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What Good is a Press Release? [Dear Ginny WTH?]

Dear Ginny WTH,

I’ve been in this real estate industry for a while and remember a time when a brokerage company press release could garner coverage in the local print publication. But it seems like now with newspapers and other print publications shrinking, literally in staff and physical shape and size, it’s harder than ever to get print ink. Is it necessary to have a public relations person on staff or to devote time and effort to this cause in this day and age of information technology?

Marketing Director, Top 100 Brokerage Company

Dear Marketing Director,

Well this is a fully loaded question. Of course it is important to maintain public relations, which a press release is a part of, in your marketing mix, but you are right such that the approach and delivery has to change to meet today’s milieu.

The goal of public relations is to communicate and make nice with the public in a non-sales sort of way. It’s a way to show the softer side of your company (through community activities), exhibit competence as a company (issuing market statistics), acknowledge agents (announcing award winners and new agents) and in general let the public know that you are active in the community. Press releases are a way to deliver that message.

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The advice is to continue to write and distribute press releases; just think about the methods of delivery in a different way.

You should maintain your relationships with local editors and business writers at the daily and weekly publications in your market. Reach out to them at least monthly with a release or idea for a story. I know with so many bad real estate stories being published these days it’s hard to pitch positive bents on the market, but even with the bad news they quote someone associated with the business. Be that person. Know when DataQuick releases their numbers and be on the phone to the editor with your CEO or GM at the ready that day.

Of course place all your press releases on your web site which not only attracts consumer eyeballs but search engine arachnids as well. If you have significant news you should post it to a PRWeb type of site or other mass distributor of online news. That also helps in your search engine rankings and can pull lots of eyeballs to your web site.

You can post news to social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. These two sites together probably get more impressions than your local newspaper ever did. Yes, different market but with technology you are able to hit mass markets at little or no cost, so why not do it.

You can use press releases for recruiting too. It’s a reason for branch managers to reach out to those agents they are trying to recruit and spreads the word about the company to industry-specific people.

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You should always send any press release coming from your company to all of your agents as an internal communications touch point before it’s issued to the public. This provides agents with “inside information” and additional communication about the company’s activity and can many times be re-used by the agents with their clients.

I’ve always advised my clients to multi-task their press releases. It’s a viable way to communicate a message, internally and externally, and just because the newspaper is not as significant as it used to be, there are multiple other channels that can be used for distribution.

Power to the press release!

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Ginny is a 360 degree marketing specialist with over a decade of experience in real estate-related fields. She’s held senior level marketing positions at Alain Pinel Realtors and Prudential California, Nevada and Texas Realty. She left the corporate world in 2007 to start her own marketing communications company, Cain Communications. She markets to segments that matter using media that matters. Follow her on Twitter @ginnycain.

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Brandie Young

    May 22, 2009 at 12:02 pm

    Hi Ginny – great reminders and advice. I like that you urge him/her to ‘be that person’ that’s quoted, even if it’s bad news. It’s preferable to shine a positive light on things, and natural to disassociate from the ugly news. That said, chiming in on the bad news could help position the company as forward-looking or at least smart and realistic. Plus, if it helps further the story/give the journalist more to write about, you will have a say in that piece as well.

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