How to Enhance Your Real Estate Branding with Public Relations
By Matthew Bushery
About Inbound Marketing
Once you’ve established a strong online presence — one that includes a fully fleshed out website, consistent content creation, and a savvy social media strategy — it’s time to turn your attention to other real estate branding efforts to support this digital marketing foundation. Promoting your business through blog posts, social shares, and email campaigns is a vital component of any successful real estate marketing plan, but it’s not always enough to draw attention from the right audience. However, there is a way to break through to a new level of brand recognition — using community outreach to maximize exposure, specifically through a real estate public relations (PR) strategy, which we explain how to implement below.
The Core Benefits of Public Relations — and How It Can Help Your Real Estate Branding
Before explaining how you can get your real estate PR campaign off the ground, let’s examine why it’s worth your time to pursue this tactic. There are many benefits for brands in using public relations to enhance their visibility — many of which are applicable to you, the agent — but these are the primary benefits to consider.
You can get assistance in gaining exposure for your real estate brand.
No one gets to where they want to be professionally without a little help. Sometimes, it comes in the form of a reference from a former colleague that helps you land a job. Other times, it’s a referral lead from another agent in your market. Similarly, when it come to public relations, you can leverage other people (journalists, TV/radio personalities, industry influencers, bloggers) and publications (newspapers/news websites, magazines, weekly/monthly newsletters) to become a recognizable agent in your community.
While it typically takes time to develop a solid PR strategy that generates buzz around your brand and positions you in the light you want leads to see you in, sticking with your community outreach plan in the long run will bring about numerous distinct benefits for your brand. Think of it this way: Just as persistence is required to “win” with your real estate search engine optimization (SEO) strategy, the same holds true for building mutually beneficial relationships that yield more acknowledgement of — and, if done right, high praise for — your company.
You can develop relationships with sources who have large followings.
Speaking of relationship-building, it certainly comes in handy to have connections who can regularly publish and promote your content and help introduce your real estate brand to an entirely new audience. The trick to building bonds with writers, editors, reporters, publicists, and other media professionals is learning what you can do for them in return.
The biggest benefit you can offer publications, blogs, and other digital channels is name recognition that will generate traffic for their sites and, in turn, advertising revenue. This means having an extensive online presence is paramount: The more fans and followers you have, the more likely you are to appeal to publications, podcasts, radio stations, and similar outlets who can share your information and content.
You can build and maintain your real estate brand reputation with help from PR pros.
Over time, as you develop close relationships with those who work for news outlets, respected blogs, and similar entities, you will notice big changes in your real estate marketing analytics (assuming you track all external brand mentions closely and routinely). Additionally, you will also likely notice that people recognize your name and that of your company.
Some people may know you from the local newspaper where you were quoted regarding home buying trends, a community charity event you sponsored, or perhaps a similar promotional endeavor you undertook in previous months. That’s the power of public relations: It helps you publicize yourself and your brand in ways that support your digital marketing foundation and lead more people to check out your online presence who haven’t done so before.
It takes effort to gain exposure both offline and online (with the latter taking slightly more importance given the age we live in), but these “bonus” marketing efforts can generate lots of traction for your business that may otherwise never come about without some savvy outreach.
The Bare-Bones Basics Needed to Start a Public Relations Marketing Strategy
If public relations is the icing on the cake, your overall real estate marketing strategy is the cake itself — each layer representing a different component of your online presence: your website, email campaigns, social accounts, guest postings, promotional videos, etc. Without all of these elements, a real estate PR plan will do you no good.
It’s not enough to get your website set up — it needs to be routinely improved.
A modern, responsive real estate website is the basis for any comprehensive and compelling online presence … but in reality, it’s just the first step. To merit some real estate PR, you must build many landing pages on your website that provide unique value for your audience. A concerted effort is required to build up your site’s SEO value through creating pages that highlight, among other things:
- Details about your work history, certifications, and specialities
- In-depth information about local housing conditions and your community
- The particulars of popular streets, neighborhoods, and developments
- Quotes and insights from buyer and seller clients you’ve worked with
- Resources for buyers and sellers (e.g. ebooks featuring advice)
Once these pages have been built, you have the necessary collateral to justify spending time, energy, and money ramping up your public relations efforts and, in turn, putting a magnifying lens to your digital body of work.
Promote your own content through email, social media, and other channels regularly.
Offering your real estate knowledge and expertise to local news services and getting your housing research syndicated on business blogs in your market are tremendous methods for plugging your business and getting more clicks to (and leads from) your website. Having said that, schemes like these should only be put into action once you take care of the core promotional tactics you can conduct on your own time — especially through email and social media.
For instance, your drip email marketing campaigns are the premier avenue for sharing the latest updates on your housing market, including new listings you represent and details about the area’s economy and entertainment options. Meanwhile, your blog is arguably the principal place to share your posts along with the occasional link to gated, form-required, lead-generating content (think downloadables like surveys, whitepapers, and other long-form pieces your audience would enjoy).
