Summer has been a busy time for Lead Galaxy, with an all-new look launched for TheMoveChannel.com’s listings, plus video support, but we kept one eye out for August’s Top of the Props release.
Why? Because it covered Bulgaria – and the last time that happened (in summer 2011), it sparked a debate across the internet about whether the country’s property market could be trusted.
So while the office heated up with activity, we braced ourselves for the warming up of the online controversy engine… and nothing happened. Bulgarian news outlets and the property media pounced on the chart as usual. Others contacted us for specific quotes about more subtle interpretations of the data.
Selected press coverage
Thailand “most popular in Asia” for property buyers – The Phuket Gazette
Olympic effort by Bulgaria – The Galloway Gazette
Bulgaria ranked 8th most popular property destination – Novinite
Bulgaria is in top most popular property destinations in the world in July – BulgarianProperties
Cyprus ranked in top 10 countries – Cyprus Property News
Florida dominates US overseas property investments – Property Guru
Florida dominates US overseas property investments – InvestmentandRealEstate
But it was only at the end of the month that we spotted the real area of controversy: not Bulgaria, but Cyprus.
Discussion began in earnest on one Cyprus property website.
“Cyprus rose by two places but note they were elevated by others dropping down,” said one user.
“Watch out for Syria or maybe [sic]Afghansitan in [sic]mext month’s table,” said another. “It is interesting also that Bulgaria is still placed above Cyprus!! Another country where dodgy practices were exposed a number of years back.”
You can’t please all of the people all the time. But you can get some of the people talking, some of the time.
One thing that can be tough for an international property portal is tracking its press coverage around the world. When your reach spans multiple countries, how can you keep an eye on all corners of the globe?
In the past, we’ve often been contacted by more far-flung publications, such as the South China Morning Post, for specific comment or tailored coverage. But that still doesn’t cover everything.
Of course, we monitor social networks to see TheMoveChannel.com’s flagship report making financial waves on Twitter:
Top of the Props: Buyers see bright side of Greek euro tragedy – Lauren Bessant (MoneyCorp)
We can see familiar European and UK faces continuing to rely on the chart for market insight as well. Some have a particular interest in the sector or country under discussion, e.g. Spanish property, but Top of the Props appears in general real estate articles too:
Spain still top destination for British house buyers looking abroad – Spanish Property Insight
The Global Property Hotspots of 2012 – Money Market UK
Spanish property “more popular than ever” – Viva Estates
Greece and Cyprus find favour with overseas buyers – Property Abroad
TheMoveChannel.com’s Property Inspector podcast also pricks up ears for those within hearing range. Across the channel in Spain, for example:
Why Is My House Not Selling? – Trader Online
Further afield, it takes bright colours to catch people’s eyes, with our At a Glance Germany infographic making a splash among trade professionals:
At a Glance: Germany – Robert Paul Sells
But sometimes, you need to think local to see your full impact on the international market. It wasn’t until we looked for ourselves in Bulgaria that we spotted ourselves…
България отново влезе в топ 10 на британските инвеститори в имоти – Darik Finance
Bulgaria is once again in the top 10 British property investors
… found in translation.
The phones didn’t stop ringing at Lead Galaxy last month, as an increasing number of people kept asking us for comments.
Whether it was for interpretation of our own data or reactions to other people’s, Lead Galaxy’s leading portal, TheMoveChannel.com, was quoted on everything from Egyptian demand to UK house prices.
It began, as always, with Top of the Props. Continuing March’s trend of PR-bombing other company’s press releases, the report (Investors March East for Easter) appeared in the background on sites ranging from currency experts to expat healthcare services.
Spain tipped to remain as “strong” foreign property market – HiFX
Overseas Medical Insurance: Spain and France have “strong property markets” – Expatriate Healthcare
Villas in Spain “will always prove popular with buyers” – Asure Holidays
Top of the Props also attracted the attention of Arabian Business, who requested specific analysis of the chart with respect to the Egypt and UAE property market.
Egypt sees surge in interest from Brit homebuyers – Arabian Business
From Egypt to South America, Brazil was the next topic on the board, with holiday homes specialists phoning up out of the blue to ask for a detailed rundown of the current trend in the country’s real estate.
Holiday homes trend in Brazilian property purchases – UV10
But people needed our advice in the UK too, calling us not to explain TheMoveChannel.com’s report but to ask us to explain everyone else’s.
House price surveys: What do you believe? – Fresh Start Living
What on earth was going with UK house prices? We were, of course, only too happy to comment…
March saw TheMoveChannel.com steal the limelight from other companies, as the portal’s reports crept up everywhere.
