Five Ways to Get the Press Coverage You Want
By April Mason
Are you a real estate developer, community leader, architect or engineer seeking media coverage for a new project? Today’s news cycle moves faster than ever before, and non-controversial “evergreen” stories can easily be upended with a single tweet.
That said, there are a number of ways to ensure that your development gets the attention it deserves. Here are five tips that will greatly improve your visibility:
Find a Hook
Is your development about to break ground? Topping out? Winning a design award? Have new leases been signed? Jobs created? News hooks like these can give journalists reasons to cover your story now, versus later. Our pitch promoting the NJ Business Action Center’s luring of Patella Woodworking back to the state – and its ribbon cutting celebration with the Lt. Governor – gained coverage in NJBIZ, GlobeSt and New Jersey Business. Similarly, the back story of how our client, Lincoln Equities Group, helped secure the largest 2016 New Jersey real estate deal was covered by Real Estate Weekly and other outlets.
The adage, “A picture is worth a thousand words” is even more true in today’s media world which relies on clicks, likes and shares. Media has become a visual platform; many stories sell not on the strength of the written content, but based on their visual appeal. Hire a photographer to take stunning images of your development – or use your firm’s best artist renderings – and give media access to the visuals for free. Our clients RSC Architects and McLaren Engineering Group commissioned a photographer to take photos of the new Weehawken Pier, which were picked up as a slide show on NJ.com and featured on Real Estate NJ and Jersey Digs – six months after the project was complete.
Point Out Differences
Journalists are inundated with hundreds of emails every day from business and community representatives seeking to promote recent developments. The most successful way to capture their attention is to succinctly point out what makes your project unique! In the body of your press release or pitch, identify why your project is interesting and different, using distinguishing facts - not vague promotional language. Our press release announcing the groundbreaking of The MC hotel in Montclair for The Pinnacle Companies generated widespread coverage as the Township’s first new full-service hotel since the 1930’s – with a rooftop bar, a public art atrium and farm-to-table restaurant.
Less is More
Reporters are constantly working on deadlines and have less time than ever to digest detailed, complex material. The shorter your announcement is, the easier it will be for journalists to quickly review and give you feedback. We took Warburg Realty’s groundbreaking “Global Property Handbook” (a 50+ page report produced with partners), and condensed it into a three-paragraph pitch for journalists containing the most interesting facts. The news was picked up by WSJ’s Mansion Journal, Luxury Daily and Forbes.com.
Cut the Jargon
Remove acronyms and “inside baseball” terms from your news releases and pitches. Although terms like “LTV” and “FF&E” may make sense to your colleagues, journalists might not understand your message and will tune out. Here’s a good rule of thumb: if you wouldn’t use the word in conversation at a dinner party, don’t use it at all. We worked with the Kansas City Area Development Council to promote the nation’s most comprehensive “smart city” program run by Cisco Systems without using technical jargon in this PR Newswire release, picked up by TechCrunchand others.
In short, packaging your (timely) story with visuals and simple language will go a long way towards generating news coverage that boosts your organization's reputation.
April Mason has spent the last two decades developing public relations campaigns for clients in the real estate, economic development and tourism industries. Her Montclair, NJ-based firm, Violet PR, focuses on generating favorable media exposure for communities and companies reinventing urban areas, building sustainable projects and growing businesses.
Follow April here on LinkedIn or contact her directly at April@violetpr.com.