Imagine if you had your name, company name, and even an authoritative quote featured in a news article.
What kind of (free) exposure would you enjoy if you were the go-to Realtor/Mortgage Lender/Business Owner for your local media outlets?
What would it be worth if you were routinely mentioned, quoted, or even invited live to television shows, radio programs, and in newspaper and magazine articles?
It's easier than you may think to get press coverage that reaches hundreds, thousands, or, potentially, tens of thousands of people – all without paying a cent in advertising.
In fact, writing and distributing a press release is one of the most underutilized promotional tools for real estate professionals or any business owner, yet so few do it.
Of course, I know why more people don’t send out press releases. If you don’t know how to properly write and send them out, it can be confusing, a little intimidating, or just a waste of time.
So, in this blog, I’ll walk you through the right way to write a press release that will look like a PR expert drafted it.
First off, I wanted to give you some examples of topics for a press release:
XYZ real estate office grand opening.
Home sales heating up in CITY NAME.
Free homebuying workshop offered in CITY NAME.
XYZ Mortgage gives back to community with day of service.
Buying a home may be more affordable than renting in CITY NAME.
Home values in CITY NAME now back to pre-recession levels.
How to pick the right neighborhood when buying a home.
Home fire safety tips.
NAME honored with award/promotion/inclusion on list, etc.
The options are abundant, as long as you remember that it has to be about something specific, tangible, and of value to the audience – not just self-promotion for its own sake.
But remember that it doesn’t need to be YOUR statistic, data, or happening for you to write and send in a press release. It can be about anything in your field of real estate, mortgage, or whatever field your business operates in, as long as it’s credible, fits that media’s editorial needs, and within their scope. (Don’t send in a press release only about Sacramento to a national magazine, etc.)
It’s also imperative that you structure it as a press release from the title all the way to the end, which I’ll break down for you now:
What is a press release?
A press release is an official announcement issued by a company, agency or organization that’s distributed to the news media. Press releases are sometimes also called a “press statement,” a “news release,” or “media release.” These releases disseminate the information necessary for one potential news story or important happening.
What ISN’T it?
A press release is not an advertisement. It’s not a commercial, a bio, an interview, a general informational piece, or a personal profile. Press releases are not subjective, opinion without factual basis, or written to sway or persuade the reader.
How long should it be?
Press releases are usually just one page long on a printed page, but they should never surpass two pages in length. These days, most press releases are sent via email, but you should still aim to be succinct. The goal is to provide enough information for the media outlet to write their own notice, announcement or news story, so 400-600 words is an ideal target range for an unsolicited release. To keep it short, provide links to your website, blog, or how they can contact you if they would like to learn more.
The press release starts with a header, including the always-present tag line in capital letters stating, "FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE." The header also contains the contact information for the person that can be reached for more information (name, email and phone number) as well as the date of the release.
The FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE and date are always left justified, while the
contact information is right justified.
Immediately after the header, you'll find the headline (don't get those two confused!), which serves as a bold announcement to get the reader's attention and succinctly tell them what the release is about – all in eight words or less. But headlines don't need to be full sentences, although they should be written in present tense (even though the rest of the press release is written in past tense) with clear, direct language and action verbs.
Dateline and lead
After the headline, you’ll find the dateline. The dateline is the city name in capital letters, followed by the state abbreviation in most cases, and then a dash.
Next up is the lead, which acts a subheader, expanding on the important points of the release for the reader – all within 32 words.
This is the meat and potatoes of the press release, so cover the Who, What, When, Where, How, and What’s Next of your statement in the body. Share this information directly and clearly, without elaborate or flowery language. If you start using words like “super,” “special,” “best,” “amazing,” or even “very,” the media contact reading it will know right away that you’re an amateur just looking to promote their business.
In the first paragraph of the body, always answer the question, “Why should they (the media contact and their readers) care?”
It’s a good idea to include a direct link to your company’s website in the first paragraph of the body, as well as cite data, statistics or other references with their corresponding links. Statistics, data, and facts about the real estate market, local sales, mortgage markets, buyers or sellers, etc. are great to share, so make sure they are clearly featured.
Good quotes humanize the information and also add credibility.So, round-out the information you're trying to convey with a quoted statement. Every press release should have at least one quote; two is ideal, but you should never have more than three quotes.
Quotes can come from a credible source like the company president, happy client, official or agency, or another third party that's involved. Of course, this is the ideal place to submit your own quote, offering some sage advice and key takeaways. THIS is the best way to get your name injected into the news story and shared widely in the media!
The last paragraph of the press release doesn’t focus on the story or the relevant announcement but adds some background and supporting information for the reader to put in context. This can be a little bit about the sender/company (the Realtor/Mortgage Broker/Business Owner and their service), and even the field. You can also cover how you are different and future trends or next steps the reader should be aware of.
Three pound signs are placed at the bottom of a press release, signaling to the reader that they've reached the end of the document (and that they aren't missing any pages.) Sometimes you'll also see "End" instead of these three pound signs to conclude the release.
Speaking of end, that's all for today! Oh, I almost forgot...