Not Getting the Media Coverage You Want? 3 Tips on Getting Free Publicity in the News

If you were at a cocktail party, standing with a group of people, what is the one thing about your company that is going to make everyone want to know more?

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Public relations was a hot topic at the recent Inman Connect San Francisco. And it’s no surprise why: PR can be a powerful promotional tool for a business to gain free exposure in their local news. Yet often real estate companies are not using PR in their marketing mix, give up after a few unsuccessful attempts of not getting coverage or confusing PR with advertising.

PR is earned media – not paid media. The core difference is that advertising is pay for play, where you are in control.  If you can afford to pay for the placement of an advertisement, you control the message, you control when its distributed, and you control how long it’s out in the marketplace. In PR, the control is in the hands of the media.  The reporter and media outlet control if and when it will run, how that story will be written or edited, and who else will participate in it.  In PR you have to “earn” your way in by “pitching” media on an idea and convincing them why a particular story is worthy of coverage and why you should be interviewed for that story.

Coldwell Banker can help you navigate through the complexities of PR. Here are 3 tricks of the trade for generating media exposure in real estate:

IT’S A 24/7 NEWS WORLD. Take advantage of this by using your MLS data and packaging it up with the monthly National Association of Realtors (NAR) Existing Home Sales report. Around the third week of each month, NAR issues national real estate data.  Not only is this information of national interest, but you also can give it local appeal by adding those same data points from your MLS – things like average home price, inventory levels and time on market. When you compare the national numbers to the local numbers, ask yourself: Is your average sales price up or down compared to the nation? Are your days on market longer or shorter? These comparisons are a great way to “localize” the story.  There isn’t an easier way to position yourself and your company as the premier source of local real estate information to the media and its readers/viewers.

BREAK THROUGH THE NOISE. Reporters are inundated with story ideas, so make sure your pitch or press release stands out. For example, if you’re opening a new office somewhere in town, don’t write the traditional press release announcing the opening of this office. Why not paint a bigger picture? What’s happening in that area of town? Has there been recent construction for new commercial development? New home developments? Interstate/highway expansion? Population growth in this area? You will have to do a little research, but packaging up your new office opening with a larger story of city/neighborhood growth could increase your chances of actually getting coverage. Yes, the story won’t be exclusively about your new office (let’s be honest that story was never going to run anyway), but now you might get included in the larger story as a source and potentially getting your company mentioned as a part of that growth story.

TELL THE RIGHT STORY OF A HOME. Coldwell Banker Global Luxury represents some of the world’s most stunning homes that generate national media coverage. The key to getting the media’s attention when it comes to covering a luxury or notable listing is getting outside the listing description model for a press release. Is the owner someone notable? Use the first 50 words to tell that story. If the owner isn’t going to generate headlines, then use that headline and opening paragraph to tell the story of the uniqueness of the property. Does it have smart home or green features? Can you look out a window to see something no one else in town gets to see? Is there some historic element to the house waiting to be shared? Bottom line: If you were at a cocktail party and standing with a group of people, what is the one thing about this house that is going to make everyone want to know more? Use that element as your pitch to the media.

Looking for more tips on how to get the most of your real estate PR, visit CB Exchange and search “public relations.”

Source: Coldwell Banker Blue Matter Blog

Posted on September 5, 2017 at 8:28 am
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: Buyers, community, Entertainment, Homeowners, market trends, media, organization, real estate, research, social media, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

“Alexa: Open Gen Blue News”

Thanks to Amazon, “Alexa” has become a household name. Now, Coldwell Banker is turning up the volume with a Skill for agents and brokers to get real estate news on-the-fly. We’re calling it Coldwell Banker Gen Blue News. Want to learn more? Let us break it down for you.

What’s a Skill? An Amazon Alexa Skill is an app for the voice-controlled Amazon Echo speakers.

How does it work? Once you enable the skill, just prompt Alexa with, “Alexa, open Gen Blue News.” In less than 90 seconds, Gen Blue News delivers best practices, industry insights and quick challenges to help you grow your business.

Why develop the Skill? Coldwell Banker surveyed its brokers and agents and found that 79 percent of respondents would be interested in a smart home speaker, like an Amazon Echo or Dot, that was equipped with real estate news and industry insights. Your wish is our command!

