compass, and is ranked in the top 1 percent of Realtors nationwide (Wall Street Journal, Real Trends). Although he’s only been in the business since 2005, Pearl is one of the most well-known luxury Realtors in South Florida. Why? His ability to generate media attention.

Pearl has been quoted in South Florida Agent Magazine, Sun Sentinel, Palm Beach Post, and Yahoo Finance, among other outlets. Pearl pursues media opportunities relentlessly and also respects reporter’s deadlines — a great way to build goodwill.

“It is important to be responsive and make sure to get the reporter the information they need quickly,” Pearl explains. He adds: “Media coverage is great for brand building, increases website traffic and improves search rankings, making it easier for potential customers to find your business.”

Your PR must be creative

To be successful in any field, creativity is essential. This is especially true in the world of real estate PR. You must be more than a real estate listing. Show personality: Be new, different, original, and come up with unique ideas to capture the attention of the media and the public.

I recently came across a real estate brokerage that provided a complimentary moving truck. Talk about great PR. Not only does that serve as a moving billboard for your company and a news hook for a story, but it also demonstrates that you are willing to go the extra mile to help clients. 

Highlight community engagement in your PR

Selling and leasing real estate is a big part of your story, but it’s not the whole story. Doing good is important, too. Philanthropy is an important qualification for many prospective clients.

Whether your brokerage firm has a dedicated charitable division or simply engages in days of community service, it is important to showcase your team’s community involvement. It not only positions your agency in a good light, but also shows that you are well-informed about your community.

Grow your network 

It’s been said that “Your network is your net worth,” and it’s true. For this reason, your PR shouldn’t focus exclusively on generating news coverage — it should also focus on growing your network.

Use PR to engage and build relationships with mentors, influencers and industry leaders. Consider joining a board or committee (both professional and community). Be social. Attend live networking events and be sure to connect with your new contacts promptly via LinkedIn and other platforms.

It’s all about relationships

At the end of the day, PR is about people and the relationships between them.  Building and maintaining solid relationships with clients, staff, journalists, influencers and other industry professionals is the name of the game.

Buyers and sellers often make decisions based on their relationship with the individual Realtor, not the business entity. So make “give before you get” a core component of your PR work, and always say “thank you.” Michelle Kleier, President of Kleier Residential, says it best: “It’s not about making the deal — it’s about the future relationship, not selling in the moment.”

No real estate firm can truly thrive without smart, strategic PR. If you’re not engaging in PR, you’re missing out on one of the most effective ways to build credibility and trust for your brand. 

Stacey Ross Cohen is CEO of Co-Communications and a branding expert based in New York City. Her new book, Brand Up, is currently in pre-order. Follow her on Instagram and LinkedIn.

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