For those in the real estate industry, there often is a mentality that if you build it, they will come. While the “Field of Dreams” cornfield is an inspiring visual for a movie, in reality, a company needs to do more than simply build to succeed. It also needs to market.
The real estate business is challenging, competitive and moves at a rapid-fire pace. Audiences, whether they are homebuyers, hotel guests, would-be office occupants, other businesses or the community at large, are inundated with options. So, how can a residential, retail or commercial brokerage, developer, landlord, designer, architect, investor or construction firm gain a much-needed edge and communicate what makes its buildings special?
FIRST THINGS FIRST
Begin with a focus on getting the right message to the right party, in the right way and at the right time. Ask questions and map out the desired result to ensure a mindful, strategic approach toward media outreach, website development, social media voice, community alignments, influencer engagement and more. Dig into the who, what, when, where and why, and the how will rapidly unfold.
Many real estate entities are familiar with paid advertising tactics. A company may opt for event sponsorships, billboard or bus stop visibility, radio ads or a print ad in a magazine, newspaper or trade journal. These are wise investments if they are well thought out, but it’s also imperative to consider your firm’s SEO. This typically stands for search engine optimization, which will likely be part of an effective campaign. But, in this instance, it signifies another easy-to-remember abbreviation: Shared, Earned and Owned media.
Shared media, the S in SEO, involves a social media strategy that allows a business to enter a dynamic dialogue with customers or patrons. Building out a presence in the correct social media channels, having a content plan — including which posts should be boosted and when, with a consistent style and look — and a social listening strategy will help one real estate company differentiate itself from others, humanize its brand and provide helpful data to drive a meaningful campaign.
It’s imperative to consider which social media vehicles will make the biggest impact for a brand. A residential developer of a waterfront property may want to invest time in Instagram, while a real estate investment firm may wish to spend a good deal of time cultivating its LinkedIn audience and making the most of the platform’s Publisher feature. Even old school businesses can benefit from harnessing the power of social media more fully, particularly when trying to reach diverse audiences across multiple generations.
EARN YOUR WAY
Earned media, the E in SEO, is the unpaid exposure a brand can garner in a print publication or broadcast media, such as radio, television or podcast interviews. It can come about as a result of events with a media-worthy angle, contributed articles created for specific media or creative pitching of stories directly to media, based on the state of the market, trending news, a formal announcement of company updates or another pitch designed to secure coverage based on merit alone. Keep in mind that a concerted executive thought leadership campaign, that is, a consistent effort to position a company leader as the expert in his or her field through guest columns, speaking engagements and other front-and-center tactics, can lead to additional opportunities to be quoted in articles or for a business or project profile. Here, results build upon results and the benefits stack up.
Intelligent marketers know their company’s assets are the most valuable of all. Newsletters, blogs, videos, podcasts, articles and even a company’s website content are valuable collateral that can be repurposed and shared with audiences. It’s no wonder that, according to HubSpot, 53 percent of marketers say blogging is their top priority. The reasons are clear: blogging is an asset that can enhance lead generation, overall brand awareness, increase indexed pages, boost search engine results and more. Plus, owned content is perfect fodder for social media posts and a good way to let journalists know of expertise so that a news source can be more readily trusted and called upon.
TIE IT TOGETHER
For any real estate company looking to optimize exposure and results, an integrated approach is ideal. The success an organization has with media mentions should be shared on the firm’s social media feeds then brought over to its newsletter, blog and other outlets. Having a well-rounded strategy allows a business to proactively build its reputation and goodwill, counter negative news should it arise and lay a solid foundation for the future.
For those who are unsure of where to begin, how to execute or ways to make the most of the momentum, professional help can be invaluable. Hiring a public relations or communications firm to analyze the message and create with a smart, actionable plan to make the most of shared, earned, owned — and even paid media — is an investment that pays off. A fully leased building, sold-out development or well-launched hotel or retail center are signs of a dream fulfilled.
Filomena Fanelli is the CEO and founder of Impact PR & Communications, Ltd. (prwithimpact.com), an award-winning public relations firm based in New York’s Hudson Valley that serves clients throughout the tri-state area. Fanelli can be reached at 845-462-4979 or at email@example.com.