Public Relations has evolved in the digital age but, at times, old school tactics such as press releases are one of the best avenues to take when announcing real estate transactions. In a never-ending news cycle with countless channels of social and traditional media online, PR professionals have to possess another skill which can be absolutely critical – combating the rumor mill.
We plan every phase of a big announcement, from who is going to receive that announcement (and in which order) to what time we are going to hit the send button and make that first, second and third phone call.
When a published rumor disrupts that plan it can be frustrating, so it’s crucial to artfully dispel / confirm rumors, while placing your client in the position to make a large splash when they’re finally ready to announce their news.
Here are some key tips for preparing for potential rumors and still getting positive exposure once your client is ready to go public:
- Always tell the truth. Select clear and concise language that reflects that trust and provide statement(s)
- Regularly check-in with the business / client you are representing to draft statements that reflect the latest truth
- You can’t use the same statement over a period of months even though it’s already been approved. Projects evolve and things change quickly. Statement may have to be adapted each time you receive an inquiry.
- Know the power of being brief on the phone. Sometimes “no update” is enough.
- Reward the journalists who have been diligent in their follow-up. When ready, give them a heads up so they have time to write about the breaking news without offering an exclusive. Sometimes getting up at 5 AM will save you a few angry phone calls from journalists who feel spurned.
What makes working in real estate PR so exciting is the managing of timely, relevant and important issues: its relationship driven involving many different types of businesses and personalities (developers, construction workers, brokers, architects). Industry news is paid close attention to and can be announced at events. Construction updates are constantly in the news. It’s our job to make sure to stay on top of that news, be in constant contact with our clients and be proactive about crafting language that squashes rumors effectively and in a way that our clients can still garner the attention and respect they deserve for their projects and work.