How to write a commercial real estate pr pitch

Successful pitching in commercial real estate public relations is a function of two fundamental things: creating value and telling a story. We all appreciate useful information and get drawn into a compelling storyline. Journalists scan for these two components when they receive your pitch. This only takes a few seconds, and if you haven’t communicated these effectively upfront, it’s game over.

In launching or growing your business, given the substantial cost of paid media (conventional advertising), getting earned media (public relations) is crucial to your ability to scale while keeping your marketing budget manageable.

Let’s go over what’s most valuable to journalists and their audiences and how to communicate your insights and story in a way that drives results.

What journalists and the audience want to know

If you’ve communicated with a CRE journalist, you know they have clear expectations and standards regarding the types of stories they will consider. They’ll mince no words in expressing exactly how they feel about what you’re pitching — or you just won’t hear back.

So, what are journalists looking for?

Stories that create value for their audience, i.e., provide insights, inspiration, and takeaways (actionable advice).

Here are some of the high-value topics of interest in commercial real estate media:

  • Statistics (primary research)
  • Market outlooks/projections
  • New technologies and business models
  • Mergers and acquisitions
  • Hiring announcements
  • Transactional news
  • Product releases
  • Market trends
  • Capital raises

When considering a potential story, ask: “What could a reader do with this information?”

If it can help them identify opportunities in the marketplace, avoid risk, get inspired, or anything else fruitful, you likely have something worth sharing with the media and audience. If you’re unsure if the story idea is viable but have a relationship with a journalist, you can leverage that connection to gather feedback on your idea. The journalist may even appreciate you asking for their thoughts and giving them first access to the story.

Before you send a pitch, know the journalist’s interests and what beat they cover; only pitch stories relevant to their publication and followers. With most publications’ websites, you’ll find a search bar where you can punch in a journalist’s name and browse all the articles they’ve written — Google search also works.

Gathering the facts and how to present them

Once you have a viable angle in mind, you need to present it in a manner that immediately captures the attention of journalists.

Get to the heart of the matter right away by addressing the FACTS. Opinions and feelings have a place in an authentic story, but what’s most critical are the factual details — the subjective is the icing on the cake of truth and reason.

Hook the journalist with a headline and first paragraph that address the 5Ws:

  • Who:
    • is involved (stakeholder organizations and individuals)?
    • is it relevant to or would be interested?
    • does it impact or benefit?
  • What:
    • is being announced?
    • is the past or planned outcome?
    • are the details?
  • When:
    • did or will it start/finish?
    • was the idea conceived?
    • will the impact be felt?
  • Where:
    • is it happening?
    • did it start or originate?
    • will it have an influence?
  • Why:
    • is it important to the audience?
    • will it support the industry/consumers/society?
    • did the company or individual launch this initiative?
    • are the stakeholders excited about it?

Start with a blank document and set up bullets like these. Plan a discovery call with your team and any involved stakeholders and talk through these points until you feel confident you’ve gathered all the facts and context for the story. And to make it easy to prepare executive quotes to include in the release, record the meeting and pull from the conversation.

The result will be a substantive press release covering everything a journalist would want to know to make a quick decision to respond to your pitch and request an interview. This is how CREC starts the discovery process for every release — it works!

When sending out a pitch, you can either present it as a formal press release or write it up like a genuine email directly to the journalist. If your announcement is relevant nationally, you’ll want to prepare a press release and publish it to a leading newswire service (Cision). In addition to putting it on the wire, paste the copy of your press release into the footer of a friendly personal email and send it to the journalists you know who, based on your research, write about the subject.

For releases primarily of interest regionally, a personalized, informal email is ideal. Include all the facts and the story in the body of the email, preceded by a gentle, rapport-building introduction. Follow the details with a low-pressure call-to-action to request more information and schedule a conversation. It’s okay to make the tone softer and less journalistic than a traditional press release but stay objective.

Should you follow up by phone?

If you know you’re sending the pitch to a journalist that would care about the story, it’s acceptable to follow up with a phone call to check if they’ve received your email and can provide any feedback. If you already have a relationship with the journalist, you should certainly give them a ring — it helps build rapport and might save your email from the junk folder.

Telling a story and what not to do

Whatever you pitch and however you put it out there, it needs to be framed in a narrative. While the facts are the priority, the story puts the announcement in context and helps the reader relate. The storyline allows the audience to understand how things got to where they are and how the information fits into the broader framework of industry, society, and life.

