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Give your real estate media relations strategy some CPR

By Dan Johnson, Senior Account Executive, R&J Strategic Communications

No matter where you live, work or play, at some point a real estate decision was made. Whether it was the amenity level of your apartment building or the precise location of your office, real estate has direct influence over almost every aspect of our lives.

Unfortunately, for such an influential and important topic, many real estate companies’ public relations strategies begin and end with reporting transactional or company information.

Although this information is important, a strategy built solely around its dissemination can mean that you are missing valuable opportunities to participate in a constantly evolving global conversation with direct impacts on your business’ bottom line.

People have a variety of questions that often have roots in macroeconomics and real estate. Why are homes so expensive? Why did my company suddenly decide to relocate? Why are industrial buildings seeming to appear out of thin air?

Just like they might do for finding information about their favorite sports team or restaurant reviews, people are looking for trusted sources to provide them with answers to their real estate questions.

Often those providing the answers will be viewed as more effective professionals and might be the first person to get a call when it comes time to make a real estate business decision.

Because of the importance of these conversations, your firm’s long-term media relations strategy should focus on not just releasing news but becoming this trusted source on the topics most important to your business.

Or, as we say, an authority. But how do you begin to give your media relations strategy a revamp? All it takes is a little media relations CPR.

Cohesive – Your strategy must be cohesive and in line with your company’s overall areas of expertise and business goals. If you are a residential real estate brokerage it does not make sense to be commenting on industrial real estate property prices.

Develop a list of what your firm does well and who at the firm does those things well, and use that as a framework.

Additionally, each piece of information put into the public must adhere to a cohesive brand identity. It helps to have a standard set of messaging that you can use to unify your brand and ensure that when people think of your company they are able to quickly know what you do best and who at your company does it.

Proactive – Many of these media opportunities can be secured through being proactive and determining who the most important journalists are in your industry and what their beats are. A quick introduction to your business and areas of expertise can often go a long way.

Also, if you want to participate in a conversation, find out which journalists are leading that conversation and let them know that you have experts who can participate.
Journalists are busy, and it helps to provide them with sources they can call upon in the future even if they do not have an immediate need.

Reactive – However closely you decide to follow the top two points, there will be news and stories that surprise you or appear without warning. In real estate these might be a large macroeconomic development, an unexpected corporate announcement or another type of seemingly random news.

It is important that you are continually monitoring the news and looking for ways to inject yourself into relevant stories, particularly if you can lend further insight to a breaking news story.

Often, these breaking stories start with basic information and grow into larger stories over a period of a few hours or days. This is another reason why the development of a cohesive brand identity and identification of spokespeople prior to news breaking helps considerably.

You will be ready to respond immediately and get your company’s experts in front of a captivated audience, ahead of your competition.

The unifying element in each of these elements is the common goal of securing brand authority.

Many in the real estate industry read a wide variety of publications that inform their decision making and strategic goals.

As your company and its employees are featured more often in stories in these publications, and providing useful information, potential customers will soon begin to see your firm less as a name they’ve heard and more as an expert in a topic in which they have a business interest.

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