Trying to write a real estate press release? This is something which all real estate professionals need to master as part of an effective communications strategy. When done well, a press release can help you gain added attention for your news item.
The first instinct of many when trying to write a real estate press release is to include every bit of information they can think to add. This ends up deviating from the Golden Rule of writing press releases.
ONE. PAGE. ONLY.
The biggest mistake most make when trying to write a real estate press release is this. They write the story in advance, assuming the more written out it is, the better the chances of it being picked up. This is incorrect. And the error that causes this is in writing press releases to the wrong audience.
Your audience is journalists and/or assignment editors. Press releases are published via a newswire service. Newswire services offer a type of ‘lead bulletin board’ where journalists can search through thousands of press releases to find news leads from across the world, in a variety of industries and areas of interests.
Press releases are a great way to increase your odds of receiving media attention because they’re quick to write, and when they’re done well, they’re effective.
So what makes a press release effective?
It’s no easy task to write for writers, but remember this: they don’t want to read your story for submission. According to the LA Times, they want to hear your story pitch, and if they’re reading hundreds of press releases weekly, they want you to do it quickly.
This boils down to the same elements which writers observe in writing their stories. Use them when trying to write a real estate press release.
The 5 Ws.
Who: Who is involved?
What: What is happening?
Where: Where is it happening?
When: When is it happening/did it happen?
How: How did it happen?
Why: Why is it important?
Before starting to write your real estate press release, sit down and answer these 6 questions. Put an especially strong emphasis on Why and How. You need a STRONG value statement so that your pitch stands out. That begins with your headline.
Newswire services present press releases in long scrollable lists. As such, you NEED to have a headline which demands attention. Typically, you want to identify the most important part of the press release. If it’s a person, you want their name to figure prominently if well-known. Is it a place? Emphasize that. A specific event? Focus on that.
As mentioned earlier, a press release is a relatively short written item, but it’s a writing style with very specific rules. Here are ‘the rules’ as you write a real estate press release.
- The Letterhead: Having your organization’s or company’s logo front and centre is never a bad idea. Not all wire services will offer you this option, but if they do – take it.
- The Headline/Lede: The headline needs to convey information and grab attention. The lede (the sub-headline) needs to both complement the headline, as well as provide a slightly longer teaser to entice the reader to keep reading.
- The Dateline: This is the most distinctive rule of press releases, but the most necessary. New press releases are published BY THE SECOND. As such, you need to ensure people know WHEN your release was published: this INCLUDES the time and time zone (wire services are read around the world). A proper dateline follows some variation of this example:
CITY OF FOCUS (ALL CAPS), Date (Mon. Day, Year)/(Publishing Organization)/- –
4. Contact information and a designated point of contact. You want writers to be able to reach you if they’re interested in learning more.
Some Basic Press Release Writing Tips
•Short everything. Write a short press release. Use short paragraphs. Employ short, direct sentences.
•Give quotes their own paragraph, and offer full attribution.
•Avoid overusing adjectives. Let the facts speak for themselves.
•Avoid editorializing. The tone should be neutral, but still apparent that you are trying to promote it (Read: Don’t OVERSELL it)
Why Should Real Estate Professionals Issue Press Releases?
Spend some time on a newswire service looking around. You’ll notice something; you’ll think to yourself ‘Why did THAT need a press release?’ quite often. Truthfully, probably only a small proportion of them really need to have been written.
It’s the nature of the beast in any pitching situation; high percentage shooters put up the numbers.
So why SHOULD you issue press releases? This is where you have to be honest with yourself and answer the question ‘Who cares?’ honestly. Some great reasons to issue press releases are:
•A high-profile listing
•A new hire/promotion in your company
•A professional milestone
Use these as guidelines when deciding to write a real estate press release.
Does it always have to go through a newswire service?
No. You can also email them directly to writers and assignment editors. Doing this is a great idea IF you know for certain that the people to whom you are sending it actually write about what you’re pitching.
Is the Press Release Dead?
This is a question which has been debated ad nauseum in the internet age. The answer is ‘Only if you’re helping kill it’. Google has announced that press releases will NOT help SEO directly; this was largely in response to the explosion of short, pointless press releases when it was discovered that they used to impact SEO. With less SEO incentive to attempt to ‘game’ the system, your focus should be QUALITY, NOT QUANTITY.
Use of Social Media for Press Releases
The use of social media to garner media attention is not a new concept. In many instances, it’s actually superior to the standard method of press release pitching. This is because a tweet, an Instagram post, or a Facebook status not only conveys everything you need to know in a short form, it also has a built-in audience gauge.
This is where social media engagement is crucial.
Let’s say two real estate professionals want to attract media attention for an upcoming event. Both tweet the same writer with roughly the same story idea. Who wins? The one with the more active and engaged audience. It’s added value for a writer because it shows that there’s already an audience you can identify as being interested in the subject.
There is still very much a place for press releases in 2017. The problem is the simple and straightforward pre-cursor to Twitter’s short-form impact has become long-form like Facebook.
To ensure you are going to get the best possible results when you write a real estate press release, they need to be short, clear, well-written (not over-written) and make an impression on the desired audience. They need to inform without giving everything away. They need to leave the reader interested in finding out more. That means that when the writer writes and publishes the story, they know which elements will help grab their audience’s attention.
For your real estate business, realistically a press release a week is too much if you don’t have a specific purpose. Know what you’re trying to convey, and why you feel it deserves media attention. Write it in a clear and concise manner and you’re going to see better results than those putting out multiple press releases a day!