P.T. Barnum is quoted as saying “There’s no such thing as bad publicity” – And, perhaps that was once true back in the 1800s. But today, public opinion can make or break your business and it’s more important than ever to know not only how to promote your business but also how to navigate public relations and your online rental business reputation.
How to build, maintain, and repair a good business reputation
Your business identity as seen by your potential tenants and clients can be affected by three major elements: publicity, public relations, and reputation management. Your goals are to:
- Get Seen — Publicity
- Be Known — Public Relations
- Be Heard — Reputation Management
All three work in tandem and each can be leveraged by the other. We’ll go into more detail below with examples and some helpful tools to get you started.
Publicity | Get Seen
Publicity is any information presented in any media form or outlet that has the potential to change public opinion about you as the representative of your organization or the opinion of your business. Different types of publicity serve to build credibility and awareness.
Examples of publicity are local video news reports or featured news articles, quotes and statistics you provide to news media, and public speaking events. Getting your name out there in the local news can do wonders for your business.
- Build credibility
- Bring awareness to your organization
- Be be leveraged in your public relations and reputation management strategies
- Could help online search results that drive more traffic to your website
- And can get the ball rolling to gain additional media coverage and exposure
The difference between publicity and public relations is that normally publicity is something you do (even if that means just you engaging in your industry) that someone else covers in the media. Think of a spotlight someone else is shining in your direction.
In contrast, public relations is more about content you create about yourself and business. Your shining the spotlight on yourself.
One crossover between publicity and public relations is a press release. New media often review press releases to help them find stories to report on in the media. A press release can be created by you but it will be written in a news style from a third-person perspective.
Further down in this article there are plenty of public relations ideas that you can easily turn into a press release to get media attention and to leverage online.
Check out this useful guide that covers the tricks of the trade to get high-quality press coverage (from how to create it to how to leverage it to your advantage)
Public Relations | Be Known
Unlike publicity where you aren’t always in control of the message, timing, or placement – public relations is a strategic plan to create a message that connects the public to you and your offer.
Getting known is above making an impact in the community and your industry. Here’s some ways you can tell others about you:
Not only does getting involved in your community help build your good name but may also help decrease crime and solve mutual problems. There are many types of community events you can either create or participate in such as:
- Social causes to help your community
- The Neighborhood Watch program
- Neighborhood beautification project
- Safety and emergency preparation events
- Community yard sales
In addition to large events, being active in your community can also look like engaging with neighbors to discuss common concerns, resolving disputes quickly, and having a personal (professional) relationship with your residents.
Public appearances and presentations
- Host or participate in networking events
- Create or be a guest on a webinar or podcast
- Make public appearances and presentations. Colleges are always looking for guest lecturers and you could inspire the next generation of investors, landlords, and property managers.
- You could also participate as a panelist or keynote speaker at rental and real estate conferences and expos.
Another way to be known in the community and with your current and potential residents and owners is to provide resources to share. That can be outlining important information about the community to curating resources from other experts or designing your own resources to share.
Donating time or financial resources or any of the above (events, appearances, presentations, or resources) can be made into an announcement. If it’s something big and newsworthy, consider creating an official press release. This public relations effort can easily be leveraged as publicity.
You can also post your announcements in your tenant and owner newsletters, in online and traditional bulletin boards, and on your social media channels.
Reputation Management – Be Heard
Your online reputation is a direct reflection of the opinion of others about your rentals, community, and business. You can set the tone by employing public relations efforts but your reputation is a little more outside of your control unless you take an active role in being heard.
These days, everyone has an opinion and are not afraid to share it online. Whether that’s a review on yelp or Google reviews or on a social site like Twitter, Facebook, or TikTok these combined voices can paint a picture of your rental business reputation. Their voices can be loud but you have the opportunity to be be heard above the noise.
Respond to all reviews and comments
Online reputation management (ORM) helps build your credibility and character and is a direct reflection of your business. Internet reputation management means you have the ability to sway perception. One of the best ways to be heard and become the major influencer of opinion is by responding to reviews (both positive and negative) and leading the conversation and discussions.
Build relationships and leverage good opinion
Reputation management isn’t all about online reputation. It also involves how your current tenants and clients feel about you, your properties, and your business. You might never know what others say about you but you can impact it by your actions. Your current tenants and owners can keep your business thriving with positive word of mouth reviews.
What do you want to be known for? What do your tenants and owners say about you now? Build those relationships and don’t be afraid to leverage their good opinion. One way is to offer referral incentives and flexibility such as negotiating lease terms, adding amenities, and approving requests.
And don’t be shy about asking for testimonials to use. Referrals and recommendations fill vacancies faster and keep your revenue stream flowing.
Pay attention to what others are saying
Lastly, find out what others are saying about you, your industry, community, and business by social listening. Social listening is seeking out what others are saying about you.
- Search popular social media sites such as Twitter, and Facebook for mentions.
- Set up Google Alerts that will send you an email when your name, community, topic, or keyword are mentioned.
- Check out review sites like Google Reviews and Yelp.
Tip: Other ways to be heard online is to share your expertise by submitting guest posts to popular websites such as Forbes, Entrepreneur.com or to join in on online conversations in rental industry blogs and forums or in landlord and property management discussion channels on Reddit or Quora.
Bad press and reviews can damage your rental business reputation if you’re not setting the tone and joining the conversation. That bad reputation can translate to vacancies and short cycle tenant turnover which can be a threat to your livelihood. Your reputation can be influenced by your day-to-day professionalism as well as marketing, public relations, and reputation management.
Warren Buffett said, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently”. That advice will take you far in building your rental reputation and public relations.