Get your real estate stories in the news: 5 ways to woo journalists (including us!)

It’s an age-old question and one I’ve been asked a lot lately – “How can I get my story in Elite Agent/the media/the news?”

And it’s a good question, because sometimes what you want to promote as an agency principal, agent, property manager or support team member, doesn’t really line up with what the news cycle and the media organisation you’re targeting needs.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t get your name or your agency’s up in lights

It just means you have to work with the media outlet, build strong relationships with its journalists and be prepared to take a different angle or approach to the stories you pitch.

Here are my top five strategies to do just that.

  1. Build a relationship with journalists

As an agent or property manager, the most successful deals are done when you invest time and effort into building strong relationships with your vendors, buyers, landlords and tenants.

Take the same approach with journalists. If you send a press release, follow it up with a phone call to see if there’s anything else you can offer them. 

I love it when an agent calls me with a potential story and we can go over the details together. 

Often, we end up talking about the wider market and what else is happening in real estate, and I usually file away an extra idea or two for another story in a few weeks or months time. 

Also, if you call me and what you’ve sent through isn’t a story, I can let you know how we can change or tweak the story you’ve sent through, so that it is worthy of publication. 

Or, we can come up with an entirely new idea together. 

  1. Know what makes a story

I’m going to cut right to the chase here – a record price for a studio apartment in Smith St, when there’s only two studio apartments in the street, is not a story. 

If you follow point one and you really get to know the journalists at the media organisation you’re targeting, you’ll also quickly come to know what kind of stories they’re after.

And the key to figuring that out is understanding who the media platform’s target audience is.

At Elite Agent, it’s you – the agent, the principal and the property manager. 

We love nothing more than to tell stories that help you do what you do better. 

You’ll also never see us write those nasty stories about trust fund dollars going missing. 

We like to build the industry up, not tear it down.

So, instead of telling us you had a record sale, share with us the strategies you used to achieve that result. 

Instead of sharing that you won an award, tell us you won it for introducing innovative health and wellbeing initiatives that your team adores – and let us interview the team for their thoughts. 

Or, if you’ve noticed a trend in the industry – perhaps something a few agents are struggling with right now – get on the front foot and write a column about it. We love first person pieces!

And if you’re not sure if something is a story or not, see point one – just give us a call!

  1. Add value

This is a big one. Every story any news source publishes must contain value for its target audience. 

At Elite Agent, we follow the Three Es – Educate, Entertain and Elevate. If a story doesn’t do at least one of those things then it’s not a story.

The big question I tell all of our journalists and contributors to keep at the forefront of their mind is, “Why should our readers click on this story”?

If the answer doesn’t start with “Because they’ll learn…” or “Because they’ll feel heard…” or “Because they’ll laugh/feel happy/share it with their colleagues” then we’ve missed the mark.

It’s the same for the stories you pitch or send in. Ask yourself, “What will readers/my real estate colleagues get out of reading this”? 

If there’s not a tangible takeaway, then there’s no story. You have to add value, every time. 

  1. Get the basics right

Newsrooms are fast paced and turnaround times are exactly that – fast. Deadlines really are deadlines.

If a journalist calls you about your press release, or off the cuff about another story, call them back pronto. 

If you don’t, you risk another story taking your place that day. Or worse, they might call your competition for a quote instead!

I’ll let you in on a little secret, every journalist I know, including real estate writers, have a speed dial list of contacts they call when they need a quote for a property story.

These are principals, agents and property managers they know will call them back and provide accurate, timely information.

Trust me when I say you want to be on that list. 

As well as knowing how to meet a deadline, have all the other ‘elements’ a media organisation needs to publish a story, ready to go. 

Think about interview subjects, photos, videos etc…

If two stories come through that have a similar news value and one has images and one doesn’t, guess which one the journalist will pick? 

  1. Skip the sales pitch

I know, I know, selling is in your blood. It comes naturally and you want to sell yourself as an industry expert as well.

But let me implore you to ditch the sales pitch when it comes to news. 

Most media outlets, Elite Agent included, keep an eagle eye out for promotional material disguised as news. 

Don’t get me wrong, there’s a place for the more promotional pieces too, and we have heaps of ways we can help you with that

But when it comes to news, it’s all about adding value and those three Es I mentioned before – Educate, Elevate and Entertain.

After all, it’s that type of content that will position you as a market leader with genuine authority, and that’s a win-win for everyone.

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Kylie Dulhunty

Kylie Dulhunty is the Editor at Elite Agent.