Three Steps to Positioning Yourself as the News Media’s Go-To Expert:
The Inside Scoop from a Veteran News Journalist
By: Charnel Wright
It is all-out warfare right now. Competing for consumers’ attention in todays’ super noisy world is the “New War” realtors fight. Where Weapons of Mass Distraction (WMD’s) are fired off from all corners of the internet and traditional media. WMD’s like Hulu and Netflix, stealing your potential customers’ attention away from hearing your message. Social media’s cat videos and food pictures, virtual air strikes annihilating your ability to hold the attention of consumers. Now more than ever, rapid-fire content from traditional news media outlets constantly shooting from 24-hour news cycles. These WMD’s are all aimed at capturing the attention of your potential customer and taking it away from you. So, how do you cut through all that noise and get through to the customers you want?
Take a page from a news journalist’s notebook and add it to your own marketing arsenal. Do this by establishing yourself as the news media’s go-to real estate expert. By doing so, you are able to standout and differentiate yourself and your business from the competition. Not a lot of realtors realize they can make this happen and can do it even more now than ever before because media content is in such high demand right now. The new and traditional media machine is never satisfied and needs a constant flow of feedings. So, why not give them what they want by using the following three steps.
It’s a formula I call, P.E.N. because a pen is one of the most important tools a journalist uses. When you follow the steps in P.E.N. you will find you can turn yourself into an extension of the newsroom. Where you become the first person the reporters call to interview on industry trends. Or, if you have a story to pitch to a news outlet that you want covered, P.E.N. will make it easier for you to entice a reporter to call you back. P.E.N. helps you gain credibility and even more importantly, get thousands of eyes to care about what you are selling.
The “P” in P.E.N. stands for Powerful news story angle. Learn what a reporter considers to be a Powerful story angle, a good story. We’re not talking about “good” in the sense of a story that has a positive spin on it. We are talking about narrowing down what elements within a story’s content that would entice a journalist to cover it. Learn the key elements that would make a journalist salivate or would make it impossible for them to ignore. Learning the “why” behind what stories journalists choose to cover is the first step to getting media attention. Once you learn all the elements of what journalists consider to be a good news story, you can then fit them into the stories you want to pitch to the media about your business.
Here are just a few of those elements that make a news story idea interesting to a journalist:
- HEARTS- A story idea that evokes some type of emotion. It can be happiness, sadness, anger or even fear. As long as it is a story angle that has some emotional tie and causes someone to be compelled to want to hear more. What are some things about your business and what you do that is a HEART?
- OUT OF THE ORDINARY- A story idea that is considered something new, different, people have not seen before, surprising. It is the whole reason why the news is called the news in the first place because it is NEW! This can even mean you can talk about new trends. Think of some OUT OF THE ORDINARIES that are specific to what you do.
- POCKETS – This is a news story that has something to do with what is in peoples’ wallets. Money, right? People care about their bottom line. If you have advice about how your consumer can save money, make money, avoid being cheated out of money, then those are story ideas that you can pitch to a journalist and will make them want to interview you about it as a realestate expert.
Now that you have learned some story elements that really stick with journalists, here’s what the “E” in P.E.N. stands for, Everyday Pressures. You need to learn the everyday pressures that journalists go through in their business. It is like that classic phrase in sales, “find the pain”. Find the pain of the journalist and provide the cure. One of these pains is having hard deadlines. Journalists are in a very deadline sensitive business. They need everything done by yesterday. So, if they do want to cover your story idea that you pitch and they call and ask you to interview that same day, you cannot say no. Do not say no. They need to do the story so they will find someone else if you cannot be available.
Lastly, the “N” in P.E.N. stands for, Newsroom Rules. Learn about how the newsroom works. For example, know the best time to contact a journalist to pitch them a story idea. For television reporters, calling at 12 noon may not be the best time because they are all wrapped up in putting on a 12pmnewscast. Calling during that time would be a wasted call.
By understanding the importance of the P.E.N. you will be able to use the news as your own personal advertising agency. The journalist will want you as that expert in their newscasts and articles to educate their viewers, readers and listeners on the latest in real estate. This opens you up to exposure among a vast amount of people without having to spend a dime. Now, you will never look at news the same again and in doing so, you will add a sizable cache of weapons to your marketing arsenal, “The Headline Machine”, “Attention Grabber”, “Automatic Noise Buster” and Go-to Real Estate Expert the media counts on.