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How effective PR builds real estate business.

A local real estate firm brokers the sale of a vacant lot in Queens. The deal might have slipped by unnoticed except that the firm mentions it to its publicist, who in turn thinks it important enough to tell the press. The coverage is so intense that the real estate firm receives calls for weeks with offers to do other deals.

A property management firm identifies its prospective clients from among asset managers and owners around the country. But how to reach them? The firm engages in heavy national trade and business press publicity. But it doesn't stop there. The management firm supports its publicity program with an ongoing newsletter that provides in-depth discussion of the most pressing problems facing property owners and how the problems can be solved.

In yet another case, an owner needs to attract brokers and tenants to a building that has just been renovated. The building has state-of-the-art fiber optics, a refurbished lobby and excellent floor layouts.

Suddenly stories with photos begin to appear on the real estate pages describing the new look of the building and announcing the tenants who are moving in.

These are prime examples of how real estate firms today reach out to current and prospective clients with an ongoing, focused public relations program.

While they may vary widely in their content and scope, here are important elements that every good PR program should include.

* A clear statement of objectives of what the PR program is helping to accomplish. Is the firm seeking to build its image, looking for quick sales leads, trying to establish credibility, or recruit talented employees?

* Identification of the media that will provide the vehicle for the firm's messages, i.e. national business media, trade press, regional newspapers, etc.

* What messages does the firm wish to convey? That it has a different approach to the conventional way of managing real estate? That it is fiscally conservative? That it is a national firm with the ability to handle large corporate assignments?

* Formulation of a publicity strategy that includes fostering of relationships with editors, writing by-lined articles on topical subjects, willingness to announce deals and other news and periodic reports on market conditions.

* Creation of special projects and events such as a frequent newsletter that does not rely solely on the media to get the firm's messages out to the market.

A strong public relations program provides positive benefits on several levels. It helps establish an identity for a firm as an active, aggressive organization and it helps build a real estate firm's recognition factor, an important credit in our intensely competitive industry.

To be effective in gaining media coverage, the PR program should strive for quotes in major stories about the market and other real estate issues, media interviews with principals of the firm, company profiles and photos, case histories of successful deals and projects and by-lined articles venturing opinions and viewpoints on industry trends and issues.

To get all of this accomplished well, real estate firms often use outside public relations agencies or they may employ professionals in-house or use a combination of the two. Whichever approach a firm undertakes, it is important to work with PR experts and to permit them to suggest the best techniques and plan of action.
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Copyright 1997, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Focus On: Marketing & Networking
Author:Zlokower, Harry
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Jul 16, 1997
Previous Article:PWC and the power of networking: good contacts lead to contracts.
Next Article:Publicity is helpful, but only if handled properly.

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