The Best Ways to Develop Mutually Beneficial Relationships with the Media and Bloggers
With your primary, day-to-day real estate marketing plan in place, you can turn your attention to public relations activities. There’s no one way to do PR — it’s all a matter of need and preference. The one place to start planning your PR strategy, though, is with outreach.
Write detailed copy that explains your real estate brand’s value proposition and goals.
When you first began your career as an agent, you likely created a mission statement that outlined, at a high level, what you aim to achieve in real estate sales. One of the chief tasks any professional with a PR strategy should undertake is to create coherent, to-the-point boilerplate language for use in press releases and by media who will need a description of your brand should they mention you in their content. Create a similar statement that relays your value proposition and what distinguishes you from other agents.
Be as personable and relatable in your PR pitches as possible to earn the trust of resources.
Just as you present your services and sales history to potential seller clients during listing presentations, it’s ideal to be down-to-earth and relaxed when pitching stories to news outlets, blogs, and the like. The stuffier and staler you are with your proposal, the less likely your contact is to be receptive to your ideas and requests.
If you’re unsure of how to get your foot in the door with PR pitches for stories, brand inclusions, and quotes, not to worry: Sites like Help a Reporter Out (or HARO) make it simpler to connect with the right real estate publications and other sources that pertain closest to your area(s) of expertise.
Don’t spam contacts with PR requests — carefully personalize messages for each connection.
If you’re a busy real estate agent, your inbox is filled to the brim with email from past and current clients, top-of-the-funnel prospects, bottom-of-the-funnel leads, colleagues, bosses, and other connections. That means it’s pretty difficult for someone you don’t know to grab your attention and make you click on a message, right? Now put yourself in the shoes of a media member with the same dilemma: Are they more likely to open an email with the subject line “I have a GREAT opportunity for you! Click here!” or one that’s personalized to them and piques their interest?
Offer real estate–oriented answers and insights that are too good for contacts to pass up.
At the end of the day, the most enticing reason for writers, editors, producers, and those in similar media-based positions to use you as a source in a news report, feature article, or other content is your expertise and knowledge of all things real estate. Constantly learning on the job and gaining new certifications and designations through the National Association of Realtors and other industry resources isn’t just something that can help your bottom line — it can also help prove you can be extremely useful to those producing content around real estate.
In your communications with media connections, express the specific, intricate aspects of real estate in which you are most knowledgeable. It’s this attention to detail that can lead to them choosing to incorporate your voice and thoughts in a piece of press instead of another local agent.
Personalization in email subject lines legitimizes your brand and increases the odds of recipients opening your email, so spend some time crafting short subject lines that boost your chances of getting your messages read and responses from persons of interest. Of course, email is just one touch point, as mentioned, but nonetheless, this is imperative if you ever want to build long-term relationships with the media and prominent personalities online.
The Essential Real Estate Public Relations Activities You Can Conduct Yourself
Even as recent as the early 2000s, the need for real estate agents and other professionals to leverage external media professionals to build brand awareness through tactics like press releases and interviews was high. Real estate industry members simply didn’t have the resources or know-how to get mass exposure by themselves. While PR firms, reporters, and similar entities are still valuable in today’s marketing climate, they’re not essential for every promotional endeavor — which is phenomenal news for agents and brokers.
Get out in the world and make yourself and your brand known to locals.
Inbound marketing is essential for real estate agents, but that doesn’t mean that certain outbound efforts can’t support your online work. From speaking at meet-ups and conferences in your area to running in local 5Ks and volunteering at various organizations, there are endless ways you can embed yourself in your local market and become recognizable as someone who both cares about the well-being of those in your community and is a reliable, trustworthy professional. Aside from being physically present in your market, spend some of your advertising dollars creating print materials that can be shared at local establishments: college campuses, restaurants and cafes, retailers, and the like.
Building a reputable real estate brand starts and ends with being omnipresent, so while the (overwhelming) majority of your marketing time and energy should be spent in front of your computer screen, don’t forget to fill in the gaps, so to speak, with offline promotional activities like these.
Consistently craft new content for your SEO marketing and SEM campaigns.
As noted above, fine-tuning your on- and off-site SEO efforts is an absolute must if you want to bolster your real estate branding, but don’t forget about the considerable pros that come along with search engine marketing (SEM) — specifically, through pay per click (PPC) advertising via Google AdWords and social media ads.
One commonality between SEO and SEM is content? Your website: It’s what makes success in search engine results pages (SERPs) for organic marketing and paid ads possible. Some agents may not consider these activities related to public relations, but that’s exactly what they help with: getting your brand name better-known on the internet and by the right audience searching for primary, secondary, and long-tail keywords pertaining to your housing market.
One way you can get your real estate public relations efforts up and running is to hire a marketing assistant — a subject we cover in great detail in this Placester Academy post, including what assistants can specifically help you with and how much they typically earn.
Do you have a public relations marketing strategy in place for your business? If so, how has it helped your real estate agent branding? If not, do you plan to implement a real estate PR plan in the future? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!
Published on September 23, 2015
Written by Matthew Bushery
I'm the Sr. Content Creator for Placester, where I educate real estate professionals about modern marketing and, in turn, help agents and brokers make the most of their online presence, earn more traffic, and generate more leads and business.