Familiar publications such as Overseas Property Professional continued to highlight the monthly Top of the Props report (Brazil breaks into top three), with the figures extrapolated for specific markets by Cyprus Property News and Bulgarian outlet Novinite:
Cyprus moves up three places in Top of the Props chart – Cyprus Property News
But what came as a surprise was TheMoveChannel.com’s repeated appearances on other sites. Not as part of a Lead Galaxy press release – but as part of another site’s press release. Mortgage broker Conti issued advice about buying property overseas last month, which was published by currency specialist HiFX. Suddenly, one paragraph from the end, up popped that month’s Top of the Props to provide some context for the data.
Inevitably, the piece was then picked up by other sectors, with insurance specialist Stride running the same piece of Conti advice, again featuring the mention of TheMoveChannel.com. The limelight was stolen yet again on a storage facility website soon after.
And then, this week, the same thing happened again on HiFX, as April’s Top of the Props (Investors march east for Easter) intruded upon a Thailand market report from BuyAssociation:
Whose limelight will we steal next?
February was the month when people sat up and listened to TheMoveChannel.com. The site’s inaugural podcast (Property Inspector: When Property Photos Go Wrong) was published at the end of the month and saw a significant response from the media as people heard the voices behind the portal for the first time.
The revealing examination of property listing photos was welcomed by the industry, with one Portuguese news portal highlighting the advice given to sellers, while other trade press enjoyed the humorous examples of bad photos. “Property Inspector: When property photos go wrong. TheMoveChannel.com. Hilarious example of how NOT to take a pic of a bedroom” tweeted Lynne Edwards (@LatestLynne), of Brighton’s Latest Homes Magazine.
Property Inspector: When Property Photos Go Wrong – Clip Imobilario
But the podcast caught the attention of national press, too, with the Guardian requesting more details on the terrible property photos discussed. In fact, we have it on a reliable source (well, our marketing team) that the podcast was the most-read press release that we have ever sent out.
Eyes were also opened by the second of TheMoveChannel.com’s infographics (Spain: At a Glance), which soon found an international audience:
Valencia is Top in Spain – Property Magazine
Infographic – Spain: At a Glance – Silobreaker
Regarded by a wide range of media as key market indicators, each report continued to be picked up by sites from About Property and OPP to more specific outlets focussing on Cape Verde property, currency and Tamworth.
Disneyland homes are investor targets – This Is Tamworth
Surge of interest in Cape Verde property – Fly to Let
Popular holiday destinations – Insure my Villa
Cape Verde breaks into overseas property top ten – About Property
Spain favourite property abroad destination – HiFX News
Cape Verde enters Top 10 – Cape Verde Property Portal
UK’s Cape Verde interests rockets at start of year – Overseas Property Professional
Indeed, people were so busy sitting up and listening to TheMoveChannel.com’s rankings that some people could still hear echoes from the previous month. At the beginning of February, Arabian Business contacted us for comments on the rise in demand for UAE property as shown in January’s Top of the Props. These comments then resounded so loudly that they bounced all the way back to the UK, where About Property heard them…
Bad press dents Brit interest in UAE property – Arabian Business
UAE slumps in popularity as property destination – About Property
… and the soundwaves came full circle.
Real estate marketing can involve a range of strategies, from social media and link building to SEO and paid campaigns. But one key weapon that all property portals have is the press release. It’s low-cost, it’s unique to your company and it can earn you a lot of exposure.
So what are the key steps to writing a good PR?
Choose a type
There are several types of press releases. It could be a company announcement, a company report, or a comment on another company’s announcement/report. (For the latter, skip straight to the “Comments” section.)
Make it unique
Your PR should automatically be something that only your company can produce. So if you’re producing a report, use a statistic that no one else has. That could be the number of enquiries on your site for a certain country’s property or the results of a survey conducted among your customers/clients. Either way, make it something both original and relevant.
Pick an eye-catching headline
Your headline needs to jump out at your reader. For example, “Investors go to Disney land” or “Bulgaria breaks back into top 10”.
If your PR is part of a series, identify it clearly. “Top of the Props: Bulgaria breaks back into top 10” will alert readers (and the media) that it follows on from a previous “Top of the Props” report – any website that carried your last PR will be more likely to feature it a second time.
Your headline should be memorable. Alliteration, pop culture references or puns can help, but you should also keep it short. Snappy headlines breed curiosity. Long-winded headlines prompt boredom. “Sales start to sag”? Yes. “Mixed results from housing market shows that sales may drop in 2011”? No.
Start with a strong lead sentence
Your lead sentence should sum up the key point of the article within 7-20 words. Anything over that will be too detailed and lose your reader’s attention. Anything below that isn’t detailed enough.
Consider the following examples:
“Cape Verde has catapulted back into the top 10 in the TheMoveChannel.com’s latest Top of the Props report.”
“London, known as a ‘world in one city’, remains one of the most sought-after and popular tourism destinations on earth attracting over 26 million visitors each year from across the globe.”
