PR

Six Ways to Get The Most From PR Wire Services

by Steve Cook on October 19, 2016

PR

Public relations wire services like Businesswire, Marketwired or PR Newswire pre-date the Internet, but they hardly resemble their early versions.  Back in the day, they were born to feed releases directly to wire terminals in news media news rooms and investment news services like Dow Jones and Bloomberg.  A major source of their business was—and still is—publicly held companies required by securities laws to release news that materially affects their stocks.  They also have a long history with political campaigns in need of a way to reach news outlets quickly. The online world has created a greatly expanded role for PR wire services.  No longer are they just vehicles to deliver news releases to editors’ desks, though they still fill that need with national, regional and industry-specific wires that target beat reporters.  Now some services also deliver news releases directly to the desktops of consumers and other targeted audiences. Today the services themselves have become a news medium in their own right.  Their offerings are carried in their entirety and verbatim by thousands of mainstream news media ranging from the Wall Street Journal to local TV stations and business weeklies.  Though most traditional news outlets segregate news releases from PR services on their back pages, PR news services are providing them free content that can build their SEO in the eyes of Google and Alexa.  In turn, those who use PR news services also benefit from the high readership of traditional sites because their releases will receive elevated status from search engines. PR wire services also deliver news releases directly to social media like Twitter and Facebook as well as leading bloggers and reporters who work for local and a national real estate online news outlets like RE Technology, Inman News, and RIS Media.  Blogs and sites that carry news content, which in real estate may include local brokerages, MLSs, Realtor associations and lenders, publish news releases for the same reasons as traditional sites: to augment their offerings and build their SEO. The expanded role for these services has also created opportunities for new services, especially those that specialize in working with social media.  Communicators have a range of new choices; selecting the right service depends on their needs, including the audiences they want to reach, the content they want to deliver and, of course, their budgets. Here are some tips on how to maximize the dollars you spend on […]

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Do you have a PR plan for 2016?

by Kevin Hawkins on January 21, 2016

Public relations may be one of the most underappreciated and misunderstood tools in the average real estate brokerage’s marketing arsenal. Yet, the more you understand public relations and how it can be fully integrated into your marketing plans and sales activities, the greater your ability will be to make both more effective. As we begin a new year, ask yourself this question: Do you have a PR plan for 2016? What is PR? It’s no wonder most people are confused when trying to describe what PR really is. Trying to find one universal definition is futile: there are dozens. Here are just a handful of definitions from PR practitioners that show you the breadth and depth of what PR actually is: “Public relations is the art and science of sharing genuine, credible, relevant news and information to grow, maintain and protect brand acceptance, awareness, reputation and sales, when appropriate. Public Relations creates measurable, fact- based conversations, events and activities conceived to generate positive, third party endorsements and target audience buy-in.” –Deborah Weinstein “Public relations is a highly strategic discipline that’s integrated with marketing to achieve business goals. It positions companies and spokespeople with key audiences, whether internal or external. Public relations complements an integrated marketing campaign with measurable results garnered through media relations, social media, thought leadership, industry analyst relations, investor relations and/or special events.” – Jayme Soulati “Public relations communicates the news, influences the news, receives the news, and responds to the news for a brand via the media. It’s the art and science of talking to the right audience in the right voice. PR is the communication hub of an organization. It influences and shapes a company’s image, reputation, brand perception and culture. PR connects a brand and its public via direct messages or editorial media including print, broadcast, radio, digital, video or social media.” –Lisa Buyer “PR is the process of making a heartfelt connection between a person or organization and the people who can truly benefit from and care about their message. It’s an awareness of what makes people tick, facilitated by a desire to build communities, engage and discuss, and give voice to worthy projects. PR isn’t mass messaging, spinning truths, or a barrier between the public and the person represented. PR should make genuine connections.” -Shennandoah Diaz What can PR do for your brokerage? Because PR has so many different components and uses every communication channel […]

