Commercial real estate firms can be greatly impacted by a strategic and effective public relations plan. By using PR tactics like press releases, media pitches and blogging, firms can create brand awareness and establish themselves as experts in the field, gaining the trust of customers.
So, what sets commercial real estate PR apart from PR for other industries?
I believe CRE firms have it both easier and more challenging when it comes to public relations. For CRE firms, there’s news all the time. Any time a project is announced or a property is sold, for example, there’s a potential story. However, the media doesn’t necessarily find every single announcement newsworthy. The challenge comes in using CRE announcements to create angles that the media finds unique, and it’s a huge success when that’s accomplished.
I believe an effective CRE public relations plan includes the following three strategies:
Think of the bigger picture.
As I mentioned, the challenge of pitching CRE stories is making every announcement newsworthy. From our work with editors, we’ve learned that newsworthiness comes from one major aspect: capturing the “big idea.”
Ultimately, editors are interested in what readers are interested in. The latest sale of a local apartment building is a story, but a bigger story would be if that building’s sale foreshadowed the upturn of a rundown neighborhood, for example.
Whenever your CRE firm has news to share, always take a step back and think of the bigger picture. How the announcement affects the city, predicts the future of real estate or foreshadows CRE trends are great angles to capture the “big idea” behind CRE announcements.
Know who you’re pitching.
In addition to a well-crafted pitch, a targeted media list is essential for effective CRE public relations. Brand awareness is important on both the local and national levels, but local and national media aren’t always interested in the same stories.
We have found that the national media is typically interested in thought-leadership stories. A publication dedicated to nationwide property owners isn’t likely to run a story about Nashville’s CRE scene, and that makes sense, because that story isn’t valuable to national readers. However, altering the story angle to feature CRE trends in not only Nashville, but all second-tier cities, for example, suddenly expands the audience to a national level.
While these national stories can apply at the local level, we’ve seen that local publications tend to prefer local stories. The “big picture” stories surrounding your firm’s announcements (as discussed in the first point) are usually of interest to local editors.
Establish your expertise.
Awareness gained through earned media is great for showing your expertise in the industry, but don’t neglect your owned media platforms as valuable assets for demonstrating knowledge and ability.
A regularly-updated blog is an excellent way to reveal knowledge and gain the trust of customers. Not only will customers who are actively seeking out your company see the content, but a blog with SEO capabilities will drive internet browsers to your website and potentially transform them into clients.
Social media is another owned media tool that should be used to earn the trust of the public and maintain steady conversation. Use your social platforms to comment on CRE stories or share tips for buyers, for example. If anything, this keeps your name constantly on the forefront of customers’ minds, so when it comes time to make decisions regarding real estate, they’re already thinking about you.
While public relations tactics are similar across all industries, commercial real estate introduces unique challenges when it comes to producing newsworthy content. This is why it’s crucial to work with a PR firm who has experience with commercial real estate editors and audiences and knows what is of value to them, ensuring your CRE firm is seen regularly in the media and is set apart from the rest.