PR: The most underrated marketing strategy in real estate

by Kevin Hawkins on January 21, 2015

PR-cloudIn today’s world of real estate marketing, advertising gets all the money, social media gets all the glory, and public relations is often an afterthought. But should it be? Everyone understands advertising: We see it every day, in every medium; we are inundated with its messages, from the time we wake up to the moment we turn off the light for the night. It must work, or why would all these companies be spending gazillions of dollars on it, right?

As for social media, it’s omnipresent. And according to the social media gurus, it is a must have because everyone is on social media all the time, everywhere, literally, although I am still trying to figure out why that Facebook icon is on a billboard. So you are on Facebook with a billion other people; somehow I am not impressed. But hey, everyone else sticks a row of social media icons on everything, so we should too, right? Were they thinking that maybe we’ll pull over when we see the billboard, go on our smartphone, search for them on Facebook and like their page? Yeah, right.

Then there is public relations: Rarely understood and completely underappreciated. It’s the Marshawn Lynch of marketing. (Yes, I do live in Seattle, so forgive me).

But if you dig a little deeper to understand what good public relations is and how it can benefit your real estate business, you’ll be the exception in real estate, and you’ll trump the competition.

Here’s why:

To me, the value of PR is simple math: Just measure its ROI (return on investment).

Let me give you an example. Earlier this week, Stefan Swanepoel, real estate’s highly respected trends analyst and prolific author, released his Swanepoel Power 200 list, ranking “The Most Powerful People in Residential Real Estate in 2015.

My colleagues, Marilyn Wilson and Victor Lund, the founders of WAV Group, were ranked among the Top 10 Thought Leaders on the list and 150 overall. It is an exciting recognition of WAV Group, and worthy of a news release, a key component of any good PR strategy.

The list was made public at midnight. That night I penned the release, Victor and Marilyn did the SSE (second set of eyes), added a bit of polish and we issued the news release on the U.S. national circuit of NASDAQ owned Globenewswire at 5:30 am Pacific Time that morning.

Within minutes, my Google Alert kicked in and within the hour, that one news release accompanied by the WAV Group logo and a photo of a smiling Victor and Marilyn was published on more than 100 news and information sites on the Web, include Reuters, Yahoo! Finance, International Business Times, Morningstar.com and dozens of newspaper websites.

The potential reach – the total average daily traffic of these websites – was an astounding 139,167,600 total audience.

Obviously not everyone on these websites saw the headline went to that exact page and read the story. But for the sake of argument, let’s say just one-half of one percent saw the headline or read the story.

That means 695,838 people were exposed to this one news release.

Forget the value of SEO with a news release – for the most part because of the Googlization of the Internet, it no longer exists.

That’s okay because a good news release doesn’t need to deliver SEO. It does something much better. It reaches people that actually want to read the story.

It also stays on the Internet, literally, forever.

That’s where good PR really pays off: When a potential customer or client searches for you and lands on your paid news release, published on a paid wire, and says to themselves, “Now there is a company that is active and doing something.”

Why is that important? Because most firms in almost every sector of real estate are void of solid PR strategy, much less active issuing news releases.

How do you think prospects feel when they go to the News Center portion on your website and your most recent news release is from 2013. Or worse, you don’t have a News Center.

Staying relevant in real estate today requires a solid PR strategy as a key component of your marketing efforts. It’s why the WAV Group offers a full service Communications Division, because we see a void and want to fill it. It’s another way we can create a positive wave of change in our industry.

Oh, and the total cost to distribute the news release on the wire? $500. That’s .0007 cents per person reached.

Dave Capel, the CEO of ABODA, a leading corporate housing services firm, shared what he was taught about PR. . His marketing mentor, said “If you have two dollars to spend, spend one dollar on advertising and one dollar on PR. If you only have one dollar to spend, spend it on PR.”

Every real estate needs a good PR plan because the math works, it’s that simple.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Morgan R April 28, 2015 at 12:32 pm

What a great way to differentiate yourself from other agents! On your real estate website, it’s important to establish yourself as a thought leader for the communities you serve, and press releases are a good way to extend your knowledge across the internet.

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