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3 Ways to Leverage Your PR

by Kevin Hawkins on October 27, 2015

A potential client called recently to engage the services of WAV Group Communications. Typical to most initial conversations with many potential clients in the real estate industry is the misunderstanding of what public relations is. I assured him it was much more than simply writing a good news release and publishing it on a paid wire. That topic alone is another column. But the conversation reminds me of how little time PR people take to educate our industry about what PR is. To help in this effort, let’s explore a crucial area that shows how powerful strategic PR can be using leverage. 3 Ways to Leverage Your PR A major component of public relations is publicity. Once you successfully gain the attention of news media and they run a story about you, your firm or your new product, a lot of companies just sit back and move on to the seeking out the next reporter for the next story. Don’t do that, because once a story runs, you’ve just gotten started. This is where leverage plays a crucial role is strategy public relations. There are three crucial channels you must leverage: External, Internal and Influencers. External Leverage The entire reason you sought publicity in the first place was for a specific purpose, right? Perhaps to help raise awareness, drive sales, incrementally increase revenue, introduce a new product, create a buzz, build moment and interest – whatever your goal, you should take that coverage and leverage it. For example, imagine a story that runs in the NY Times that mentions your new product. Your first act of leverage is to socialize it. Share it through your social media channels: Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram – focusing on the ones you use regularly, even if it is only one. Using popular hash tags are crucial to this act of leverage. Mastering these will exponentially increase your total audience reach. This is where most folks stop. What they forget is not only does your target audience love the NY Times, but so do the major TV news networks. And other newspapers, trade reporters, and bloggers who follow your industry. PR pros will use this story as leverage to gain the attention of other media outlets. The Times coverage not only legitimizes your news, it gives you the opportunity to find another angle to build on what they have reported, giving other media outlets a […]

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What ever happened to Trade Show Etiquette?

by Kevin Hawkins on May 22, 2015

It could be just me. I may have attended too many trade shows. Yet somehow I believe Emily Post would have been appalled if she walked the exhibits at NAR Midyear. To add a little context, I have attended, exhibited, sponsored and run trade shows. In fact, I’m afraid to count the number of miles I have walked on trade show floors, having attended many NAR-FAR-CAR annuals, NAR Midyears, HomeBuilders/IBS, PCBCs, COMDEX, CES, IBC and others. I have also been the lead for many firms exhibiting at these same shows, and have found myself staffing exhibits, including too many hours at a booth that was in the bowels of a covered bus garage at the Sheraton in Hawaii (NAR 1987). I helped Brad Inman produce more than a half-dozen of the first Real Estate Connects, so I have done more than worked the floor or staffed a booth: I sold all the space and sponsorships. So I am probably being a hard ass about all this when I ask: What ever happened to Trade Show etiquette? Rules to follow Less than a minute after I walked inside the hall on Thursday at 2 pm at NAR Midyear, I was taken aback. I looked around the room and I saw body language at almost every exhibit that said “Stay away, I’m busy.” People were eating and drinking (water, sodas) at their booths. The attitude is ” Hey, read our Feather Flags and banner, that’s what we do, want an information hand-out?”  as they wipe their hands on their clothes. It is laughable. Rule #1: Never eat or drink at a booth, do it somewhere else. Yes, if budget constraints leave you as the sole staffer, you need to drink water and stay hydrated. But do it discretely. I’m not going to come talk to you if you are leaning up against a counter in the back of your booth with a water bottle in your hand. If you are eating at your booth, well, think about the message that sends: We can’t afford to have anyone else here, so I have to eat at my booth. I don’t think that’s a message that you want tied to your brand. People were sitting in chairs, behind and next to counters. Rule #2: Stand, don’t sit. This is where most people make the biggest mistake. The best way to engage people is when […]

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Social Media or mass media?

by Kevin Hawkins on February 25, 2015

Social media campaigns seems to be getting the bulk of attention in marketing and communication budgets these days, but I would argue that mass media still packs a far more potent punch when you are trying to build a brand or generate top of mind awareness among a mass audience. Skeptical? Let’s look at some numbers. Super bowl advertisers paid as much as $4.5 million for a 30 second spot this year – a new record – to reach 114 million viewers. That’s just over 4 cents a viewer. In 1993, advertisers paid $850,000 to reach 90 million viewers, just under a penny per viewer. That means advertisers are spending more than four times as much to reach the same number of people today as they did in 1990. Even adjusting for inflation, advertisers are spending three times as much: $850,000 adjusted for inflation is just over $1.5 million. Why? Because today there are very few opportunities to reach more than 100 million people with a single 30-second message. First cable television, followed by the Internet, brought in a wave of fundamental change in how we use media. We have gone from an age of mass media to the age of media choice, being able to consume precisely what we want, when we want to see, hear, or read it. My thesis in grad school was about how the impact of cable television was going to fundamentally change how we consume media, as channels would continue to fragment a mass audience, delivering narrow topics to appeal to specific market segments. Later, the Internet and social media would accelerate that trend in a profound way. The result: Broadcast television has watched its total audience shrink, despite a growing U.S. population: 11 million fewer viewers watch broadcast television in the last decade. Recently, the head of Netflix predicted broadcast television would die by 2030.  And I see a lot of my colleagues reacting by focusing away from mass media and more toward social media. I think you have to remain focused on both today, and for a very long time still to come. Because a funny thing happened on the way to mass media: It’s still the only game in town to reach the biggest audiences. Advertisers know that, and that’s why they still spend big dollars on mass media: Where else can you reach an audience the size of the Super […]

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