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Old School Marketing

How to be a market expert and reliable media source

Want to expand your reach and exposure? Quit waiting for the press to call you – here are the shortcuts to getting your own free press.



press media attention

You’ve probably wondered how you can get free press, and you will probably be surprised at how easy it is, yet how few professionals do the work it takes to receive it. Becoming a media source is one of the easiest ways to do that, you just have to prepare and follow a few steps to get there.

As the managing editor of Agent Publishing (with publications in Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, and Miami), I assure you that the following is the secret roadmap, complete with shortcuts:

Why should you be a media source?

According to the National Association of Realtors, 92% of consumers use the Internet when looking for a home or agent.

If they aren’t referred an agent, 10% of first-time buyers and 9% of repeat buyers find their agent online.

How can you establish yourself as a media source? You need to be successful. Start with your expertise, and focus on your business.

Ask yourself these questions:

  1. What is your core demographic?- who is hiring you? First-time homebuyers? Luxury buyers? Buyers looking in a certain neighborhood? Who are your referrals – what demographic or niche do they fit into?
  2. What real estate services do your clients look for from you most? If they’re first-time buyers, do they need a lender to go through the financial process step-by-step? Luxury, do they need a lender that does jumbo loans? Are they Hispanic, Polish or another nationality where they need a bilingual agent and/or lender? How do you provide for their needs?
  3. What advantages do you have over your competitors? Do you have different designations? Offer different services? This links back to the above question, but how do you do those better than your competition?
  4. Lastly, what are your values? Community work, charities add to your brand and show you’re active in the community.

Once you’ve established what your expertise is, you’ll need to establish yourself as that expert. You need to be an expert who is knowledgeable and on top of the latest in the industry. The more people see your face, the more they’ll remember you – this goes for the media, as well. Don’t be afraid to stand out.

Establishing your expertise

Write about your expertise in the market on your website or blog, then post those articles to your social media channels. You don’t even have to write any posts or articles yourself – you can simply repost a link to an interesting article from the Wall Street Journal or the Tribune to your social media feeds. A lot of people have a love/hate relationship with social media, but in this instance, it’s a good thing because it shows you are up to date on important trends happening in the market.

Advertise in prominent places or make sure to manage a successful marketing campaign for yourself.

Do something unique. What do you do that no other agent offers? What do your clients rave about? Differentiating yourself from the competition is huge.

Do your job and do your job well – being a successful agent is really the root of your expertise. You know what you’re doing and how to achieve success in your field.

Getting in front of the media

Next, you’ll need to get in front of the media. This might seem too straightforward, but it’s not – you need to reach out to media companies. If the media does not know who you are, how will they know to contact you?

Figure out which media outlets you want to pitch to and read their editorial calendar. Find any issues where your expertise might be of use.

Write a good pitch. I’ll start with a bad pitch: don’t tell me you made X sales volume, or you are a top producer, or you are available for comment in stories. Chances are, someone made more sales volume than you, there are several top producers in the industry – you need to think about how you are unique and why I should care.

A good pitch tells us who you are, and not only that you’re an expert but how – demonstrate your expertise and your value. Give the editor examples. Cite blog posts you’ve written or any news mentioning you related to the topic.Tell them why they should care about your pitch email – if an editor needs a source to talk about a certain topic in an issue coming up, that is useful. Your pitch letter should give editors something that they can use. And magazines plan schedules far in advance, so if they can’t use your idea now but like your idea, they may use it in the future.

Create talking points. Don’t just give an idea in your pitch letter, say why the editor should cover it or how it’s relevant. Support your idea.

You might want to consider hiring a public relations rep or marketing person to help you craft (or craft for you) a good pitch email. However, it must be about an idea the publication can use, no matter how well-written.

Expand your focus to include more than cover stories or main features – look for smaller departments in magazines and newspapers that you might be a good fit for. For example, Chicago Agent has Agent Snapshot, Short List and My Style features.

Advertorials count – these might be paid for, but they are articles in a publication and they come up in Google searches, further establishing you as an expert. For example, Chicago Agent has its Who’s Who issue, Chicago Magazine has its Five Star Professionals issue which only features real estate agents.

Write letters to the editor. Voice your opinion, and send an email straight to the editor. This is a great way to let the editor know you read the magazine, you know about important issues and you are opinionated. You let the editor know you exist.

Go to events where the media attend; get caught on camera. Easy way to get published and tagged on social media!

Now get out there and be that reliable media source the press is dying to get to know!

Stephanie Sims is the managing editor of Agent Publishing, which currently has online publications in Chicago, Houston and Miami. With expertise in evaluating housing markets, website content and social media strategy, and reporting information agents want to know about, Stephanie can be found at her desk with coffee that got cold or not eating lunch because she’s busy planning editorial assignments and interviews for the Agent Publishing websites.

Old School Marketing

The simple question technique that will help you convert more sales

(MARKETING) Will you read this article? According to the latest research, if you got as far as reading that question, the answer is more likely to be yes



Handshake between two people representing networking representing the question technique.

Will you read this article? According to the research, if you got as far as reading that question, the answer is more likely to be, “yes.”

