Are you a home builder or agent trying to market and sell a new or resale home? Are you an interior designer or architect hoping to showcase your beautiful work? If so, tune in! We invited our talented friend Natalia Robert to share a few tips about working with a photographer.
Standing out in the real estate market these days can be tough, but having stellar professional photos for your listing is one sure-fire way to get buys to stop their scrolling. While each professional photographer works a bit differently, there are some things you can do to always make the process smooth and successful!
- Ask questions. This may seem obvious, but many folks make assumptions about how a photographer works, what’s included in the rates, and what style of photos will be delivered. Often, this can lead to frustrations when expectations aren’t met.
- Do you have a really tight timeline or very limited availability for the listing property?
- Do you want to make sure to get dusk photos so that the custom lighting in the backyard is shown off well?
- Do you always include a video tour with your listings and need the photographer to provide that as well?
All of these are examples of things that should be discussed with your photographer so that expectations are met and there’s no confusion along the way. Before working with a new photographer, be sure to ask as many questions as possible! Don’t be afraid to request a chat on the phone so that you can talk through any special requests, last minute questions, and just to get a feel for what type of person they are to work with. Be sure to request samples of their work online, and confirm that all your needs are included in their quote. If you’re in the process of finding a photographer that works well for you, you may want to take a few minutes to create a list of questions for each candidate so that you can make sure all your questions or concerns are addressed.
- Prepare the space for photos. It’s easy for us to lose sight of the bits of clutter that we have in our home, but photos will make all those bits of clutter stand out. To ensure getting photos that show the home in its best light, have a chat with the homeowners about decluttering the spaces as much as possible. It’s okay to hide things in closets for the photoshoot if it’s going to show off those beautiful kitchen countertops or the custom built-in shelving in a living room! Once the homeowner declutters, arrive at the shoot early to confirm that the spaces look clean and fresh. This is the ideal time to suggest any last minute changes to the homeowners – like hiding things in the closet. You may also want to consider bringing a few of your staging touches to any special listings that you want to showcase. Things like flowers, some clean place settings, a blanket thrown over the back of a couch, or a magazine open on the coffee table are all touches that make the home feel lived-in and welcoming.
- Keep the relationship going. Once you find a photographer that works well with your needs, don’t lose them! If you’re happy with the photos delivered, a quick note via text or email to let them know that is always greatly appreciated. If you were happy enough with the photos to refer them to other agents, please do! Working with the same photographer for your home listings can create a consistent expectation for your clients – they know they’ll have quality photos for their listing if they work with you. Also, working consistently with the same photographer creates a solid professional relationship, reinforcing a strong professional network that just adds value for your clients.
Finding quality professionals that reflect your business values can be really tough. When searching for a professional photographer for your listings, be sure to follow the three steps above to create lasting relationships. It all really comes down to open communication, both with other professionals and with your clients. Being open and honest from day one will ensure that all expectations are clear and, ultimately, met.
About Natalia Robert: Hey there, I’m Natalia! I’m a lifestyle photographer specializing in interiors, architecture, and branding for designers, publications, and unique properties worldwide. With a whole lot of wanderlust, I’m based in California but always looking for my next adventure! You can view my work and learn more about me a t http://nataliarobert.com, and follow my daily adventures on Instagram at @nataliarobertphoto.
9 Pitching Practices to Make You Shine in 2017
By April Harter Enriquez
I shivered from the bone-chilling air as I pushed through lobby doors just blocks from the White House last month. After traveling to the 13th floor, I found a coat rack and deposited my peacoat (which, as a Southern Californian, I enjoy wearing once every few years), poured a hot cup of coffee, then entered the flag-lined walls of the National Press Club ballroom for eight hours of advanced media training at the PR News 2016 Media Relations Conference.
We covered live video, prepping for media interviews, social media crisis communication and more. One of the highlights was a panel of journalists moderated by pitching expert Michael Smart. I found myself scribbling notes in my crisp, blush-colored journal.
To my delight, the key takeaway was nothing new: In order to build authentic relationships with the media, influencers and your consumers, be considerate, honest and resourceful while delivering content that means something to them.
Now that I’ve recovered from the jet lag and stale pretzels, I’ve transcribed the jottings from my now-tattered journal to this handy list, chock-full of tips for being a reliable publicist in 2017.
Show, don’t tell. This tip comes from PR News panelist and Slate Magazine host Rebecca Sheir. Sheir expressed the importance of illustrating what your product, service or people do. For instance, at WordPop we work with a nonprofit that helps women launch or grow their businesses. To illustrate this, we pitch stories about the colorful day-to-day lives of female entrepreneurs. Where are they from? How did they get here?
Get my name right. When you’re trying to build a relationship with a reporter or digital influencer, take the time to read what they’re writing about. If you’re certain your pitch or press release aligns with their beat and audience, then pitch. Acknowledge their work and for goodness sake, get their name right!
Don’t be a bad egg. PR News panelist and The Washington Post Express reporter Kristen Page-Kirby said she gets 90 to 100 emails per day. She noted that there are days when she spots a couple of bad pitches and is inclined to keep clicking the delete button out of frustration. She noted that many PR pros aren’t very good at pitching, which hurts the entire industry. That’s why spending time on quality pitches is essential.
