As COVID-19 continues to impact communities across the country, prospective buyers and sellers are seeking real estate professionals they can trust with information about the market as well as staying safe when buying and selling a home.
While many states' stay-at-home directives have expired, there are still various restrictions and safety standards in place both at the local and federal levels. And most people are still sticking close to home. This has resulted in significant changes to the way agents conduct their business. More specifically, brokers and agents must come up with more ideas to boost their brand awareness that doesn’t involve in-person contact.
According to Cision, audiences view “earned media”—positive word-of-mouth references—as the most authentic form of marketing, making it an effective way for agents to build their reputation. Running a public relations or personal branding campaign in the media is an effort that can undoubtedly help agents during this time. A PR campaign can help agents reach their target audience, boost brand awareness, as well as increase real estate sales—all from home.
A personal PR campaign for real estate professionals often involves writing articles and pitching stories to media outlets. Here are tips on how to launch a PR campaign in the media and boost sales in the process.
One of the most effective ways for agents to increase their reach is to publish articles or bylines in local media outlets or real estate industry publications. Not only do articles help agents build their personal brand, but they also help their audiences see them as authentic thought leaders and experts in their field.
According to Demand Gen Report, 96% of buyers want content with more input from industry thought leaders. Additionally, research from the Content Marketing Institute reveals that 70% of customers prefer getting to know a brand via articles rather than ads.
But it can be challenging for agents to generate topic ideas for stories to pitch when getting started with a personal branding campaign. Here are some ideas:
- Shareable tips for prospective buyers and sellers.
- Insight on local housing trends and any new restrictions, codes, or regulations that may affect existing and potential homeowners.
- Opinion pieces on mortgage and interest rates, national stats related to the housing market, and industry trends.
- Educational topics related to the local community or market.
Real estate pros can choose to write articles themselves, or they can hire a ghostwriter to write bylines on behalf of their brand.
Building Media Relations and Pitching Stories
Media relations is a crucial aspect of the PR strategy for running a personal branding campaign. Agents can start by creating a target list of local news or real estate specific publications, as well as particular reporters who cover the stories they want to write and pitch.
To build successful relationships with the media, brokers and agents should demonstrate their expertise in all things real estate. Practitioners who can quickly provide answers and news insights, as well as other industry-specific information, will have a competitive advantage when it comes to getting their content published or being featured as a source.
When pitching to media outlets, agents should avoid sending mass emails to reporters. Instead, they should carefully personalize messages for each connection. It’s best to keep PR pitches personable and relatable to earn the trust of contacts.
Hiring In-House vs. Agency
It can be challenging for real estate professionals to handle meetings with clients, showings and open houses, social media updates, and other marketing efforts—even in today’s virtual climate—in addition to running a personal branding campaign. Brokers and agents who lack the time or skills should consider hiring someone internally, or an agency, to handle their PR needs.
Hiring a full-time employee to take on PR work can be difficult and costly for independent real estate professionals and small brokerages. Hiring an agency, however, gives agents access to a team of experts at a lower cost.
If a broker decides to hire someone for their PR needs, they should take the time to get it right. According to CBI Insights, 23% of businesses cited not having the right team as the reason for their failure.
Overall, increasing brand awareness can be an effective way of boosting sales in today’s market. It gives real estate practitioners a way to showcase themselves as industry experts beyond traditional advertising while building their online reputation. By launching a PR campaign, brokers and agents can amplify their reach exponentially and see their sales revenue grow.