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Your A-Z PR Guide for Agents In Property

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Overview & Crisis Management

YOU’RE A-Z PR GUIDE for Agents in Property, Recruitment, Automotive, Telecoms, in fact for almost everybody in business today



Making the most of PR opportunities which arise, to help you use PR to raise your Company profile and reinforce your company’s excellent reputation.

You must never attempt to deal with particularly difficult or unusual issues without expert support.

Trying to solve the problem on your own will most often make the situation worse. If it is anything that could end up with negative press never say no comment and ask for expert help before attempting an answer.

If you are unsure how to react to a press enquiry you must always be polite and explain that you would like to take the reporter’s contact details and some information about the story so they can be contacted as soon as possible by an expert. Ask when their deadline is as this will allow you time to decide what to do.

The key to success if for you to build your own local media contacts, take ownership of the stories you generate and keep an eye out for subsequent coverage.

This guide will help you to understand how you can generate media coverage –

without having to pay for it!

Understanding the opportunity

Whether you wish to target the print, online or the broadcast media, all editors

are looking for stories that are newsworthy. The media nowadays operates 24

hours a day, 7 days a week, and has acres of column centimetres and airtime to

fill. This means you have every opportunity to get your news message across,

either by writing a press release or by picking up the phone and persuading a

reporter that you have a good story to tell.

However, 9 out of 10 press releases end up in the bin – that’s because they are

poorly written, targeted at the wrong publication or person, don’t have a news

angle but sound like an ad, don’t have all the relevant facts, don’t grab attention,

or are simply irrelevant.

You also have to be realistic about the kind of media outlet you are targeting –

The Sun won’t print your story about a cheque presentation! But do look at the

bigger picture – will your story work on local radio, or even regional television?

Identify a good story angle

In order to interest the media, you need to have a story to tell. It might only be

worth a couple of paragraphs (what’s known as a NIB, or News in Brief), it

might be a picture news story or it might be worth a big centre page feature

spread.

What’s important is that you regularly generate news stories because lots of drips

are better than one big splash. It’s also about making contacts. Do you know the

names of the editor or reporter of the local property pages? Make an effort to get

to know them, or go and meet them face to face. It makes it easier for them to

call you if they want local input into a housing story.

It is important to differentiate between news and advertising – if you are

promoting your services, you will be expected to pay for it! However, you can

weave what you do into a news story – which, by its very nature, is unbiased as it

will be written up by a reporter.

What makes news?

You need to establish who and where your target audience are, and pick the

appropriate medium to get your message across. Examples of news stories:

Surveys and statistics;

State of the property market in your area (don’t pick on negative issues, though);

Localising national issues (check with Senior Managers first);

Interesting customers;

Top tips for buying and selling;

Movers and shakers, ie new people joining the business – just four

paragraphs plus a photo is usually enough;

Charity events, eg raising money for Comic Relief or Red Nose day;

Sponsorship, eg supporting a local football team, community activities,

getting involved with a local initiative;

Partnerships, eg joining forces with a local school - involve a local

dignitary, eg mayor or council leader;

Awards; and

Personal achievements

The list is endless – just look in your local paper and try to adapt to their style.

l.. Look for the photo opportunity

It’s very true – pictures speak louder than words. Always try to take a good photo

to accompany your story if it’s for the print media. Most papers these days prefer

digital pictures, not hard copy, to accompany an emailed press release, sent as

high resolution (ie 300dpi) jpegs, resized to approx 10 x 15cm (otherwise the file

size will be huge when you email it). Here are some tips:

Think carefully about the composition of the photo;

Avoid a boring line up of people – you can give depth to a photo by

putting smaller people in front; what about getting people to sit on the

edge of eg a desk; put taller people in the middle at the back, so it creates

an arc in terms of heights of those in the photo;

Big cheques for cheque presentations are ok but try to do something

imaginative with the photo;

Action shots are better than head and shoulders;

Look at the camera and smile – show off your teeth, it looks better!

Don’t shoot the photo towards light streaming through a window;

Indoor photos can look colourless and drab – try it with the flash if you

have to do inside;

Be creative and a bit wacky, if the story can take it;

Don’t forget to include something that shows off the company logo!

w.. Write a good press release

If your press release is well written, it stands a far better chance of being used in

the way in which you want it to be used, rather than being rewritten, which

means that errors could creep in. But don’t be offended if a journalist does

change it – the headline will almost certainly be different but that’s more for

technical reasons, eg column size issues, rather than because they hate what

you’ve written.

Once you’ve written something, make sure it’s been approved by someone who understands your business, then send it embedded in an email, ie not as an attachment. It means

the reporter can see it immediately it pops up in their inbox. Send it to the

reporter who you’ve been getting to know, just check they’re not on holiday. By

all means, phone them in advance to forewarn them – but make sure they’re not

on deadline. If you send it to a central inbox, it’s more likely to be lost among all

the other hundreds of press releases the media receives. You can attach a photo.

In the subject line of the email, write your company name in block capitals first,

then give brief details, eg “Your Company Name” press release re new manager.

Tips on writing your press release:

Your press release should be topical, quirky, contain human interest or be

controversial (if agreed by your advisors);

Try to keep to 6 to 8 sentences at the most for a news story, longer for a feature;

Write your company details at the top, followed by News Release. Give it

a strong eye-catching heading. Add the date;

Think carefully about your key messages – what are you trying to say and

to whom. We recommend 3 to 5 good key messages per release, including

the following:

A key message to always include: your own company name at the beginning!)

Make sure you answer the following: What, Where, When, Why, Who;

Add some colourful quotes, giving the spokesperson’s title, add facts, avoid jargon;

Write “ENDS” to indicate further information, e.g. contacts, is for the

reporter only;

If there is a photo/filming/recording opportunity, say where and when;

It’s useful to attach your own preview photos;

Give plenty of notice about an event, phone to see if they’re interested;

If your press release isn’t used, send another with a photo, saying how things went.

8. Questions to ask

Whether you have been approached for an interview (perhaps as a result of

sending in your press release) or whether you are putting yourself forward for an

interview, make sure you ask the following questions:

Where are you from?

What is the interview about?

Where will it take place?

Where will the interview be used?

Will I be quoted by name or as a spokesperson or source?

Who else will be interviewed? What have they said/or what are they saying?

How will the material be used – for print, as a news story or feature; for

broadcast, as a news story/feature/clip/head-to-head/package?

If radio/TV – is the interview live or pre-recorded?

Will the interview be edited?



And there you have it a complete A-Z PR guide all for Free courtesy of saleswork.


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