Public relations is a powerful tool for helping real estate firms to tell their story. Whether you are the contractor who was awarded the contract for a major economic development project in your capital city or a commercial brokerage firm in a booming metropolitan market, there are countless opportunities to get the word out about your firm and track record, and to enhance your expert positioning.
While it takes time to build relationships with target media and hone your pitches to find the most compelling angle(s), it is important to keep an eye on the outputs and outcomes from the onset. For example, did five feature stories in an industry trade publication yield a sizeable new contract? Did sharing media coverage on LinkedIn help to attract key talent to your team?
While the goals your organization is looking to achieve through a media relations program will be unique to your business goals and objectives, there are tell-tale signs of PR success to be on the lookout for from the day you launch. Use these key metrics to evaluate your real estate PR program:
While reach is a top-of-the-funnel metric, and less meaningful than conversion, it is a good place to start. What was the combined circulation of the media who covered your organization during the past quarter? Depending on the geographic area you serve, it may be helpful to then break that number down by market. Were you most successful in securing media coverage in Metro New York or did smaller, suburban markets yield a larger audience?
Share of Voice
How are your competitors doing? Are they quoted in key articles where you wish you had been quoted instead? Are they overall more prominently or less prominently featured by media? How does the coverage compare? i.e.. Are you more often quoted as an industry expert on a timely news story? Are they most often featured as a guest columnist? Does one of you fare better in print or on air?
Evaluating share of voice is helpful in determining a few things. First and foremost, are you sending out the most newsworthy announcements and stories that your organization has to share? Second, are your PR messages hitting the mark? Telling a great PR story is about packaging, timing and messaging. You need the right hook, to appeal to the right reporter at the right time. And, evaluating share of voice amongst your competition can help to identify both relative strengths and opportunities for improvement in this area.
Frequency of Coverage
With a finite amount to fill, frequency can be tricky. You may have the good fortune of having numerous high quality PR stories to share with your local media as well as your industry trades. And, despite the quality, the media may not be able to absorb the quantity. (Tip: this is where a roundup story can come in really handy. For example, instead of putting out a separate press release for each of your last five transactions, can you bundle them together to illustrate an industry trend? Not only is that a more meaningful piece of media coverage that can enhance your expert positioning, it is likely to get more “ink” than its transactional counterparts.)
When evaluating your frequency of coverage be mindful of environmental factors such as market trends and slow or busy seasons. Be sure to evaluate the frequency of coverage for your competitors as well to glean more meaningful insights to help hone your real estate PR strategy.
Salience of Messaging
When you are interviewed by the media, which of your key message points most often make it into print/on air and which get cut in editing? Evaluating message salience identifies two key things. First and foremost, are your messages relevant to the media – i.e. do they lend value to the reader or are they too self-promotional – and, does the salience of your messaging vary by spokespersons?
For large real estate companies that have multiple divisions, it is common to have more than one spokesperson who is authorized to speak with media. This is valuable in offering tailored perspectives but can also, in some instances, lead to mixed messaging. For example, the head of commercial leasing for a major city will have different data and local market perspectives than the head of sales in an urban region. It is important to evaluate your media coverage to determine which spokespersons are most effective with which media outlets and with which types of stories. This will help to strengthen your real estate PR program and consistently yield coverage that you are proud to showcase on your website, in your email marketing, and to share on social media.
Proactive public relations programs help companies to increase brand awareness, attract talent and enhance expert positioning. An effective real estate PR strategy takes into account market trends and other environmental factors, the competitive landscape, and the stories that will both resonate most with an editor/reporter and their readers as well as those who may consider hiring your firm. A great real estate PR program isn’t a one hit wonder – it’s a consistent, cohesive effort to showcase your organization, its expertise and its impact.