Is Public Relations a Practical Tool for Realtors to Use?

public relations
It’s a common misconception when realtors think that the only marketing communications tools that they can use to market their listings are print advertising, digital advertising and social media. Marketing communication opportunities don’t stop and end at these three popular tools in real estate marketing. It’s important to note that public relations is not just for large real estate firms—realtors can utilize local media to their advantage as well.

Public relations by definition involves keeping your public informed through earned media. As a realtor, your publics include clients, community members, other realtors within your firm and those who follow you on your social media accounts. It’s critical that you don’t confuse public relations with media relations too. While media relations is a important part of the public relations strategy, you’ll need to know that the two are not the same thing.

We’re going to break public relations into two categories for this blog post: (1) public relations that often get’s lumped with marketing, and (2) public relations that is truly public.

Public Relations That Often Gets Lumped with Marketing

As the marketing communication process continues to evolve into a truly integrated marketing platform, the cross over between traditionally deemed public relations tactics and traditionally deemed marketing tactics are creating a blurred line that often times confuses realtors into thinking that public relations isn’t a necessity in real estate. Many of these aspects include social media, blogging, and newsletters (print or digital). These should be added into a public relations strategy because they are communicative in nature, nurture relationships and tell your story.

On the public relations side, social media, blogging and newsletters allow you to produce content through earned media and organic traffic that will boost your integrated marketing efforts later on. When producing social media content and blog posts it really is a must to think about what the public, consumer or follower wants to see; analytics and insights help with this. Your story has to be told as well. If you’re a realtor that focuses on fast closing for homes that need renovation, then your blog should reflect this with entries on renovation tips, quick closing process guides, ROI on house flipping, market stats of your area covered; versus, if you’re a realtor that focuses on family homes in a suburban setting then your blog entries should consist of content focused around family events, decorating your home to be kid-friendly, the best family restaurants in the area, etc. Blogging in this manner will bring organic search traffic to your website or blog from potential clients and from current clients. Of course, it’s imperative to share blog content onto social media accounts for social traffic to your website as well.

Taking a step back from digital content marketing, we’re shifting the focus to newsletters. Your story should remain the same on your newsletters whether they are monthly or quarterly. Instead of utilizing a newsletter in the same capacity as blogging, your newsletters should be used to keep your publics informed. Content on here should make your brand be one that stands out in people’s mind. For instance, content should include items like sales milestones and awards, firm news, training events you’ve attended and local market stats. A newsletter is a realtor’s opportunity to gloat in an appropriate way.

Public Relations That Is Truly Public

Okay, okay, so this is where realtors tend to allow information to go in one ear and out the other because they’ve been taught that local PR does not work for individual realtors. Believe it or not, media relations is a viable piece of the puzzle for local realtors. Other pieces that complete the puzzle are influencer outreach and community relations.

Receiving press coverage through media relations seems like a daunting task for some but after relationships are formed with reporters and journalists that coverage could increase your listing sales and your client list. It’s all in the pitch! Pitching a house that’s for sale isn’t going to win a realtor coverage. But pitching the experience, the lifestyle, and the unique attributes of a home will win coverage; the pitch has to mentally put the reporter or journalist inside the home.

It’s 2017, I can guarantee you there is more than one blogger in your town, or one person with a large amount of Instagram followers and high engagement. Use influencer audiences and networks to sell yourself and your listings. Depending on the popularity of the blog, you may receive a media kit or rate sheet but sometimes—with a good pitch—these bloggers see it as an opportunity to grow their blog with more traffic and followers. Get them in the home, show them around, and let them take pictures—give them the experience. You’ll be glad you did!

Lastly, community relations is of the utmost importance. It puts you and your brand directly in front of your community. Join chambers, Realtor associations, have a booth or table at the next community event, get involved with the local economic development office—it’s these things that will develop your relationship with the community and thus increase your brand awareness.

Conclusion

If you think that public relations is a tactic reserved for large corporations or the firm itself, you’re going to get behind and your business will be affected. PR is critical in real estate and gives the opportunity to build relationships with your publics both online and offline. Take advantage of it!

By: Justin Ashwell, Partner

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Emily McBride graduated in Spring 2017 with a bachelor of arts degree in public relations. Since then, she’s moved on from Blacksburg and The PRIME Factory to begin her career in the exciting field of PR and marketing. Now that it’s been 5 months since graduation, we’re catching up with her and finding out where she is now and what she’s doing!

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