The Realtor’s Guide to Public Relations Strategies
You won’t believe who had the honor of speaking at the National Association of Realtors Communication Directors Institute in Denver, Colorado, which provides realtor organization communication directors with information, skills building and resources to enhance member and consumer communications! Did you guess The Abbi Agency? It’s The Abbi Agency!
During the conference, our kickass team delivered a presentation centered around how to become the ultimate source of information in the media. In the spirit of our recent talk, here is a blog post that serves as a guide for any realtor looking to dive into the wide world of public relations strategies, packed with valuable tips and tricks on how to do so.
Becoming “the Source of the Source”
Buying a house is a momentous and unforgettable occasion. In addition to having profound financial significance, this is a life-long dream for many people, symbolizing a deeply engrained desire to have somewhere to call their own, to set down more permanent roots in ways they couldn’t before. As these individuals decide to take the leap of faith into their local housing market, many rely on the expertise of a friendly neighborhood realtor.
Embarking upon the path of homeownership takes a lot of patience— it can be a little daunting, especially for first-timers. Luckily, having a realtor by their side turns this process from a journey into Mordor, to a walk in the park. A realtor is there to be a trusted companion who understands the ins and outs of a buyer’s needs and aspirations, providing invaluable insights and support every step of the way.
‘But wait a moment,’ you may think, ‘I already knew that, for I am a realtor myself! I came here to learn about public relations strategies for reaching a larger audience with my expertise!’
And to that we would say: we were getting to it, jeez! The best way to reach an even larger audience is by implementing what’s called a media relations strategy.
The ultimate goal of media relations for a realtor or realtor organization is to establish themselves as the go-to authority when it comes to the housing market, aka THE trusted source that journalists, media publications, or broadcast stations flock to when they need information for a story related to a housing topic.
Here’s how you become the main source for media:
- Understand your local media
- Identify organizational key messages
- Have spokespeople ready and have a media training
First thing’s first: understand your local media landscape. Who are the prominent journalists in the market? What topics are they focusing on or covering in their stories? How many publications or outlets exist in the region? Do these outlets specialize in a particular niche?
By gaining a deeper and more nuanced understanding of your area’s media landscape, you can strategically target these key individuals, effectively showcasing your expertise to the right people, at the right time.
After doing research on your local media landscape, the next step is to identify your organization’s key messages— the most important things you want your key audience to know or remember. These will serve as the foundation of your communication efforts, explaining what you do, why you do it, how you’re different and why you’re valuable. These key messages should always be the three Cs: clear, concise and consistent.
By clearly defining your key messages, you can successfully deliver your insights and ensure that your valuable expertise reaches your intended audience.
Once you have established your key messages, the next important step is to determine the ideal spokespeople to represent your organization. These individuals will become the face of your organization and the voice behind your key messages. Because you are (theoretically) a realtor organization, it’s best to consider other realtors— who may have insider information that could be useful to the public— as spokespeople. Also consider having spokespeople specializing in specific aspects of real estate who can strengthen your messaging accordingly.
By selecting the right spokespeople, you can enhance your organization’s credibility, increase media coverage and effectively resonate with your target audience. Don’t forget to have more than one in the event of multiple media requests!
At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that while you’re aiming to be the ‘source of the source’ for the media, the media is trying to educate their audience. If they find you valuable and informational for their audience, they will always seek you out for their stories.
Cue the Media Training Montage
On top of having expertise in the local housing market, it’s important to make sure your chosen spokespeople have received media training. Media training is a form of teaching and/or coaching that prepares individuals or organizations to effectively engage with the media. It prepares spokespeople for media interviews, teaches proper body language and tone, and overall helps provide the skills needed to confidently communicate key messages while interacting with the media.
By undergoing media training, spokespeople can deliver more accurate and consistent messaging while building strong long-term relationships with journalists.
Don’t Be Shy!
Lastly, it’s important to know that journalists are not scary, and not all of them bite. Every journalist is just a normal person looking to deliver the best information to their audience. With that in mind, another great tip when it comes to media relations for a realtor organization is to not be afraid to pitch journalists timely, newsworthy stories that are relevant to your local market.
For example, maybe your local market is experiencing a large influx of people moving from another state, people who might also be giving cash offers on top of the asking price for certain homes in an attempt to secure ownership— this situation was common a few years back during the pandemic. If you were in the moment of this particular situation, you could use it as an opportunity to pitch a timely newsworthy story focusing on how to navigate this trend of cash offers, making sure to both reference what’s happening locally and state that your organization is available to speak on this topic. From there, your spokesperson would deliver specific and strategic key messages to the media so that they could relay that information to their audience.
This style of story would be a problem solving one— addressing an issue in your market and giving professional advice in the hope that the media’s audience finds a solution.
Don’t be afraid to address trending topics you feel are newsworthy! It’s better to pitch a timely newsworthy piece to the media, even if there’s a chance they might not pick it up. You’ll never know if you could be losing out on more coverage if you stay silent.
So, TLDR; ?
Successful public relations strategies for realtors or realtor organizations revolves around four key takeaways:
First, spokespeople need to display a level of confidence in their expertise in order to establish trust with the media and their audience. own your knowledge and position yourself as an authority in the field.
Next, remember to define and stick to your key messages. By doing so, you’ll be able to maintain the organization’s brand and provide guidance to the spokespeople who will be representing your organization. In addition, make sure your spokespeople are well prepared by providing them with media training. The training will give these individuals necessary skills to handle tough questions, relay key messages and understand the organization’s tone.
Lastly, don’t shy away from pitching journalists– especially if you have a timely and newsworthy story. Journalists and PR professionals share the common goal of providing valuable information to the public. By pitching these stories, journalists will be able to pass along key information to their readers or viewers. Therefore, by creating meaningful relationships with the media, you can establish yourself or organization as a go-to resource.
Learn more about our media relations approach here at The Abbi Agency, a top performance marketing agency, in this handy dandy case study: