How do you get people, especially the media, to notice what you’re doing? The following process isn’t rocket science and isn’t as high-tech as some, but it has worked:
You’ve got a story to tell.
There’s a reason why you do that…designed it that way…or offer that amenity. It’s your story and to communicate it effectively it needs to be simple and conveyed with passion – elements that also your story memorable. Hosting a charity fundraiser in conjunction with the grand opening of your new model home? There’s a reason why you chose to support that charity. Plus, charitable organizations generally do a very good job of getting the word out to their constituents. There’s nothing wrong with doing good and getting credit for it! Looking to attract the attention of your local news media? Your story must be newsworthy and will help get people talking.
Who has the attention of prospective home buyers?
The media selects stories based on their agendas, not yours. And, media outlets are interested in stories that appeal to a large percentage of their audience. Fortunately, housing is a topic that affects just about everyone. For example, let’s say you build stronger/safer homes–that’s your story. Did severe storms damage houses in your area last night? Then this morning is the perfect time to contact local news media about how new homes can be built to better able to withstand Mother Nature’s fury. It’s timely content for newspapers and local TV newscasts…and insurance agents, mortgage lenders, Realtors®…
You’re the expert.
As an area housing expert, reporters will often contact you as housing related issues come up. Whether it’s home technology, healthier homes, aging-in-place, or green building, your focus should be your market leadership and credibility. Be sure to have proof or evidence handy if you are making a claim. To back up the severe weather example claim, point out the added protection of hail-impact rated shingles and fiber cement siding that were used in your construction.
You’re the innovator.
(Note: This is superior to “being the expert” because the innovator is typically also perceived as the expert in that aspect of housing.) What are you bringing to the local housing market that other builders aren’t doing? Emphasize how this innovation is relevant/meaningful/appealing to your identified audience and approach it from that perspective. Your focus needs to be differentiation—your uniqueness – such as building energy efficient, environmentally responsible homes. From saving money on utilities to keeping jobsite waste out of landfills through recycling to the “bragging rights” of owning a green home, you have several appealing stories. But again, focus on the unique. There may be a lot of local Energy Star builders, but if you are the first builder in your market to guarantee your home buyer’s utility bills, now there’s a great story!
Create press releases and follow up after sending them out.
If you’re not a writer, that’s okay. Hire an agency, a freelance writer, or contact a local community college and have them identify a bright student who’s looking for some experience. Try to keep your press release to one page in length. Have it available as a Microsoft Word document as well as printed copies. Include photographs and/or video footage to illustrate your point(s). The more interesting its headline, the more likely your release will be noticed and remembered when you phone to follow up. Events, unveilings, even a little controversy can spice up a headline.
What’s your story? Visit our Home Design Articles page for some ideas and inspiration.