Graham Wood is senior editor for REALTOR® Magazine. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Make the Media Listen to You
Rules for crafting a news pitch about your listings or business that reporters and editors can’t ignore.
November 3, 2018
When you’re drumming up buzz for your newest listing, you’ll undoubtedly want to get a shout-out for the property in local media. But any PR pro can tell you that grabbing the attention of reporters and editors can be a difficult feat. “You’re probably not going to get picked up in the news the first time you put out a press release,” Audie Chamberlain, founder of real estate public relations firm Lion & Orb, said Saturday during a session at the REALTORS® Conference & Expo in Boston.
You must have patience and determination when reaching out to the media because if your name is not yet recognizable to journalists, they may initially ignore you. But if you keep contacting them and don’t disappear, they’ll learn who you are—and may even turn to you as a source in the future, Chamberlain said.
First and foremost, your media pitch should be short and concise, touching on the what, when, where, and why of your story in the first 50 words. Secondly, it must deliver numbers and facts about your listing or business that illustrate why your pitch is newsworthy. Thirdly, your pitch should contain an emotional or human interest element, which will show reporters why their readers should care. “Maybe the flooring in your listing is repurposed from another property that had historical value,” Chamberlain said. “That’s a compelling story that will make people listen.”
Another tactic to grab the media’s attention is to offer reporters some level of exclusivity with the story you’re pitching. This means you should reach out to journalists to tell the story of your listing before it is exposed to the general public on the MLS. “Once your property is out there, the media assumes everyone already knows about it and will be less inclined to cover it,” Chamberlain said. But even if one or more media outlets have already written about your listing, you may still be able to pitch to other organizations if you can articulate an angle that hasn’t previously been covered.
Susana Murphy, broker-owner of Alante Real Estate in Plymouth, Mass., said she learned from working with a PR agency to promote her listings that it’s important to follow certain journalists on social and learn the type of content they write so you can tailor your media pitches to fit their wheelhouse. “Understand the type of angles and real estate issues they cover, and then you can be confident your pitch is something they will be interested in,” she said.
Chamberlain said the most successful real estate PR campaigns tend to focus on listings with intriguing amenities, interesting brokerage data, the value proposition of a newly launched office, philanthropic endeavors, and agents’ and brokers’ personal journeys in the business.