How Home Builders Can Get More Media Attention
The internet, social media, blogs, online news releases and email have given home builders unprecedented, direct access to potential home buyers. Gone are the days when getting your message out required large advertising budgets or getting past media gatekeepers. But media attention (which now includes bloggers) is still an important part of a home builder’s online marketing strategy. We’ve seen media coverage from the Wall Street Journal, AARP, and local tv stations create instant demand for our client communities – demand that would have taken months to generate through new media alone. But how can home builders get the attention of the media?
Build Relationships with Journalists and Bloggers
Real estate sections and blogs feature articles about fancy properties, newfangled building techniques or other real estate stories of local or national interest. But, it’s not easy coming up with new ideas each week. This is where you come in.
Start by introducing yourself via phone or email to real estate, business and feature writers and ask them to add you to their list of “go-to” experts for future stories. Promise a story lead soon and deliver.
Pitch a bright idea (not a brochure) with a newsworthy peg. Make yourself the expert and offer quotes. Examples, “My company just completed its 1,000th new home build” or “It Isn’t Difficult Being Green.” Examples that I don’t recommend include “Come see our latest cookie-cutter community.” The focus should be on delivering value for the publications audience.
Knowing that journalists and bloggers are egotists, I think a little sucking up is OK. Example, “I enjoyed the piece you wrote about big foot homes popping up in old neighborhoods’’ or “I read your column religiously. You’re so clever.” (This works. We’re writers, we know.)
Narrow in on a specific element of your project. Perhaps you are on the cutting edge of a trend in design, product usage or building technique – think technology, funky, outrageous, unique. Tell a brief story about how the product, design or process will impact the homeowner, community or environment. Offer sources and contact information.
And, don’t be afraid to get personal. Hosting fundraisers for longtime employees injured or stricken with illness can be great reads that show your compassionate side. And, donating money or in-kind materials to non-profits and participating in charitable event are often worth a blurb.
Get Social and Be Generous
More on this later, but in a nutshell for now, use social media.
Comment on online articles, connect your LinkedIn Profile to key writers, follow influencers on Twitter and retweet their content, and engage on Facebook. Journalists and bloggers want to build their audience and positive brand awareness as much as you. Support their effort by sharing and engaging with their content. This delivers more value for them and more visibility for you.
It’s a lot of work, but worth the effort. Need help? We know the media as well as you know how to build homes. Don’t hesitate to contact us.