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How PR Can Build Trust and Credibility for Real Estate Brands Follow these insights and actionable tips for leveraging PR to enhance the reputation and visibility of your real estate brands.

By Jessica Wong Edited by Micah Zimmerman

Key Takeaways

  • Public relations helps real estate agents establish customer relationships with property buyers, sellers and other stakeholders long before the actual property changes hands.
  • To be successful in the long term, real estate agents and businesses need to differentiate themselves from their competitors.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Purchasing a new home is the biggest financial transaction most people make in their lifetime. Deals are closed with the help of legal professionals following significant research and due diligence. Still, real estate transactions are based on trust between clients and real estate agents. Building trust takes time and often starts long before the actual purchase process. Using public relations (PR) as part of their digital marketing strategy, real estate agents can boost credibility and strengthen their reputation to create a trusted brand.

The real estate sector is highly competitive. To be successful in the long term, real estate agents and businesses need to differentiate themselves from their competitors. Building trust and gaining credibility with relevant stakeholders are two of the critical components of this process.

A trustworthy real estate agent is an agent who is honest and works in the best interest of their client. When it comes to purchasing a new home, for example, a trustworthy agent will not try to hide the need for potential repairs to secure a quick sale. Instead, they will advise their clients on how best to proceed.

As a result, agents build credibility with their clients, which may lead to recommendations and repeat business.

Related: How To Build a Strong Real Estate Brand Online and Increase Trust With Clients

Public relations in the context of real estate

Real estate agents can build trust and credibility through direct interactions with their stakeholders, but this will likely be very slow. Public relations offers an ideal tool to accelerate this process even before agents meet prospective buyers and sellers.

Public relations encompass a wide range of activities, all of which work to improve a real estate agent's reputation and increase brand visibility and trust. Media relations, community engagement, reputation management and crisis communications can all be part of a successful public relations strategy.

While these tactics are closely related to other marketing activities, there is one essential difference. Messages transmitted and stories told via public relations benefit from third-party endorsement, adding a higher level of credibility to a real estate brand's messages.

Related: How Real Estate Agents Can Leverage the Power of Public Relations

Building media relationships

Media relations is perhaps the best-known subdiscipline of PR. Most real estate businesses may be familiar with distributing press releases to relevant media outlets. This is media relations in its most basic form but not its most effective.

Highly successful media relations are created by forming relationships with critical journalists, editors and other influencers in real estate media outlets. Rather than simply sending press releases to these journalists, PR professionals spend time to understand their needs and pitch stories that benefit the brand and the publication's audience. Over time, journalists see your real estate business as a source of reliable information that not only fills proverbial column inches but resonates with their readers and viewers. Cultivating these relationships requires consistent effort, but the results can transform a brand's position in the real estate sector.

Establishing thought leadership

One of the most effective ways to become known as a trustworthy, credible real estate agent is to establish thought leadership within your chosen market segment. While real estate agents can start the process through their website or social media channels, partnering with third-party media outlets is often more effective.

Consider sharing your expertise by offering guest articles or opinion pieces and participating in media interviews. Taking advantage of speaking engagements and entering coveted industry awards will also help you grow your reputation as a leading real estate agent.

Digital PR channels

Just a few years ago, PR was largely confined to print and broadcast media. Digital technology has truly changed the playing field for public relations, offering brands a wider choice of channels to communicate with their audiences.

Blogs, vlogs, social media, podcasts and other online publications all offer excellent opportunities to share and amplify your real estate brand's message and reach target audiences. While this may seem overwhelming at first, remember that not every channel fits every brand. Choose your messages carefully so they can truly resonate with their recipients.

Many digital PR channels are built around interaction with your audiences. Posting information is not enough. Your reputation is equally built on how you engage with online communities by replying to messages and responding to inquiries, for example.

Related: How to Choose a Reliable PR Agency in 6 Steps

Managing crisis communications

Despite their best efforts, any real estate agent may find themselves in an adverse situation. Perhaps there is a delay in the completion of a development you were selling off-plan? Or maybe the new owners of a home you sold discovered major problems as soon as they moved in?

In these situations, it is important to have a proactive crisis communications strategy in place. Start by identifying potential risks that may lead to crises and prepare potential responses. These preparations allow you to deal with crises timely and mitigate reputational risks as well as possible. Aside from being prepared, maintaining transparency in your interactions and communications with stakeholders will go a long way toward effective crisis communications.

Measuring PR success

Like all marketing activities, public relations campaigns need to be assessed for their impact and effectiveness. Measuring success starts by defining metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs).

Going back to the traditional press release, real estate agents may want to track how often their release was picked up. When it comes to digital marketing channels, measuring engagement through likes, shares and comments on an article can give you a good idea of the piece's impact. Website traffic and brand sentiment are two more meaningful ways to measure impact.

Public relations helps real estate agents establish customer relationships with property buyers, sellers and other stakeholders long before the actual property changes hands. By building relationships with relevant journalists, becoming known as an expert in the field, and using digital media channels to reach new audiences, real estate agents can lay the groundwork for success for years to come.

Jessica Wong

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor

Founder and CEO of Valux Digital and uPro Digital.

Jessica is the Founder and CEO of nationally recognized marketing and PR firms, Valux Digital and uPro Digital. She is a digital marketing and PR expert with more than 20 years of success driving bottom-line results for clients through innovative marketing programs aligned with emerging strategies.

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