The study was published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology. Researchers at the University of California, Irvine, found that asking someone a question about a behavior made much more of an impact than telling someone what to do.

Just asking someone a question about a behavior increases the likelihood that they’ll do it.

It’s called the question-behavior effect. According to lead researcher, Eric Spangenberg, the question-behavior effect is most notable when the question encourages behaviors that are already socially celebrated. For example, will you try to eat healthy in 2016? Will you exercise today?

Exactly why questions are more effective than statements remains unknown, but it probably has to do with the mindset of the answerer. If someone tells you, “you should volunteer for this charity” you are more likely to bristle at being told what to do, rejecting the authority and advice of an outside opinion.

But when asked, “will you make a donation?” even if you don’t answer right away, you become more open-minded to the possibility.

Your options become expansive, rather than set, which makes you feel empowered and self-confident that you can make a positive decision for yourself.

The study also found that the effect was strongest when questions were administered through a computer or on paper, rather than orally, and when the question called for a direct “yes” or “no” answer. Perhaps having to type out or write down an answer made people feel more accountable to following through with the behavior.

Could you use the question-behavior effect to improve your business? (You see what I did there?) Asking an employee, “will we see your report in time for the deadline?” may just increase the chances that you will. And perhaps asking if your customer wants to purchase your product will put them in an open-minded state to say yes.

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Old School Marketing

MailSnail helps you quickly design, send, and manage direct mailers

MailSnail is a new startup aimed at simplifying your direct mail campaigns and allowing a new level of customization; worth checking out.



Although most companies have abandoned direct mail for more cost-effective email, you shouldn’t discount this valuable tool (most Realtors don’t). The majority of the people that get emails don’t actually open them or spam filters snag your email before it ever reaches the intended inbox.

While direct mail is more expensive than email, it still works. Direct mail allows you to reach high level customers and prospects that don’t open emails. It also helps reinforce your email message and reminds your customers of the offer you may have emailed them. Plus, with fewer people using direct mail, you’re better able to stand out among your competition.

Direct mail simplified

However, direct mail is complicated. Many factors contribute to its success or failure, which makes it difficult to do effectively in-house. This is where new company MailSnail comes in. The startup takes the hassle out of direct mail. You don’t have to worry about finding a designer, a print-house, a mail-house, or even customers. MailSnail takes care of it all for you from their easy to edit design templates, to printing and delivery of your custom mailer.

MailSnail lets you craft your mailers to your specific needs. You can choose one of their templates and add content to create a custom mailer that fits you. You can also upload your own design.


Schedule ahead of time, customize fully

MailSnail also lets you schedule your mailers ahead of time, so you can send your direct mail when you need. Other features the company provides is the ability to segment your customers for easy management and send geographically targeted mailers to new potential customers.

The startup also touts their ability to send a mailer to any size audience. Send your customized mailers to thousands of addresses or only a handful – it’s completely up to you.

MailSnail gives you the power of direct mail without the hassle. While the startup hasn’t officially launched, if you’re interested in trying the service, you can sign up on their site to get beta access.


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Old School Marketing

There’s still one reason people look at newspaper ads; is your brokerage meeting their needs or ignoring them?

Most think the printed newspaper is on its way into extinction, but many wallet-holders are still flocking to newspapers, but why?




We’re living in the digital age, so more likely than not, your business is relying heavily on internet marketing, leaving behind those old newspaper advertisements.

But wait, not so fast. According to the latest marketing research, there may still be some value to providing discounts and coupons via local newspapers. An August 2015 study by found that newspapers are still the most popular source for discounts and coupons amongst price-conscious consumers.

They found that 37.7 percent of female respondents, and 30.1 percent of male respondents cited newspapers as their go-to for finding discounts and coupons, compared to the internet, snail mail, email, or direct offers from banks and credit cards.

Breaking the stats down by age

However, the picture becomes a little more complicated when you break down the statistics by age. The study revealed that consumers ages 18 to 49 are mostly getting their discounts from the internet. Youngsters under age 34 are also more responsive to coupons in their mailboxes than to newspaper coupons.

For all respondents over age 49, on the other hand, newspapers were their first source for coupons, leveling out the average such that newspapers still rank number one when all age categories are combined.

A similar August 2014 study by Valassis, a direct mail marketing service, found less variation across age groups, with millennials, gen Xers, and baby boomers all stating that they used paper coupons far more than digital ones.

Gender and income influences

Shoppers with higher incomes don’t seem to worry much about finding coupons and discounts, whereas lower income shoppers rely on them heavily.

Nonetheless, the study found that 30.6 percent of female internet users use coupons when shopping for their day to day amenities. That’s nearly twice as much as men, of whom only 16.8 percent use coupons regularly.

An overlooked opportunity?

In short, it appears that supplying discount offers and coupons in your local paper may not be such a bad idea, especially if your customer base is largely female, and over the age of 50.

While advertising a multi-million dollar listing may not yield results, inserting a coupon for a free analysis or an offering to waive $500 off of closing costs, could be a tool your competitors are ignoring. Time to open up a newspaper to see if there’s opportunity for your brand.


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