Magazine article Journal of Property Management

Project Yourself: Getting Good PR

Magazine article Journal of Property Management

Project Yourself: Getting Good PR

Article excerpt

The CPM who whispers down a well About the services he has to sell, Will never reap a crop of dollars As she who climbs a tree and hollers.

Hollering may not get you any publicity, or at least none that you want. But failing to promote your company and yourself with a few basic PR techniques will almost certainly ensure that future clients, employers, or tenants do not know you exist.

Like any other project, obtaining favorable PR begins with laying a good foundation. One of the basic rules of public relations is having something to say. Property managers should begin by developing the knowledge and experience needed to provide meaningful real estate information.

However, having something worthwhile to say or write about when given the opportunity requires more than just a good understanding of real estate management. Observe, read, and learn about local economics and real estate industry trends and how they affect property management. Develop a body of useful and current statistics that no one else has or tracks. Being able to provide useful information is a key aspect of obtaining good public relations. Become the "go to" resource.

Along the same line, develop a specialty skill in an area you enjoy and understand, such as leasing, group purchasing, etc. All this takes time and effort, to be sure, but is well worth it when the press, peers, and clients come calling. Specializing in a particular property type or market niche is also a good way to attract media interest.

If you become a recognized authority on a particular area, the media will seek you out for quotes and stories when they write on your specialty. Every niche needs a guru; why shouldn't it be you?

Readying Your Materials

Once you have developed information that will attract publicity, your next job is to present that information to the media in a professional way. A good beginning is a standard press kit comprised of a backgrounder giving information on the firm and its services and bios of you and other principals (with black and white photos) packaged together in a neat folder. Other items that can be added to the press kit, as appropriate, are a company or property brochure or copy of a recent ad, reprints of articles you have written or in which you were quoted, and perhaps an endorsement letter from a current client or resident. When you want to introduce yourself to a new media source, the press kit is ready to impress.

Getting in Print

There are three key avenues for obtaining positive public relations: professional writing, public speaking, and networking/volunteering. Take your pick as to which of the three to concentrate upon; better yet, move forward in all three arenas.

The most common, and often one of the easiest, ways to keep the media informed about your activities is to write regular, well-prepared press releases about one's professional activities and/or corporate news, such as signing up new clients.

A press release is rarely more that one or two double-spaced, typed pages. Keep the information short, active, and to-the-point. Always date the release, and provide a contact name and phone number for more information.

A second means of getting into print is by writing articles, op-ed pieces, or columns for the general business or real estate press. Writing can be done on the chapter, local, regional, and national level and can range from a local newsletter to national trade publications or even the World Wide Web. Many CPM[R] members already write regularly at these levels.

Other writing options open to the manager include writing guest articles for clients' newsletters and developing a free company newsletter as a vehicle.

Where you choose to publish will depend on your goals. If you want primarily to reach business in a local market, writing a guest column for the local paper or business journal may be your best bet. If you want to establish credibility with national clients or make yourself known to a wider group of peers, specialized business publications in the real estate management field may be your first target. …

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