Writing a press release is one of the most important activities real estate agents can do to market yourself, but perhaps not for the reasons you think. 

The biggest benefit is organizing your narrative to focus on what's most interesting and important to your audience. It's undeniable that people like relatable stories more than they like a sales pitch, and your press release helps you package your story. 

A well-written release also gives you an artifact to share with audiences, including your email lists, your local establishments, trade groups and reporters. 

If you've never written a press release, the task can seem scary. This article and template aim to outline the essential components and make the process easier.

Preparing Your Narrative

Before you start writing, build the key components. 

Who is your core audience? The more granular you can get, the better. Do you focus on first-time buyers? Millennial renters? Baby-boomers looking for investment properties? Public service workers? Renters from the south side of Chicago? Dog-lovers? Don't worry about describing your audience too narrowly because others will relate to them. For instance, if your focus is on members of the U.S. Military, firefighters will still pay attention. 

What is new and why is it newsworthy? The news could be your move from another career to real estate, told as an inspirational story. It could be your move from another brokerage to Real, as example of Realtors adopting a new kind of brokerage based on technology and flexibility. If you sold a home that exemplifies a trend - say dog-lovers flocking to a new neighborhood with a great dog park -- that's news. Or if you organized a group to raise money for a local charity with a local angle, that works as well. 

What inspired you to do it? Why do you want to work with this audience? What personal experience leads you to want to serve them and equips you to serve them especially well? Are you an example of the audience you serve? Speak from the heart: the more personal and emotional you can make it, the more your audience can relate. 

What visuals help tell the story? Images, interesting photos, even short video clips are always welcome additions to a press release.

Writing Your Press Release

Once you have the building blocks, you are ready to start writing.

Understand tone and style. Professional press releases use the Associated Press style commonly used by news organizations. There are a lot of rules around the copy and formatting. Luckily, Real has a template below to help you get going and professionally-trained journalists on staff who can review your release. Just check in with support for help. 

Use the inverted pyramid. Once you have the pieces above, there's a particular format to a press release called the inverted pyramid. It starts with the "lead" which includes the most important news and the "hook", which is the most interesting component of the news; the "body" which includes the crucial information, proof-points and quotes; and the "tail", which, in business press releases often includes the call-to-action for readers who want to learn more. 

Write a great headline. It is the most important part of the release because readers scan headlines to see if they should invest in reading the rest. Write the headline after you've written the rest of the press release to make sure it reflects the story. Don't worry about being cute or clever, but do be specific and informative. One winning headline formula is "A does B to help C do D".  Where "A" is the person or company name, "B" is the news, "C" is who the news affects and "D" is how it affects them. The trick is keeping the word count down to 10 or fewer words.


Download this press release template to get started:

An Example for Reference
(thanks to Chris Traina for story inspiration) 


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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                            Contact: Andrew Morrow
June 1, 2017                                                     Phone: 404-555-1212
                                                                          Your email:amorrow@joinreal.com


Andrew Morrow Joins Real To Help Atlanta Teachers Find Homes

Atlanta, GA — Andrew Morrow, a real estate agent and substitute teacher at Woodland Middle School, has joined Real, the fast-growing, technology-powered real estate brokerage, to help teachers find homes in Altanta's record high market.  

The median teacher salary in Atlanta is $53,884, according to Salary.com and the median home price is $192,000 according to RealtyTrac. 

Morrow, who loves teaching and is known for fun physics experiments like smashing pumpkins in the classroom, struggled to buy a home on a teacher's salary and entered real estate to help other teachers and others find homes they both love and can afford. 

“I never desired great wealth as a teacher, but my dream of owning a home for my young family in my city and community seemed deserving. My difficult experience made me realized that other teachers and public servants are struggling to buy homes. That's why decided to dedicate my real estate career to help them,” Morrow said. 

Morrow chose Real over other brokers to take advantage of its unique technology and support for flexible work. While other brokerages require office hours, Real’s “office” is a mobile app, so Morrow can help clients from anywhere on his own terms, a requirement for continuing his substitute teaching while practicing real estate. 

"When I decided to get my license for a secondary income, my life changed. I want to help every teacher in America buy a home and Real helps me deliver on that that purpose," Morrow said. 

“Andrew demonstrates the passion and dedication that motivates Real’s mission to help real estate agents reach their goals. We welcome Andrew to the team and look forward to helping him help Atlanta teachers find homes," said Tamir Poleg, co-founder and CEO of Real. 

For more information on Andrew Morrow, visit http://joinreal.com/andrew-morrow


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Distribution

There was a time when the best way to deliver a press release was through a distribution service like Businesswire, PRNewswire or PRWeb. While these services are still good at getting you distribution on Google News, in various RSS feeds and on deep links on local news sites (that humans rarely see), they are not typically a great way to reach an audience unless you're working with a well-known brand. And they are expensive. PRWeb starts at $99 per release just for distribution. 

Today, pitching your own release is where you'll see the biggest results. Suggestions on where to pitch are below: 

Your list
Your list can include former colleagues, local businesses, bureau of commerce, professional groups that serve the target audience.

Your social media
Facebook, Yelp, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram. Use a hashtag (like #atlantateachers) and don't be shy about asking your followers to share your story.

Reporters and bloggers
Reporters and bloggers use press releases primarily for story ideas and sources. Even if you don't get a "hit" right away, reaching out with a personal note and a press release to local real estate and business writers is a good way to make an introduction, and you'd be surprised how often they come back even months later to get a quote for a story. 

It's best to reach out to reporters you read - you can Tweet to them or email. If you also would like help generating a press list, reach out to support and we'll help you. 

Publishing Your Release

You can publish your release anywhere you like as long as you can generate a link to the release. I'm a fan of  PitchEngine because it gives you guidelines for formatting and rich media, and Medium is a good option as well. Both are free.  

Let us know
Be sure to contact Real support once you've published and we'll help spread the word to our community and thousands of followers.

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