With all the rumors that print media consumption is declining, you wouldn’t be alone if you thought that press releases were a thing of the past.
But while the way people consume media has evolved, the good, old-fashioned press release hasn’t—and it can be an invaluable tool for marketing your own real estate business.
What is a Press Release?
In the news industry, a press release is a newsworthy story that highlights a particular event, activity or other “big deal.”
The target audience? Journalists and editors.
A press release goes to editors and the journalists who cover the type of news you’re sending them.
Hot Topics for Realtors’® Press Releases
Every open house you hold isn’t necessarily newsworthy (unless it’s a historic, multi-million-dollar home), but there are plenty of things that many Realtors do that do justify a press release, such as:
- Participating in a charity walk, run or bike ride
- Winning an award or earning recognition as a Realtor
- Publication of an eBook about the process of buying (or the process of selling, how to stage a home, or anything else your potential clients will find valuable)
- Holding events, such as free homebuyer seminars
- News about market trends and activity is always a great way to go, too; you’re the subject-matter expert, so people will listen when you have something to say. That’s true from observations you’ve made to trends you’re watching unfold in your market.
The 5 Ws (and H) of a Successful Press Release
Your press release doesn’t have to be perfect; after all, the idea behind it is to get journalists and editors interested in what you’re talking about so they’ll cover the story in their publication.
With that said, every press release needs the 5 Ws (and H):
- Who: Who is the press release about? You? Your team?
- What: What about this is newsworthy?
- Where: Where will (or did) the event take place?
- When: When will (or did) the event take place?
- Why: Why did you, your team or whomever else participate or play a role in the event?
- How: How did the event unfold? How did it end? What was the newsworthy result?
You can include a timeline of events, a flyer, or any other supporting information that the reporter or editor will need when he or she is judging the merits of covering your story.
The best way to help a journalist when you’re submitting a press release is to include the names and contact information of sources—people who are willing to be quoted should the publication choose to run your story. You can even get quotes yourself (just remember to include your sources’ contact information so the reporter who covers it can do his or her due diligence).
What Should You Do With a Press Release?
One of the reasons press releases are so successful for Realtors is that newspapers and other periodicals have print and online editions. In online editions, news outlets are likely to include a link back to your website, which boosts it in the SERPS, or search engine results pages.
So where should you send your press release?
You’ll have to look in your target publication’s masthead. The masthead is where you’ll find all the editors’ names, and in a typical newspaper, it’s on the Editorial page. You’ll find the publisher, the editor-in-chief, and section editors’ names listed there.
In an online publication, you’ll find it under a “Staff Directory” or “Contact” page. For example, The Tennessean has a Staff Directory page where you can find the email addresses and telephone numbers of the editors and reporters who work on the paper.
Choose the editor of the section where your story is the best fit… and that doesn’t necessarily mean the “Real Estate” section, either. If you’re volunteering to sponsor a kids’ sports team, for example, you’ll contact the local sports editor with your story.
Simply call the editor whose section “fits” your story, but remember, editors and journalists only have a few minutes to decide whether a story is newsworthy or not.
Don’t email your story without talking to the editor first; it’ll go straight into the email trash bin.
Typically, it’s best to get straight to the point; tell the editor what your press release is about, why the paper’s readers will want to read it, and ask if it’s okay to send it. You’ll usually get the green light, so send it immediately and follow up the next day.
If the editor needs more information, he or she will reach out to you.
A Word on Paid Press Release Sites
Don’t spend your money submitting press releases to paid press release sites unless what you have will garner national attention. If you do, stick to a reputable company such as PRWeb or PR Newswire. They’re costly, and they have strict editorial guidelines (in this case, your press release does need to be perfect or the company won’t accept it).
Don’t submit to press release websites hoping to get a backlink to your website, either—Google stopped that from benefiting website owners years ago.
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