“It seems European ski resorts are no longer snowed under by the global economic downturn and are starting to show signs of recovery according to the first ever Ski Resort Property Index for Q2 2011 from Knight Frank, with prices in many resorts having now stabilised or in some cases seen small increases particularly across the French Alps.”
Your opening should also be clear about its intentions. If you don’t know what your PR is about, how will anyone else?
Embellish with your first paragraph
Your second sentence onwards should explain the first sentence in more detail. If Bulgaria has bounced back into the top 10, what is the top 10? Where has it bounced back from? And what does its bouncing mean for the rest of us?
If your company is announcing a new product or feature, who is it for? When does it come into effect?
Combine these two and you should have a simple, effective introduction to a PR that compels your audience to keep reading.
Take the example from above, add a few tweaks, and you get this:
“European ski resorts are no longer snowed under by the global economic downturn, according to Knight Frank’s first ever Ski Resort Property Index.
The report, which analyses the second quarter of 2011, shows that ski resorts across the continent are starting to show signs of recovery, with prices in the French Alps increasing by 5 per cent.”
Add the small details
The rest of your press release should flesh out the less important details. Sample sizes for surveys and other noteworthy facts and figures are the name of the game here – perhaps a detailed breakdown of your statistics, or at least an abridged list of key highlights.
Keep this information focussed towards your target audience – who is reading your press release? What will they be interested in? How do you want to portray your company? If you’re positioning yourself as an expert in a property sector (for example, if you’ve just launched a new service or portal), traffic figures for your existing sites or data about your client base that will demonstrate your experience can both highlight your standing in the industry.
End with a quote
This is one of the most important parts of the press release. Your quote should be from a senior figure, typically a Managing Director or CEO, or someone else closely related to the subject of the release. It could be a client, if they are relevant and keen for extra publicity.
Whoever speaks, they must appear knowledgeable and informed. If you are providing a comment on another company’s press release, then you must appear even more knowledgeable than they are – as well as every other company also releasing a comment. Have them recap the main thrust of the previous announcement before offering a new insight or observation of their own.
Remember: Your aim is for these comments to be used as a soundbite by media outlets and other portals, so they need to be snappy as well as interesting.
Stats and facts are good. Diagrams are better. Insert your tables (or charts) at the end of the release to prevent distracting the reader, or at regular gaps to illustrate what is being announced. And if your figures are really fascinating, don’t be afraid to make them the sole focus of the report and release an infographic.
If you don’t link back to your own site, no one else will. Insert links to your company when your brand name is mentioned – or include links to other relevant pages on the site. Every trackback you receive from a press release on another site helps with your SEOS. For that reason, don’t be afraid to chase up other sites and ask for the links to be included.
Check your spelling
This may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many bad press releases are sent. You want to appear professional and authoritative – prove to the world that you know how to use spelling and grammar. If you look and sound professional, it can make all the difference for potential customers and clients.
Provide a point of contact
Finally, include contact details (and a brief, if relevant, company history) at the end of the release. Let people know that you can offer more information or a detailed quote and people will ask for follow-up interviews. With every request for further comment comes a networking opportunity. With every networking opportunity comes more authority. And with more authority comes an even wider audience for your press releases.
If January is a month for fresh starts and renewed enthusiasm, TheMoveChannel.com was certainly looking good at the start of 2012.
A lot of that came down to our first ever infographic, which took the statistics for the previous year and turned it into a handy overview of the French property market.
Published on Thursday 12th January, the picture swiftly caught the eye of eager property sites around the world, from A Place in the Sun to Property Wire…
New property search analysis shows South of France is most popular – Property Wire
France’s most popular destinations named – A Place in the Sun
Southern France Favored By Property Buyers – NuWire Investor
South of France Is Most Popular According To Property Search – NovRealty
New property search analysis shows South of France is most popular – Housing Today
Infographic Illustrates Revealing Information about French Real Estate – Realty Biz News
It also made the jump to developer websites, with France’s Terresens Properties featuring the infographic on their company blog:
New property search analysis shows South of France is most popular – Terresens
From there, it jumped to their Facebook page and, eventually, wound up on the personal website of one Diarmaid Condon, an independent overseas property consultant.
Most popular areas in France 2011 – Diarmaid Condon
With this new monthly report well-received by the media, property professionals and individuals alike, January 2012 was looking very good indeed.
The month’s appearance continued to improve with the typically wide circle of onlookers surrounding the monthly Top of the Props report. Once again, different property markets chose to zoom in on different stats, with Cyprus and Bulgarian media outlets in particular taking a close look at the implications for their own country’s property:
The popularity of Cyprus as a destination for overseas property investors slipped five places in the December – Balkans.com
Cyprus slips to number 14 in Top of the Props chart – Cyprus Property News
Bulgaria still in top ten on Britons’ property map – Novinite.com
With enquiries flooding in from Trinity Mirror and the infographic finding new admirers each week, we spent the end of January planning our next chart, taking a glance at Spain.
