The only thing better than being acknowledged as a leading real estate authority in your market is not having to pay advertising dollars to earn such recognition. There are plenty of free public relations opportunities to bring awareness to your business; they just require some advance planning and a little research. Here are six ways you can promote your expertise using local resources without spending an extra dime on marketing.
- Create content about newsworthy events with your own spin. One of the best ways to establish credibility is to be cited as a source or contributor to reputable publications in your area. But first, those publications have to notice you. Start by thinking about the knowledge and expertise you have about a specific topic, and blog about that topic when it’s timely. For instance, if national news reports are focused on a sudden shift in housing data, write a blog about how the statistics are reflective of your local area—and reference a specific neighborhood to serve as an example. That way, when reporters are doing their research, they’ll find your content and reach out to you. Most other agents probably aren’t focused on creating content tied to current events, so this is where you can stand out from your competitors.
- Research the newsmakers you want to know. Most local journalists have LinkedIn profiles and Twitter accounts they use for professional purposes. Follow the ones who write about real estate, spend some time reading their articles, and get familiar with the news angles of their stories. When you reach out to them as a potential source, you will be able to better connect with them by recalling articles they’ve written in the past. Another way to connect with local journalists is to join an organization called Help a Reporter Out, which connects reporters with expert sources. You can register as a source; membership is free, and you can select specific categories or topics for which you’d like to provide expertise. The website also sends daily notifications for new opportunities in the categories you have chosen.
- Try different kinds of community involvement. You already know that participating in local events will put you in front of more prospects. But go further than setting up the traditional trade show booth. For example, perhaps your community puts on an annual home and garden show, which includes a room-design contest for local college students. In this case, your experience selling homes, staging, and planning for renovations could make you a good judge for the contest. Such involvement would likely earn you a mention on the event’s website and in printed marketing materials, as well as in local news coverage of the contest.
- Write your own press releases. Whenever you or your company celebrates a newsworthy occasion—such as winning a prestigious award, hosting a charity event, or helping to launch a new development—write a press release about it. Not only will such content improve your search engine optimization, there’s also a chance that news sources in your area may print it. When it’s time to distribute a press release, visit the websites of local publications, where most will have instructions for submitting releases online. Always publish your press release on your own website as well, and link to it in blog posts and articles you write.
- Develop a media kit for your business. When news organizations are seeking sources, a professional package representing who you are, along with your accomplishments and background information, can catch their attention. It makes you appear as a credible source not only to journalists but also to the public. A media kit also provides upfront information about you that reporters need, allowing them to publish your work faster. In most cases, a digital version of a press kit—a downloadable PDF—will suffice. A few items you’ll need in your press kit are a cover letter, biography, photos, contact info, accomplishments, topics of expertise, and other previous media coverage (if you have it). Add a “media” section on your website where your media kit will live, and link to it on your “about me” page.
- Leverage your advertising relationships. Though the editorial department of a publication is supposed to operate independently of the advertising department, there are times when an advertiser will take priority over a nonadvertiser in news coverage. So if you are spending money on ads with a media outlet, try to leverage that relationship in a subtle and respectful way. But don’t assume that your story should take precedence. Send your submission through appropriate editorial channels, but make sure to copy your sales representative—or at least let them know you have submitted newsworthy information for review. Here’s an excellent approach via email: “I have attached some information for a unique story about [insert subject matter] that I thought you might consider newsworthy. I realize this is separate from my advertising agreement with you, and it may not receive coverage. But if it’s of interest to you, I will make myself available at your convenience for further discussion.”