Whether you’re coordinating with investors or resolving an issue with your residents, how people see you matters. Public Relations (PR) and Crisis Communications can impact everything from your development schedule to your renewal rates, so you need the right tools to build positive relationships. But how can you avoid classic PR mistakes in the real estate industry and ensure you always meet the goals you’ve set out in your apartment marketing plan? Understanding these simple PR dos and don’ts could be the difference between a reputation-destroying scandal and the unwavering trust of prospects and residents…or it could just help you empower smooth and steady operations day in and day out.
Do Your Homework
Understand your stakeholders, the history of your community, and the needs of your audience. A little market research goes a long way in the world of PR. That’s because the most effective PR is proactive, not reactive. Doing your research ahead of time helps you anticipate any potential issues before they ever arise and proactively generate positive PR to offset any challenges that may arise.
Engage With Your Community
Speaking of proactive PR, taking the time to involve yourself with your local community builds brand recognition and trust, improves word-of-mouth reputation, and broadens your opportunities for positive press. Participating in local initiatives and charitable efforts can also help engage audiences looking for socially conscious brands, which is increasingly relevant for today’s renters, who have more outlets to stay connected and socially aware than ever.
Do a Visibility Audit
Understanding how and where your brand is visible is the necessary foundation for you to build on. Part of good PR is ensuring that your brand is as visible as possible—through SEO efforts, media coverage, social media activity, and so on—but it’s just as important that what’s visible represents your brand in a good light. In other words, it’s great if your brand is the first Google search result for relevant keywords, but if it’s also associated with overwhelmingly negative reviews on its Google My Business page, the harm might offset the good.
Get a holistic picture of your brand’s optics to start, then identify areas for improvement. Next steps might be a round of SEO improvements to your website, launching a paid Google Ad campaign, rehabilitating your reputation management strategy or becoming more active on social media.
Write Your Own News
You don’t have to sit around hoping for positive press—write it yourself! Writing your own blog posts and press releases allows you some control over your own narrative and helps capture your community at all its best angles. Generating positive news is especially relevant for new start communities looking to generate buzz in advance of their open date. So take the time to tell your story wherever you can—on a blog on your website or your social media accounts—and solicit good press by writing press releases showcasing updates, milestones, charitable initiatives, and more newsworthy events.
Build Media Relations
While writing your own story is part of the puzzle, the other part is getting others to share it. That’s where networking becomes important. You can write all the press releases and media pitches you want, but if you don’t know who to direct them to and how, you’re merely shouting into the void, and wasting your energy in the process.
Become familiar with the journalists, bloggers, influencers, and thought leaders on real estate in your area. Understand how you can work with them toward mutual benefit. Don’t assume you can count on them for help without first understanding what you can offer in return. In other words, try to offer content that is genuinely newsworthy, that speaks to their audience, or that offers insight on an industry trend.
With these simple PR guidelines, you’ll expand your positive media coverage, control your story, and highlight the best features of your real estate brand. For most brands, this is enough to generate buzz and avoid snafus.
If you could use help with a more robust PR strategy within a complex market, or need help responding to a crisis, enlisting the help of a professional is often the right call. If you want that help to come from an agency with extensive experience in your real estate market, Threshold is always here to help. Learn more about our PR and Crisis Communications services to determine if they’re right for you.