Writing about Real Estate for a Local Publication
REALTOR® SUCCESS CASE STUDY
If you’re a REALTOR® with a way with words, a great way to establish yourself as an authority in your marketplace is to write for a local publication. That publication can be an established print daily, a well-trafficked local website, a neighborhood newsletter or maybe even your own blog. AAR interviewed three REALTORS® who have made a local name for themselves with their real estate insights.
REALTOR® SUCCESS CASE STUDY
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Ray Pugel, CRB, CRS, GRI
Designated Broker | Coldwell Banker Bishop Realty | Pine
Ray Pugel got his break over dinner with the publisher of the Payson Roundup. “He said, ‘Why don’t you write a real estate article for the local paper?’” remembers Pugel. “I told him, ‘You’ve got to be kidding. Writing was my least favorite part of college.’ But 180 articles later, it seems to be working.”
“I never thought I could come up with that many ideas,” Pugel says. “But the government seems to supply endless ideas with all of their rules and regulations.” Pugel’s first article for the Payson Roundup was on the real estate transfer tax back in April 2008. His favorite article, “Noting Historical Milestones in the Real Estate Industry,” includes milestones both national (“1913 — The National Real Estate Exchange [later to become the National Association of REALTORS®] adopts the first Code of Ethics.”) and local (“1958 — The Beeline Highway is paved, making the trip to a vacation home much easier.”) His most controversial piece was “Is Payson too Gray?” “I think I can write about that because I’ve got gray hair,” he laughs.
Pugel acknowledges that it’s hard to track how his writings have affected his business: “When I introduce myself, people say, ‘Oh, I read your articles.’ Or they recognize me from my picture with the articles.” One ancillary benefit is how much he has learned from the research he does; he usually puts in one to three hours of research per story. “If you’re in print, you’re the expert,” notes Pugel. “But I don’t consider myself the expert. There’s too much to learn.”
Mary Monday, CRS, GRI
Associate Broker | RE/MAX Peak Properties | Flagstaff
Looking for a way to break into your local publication? Sometimes you just have to ask. “I have always been an avid reader of our local paper and thought that there was a need for content from a real estate perspective,” says Mary Monday. “In July 2002, I approached the editor of theArizona Daily Sun’s business page and offered to write a monthly column for the paper. The young man who was then in charge of the business section was more than happy to accept my offer.”
In her 10 years writing for the paper, Monday has often used her real experiences with real estate transactions as fodder for her articles. “I have been in this business for a long time and have always enjoyed helping people understand the process,” she says. “I try to write my articles to provide some bit of information that an individual can use when they enter into a real estate transaction.” Monday also works hard to give her articles a Northern Arizona slant, referencing local lenders, titles companies and other affiliates and talking about neighborhood issues. One of her more popular articles, “Keeping Your Home’s Value at Top of the Market”, called attention to neglected homes in the city in the wake of the foreclosure crisis.
“Of course, getting my name out there in front of the public is another purpose,” Monday acknowledges. “I am often approached by people who comment that they read my column. The feedback has always been positive.”
Agent | Nextage Southwest Premier Realty | Prescott
Gary Edelbrock edits a real-estate column for PrescottEnews.com, an online-only publication in Prescott. When the editor of the site approached him with the opportunity three years ago, he was hesitant to commit to a weekly article and asked if he could have guest writers. She agreed. Now he asks industry representatives—other agents, new home developers, lenders and beyond—to contribute their expertise to the column.
“The county assessor did a great piece explaining the affidavit of value and the process for appealing your tax bill,” reports Edelbrock. “She even put in her phone number.” Articles about financing are popular, and a recent post from local agent and regular contributor Nancy Briggs (“Top Ten Questions to Ask When Selling a House”) got a good response.
Edelbrock estimates that the site receives about 1,000 readers per week, and the articles net him plenty of calls from folks with real estate questions. “Have I gotten leads from the articles? Yes. Have I gotten great ones? Well…” says Edelbrock with a smile. “But it’s fun.”
The bottom line? Writing for your local publication can raise your profile in the community and increase your own knowledge base. But if you’re looking for a quick injection of new clients, you may be disappointed. You’ll still need to do the hard work of converting those with real estate questions into real estate clients.