Growing your content marketing plan means adding leverage by reaching out to the media. Part four of this five-part series shares what to write and how to craft a media outreach strategy.

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.

Developing a content plan for your real estate business means optimizing a host of online and real-world platforms. In our Content Marketing Gameplan, we bring you the rules to use to generate five different types of foundational content: your website, bio, blog, PR and self-published book.

OK, so you’ve built a beautiful website, updated your bio and begun creating evolving (and involving) content that is getting you noticed by your sphere of influence. Now it’s time to take that energy and broaden your audience by leveraging the power of publicity.

Whether you work with a public relations agency or create a DIY plan to get your name out there, it’s important for you to put a plan in place. Here’s how to get your name noticed and allow other outlets to spread the good word about your real estate expertise.

Where are you in your career?

The purpose of your PR plan depends, in part, on where you are in your career.

New agent

If you’re a new agent, a media strategy helps you to build credibility quickly and generates a positive perception of your business. While you may not yet have years of experience in the real estate industry, you can leverage your past professional expertise to boost your image.

For example, if you were previously a title agent, you could talk about challenges that crop up in the closing process. If you were previously working in the financial services industry, you might position yourself as an insightful source of information on the intersection of finance and real estate.

Established agent

As an established agent, you’ll not only have your past experience to draw on, but considerable real estate expertise as well. If you’ve developed a niche, you’ll be able to dig deep and offer insights that journalists just can’t find anywhere else.

All-star agent

As an influencer and top producer, media mentions are the lifeblood of your growth and image development. The more you are mentioned — and the more prestigious the publications you work with — the higher your profile. At this point, you may start contributing your insights as well, developing a reputation as a true thought leader in your industry.

How will you use your media outreach?

Media mentions can serve a variety of purposes, no matter where you are in your career. Here are some of the possibilities:

For lead generation

A media mention in a local publication or online can help generate leads both from clients in your area and those beyond who are thinking of relocating. 

For thought leadership

As you grow your career, connecting with the media can make you stand out as an expert in your field and allow you to impact younger agents who are just starting out in their careers.

For brand recognition

As you build your brand, whether as an indie broker, mega-team leader, or franchise owner, media mentions can help make your brand more recognizable to potential clients and assist you in recruiting top-notch talent. Develop a cohesive brand identity then teach other agents in your organization to connect with the media as well, to make your brand travel even further.

Working with a PR professional

According to Stacey Ross Cohen, New York City branding expert and CEO of Co-Communications:

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.

Working with a PR professional can fast-track your media strategy while allowing you to focus on the things you do best. Here are her seven tips for an effective PR plan, each of which can be implemented by the PR pro you choose:

  1. Integrate your media outreach with your marketing strategy across platforms and mediums.
  2. Position you as an expert in a niche or specific market.
  3. Leverage media mentions to generate authority and lead to more publicity.
  4. Come up with unique ideas to make your PR more creative.
  5. Highlight community engagement in your media relations.
  6. Grow your network with influencers and industry leaders.
  7. Build and maintain solid relationships with journalists and industry professionals.

Creating a media-ready press release

If you want to create a press release to get your business out there in front of journalists and editors, you’ll need to focus on the following:

  • Make sure that you have something newsworthy to convey. It’s not enough to tell people that you’re a real estate agent. You need to be doing something original or noteworthy.
  • Include your logo at the top of your press release and a brief bio at the end, along with up-to-date contact information.
  • Try to keep your press release to one page if possible, with a strong lede up front that grabs the reader’s attention and quickly encapsulates the story you’re trying to tell.
  • Be sure to include quotes from the people featured in the press release.
  • Focused distribution will give you the best possible chance of being featured in a publication. Send your press release to local media outlets or consider a targeted distribution through a service like PR Web or PR Newswire.
  • If possible, reach out to journalists who you know cover topics like the one you’re promoting. Consider a personalized email to distribute your press release, preferably one that shows that you are familiar with the journalist’s relevant previous work.
  • Follow up with the media outlets or journalists to whom you’ve sent the press release, either with a personal email or a phone call.

Connecting with the media

According to Christina Daves of PR for Anyone, connecting with the media means doing each of the following at a high level:

Focusing on your differentiators

Home in on your niche and the things in your background that make you different from other real estate professionals. Use your area of expertise to create a pitch that stands out and speaks to a particular audience or topic.

Crafting effective pitches

Be newsworthy and create a great hook that gets you noticed by the media. Target specific journalists or publications and craft a pitch that’s tailor-made for their audience and interests.

Leveraging your media mentions

Once you’ve been featured in the media, “it’s up to you to be your own megaphone,” said Daves. Share on your social media accounts, in your marketing collateral, and in your sphere of influence outreach. Media coverage helps you build authority and positions you as a true industry expert.

Other things to keep in mind when working with the media

Here are some additional strategies and things to keep in mind when working with the media:

  • If you’re contributing an article for publication, make sure that you have it double-checked for grammatical and syntactical accuracy.
  • If you’re referring to a study or other background information in your submission, link to it or provide the URL for the editor’s reference.
  • Looking for an easy way to get started and contribute your thoughts and expertise? Consider HARO (Help a Reporter Out), a service of Cision that helps to connect journalists and sources for expert quotes.
  • Remember, real estate is local. Before you go too far afield, start out by contacting your local news outlets, popular bloggers who write about your area, locally based podcasts, and other sources of coverage to make valuable connections in your market.

There’s someone out there who needs to hear from you. Develop your voice and grow your influence with a strategic PR plan.

Christy Murdock is a Realtor, freelance writer, coach and consultant and the owner of Writing Real Estate. She is also the creator of the online course Crafting the Property Description: The Step-by-Step Formula for Reluctant Real Estate Writers. Follow Writing Real Estate on TwitterInstagram and YouTube.

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