What is the best kind of advertising?
The kind that is not advertising at all, but editorial coverage.
The reason for this is simple. We’ve all been bombarded by ads since we were little children. You can’t avoid them. Even movies and DVDs start with a half dozen ads for “coming attractions.” We all learn, therefore, to just tune them out from an early age. Now, editorial coverage is something else entirely. That’s the reason we pick up a newspaper or read one online. We are eager to read whatever the journalists have to say about something, and journalists therefore can often act as tastemakers — telling us what we should want or not want to do with our time and money.
Now, if you can get a journalist interested in you or in a property you’ve listed, you are well ahead of the rest of the hordes of real estate professionals who merely shell out a few bucks to get their property’s photos in the paper, along with hundreds of other tiny photographs — all of which disappear in the clutter that we see as “just another ad.”
These days, of course, social marketing is all the rage, with Facebook, Twitter, Brizzly, Digg, and you name it, but the problem with social media is that it lacks the voice of authority, since anyone can post there.
Fortunately, virtually every community has at least one traditional journalist who writes about real estate, and they are all constantly looking for something to write about. With a bit of preparation on your part, you can provide that to them. One angle is to become something of an expert in the field.
What is an “expert”?
Good question, in fact, since anyone can be an expert, so long as you have some knowledge and ability to write about your subject, you can be the expert. Often, a well written blog can lead to “expert” status — just ask the heroine of the film Julie and Julia, a cooking-obsessed housewife who blogs her way to fame and fortune. Become an expert and get to know the local journalists, and you may find yourself called up and asked to comment on real estate news — which can only help build your profile in the community.
Another way is to provide journalists with content that they can easily convert into great copy. For instance, I recently was able to get one of my listings featured as “Home of the Week” in the Los Angeles Times. This was something of a coup, as the feature brings a lot of attention to the property, and it is a rather exclusive club, being limited to only one property a week, of course.
How did I do it?
I went out of my way to make the journalists’ job easy. It helped that the property was very photogenic and I was able to obtain the use of fantastic photos taken by an expert photographer. But I did not stop there. I also had a transcript made of my interview with the architect Patrick Killen (which was also posted on YouTube — I’m not ignoring the new medial) and provided that with my submission, with high resolution copies of the photographs on CD ROM. Thus, I was able to provide a “hook” — to help tell the story of the house so that the journalist would not have to create something entirely from scratch.