Many real estate investment professionals are hesitant to explore the potential of public relations efforts. For some, seeking publicity seems to be less professional than other promotional tactics. For others, the thought of being on television or in the paper is terrifying. While understandable, such hesitancy is regretful.
To be blunt, letting myths and fears stop you from pursuing publicity is a short sighted approach. Tales of spin doctors aside, there is nothing sleazy, in and of itself, about seeking publicity. In fact, it can be a disservice to your community and your clients to not reach out with the relevant information and entertaining stories that you can share.
Getting positive coverage in the media builds an immediate foundation of trust that money simply can’t buy. You may be able to buy ad space in the same media outlet, but you’ll be paying a premium in a space that consumers put much less trust in. Media coverage is a lot like word of mouth; it means more to the customer if someone else is talking about you than you talking about yourself.
And like word of mouth, publicity coverage itself is free – but there are ways to guide it in the direction you want to see it go. And it’s no different than other promotion efforts – your success is dependent upon you meeting the needs of your target audience. The only difference is that your audience changes from the direct consumer to the journalists and editors in the media your target audience consumes.
Publicity works because the media needs content. As much as we complain about being overwhelmed with information, the truth is we consume and demand it at unprecedented levels. The need for content has been expanding exponentially over the past 10 years. First came 24/7 television news, followed by the explosion of the internet and now the mobile revolution – all have pushed the demand for content ever higher.
Media outlets are constantly challenged to keep the delicate balance of pleasing both consumers and advertisers through content. A great deal of this content is generated through pitches and press releases contributed by the public, publicists and savvy small business owners.
While you can simply excel at what you do as a real estate investment professional and as a community philanthropist in the hopes that the media will notice you and your contributions on their own, doing so is highly unpredictable. Contrary to popular belief, the average journalist does not have time to chase down stories on their own.
They appreciate and utilize suggestions, tips and leads to create their content. Taking a proactive approach to publicity rather than leaving it to chance allows you to craft messages and control timing for maximum effect.
Without seeking media attention, you’ll need to spend more money and work harder to establish your expertise.