5 Tips On How To Write Great Articles To Pitch To The Local Press

In the Real Estate and Mortgage industry there is a huge potential to get lots of free press coverage, ie FREE MARKETING, in your local media.

One of the ways to get your name in the newspaper without paying for advertising is to create valuable articles related to your business for the local media to cover.

Here are the top 5 Things you Need To Consider When Writing Articles:

1. What You Will Write About? Make sure your article covers news on a local level, that is relevant/valuable and timely for the community, and will appeal to your target market.

2. Why would the local news care? Your article will only get picked up if the local news thinks it’s newsworthy. For every idea you think of writing about, ask yourself…why will the press care? When you answer this question you must think from the presses and readers perspective. If your article is just about you, the truth is the press and community will probably  not care. But, if your article is about giving back to the community, your analysis of the local economy and industries that is something the press is more likely to care about.

If you want to figure out what the press cares about make sure you chose 3 or 5 select local media outlets and study what they include in the media as “news”. If your topic never gets covered, it’s probably because the press doesn’t care, so tweak your story a bit so it includes an angle the press is interested in, whether it’s on a new neighbourhood, charitable acts, demographics in the area or any other topic that gets picked up.

3. Who Will Back Up Your Story? Any good article has 3rd party validation – a quote from somebody that is not the story author, who can back up the story with a solid quote. Chose your “back up” person carefully. There is a chance the local news will call your contact, and ask for more information. Make sure you have chosen a good source, and that the person takes their press quote seriously. If you ask a random person for a statement and then the news calls on them to corraborate, and your contact doesn’t remember saying his quote, or can’t explain it, or says that you just told him to say it, you will not only not get press coverage, you will probably never get any press coverage from that new source again.

4. When did your event/insight/analysis happen? Content that is timely is very important to the press, so make sure your article pitch has relevance NOW – whether it’s something that’s launching soon, or just passed. If you wait a week or more after an event to send it to the press you are probably too late. They want new, fresh, content. Not “old news”!

5. Where does your article have the most relevance geographically? Local news cares about what’s happening locally. If you are thinking of re-using your companies national press release you need to add a local context to increase your chances of getting picked up. For example, if the new housing stats have just been released and you want to turn this into an article, you need to add a few paragraphs explaining how this news is relevant or different from what’s happening in your local area. Add some analysis, a quote from yourself, a supporting statement from another person (your “back up” source) and you’ve already added a local context and made your companies national housing information into local news!

Another thing to keep in mind is that an article is NOT a sales pitch. If you want to talk about yourself and how great your sales were, this is not the place. Your local press is looking for “news”. All the content in your article, and your title need to indicate that your story is actual news.

Some example of good article topics are:

  • Who’s buying: Local Real Estate Market Supported by First Time Homeowners and Retired Downsizers
  • 2011 Local Real Estate Trends
  • Rising Rates To Have Largest Affect  On Seniors and First Time Buyers in XXXX Town Name
  • XXXX Charitable Foundation Receives $200,000 Donation From XYZ Real Estate & Mortgage Company
  • Local Agents To Build New House In 24 Hours For Charity

After you’ve carefully considered the what, when, why, where, who of your article write out a first draft, edit it carefully, and have another person proof it. You want to make sure that your article sounds good, reads well, will interest your target market, and represents you well. You also want to make sure that you are taking the necessary precautions and spending the time it takes to make a great article to pitch to the media. You can count on about 10 hours to brainstorm, write, proof and edit.

That may seem like a long time….but you will get your name in the paper, i.e. FREE ADVERTISING, in return for your time.

What are your thoughts – have you tried to pitch your articles to the press? How did it turn out? Did your story ever get picked up?

If you’re worried that the press won’t pick up your story, don’t worry – that’s our next blog post!