If in two weeks’ time February looks half as good as last month did, 2012 is set to be a very colourful year…
December was a strong month for TheMoveChannel.com as news of America’s surge in popularity with property buyers generated a wave of attention from property professionals. The announcement, published on Wednesday 7th December, was still causing ripples in January, as Lead Galaxy received a surprise phone call.
At first, the usual strong media response met the press release (Top of the Props: US Ends Spain’s Property Reign). Recognised by news sites in Russia and in the UK as an established indicator of market trends, the monthly report was covered by the Overseas Property Professional and continued to be used by Cyprus media to track the overseas popularity of its property.
US ends Spain’s property reign – My Introducer.com
US surges ahead of Spain as top overseas destination for Brits – OPP.org.uk
US surges ahead of Spain as top overseas destination – 1-Property.ru
Cyprus’ popularity slips two places – Cyprus Property News
As TheMoveChannel.com’s influence spread, the Top of the Props report broke outside of the industry press to be featured in Tamworth’s local media outlet:
The reign of Spain’s over as the USA goes to top – This is Tamworth
TheMoveChannel.com’s follow-up Investment Watch report also highlighted the growing popularity of America’s real estate, particularly in Michigan (Investment Watch: It’s a Wonderful Life in Michigan).
This report was announced on Wednesday 21st December, while many property websites had shut shop for Christmas. But on Monday 9th January, with the presses starting back up again for the New Year, TheMoveChannel.com found its sphere of influence spreading even further than Tamworth as we received a surprise phone call about Michigan’s property market from the South China Morning Post.
This month, TheMoveChannel.com will be introducing several new regular reports. With the first in a series of infographics already making a splash, we’ll be hoping for a few more surprise phone calls next month.
November was a month of change, with America and Lead Galaxy both on the move.
America made a move upwards in TheMoveChannel.com’s Top of the Props monthly report, which surprised industry professionals across the internet.
“US property is now the second most wanted from overseas buyers according to web portal TheMoveChannel… Other shocks included Cyprus and Thailand returning to the top ten,” wrote OPP.
Following October’s Germany-themed press release, TheMoveChannel.com’s authority continued to be recognised as a market indicator, with About Property, My Introducer and others acknowledging America’s ascendance.
America second choice for overseas buyers – MyIntroducer.com
US overtakes France in international property searches – PropertyCommunity.com
America leapfrogs France to become surprise second choice for buyers – AboutProperty.co.uk
America’s activity was only matched by the portal itself, which revealed a new deal with Zoopla. The arrangement, which saw the property site’s UK listings added to the overseas portal, brought together two established names in the online real estate world.
Announced by Property Portal Watch, the agreement attracted the attention of many onlookers, while making our portal sound like a superhero:
TheMoveChannel.com joins forces with Zoopla – PropertyPortalWatch.com
TheMoveChannel.com joins forces with Zoopla – MidasPropertyConsultants.co.uk
TheMoveChannel.com adds Zoopla – MyIntroducer.com
TheMoveChannel.com adds Zoopla UK property – IBTimes.com
Zoopla adds its UK listings to TheMoveChannel.com – OPP.org.uk
As November continued, Property Portal Watch pounced on TheMoveChannel.com’s every move, spreading the word at the end of the month that the Lead Galaxy portal had joined Twitter:
The Move Channel tweets – PropertyPortalWatch.com
With the online real estate site monitoring TheMoveChannel.com increasingly closely, November proved that as Lead Galaxy’s portals continue to grow, so too does their press coverage.
October was another strong month for Lead Galaxy portals, as TheMoveChannel.com’s Top of the Props report (“Germany earns buyers’ trust”) continued to be regarded as an authoritative indicator of global property market trends.
Amid eurozone confusion and reports about EU debt, TheMoveChannel.com’s statistics earned media trust as the press returned to reliable sources for real estate information. In addition to familiar industry outlets, such as Property Community, financial publications and buy-to-let specialists also featured the investment-focused report.
Top of the Props: Germany earns buyers’ trust – International Business Times
Germany gains buyers’ trust – My Introducer
Germany seeing an increase in investors – A Place in the Sun
Germany sees more interest from overseas property buyers – Property Community
The respectability of TheMoveChannel.com’s report was further boosted by a detailed piece in The Telegraph, which listed the top 20 cheapest places to retire around the world. Germany’s high ranking in the Top of the Props led to the inclusion of Berlin in the list, presenting the Lead Galaxy portal as an accurate barometer of property investment as well as a leading site for buying real estate.
Top 20 cheapest places to retire – The Telegraph