Follow up. Sheir, Page-Kirby and fellow PR News panelist and Editor-in-Chief of Aviation Week John C. Anselmo all agreed that one email follow-up is appropriate. None prefer phone calls, which is consistent with the Cision State of the Media Report 2016 noting that 93 percent of reporters prefer email pitches, while about 2 percent prefer phone calls.
Get social. Most reporters do not want to be pitched on social media, however 73 percent of reporters do use social media for relationship building, according to the Cision State of the Media Report 2016. If it feels like an unsurmountable task to build relationships with hundreds or even dozens of reporters, start small. Panelist and veteran PR pro Michael Smart suggests spending 80 percent of your time on your top 20 percent of influencers.
Don’t be self-seeking. Don’t over-brand yourself or your company in a pitch. Mention your brand once, then focus on telling a story. Only use proper nouns when they are known (especially in a subject line), and try to avoid marketing terms like “product” and “market.”
Be colorful and concise. When pitching a reporter, use figurative and captive language in the subject line. Try to keep your message above the fold. Sheir noted that when using Outlook for email, she focuses on the content of the pitch that appears in the preview. The panelists agreed that a block of text is a bad idea when pitching. It’s better to break up the content into brief paragraphs and/or include bullets.
Provide supporting content. Although the panelists had varying preferences for how they like to receive digital content (video clips, audio clips, infographics and photos), they did agree that these resources are extremely helpful, especially in today’s visually-driven world. Visual content can be used on their news sites, and on social media where 62 percent of U.S. adults get their news today. If you have materials to provide, your best bet is to attach or embed low-res files with a link to high-res files. When pitching a TV spot, video files are especially valuable, particularly ones that go beyond the “talking head.”
Be relatable. When pitching a story to mainstream media, think about the reader. Meagan Phelan, executive director of the Science Press Package for the American Association of the Advancement of Science, said that her team creates infographics “no harder than a 5th grade level.” You or your client may be the leading expert in your field, but you must present your findings in such a way that people understand what you’re doing or offering.
April Harter Enriquez is the owner of WordPop Public Relations, a full-service public relations firm focused on female-led startups, homebuilders, wellness experts and professional-service organizations. Enriquez is the immediate past president of the San Diego Press Club and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
According to The 2016 State of Women-Owned Business Report commissioned by American Express OPEN, between 2007 and 2016, the number of women-owned firms increased by 45 percent, while the number of firms in general increased by only 9 percent.
WordPop is proud to be part of this statistic. I launched the firm in November 2011 with the intention of making PR less ambiguous and more accessible to business owners. Since then, our growing team of PR and social media consultants has helped organizations of all sizes, from nationally recognized homebuilders to female-led startups, healthcare providers and professional-service organizations.
We’re proud to provide PR and social media services to champions of smart, healthy and happy living. Our services have resulted in TV, print and digital media placements, boosting our clients’ credibility, customer acquisition and community relations goals.
In the past two years, we’ve expanded our firm across the southland, serving clients in San Diego, Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties.
We thank our clients and are excited to continue positioning them as the newsmakers and industry leaders they are. We also applaud the tireless efforts of the many media colleagues we’ve worked with on stories or as active members of media organizations.
Thank you. Here’s to many more years of collaboration and success!
P.S. – If you haven’t claimed your celebratory WordPop-corn, visit our Facebook page for details.
WordPop’s founder April Harter Enriquez spoke with USA Today about investing in yourself as an entrepreneur. April’s tip? Attend an out-of-town conference at least once a year to gain new skills and connections that will benefit you and your clients. Scroll below to read a clip from the article.
Want to boost the bottom line? Invest in yourself
Tamara E. Holmes, Special to USA TODAY 1:29 p.m. EDT May 2, 2016
Instead of using hours worked as a barometer for success, small-business owners should invest in themselves and their businesses will benefit, says entrepreneur and best-selling author Tony Robbins. “If you improve yourself, your skill, your ability, your talent, you’re going to be able to do things nobody else can do,” Robbins says.
Attend out-of-town conferences
Robbins’ message rings true for April Harter-Enriquez, owner of San Diego-based public relations firm WordPop Public Relations. “It’s easy to keep recycling the same ideas, but as a business owner, you need to do more,” she says. She attends one out-of-town conference per year. The $1,500 she might spend on travel fees is well worth the knowledge she comes away with, as well as the valuable connections, she says. For example, a contact she met at a PR boot camp in Washington led to new media opportunities for her clients.
By Julia McCann, PR Consultant, WordPop Public Relations
For the past 10+ years, I’ve been in the PR industry and a yoga practitioner but it wasn’t until a year ago that I also became a yoga teacher. Balancing the schedule of a PR practitioner and yoga teacher got me to thinking…what do the two have in common. As it turns out, it’s quite a lot! Here are 8 PR skills that can be developed and honed through the practice of yoga.