Telling a story can sound challenging; however, it’s relatively straightforward in commercial real estate PR. Using the facts and story points you pulled together in the 5Ws exercise, you can assemble a narrative that commences with all the key facts.

Then, in the body of the release, elaborate on how the announcement developed, who was involved, what role they played, what outcome occurred (or will), and why it’s relevant to internal and external stakeholders (including industry and community). Reach out to CREC for examples of what this looks like.

Finally, let’s talk about what not to do in your pitch — these will save you:

  • Don’t be self-serving or promotional.
  • Report the facts and don’t use a persuasive style.
  • Take a journalistic tone.
  • Keep it in 3rd person — No ‘I/You/We.’
  • Avoid adjectives and adverbs, i.e., don’t dress it up.
  • Convey opinions and feelings in quotes from the executives (no more than 2-3).

Stories that give

Thinking like a journalist and anticipating readers’ interests will get your story out there. In commercial real estate, like most industries, what’s most interesting are stories that ‘Give.’ When you provide the audience with something that inspires, informs, or equips them to do something that leads to growth, journalists will quickly respond to your pitches and be happy to write articles that feature your company and executives.

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Commercial Real Estate Press Release

Join Kirky, CEO and Creative Director of Creative Real Estate Copy, as he shares 7 quick tips to help you get more out of your press release writing and PR efforts.

Share your press release tips and questions in the comments.

#PublicRelations #PressRelease #PRwriting #CommercialRealEstate


[00:00:00] Let’s talk about seven quick tips to improve the response rate and the ROI of your press releases:

Here’s #7: Always include a call-to-action. It can be something simple: “for more information visit:” or “to download our white paper:” or “to request the event details:”

You can also subtly weave in your CTA throughout your press release, without being too explicit and promotional.

[00:00:18]#6. Distribute directly to journalists, targeted journalists in your industry, and also on the newswire. This is going to get you maximum exposure, it’s going to put it in front of targeted journalists, media and your audience, and it’s also going to get you the SEO benefits by putting your press release all over the internet.

It’s going to generate traffic and a track record that your audience and your prospect group will see over time.

[00:00:39]#5. Optimize your press releases and your contributor articles for SEO. What this is going to do, it’s going to help ensure that your audience actually finds your press releases and that journalists, when they’re searching for this type of news, that it’ll show up, and that for users and journalists, it’ll be easier for them to read.

SEO optimization has two benefits: it’s not only the technical, practical benefit of generating more traffic, it’s also that it makes the material easier to consume. When you follow SEO principles, it makes your message clearer, it forces you to, or it prompts you to, make sure that your headings, your titles and that your body is well laid out and that it includes those keywords that immediately grab attention and make it really clear what your topic is about and what the significance is.

[00:01:16]#4. Avoid a promotional tone: keep it journalistic. Nobody wants to hear pitches, and this is true in media as well. It has to be about creating value and telling a story that your audience and that your industry is going to be interested in, and journalists are going to recognize that.

[00:01:29] #3. Focus on economic, social, regulatory, environmental insights. You got to show the context of what you’re talking about and why your message is important. Although it may be important to you that you hired a new staff member or that you’re expanding into a new market, the public is really not going to be that interested.

Somebody may pick up on that, but if you can tie in the relevance: why it’s important, what’s the reason for the growth, what will be the impact? How does it tie into the environment? Are there benefits? Will it help people? Will it help the local economy? So, keep those things in mind and don’t put all the attention on yourself.

[00:02:00] #2. Always address the 5Ws upfront, get those out of the way. Let the audience know What it is you’re talking about, Who it’s about, Where it’s at, When, and most importantly: the Why. So, get right to the important stuff and then address the details in the body of your press release.

[00:02:13]And #1. Utilize PR and writing specialists that know your industry and that understand what journalists and the audience are looking for, what language appeals to them, and how to deliver the results you’re looking for.

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How to Write a Compelling Press Release for the Real Estate Industry

The press release remains a relevant and useful tool in public relations campaigns for real estate industry firms. A well-written press release that appeals to journalists tells your company’s story and establishes credibility.

In this quick article, we’ll share our most salient tips to prepare or proof a top-notch press release for your real estate industry business.

Crafting a Compelling Angle

The core of your release is a captivating story that quickly informs the reader and sets the stage for your announcement.

