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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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!

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Written By

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.


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