- Discipline and enthusiasm – In yoga, the concept is called “tapas.” It’s described as a fiery enthusiasm or passion for what you do. By strengthening your core, you can tap into your innate sense of discipline that helps you get things done in your busy professional life. As a PR pro, you have to be so passionate about what you’re pitching that you can convince a journalist that their readers or viewers will be just as enthusiastic about the topic.
- Persistence – When I wanted to be able to do a headstand in the middle of the room (without a wall to save me from toppling over), one of my teachers suggested I practice every single day. I took his advice and in about a month, I was confidently standing upside down in the middle of a room full of yogis. PR can take similar persistence – often in the form of follow-up. Never underestimate the power of follow up!
- Cultivating a Support System – In yoga, it’s called the “kula” or community. If you’re used to practicing yoga in the comfort of your own home, try practicing in community and see how it can positively affect your practice. Additionally, yoga props like blocks and bolsters can help you to achieve poses in proper alignment that you might not be able to achieve yet due to your level of strength or flexibility, and these supports can be a vital asset to your practice. The same goes for PR. I once faced a tough PR problem but I luckily have a tight-knit group of brilliant PR minds to go to as a resource. They helped me to brainstorm solutions that worked.
- Flexibility – As a yoga teacher, I have to be not only physically flexible but also mentally flexible when it comes to class planning. Because I’m naturally on the more rigid end of the spectrum (I like things to go as planned), I manage this by giving myself a plan B, and sometimes a plan C. If I’m planning to teach a mellow, meditative class but students come in with high-energy, ready for a vigorous workout, I need to summon my flexibility and flip to another class in my notebook that meets the students’ needs. I also throw extra poses into my class plan in case the class goes by more quickly than anticipated. As a PR pro, there is such great need for flexibility and the ability to problem-solve. I apply the same flexibility principles in my day job – having a plan B (and maybe plan C) ahead of time. For example, if we miss a deadline, can we turn the information we’ve gathered into a blog post or tweak the subject matter and re-pitch it?
- Fostering a goal-oriented attitude and developing key messages – I almost always start yoga class by having students turn inward – closing the eyes, connecting to their breath and setting an intention for their practice. I introduce a theme for each class, choosing my words carefully and reinforcing the theme throughout class. It’s important not to forget this critical step at the outset of any PR task. Sometimes we learn about an initiative later than we’d like and we’re working a mile a minute to catch up. But it’s important to take a step back and identify the reason behind the initiative – whether it’s a press release or an event. By setting clear goals and taking the time to identify what you want to say, how you want to say it, and why, you can better determine whether that initiative was a success.
- Gaining inspiration from the primary texts – In yoga, Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras are a series of 198 sutras or aphorisms that form the foundation of our modern yoga practice. One of the first is “yogaś-citta-vṛtti-nirodhaḥ,” meaning that yoga is for quieting the churning of the mind. In the PR world, if you’re having a hectic day, you can find some clarity by taking a moment to close the eyes and breathe. Breathe in for four counts, hold for four counts, and breathe out for four counts. Repeat a few times and allow yourself to reset. Not only can PR all stars benefit from the primary texts of yoga but they should also be looking to their own primary texts. The AP Stylebook, Strunk & White’s The Elements of Style and Crystallizing Public Opinion by Edward L. Bernays are all good choices.
- Detachment from ego – As a yogi, one has to be able to detach themselves from their sense of pride. It’s not about competing with the people around you or comparing your body today to the way it was yesterday. It’s about accepting yourself as you are in the moment. As a PR pro, it can sometimes feel like your pitches are getting sucked into a black hole. But that’s why follow-up is vitally important. I’ve heard journalists say over and over how busy they are and to check back in with them. Even if you have a great pitch, it might be skipped over because the journalist doesn’t know you or they’re just extra busy that day. So detach from your sense of ego. As long as you are sending relevant pitches to the right people, be persistent and don’t let a lack of response get you down.
- Taking time to connect – I make an effort to speak with every person before I start class – especially to find out whether they have any injuries and if they’ve practiced yoga before. For PR pros, this means knowing the journalists who are interested in covering your clients’ industry, understanding what they write about, researching what’s going on in the industry – and making connections between what’s going on in the industry and what’s going on in the world. Take time to get to know these journalists – even when you don’t have a story to pitch or by asking them what they’re working on. This will help you to cut through a journalist’s cluttered inbox.
April Harter Enriquez, Founder and Lead Publicist at WordPop Public Relations, has been elected President of San Diego Press Club for the 2016 term.
San Diego Press Club is one of the largest organizations of its kind with nearly 400 members including journalists and communications professionals. Throughout the year, the organization offers social and professional development opportunities, promotes integrity and ethics, and encourages collaboration between members.
Harter Enriquez has been on the San Diego Press Club Board of Directors for more than five years. Her duties include leading the club in its forty-second year, organizing and facilitating events, driving club membership and participation, and fostering connections among members.
The organization’s flagship event, the Excellence in Journalism Awards, is held each October and celebrates the best of San Diego journalism. Harter Enriquez was a second place winner for a bylined article in San Diego Metropolitan magazine.
To learn more about San Diego Press Club, visit sdpressclub.org. To contact April, email email@example.com.