You likely already have a topic or announcement in mind, so let’s consider how to evaluate and approach the subject for the most interest to editors, journalists, and readers.

Aspects/angles centered on your subject:

  • Social relevance-Impact on community
  • Environmental relevance
  • Economic impact
  • Inspirational startup story or case study
  • Innovation in process, operations, technology, design, recruiting, etc.

If you already have a topic in mind, consider what your announcement will mean for the community or industry and gear your subject matter to their interests.

Formatting Best Practices

Following best formatting practices helps your release get read and considered. For the real estate industry, in particular, it’s essential to customize any content we distribute to the tastes and preferences of our market and associated media outlets – it’s a sophisticated crowd.

Depending on how and whom you submit the release to, there may be specific formatting guidelines and specifications:

  • Cover all material angles, benefits, 5Ws, etc.
  • Single space between sentences and justify body text.
  • Times New Roman in 11 or 12-point font.
  • Use Oxford (serial) comma.
  • Journalistic and objective tone.
  • Avoid self-serving biases.
  • Limit promotional language.
  • Utilize third-person voice (no personal pronouns, e.g., ‘I’ or ‘you.’)
  • Small and concise paragraphs logically arranged.
  • Avoid clichés, slang, and colloquialisms.
  • Only include ‘about’ at end if details are not included in body of the press release.
  • Hire a professional public relations writer for efficient and reliable results.

Please click here for the CREC real estate press release template.

Writing an Attention-Grabbing Title and Subtitle

The press release title is an opportunity to capture attention and inform the potential reader of the purpose and relevance of your release. Your title also provides the basis for a click-worthy email pitch subject line.

Title/headline and subheading example:

San Diego-Based VC Firm Negotiates $175M Acquisition of Vacant Downtown Retail Development

Renovation Project to Promote Local Small Business Revenue and Employment Growth

If we break down our example here based on the 5Ws, we’ll see why it’s a compelling title and subheading combination:

  • Who: San Diego-based VC Firm
  • What: Negotiates High-Value Acquisition, Retail Development
  • When: Recency implied. Include month when material.
  • Where: San Diego Downtown
  • Why: Renovation to promote small business and job growth.

The title immediately conveys the contents and angle of the story and allows the reader to decide if it’s worth clicking on and reading. If you’re stumped on what to do for a title, create bullets as we did above for each of the 5Ws and use them as building blocks for your heading.

Capture Attention and Address the 5Ws Upfront

Once your prospect opens your email, takes in your title, and starts reading, they’ll want to get to the point right away.

Unlike a traditional article or essay, your introduction must provide the basic facts and why the matter is relevant for stakeholders. Don’t start with quotes or witty story-based introductions; these will annoy journalists focused on fact.

To draw in the reader most effectively, respect their intelligence and write for a professional and educated audience (this includes residential prospects). As you proof your press release, diligently eliminate all content that is not relevant to your topic.

Use a critical eye and analyze every statement to ensure that it is extremely concise, pertinent, and the meaning is clear. Keep your content bounce rate low by avoiding using culturally-specific language – sports references for instance – that will confuse and derail diverse readers.

Effectively Incorporate Quotes

Quotes are essential elements of demonstrating the personal nature of the release and telling the story through the eyes of stakeholders.

To craft insightful and relevant quotes for your release, take in all the content gathered from the teams involved, and look for statements that express the character of the firm’s or project’s leadership. Quotes are the only appropriate place in the press release to allow slang or vernacular language, though it should be edited to reflect best on your sources.

You have some leeway to copyedit quotes – provided the intent and substance remains the same – to make them more specific, purposeful, and connected to the narrative of your piece.

If you don’t have direct quotes, look for opportunities to rewrite or create new quotes that express the sentiments behind the project and support the premise in a novel and memorable way.

Alternatively, you can request quotes directly from the parties involved, including corporate staff, investors, public officials, consumers, and relevant industry experts that will lend substantial depth to the thread.

If needed, seek assistance with preparing an accompanying pitch for your press release that will impress journalists and acquire media opportunities.

Get it Out There

For the best results, work with professional writers and publicists that know your industry media and consumers.

Expert PR writing and distribution teams ensure the quality and efficacy of your public relations campaigns. Leverage the advice here to proof your press release, whether you write it in-house, or partner with marketing professionals.

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