How to Leverage Local Media to Promote Your Real Estate Business… for Free
(How to Become the Go-to Source for Local Reporters When They Need a Real Estate Expert)
When you see someone quoted or interviewed by a reporter about business or the economy, you probably figure they’re an expert who’s super smart and in demand, or just has some great connections. So picturing yourself as a go-to source for real estate scoop might sound incredible, but unlikely, because…
- Don’t you need to be a household name, like Barbara Corcoran, or Ryan Serhant?!
- How do you even get that kind of opportunity?
- Even if it fell in your lap, what would you talk about?
- Are you even worthy or expert enough for anyone to want your opinion?
It certainly helps to have name recognition and connections to become a media darling. And you definitely need something to talk about, and at least sound authoritative and credible. But these opportunities aren’t impossible to score at all!
Now, getting interviewed on CNBC at prime time, or quoted in the Wall Street Journal might be on the more difficult end of the spectrum… but it’s still not impossible! But getting yourself quoted and interviewed on more local news outlets as a real estate expert is actually pretty easy if you put a little time, thought, and effort into it.
- Most agents don’t even think about going after this kind of free media exposure, because it seems so out of reach, so you won’t have a lot of competition.
- And as difficult as it would be for you (or any other agent) to get on national news outlets, it’d be just as hard for local news reporters to get their hands on a major celeb or expert for their smaller outlet.
- Local reporters are typically underpaid and overworked, and have deadlines and quotas to meet. They’re desperate for content!
- There used to be fewer news outlets. TV, radio, and newspapers only had so many editions to print and put on air. But the Internet and 24-hour cable news cycles have created a need for constant news.
So whether you’ve got years of experience in real estate or not, you can position yourself as someone with authority and credibility, by providing them with things to write about, and a local expert to cite.
Make Sure You Think About What’s in It for Them…
First, a few words of caution: Reporters don’t want to be your shill or serve as free marketing. In other words, they’re not going to be interested in airing a story that sounds self-serving or salesy.
You need to approach it with what’s in it for them in mind. But if you can offer reporters some ideas and angles worth writing about, you’ll be well received. And, once they get to know you, they’ll most likely reach out to you when they need a real estate expert to chime in on one of their articles or segments.
…So You Can Benefit From What’s in It for You
Let’s be honest, though, there’s really a lot more in it for you than there is for the reporters! Here’s a list of things that make becoming an expert real estate source for news reporters such a slam dunk:
- It’s free marketing. As much as reporters don’t want your intentions to be obvious, they probably know deep down that this is basically free marketing and personal branding for you.
- It’s a lot of “reach” for free. Any news outlet you’re cited on probably has a decent sized audience, even on a local level, and reaches more people you wouldn’t have otherwise had access to.
- It enhances your credibility and authority. While you have to sound credible and authoritative to begin with, being quoted or interviewed by a news outlet will add to peoples’ perception of you.
Sign Up as a Source on HARO
If you’re willing to help a reporter out as a source of information, then helpareporter.com is a no-brainer place for you to enter your contact info. (We have no affiliation with this service, btw.)
You’ll get daily emails with a list of topics that reporters are looking for sources to add insight and credibility to. When you see something you feel qualified to chime in on, you can respond to the reporter’s request… but you won’t know who the actual reporter is until and unless they reach back out to you because they like what you had to say. And you can’t suggest any topics or ideas to them, according to HARO’s rules. This is an entirely reactive approach, not proactive.
It’s worth doing, but it’s no substitute for creating your own opportunities by coming up with angles for hungry local journalists.
Here’s Your Proactive 5 Step Plan of Attack
Rather than relying on a reporter who has a particular angle, and then competing against other agents and sources for attention, you should create your own opportunities (and ongoing relationships) with local reporters.
Here are 5 steps you can take to become the go-to real estate expert local news outlets are citing and interviewing:
- Make a list of local news outlets. Include newspapers, radio stations, TV stations, news websites, and even local bloggers with some notoriety and a good following who might be seen as a source of news locally.
- Find out who would be the most likely writer or reporters to cover real estate related topics for each outlet on your list. Take note of how they like to be approached with topics and stories, and follow their protocols.
- Send them an introductory note. You don’t have to wait until you have a story or angle to propose to them. Reach out and introduce yourself as a local real estate expert and offer to be a source for them when they need one. Don’t overwhelm the reporter with a long pitch, just a short intro and your contact info will do. Also, don’t take offense if the reporter doesn’t respond. They’re busy, and if they have no need for you at the moment, they may just file your info away for a rainy day.
- Pitch them stories and angles. Again, don’t overwhelm them, and be courteous of their requirements for submission. Some may be extremely rigid and arm’s length with you, while others might be super casual and easy to communicate with. Either way, if you’ve got a solid lead, story, or angle for them, that’s all that really matters.
- Be patient and (politely) persistent. It might take some time to get your first nibble, but once you have the attention and respect of a reporter, you’re bound to be called on as a source more often, and they’ll be more likely to pay attention to the ideas and angles you propose to them.
You want to add a different perspective to the news, not just rehash news that’s already out there. For instance, look through trending national real estate news stories and come up with your own local angle. How does it affect your area specifically? Or use local sales data on your MLS to come up with some interesting perspectives on the current market. Perhaps offer some relevant seasonally based tips for buyers or sellers.
Want a constant source of original angles you can use to pitch reporters?
Check out our Inner Circle membership where you’ll get access to a weekly market news article that puts a unique spin on current real estate trends.
Use them as a source of snippets and ideas to pitch, and when you publish them with your name and branding on your blog, website, or social media, it looks like you’ve written them, giving you added authority and credibility.
Once (and every time!) you get quoted or interviewed for a news piece, make sure you share it with your friends, family, prospects, and past clients. Post links to the piece, screenshots of your name and quote, or video and sound clips of any TV or radio segments you’re on.
Even if people don’t listen to them or read an entire article, they’ll still add a level of credibility and authority with people who already know you. Anyone who’s considering hiring you as their agent will certainly be impressed to see they have a chance to work with someone sought out for their insight and expertise. And you might even start getting some calls from people you’ve never heard of before, after they see a piece you’re quoted in!