Press and media relations are not just for household names when it comes to setting yourself up for business success. Small businesses like local independent mortgage brokers can also be featured on the local media and reap the benefits of increased publicity and notoriety for your business. In today’s diverse media landscape, from print to television and social media, if you present a compelling story to local journalists, your broker shop may very well land media coverage that will garner the attention and capture the interest of potential home buyers in your community.
It is also important to mention that from a business perspective, effectively strategizing how to get featured in local media could give your business thousands of dollars of exposure, making the potential return on investment a key growth factor for your broker shop. While pitching local media outlets is almost always of little to no cost, many small businesses may still want to utilize affordable press release distribution services in order to guarantee media coverage. There are many services brokers could consider when distributing a press release like Business Wire, which will give you the opportunity to target specific markets you would like your information presented to.
Whether you’re looking to raise your business’s public presence or hoping to get the word out about a new loan product or service, media coverage is one of the best ways to get your company noticed. Unfortunately though, obtaining press coverage isn’t a simple matter of firing off pitches and hoping for the best. Like anything, successful media publicity is the result of hard work and careful planning. Let’s dive into the six steps to get local press coverage.
1. Clear Positioning & Messaging
What is your brand as a mortgage broker in your local community truly known for and how well you communicate that message to your core audiences. The public should be aware of what your level of expertise as a local mortgage broker means and how you meet consumer needs. You should be able to quickly and efficiently tell potential homeowners and the media why your company matters and why you’re different.
Every touch point a media professional or potential homebuyer has with your brand or social media will shape their view of your business. It’s critical that each of those touchpoints send the same message and clear position on how you will produce the best rates and lowest fees. When you create a clear brand message it ensures your company is organized in a manner that is both proficient but also promotes a level of expertise . This gets everyone moving in the same direction, telling the same story and creating consistent story consumers and local media alike.
2. Create a Media Relations Plan
A large portion of your success will be determined by how effectively your broker shop adjusts to the media’s current landscape needs to “always be relevant”. This can be tougher for smaller companies without a designated team member to handle media calls, but it’s really important that when opportunities come your way, your team responds quickly. In many cases even a short delay can result in a missed opportunity for your brand to develop its position as a thought leader within your local community. This is way always having a media relations plan at the ready is vital for any independent mortgage broker
During the planning of your media outreach, consider how you will go about approaching the challenge of working toward your goals as a mortgage broker. Strategies here include methods of communication whether traditional or social media, messages conveyed, and other activities related to reaching your goal.
3. Produce Engaging Content
Creating unique, well-written content can not only position your brand as a thought leader, but it can also show the media that you love to share free expertise and establish yourself as a housing expert who has their finger on the pulse of industry trends. Engaging content, in general, means that your content is appealing to the eye of the audience; it interests them and grasps their attention and makes them want to know more about your brand after looking at your content. This in turn should attract the attention of local media who can in many cases leverage your content for your brand in the process.
Local media such as television and newspaper outlets are good about distributing their content on Facebook and Twitter. When you see a story relating to the housing market or mortgages, join in on the discussion in a professional and informative manner. Don’t use these opportunities for pure self-promotion – be sure to add value to the conversation with additional resources and insights which in the process could get the attention of the media staff that monitors the channel and could provide an opportunity for a follow-up story based on your knowledge and experience.
4. Build Productive and Beneficial Relationships
Many local news reporters and producers are often overlooked by business owners in any industry looking for exposure in nationally known publications or on widely viewed programs. For small businesses, such as the local independent mortgage broker, it is not wise to give such individuals the proverbial cold shoulder. Local media professionals should be the first resource any broker seeks when trying to communicate their story.
When you get your chance to contribute, be sure to reach out and introduce yourself and how you can elaborate on a topic impacting the housing industry within your local market. Be sure to Exchange contact info. Inform them of the range of your expertise. Finally, make sure they know that you regularly help the media and ask them to call on you whenever they have a new assignment to fulfill.
5. Craft Your Pitch
When you’re trying to position yourself in front of the media, brainstorm some story ideas. Do some planning now and think about the things your customers are most interested in throughout the year. Go to the media outlet’s website and search for previous stories. If you don’t see a feature, it may be a great idea to bring to their attention.
Most often, your email pitch will serve to introduce yourself, your business, and your expertise to local media outlets. It should concisely describe why they should be interested in your expertise as a housing expert and how to get more information.
Here are the four elements every pitch should include:
- Personalize your greeting: A pitch should be addressed directly to your relevant contact, such as a journalist who covers the housing market in your area.
- Eye-catching subject line: Pitches that are sent via email must include an intriguing subject line. It should not only tell the recipient what the email is about but also make them want to open it to learn more by answering why they should care.
- Answer the 4 W’s: This should be tailored specifically to each journalist by answering the following questions: 1) Why should the recipient (and their audience) be interested?, 2) What are the key points?, 3) Why is this happening, and 4) Where can they get more information?
Before sending your email, make sure to check for any spelling and grammatical errors. It’s easy to make typos, and these can quickly damage your professional appearance and lead to your story not being covered.
Be sure to check out some downloadable templates of different pitch email formats which can be found here.
6. Quickly Respond to Members of the Media
Hopefully, you will hear back after sending your pitch and prospective journalists will be interested in telling your story as a local housing expert. When this happens, reply to their inquiry in a quick and efficient fashion so as to lose a potential new business relationship. Next, identify what they want to discuss, and practice for an interview if they are interested in hearing your insights.
Members of the media often have a specific angle they want to approach any story and will be looking for answers to a certain series of questions. Try to get this information upfront so you can be prepared when they call or email and protect yourself from being blindsided. Finally, remember that when it comes time for the interview or to respond to a media inquiry, journalists often have a very limited amount of time to collect the information they need for their byline, so make sure your answers are insightful but concise.
Be Proactive and Have a Plan
Learning how to get a story on the local news is a worthwhile investment of your time that can bring increased exposure to your expertise as a local independent mortgage broker. Greater brand awareness and publicity aren’t going to happen on their own, however. The competition is fierce especially from competitors in the retail channel who often have limitless marketing and public relations budgets that flood the market. Consistent planning, engaging concepts, and disciplined media outreach efforts are what it’s going to take to get you featured in local media and highlight just some of the great work mortgage brokers are doing for consumers across the country.