Whenever real estate agents tell me about their marketing plans, they mention email marketing and social media campaigns, blog posts and content creation and maybe some advertising.
What’s missing is a self-generated public relations strategy to position themselves as an “authority” and “influencer” within their market — and potentially, the industry.
Authority and influence are invaluable traits for an agent. They are the qualities that cause us to take one person’s opinion more seriously than another’s. Without them, the great content you create probably doesn’t even get read.
Although grounded in experience, knowledge and skill, a reputation as an authority can only come through objective, outside validation. As much as what’s in your content, developing the reputation of an authority and the optics of an influencer depends on what your content is in.
Knowing what makes one media outlet an objective authority and another suspect is a first step in this process. Here are a few basic ways to tap or create influence, and get buyers and sellers in your market to give your opinions greater credence over those of others.
1. Create content for third-party publications
There’s a reason why some of the best agents that I work with purposefully write articles for Inman and other respected media outlets. There’s a “seal of approval” that comes with having your name and opinion on a media platform that adheres to basic standards of journalistic objectivity.
To this end, a good source of material for your articles is the latest home pricing indices from ATTOM Data, Corelogic, BlackKnight, Case Shiller and other reliable market data aggregators. With their public and readily available reports, you can frame a commentary around your local market data.
Generate other articles about your market by establishing yourself as a subject matter expert (SME) with a focus on luxury homes, first-time buyers, commercial real estate or some other interesting niche.
A service like Inman actually solicits contributed content. There are others, both industry-centric and for local news and business coverage, for you to approach as well.
If you are all thumbs with sentence structure and intimidated by the idea of writing the article yourself, hire a local writer to take your ideas and shape them into a piece you can submit under your byline, as long as you practice transparency.
2. Convert your article to a press release for PR Newswire
In addition to these article submission tactics, you can fashion your opinions into press releases on your company letterhead. Write them as straight news announcements and quote yourself. Use this strategy to announce company news such as record sales figures, growth in the number of agents or office space, or other outstanding agent news.
PR newswire services will send out your announcement article to publications for as little as $200. Or pitch them yourself to a straight news publication or regional online industry media.
3. Serve as a subject matter expert for news outlets
You can also send the press release to a radio or television outlet as background for an on-air interview with you. If the material is newsworthy, substantive and not self-promotional, there will be interest, and you can begin to establish relationships with the editors and beat reporters. This works with local news media, whether it’s online, broadcast or in print.
Present yourself as an SME resource for a media outlet’s own articles on lending, real estate, title and other areas that benefit from industry expertise. Be prepared that sometimes a reporter just needs verification on background, and you won’t be quoted or referenced. It’s part of establishing the relationship.
Appearing occasionally in print or online this way is a powerful means of building authority for you and your brand. Anytime you’re quoted in an article, link to that article and publicize it through your social media for additional exposure.
4. Be interviewed on a reputable podcast — or launch one
Podcasting is an invaluable technology that frees the radio format of restraints and allows conversation to go where it wants to go, in the timeframe the subject matter takes to get there.
Also, with podcasts, you are not restricted geographically. Offer to be a guest on any shows relevant to your expertise, whether or not your market is part of the story. Hosts are looking for intelligent, well-informed guests whose goals are to provide useful expertise rather than take up time to promote themselves.
If you have the inclination, you might even start your own podcast. Share the workload with complementary service providers in your local community and have them promote it through their social media channels.
5. Become a speaker at an Inman conference or association meeting
Another alternative to writing is to be a guest speaker at an industry conference. Inman, trade associations and corporations now have conferences and webinars that provide opportunities for agents to speak, as long as they are deemed newsworthy and substantive.
Also consider speaking at your local chamber of commerce regarding local market trends, or writing a column or occasional article for their newsletter. Doing this once or twice a year are great boosts to your authority and influence.
Becoming a speaker can change the way people look at you. Going from a person who introduced the speaker to being the speaker changed my career.
6. Those who do, teach
Become an instructor — either for other Realtors in your brokerage office, or through your industry association or a local college. Adding “real estate instructor” to your resume is a great step.
If you have the background, knowledge base and talent, determine the topics that generate the most interest and conversation at your brokerage, and hold introductory or advanced real estate courses for other agents. Or participate in continuing education at a local college.
Engaging in these strategies will help establish you as an authority. Buyers and sellers will come to view you as the resource to turn to for clarification and direction when real estate questions or contradictory data comes up.
All these tactics are free or inexpensive to implement. They may take some time and effort, but the long-term payoff far outweighs the time and investment required.