The When, How and Where of Writing a Press Release

In this era of digital marketing, many overlook the value of using press releases. Yet a press release, or a campaign of press releases, is one of the best ways you can get free publicity about your and your real estate business.

Start with a plan

Like so many things in marketing, creating a plan for your press release campaign is likely to get you the best results. A good first step is to list what makes you different from other agents? That could be anything from you grew up in the area your servicing so you know it better than most to your brand new and oh so current with digital media. Generally most agents have from two to four things that differentiate them from other agents. While each of those things that set you apart probably make a release all on their own, for the most part they will inform your PR campaign. Decide how many releases you want to issue in the next quarter, or even the next year. If you’re just getting started, one a month might be a good number to shoot for. If you add to that every house you list and every house you sell, you’ll have a great campaign. Next make a list of the people and institutions who should get your releases. Obviously, your local newspaper. You also want releases to go to the throw-away papers as well. People do read those. Include your local news outlets – television and radio. Next come your PR companies. If you’re in a large area you’ll have to pick and choose and know that when you release to an agency they are likely to come back and offer to represent you for a fee. Thank them but don’t sign up – not yet anyway. Look for blogs that have news of your area – they should get releases from you too. Maybe the mortgage company and the title company and the escrow officer you deal with should also get releases – why not? It’s also worth using one or two of the many free press release distribution sites you can find on the web. Just Google: free press release distribution and pick one that appeals to you. Using a service like this usually means your release will get picked up by Google. It also makes sense search engine ranking wise to create an archive of your press releases on your website.

A press release is a news release

Your release should have something newsy about you and/or your real estate activities. Ideas like:
  • Why you’re a specialist in your neighborhood
  • Any new designations you receive and what they mean for your service area.
  • Your opinion on the market – you can use this one over and over again as the real estate market changes.
  • Significant open houses – depending on where you are you may be able to do a release on any open house your holding. More likely is an open house on a famous property in your area – including, for example, special architecture, oldest home in town, etc.
  • A release on local real estate  market statistics.
  • A release to go along with a great picture of a person, place, or thing you’ve taken.
  • Every time you list or sell a property.
If you’re beginning to see some similarity between this list and lists of ideas for articles and/or blog posts for your website, you’re right on. There’s no reason why the article you post on your blog can’t make a decent press release, and blog post. Make the subject matter do triple duty.

The writing of the release

The old press release formula of Who, What, Why, When and Where still works, although it is more of a guideline about what should be included than anything else. The trick is to stop thinking like a real estate agent and begin to think like a client. What will interest them? With that in mind you can craft a headline that will attract attention and include a keyword or two, like: Local Realtor Lists Famous Home, or (Your town) Gets a New Real Estate Broker. Keep the title 70 characters or less to satisfy Google’s requirements. Now just tell the story of what happened with who, when and where and if you know the why. Keep it short – five- or six-hundred words is a good length. Be sure to include your name and contact information and you’re all set. I wrote an article called Press Release Writing How-To  on my blog that may help. Feel free to ask questions about press releases here and we’ll work to get you the information you need.
Anne Wayman real estate writer