If you’re a realtor trying to get press coverage to build your brand, you’ll soon learn that pitching journalists is harder than pitching homeowners. However, the benefit of earned media coverage is that, unlike your paid marketing efforts, it can provide free exposure for you and your business. Here at The Close, we receive pitches every day from companies who want to get in front of our audience of 400,000 monthly readers. 99.9% of them fail.
That’s why today I am going to share with you five PR strategies that any agent can use to successfully pitch journalists and garner free press coverage in 2022. I’ll also share some email scripts you can use to get the attention of busy editors by sending newsworthy pitches that position you as a real estate expert.
1. Get Quoted in Major Publications Using HARO (Free)
HARO (Help A Reporter Out) is an online service that many major news outlets use to get quick quotes from expert sources. You can sign up as a source on HARO for free and pitch journalists who are trying to find experts to quote for their stories.
When it comes to getting press coverage, HARO is a goldmine of opportunity for real estate agents. I’ve been quoted in The New York Times, Apartment Therapy, Realtor Magazine, U.S. News & World Report, Reader’s Digest, and many more publications using HARO. I’ve also trained agents who have been quoted on Fox News, Yahoo, and more.
Here are a few tips for getting quoted using HARO:
- Respond right away
Journalists using HARO are often on deadlines, so responding quickly will greatly increase your odds of getting quoted. HARO publishes queries twice per day, once in the morning and once in the evening. Set an email alert and work on pitches right away.
- Make yourself available for interviews
While many journalists just need snappy quotes from an expert on a deadline, some might want to interview experts to learn more about a subject. Generally speaking, the more serious the publication, the more they will want an interview. Mentioning when you are available for phone or Zoom interviews in your pitch makes it easy for them.
- Don’t ignore anonymous queries
Some of the best queries on HARO are anonymous. The New York Times and other major outlets often submit anonymous queries.
- Focus on writing short, snappy quotes
When it comes to getting quoted, less is more. Journalists are almost always looking for short, snappy quotes. You can (and should) write detailed responses to HAROs, but always try to include a few one-sentence quotes they can easily work into any article.
- Write a great pitch email
Since journalists on deadline are almost always busy, writing a great pitch email is crucial for getting a response and getting quoted. You need to pitch your expertise and present your quotes in a way that is both easy to skim and easy to respond to. Here is an email script you can use to pitch journalists on HARO. If you don’t have a lot of experience, put your pitch before your expertise.
Subject: [The title of their HARO query]
Hi [their name],
My name is [your name] and I am a licensed real estate agent in [your farm area] with [number of years] years of experience. Please find my response to your HARO query below and feel free to reach out directly [your cell phone number] if you need clarification or would like to set up an interview.
[The title of your pitch that answers their query]
[Add your easy to skim, detailed response to the HARO query here]
[Your snappiest one-sentence quote in bold]
[Perhaps a bulleted list that summarizes your pitch to make it extra-skimmable]
[Your cell phone number]
2. Build a Niche for Yourself (Free)
The best possible outcome you can get from pitching journalists is to have them reach out to you directly for quotes. To do this, you need to establish your niche. For example, if you have a background in interior design, you can present yourself as a real estate design expert.
Or, if you’re passionate about cryptocurrency, you can present yourself as an expert on the future of cryptocurrency in real estate. This will also help you stand out from the crowd of real estate agents who are pitching them. Of course, choosing a niche that you have experience in will get you the best results, but you might be surprised what writing a few blog posts on the subject can do to solidify your expertise.
Here are a few niches you might want to consider:
- Interior design
- Short sales
- The economy
- Property marketing
- Your farm area
- Agent safety
- Diversity in real estate
- Bidding wars
- Airbnb vacation rentals
- Real estate investing
- House flipping
[Related article: 6 Red-hot Real Estate Niches That Can Double Your GCI in 2021 & Beyond]
3. Pitch Timely Spec Articles to Local Blogs & News Outlets (Free)
If you want to get a little more aggressive with your PR strategy, there is no better strategy than pitching timely spec articles to local blogs and news outlets. Short for “speculation articles,” spec articles are articles or even just ideas for articles you pitch to potential publishers. Journalists do this all the time. Some even work on major stories for months and then pitch it “on spec” to multiple publishers.
Although it requires a lot more work, successfully pitching a spec article will mean a byline that you can then use to pitch other outlets on HARO. For example, if you get an article published on a local blog, you can mention this when you pitch HAROs or other outlets. Think of it like pitching a homeowner—the agents who get listings have experience listing other homes.
Here is a quick email script you can use to pitch editors on LinkedIn, via Twitter DM or email:
Subject: Article pitch: How the Supply Chain Crisis Will Affect Home Prices in [your farm area]
Hi [their name],
I am a realtor in [your farm area] who has noticed some very interesting effects the supply chain crisis is already having on home prices in [your farm area]. I predict these trends will accelerate into 2022 and would love to educate your readers with a short article on how they can prepare themselves for buying or selling in this new market.
Here is what my article will teach your readers:
- Why the supply chain crisis will affect local real estate prices and for how long.
- Whether these conditions will lead to a buyer’s market or seller’s market.
- How buyers can leverage this market to get better deals.
- Should sellers hold off on repairs?
If you’re interested in this article, please let me know and I will send over a draft.
[Your cell phone number]
4. Hire a Publicist to Pitch for You ($ to $$$$)
This one requires an upfront spend, but hiring a publicist to pitch for you can have a great return on investment (ROI). Here’s why: First, because many journalists would rather work with a professional publicist than an individual, and second, because publicists can leverage their media contacts to pitch your story to the right person, at the right time.
Hiring a PR company to pitch for you isn’t cheap, though. You will probably have to pay a retainer and monthly fee. Dedicated PR companies generally charge $2,000+ as a retainer along with a monthly fee. However, many smaller, hungrier PR freelancers will charge much less.
Of course, you get what you pay for. Large PR firms will have extensive media contacts and will often work with you to come up with timely articles to pitch to them.
If you’re just dipping your toe in the water, you can search for PR consultants on freelancer sites like Upwork. They will likely have less experience and fewer contacts, but will often work for hourly rates starting at around $40 an hour. Unless you’re running a large team, you will likely only need a few hours per month of their time.
5. Get on Real Estate Podcasts (Free)
Over the last few years, there has been an explosion of real estate podcasts covering everything from real estate investing to general real estate strategy. If you have the time and energy, pitching yourself as an expert to podcasters can be an excellent PR strategy. Just don’t expect to become famous from your podcast appearances. Your goal should be to get a link you can include on your “in the press” page on your website, and something you can brag about on social media.
The main benefit of appearing on podcasts is that they offer you a chance to dive deep into your subject and show off your expertise. If you get quoted from HARO, you might get a sentence or two published. If you pitch an article, you might get 700 words published. But if you get onto a podcast, you might get to talk for a half-hour or more.
Over to You
What strategies are you using to build your brand with PR in 2022? Let us know in the comments.