What can I expect from the Gen Blue News Skill? Episodes will feature quick tips and useful info to stay ahead in the market, challenges to act on immediately to drive business and agent success stories that offer an important dose of inspiration.

Who can I expect to hear from in the Gen Blue News Skill? You’ll hear the voices of brand leadership, industry insiders and the brokers and agents who make up the Coldwell Banker network. The first episode of the Skill features Brad Inman, founder and owner of Inman News, the leading source for real estate industry news. This episode is all about how agents can suit up for change with the innovative technology available in the real estate business.

How can I try this out for myself? You can search for the Coldwell Banker Gen Blue News Skill in the Amazon Alexa smartphone app, or using your Amazon Echo or Echo Dot, you can ask Alexa, “Enable Coldwell Banker Gen Blue News.”

Don’t have an Amazon Echo or Echo Dot? Don’t worry, the Echo Dot is available as part of the Smart Home Staging Kit alongside products from Nest, August and Lutron. Or you can buy on the Amazon Marketplace. If you’re with Coldwell Banker please log-in to Coldwell Banker Exchange to get your exclusive discount code.

Learn more about the Coldwell Banker “Home of the Week Skill” here!

*Article from Coldwell Banker Blue Matter Blog

Posted on August 3, 2017 at 2:46 pm
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: Alexa, appliances, Apps, Buyers, buying, community, Entertainment, financing, gadgets, real estate, Smart Homes, technology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

8 Ways to Make Your Backyard a Summer Paradise

Your backyard should be your summer sanctuary…your perfect place away from the rest of the world. Here’s how!

Summer is the season to be outdoors. It’s the perfect time for backyard barbecues, neighborhood socials, and late-night evenings on the patio. You don’t need to travel to a luxurious and exotic location to enjoy spending time outdoors. Make your own backyard a summer paradise with these eight simple suggestions.

Inspect and Update Wooden Decks
To make your backyard a summer haven, take some time to inspect and update your deck. Wooden patios and decks can be warped by cold weather, so you’ll want to replace loose or missing slats as needed. Sand, stain, and seal your deck once you’ve made sure it’s structurally sound. If you have a stone patio, check for missing pieces and update as needed. Once this is complete, you’ll have a shiny and appealing deck you can decorate with patio furniture—creating a relaxing sitting area for summertime.

Purchase Patio Furniture and Essentials
Once you have a designated patio or deck space, you’ll want to add some patio furniture so you can sit down, mingle with friends and family, and relax. Consider purchasing weatherproof patio furniture that is both comfortable and durable. Patio furniture can be exposed to harsh, seasonal weather, so you’ll want to make sure it lasts for years.

Get the basics, including some lounge chairs, an umbrella, a hammock, and an outdoor table so you can enjoy meals or games outside. In addition to patio furniture, you may want to buy or build an outdoor fire pit. It’s a simple feature that adds so much to your backyard. Sit around the fire and socialize, roast marshmallows or even cook dinner on your own backyard fireplace.

Add Colorful Cushions and Pillows
You’ll want to add a splash of color to your patio so it’s eye-catching and sings of summertime. Buy some bright-colored, comfortable throw pillows and cushions to spice up the furniture. The bright colors and fun patterns will entice people to sit down, relax, and enjoy your backyard paradise.

Get a Rug for the Patio
Consider adding a rug to the patio or deck area to make the space feel cozier. Outdoor rugs vary in material, size, and shape and are generally made to last in all types of weather. They make a great addition to your space, and can also protect your deck.

Install Outdoor Lighting
Nothing is more magical than twinkling lights against a royal-blue evening sky. Add strands of tea lights or other innovative lights to create a fairytale effect in your backyard. In addition to the decorative lighting, you’ll want to consider adding sensor or smart lights to your backyard for added security. Smart lights are a great way to ensure the backyard is lit—you can even control smart lights with your smart phone.

Make the Backyard Private
You may love your neighbors, but that doesn’t mean you want them always peeking into your backyard. Be creative when thinking of ways to ensure better backyard privacy. One easy way to create a private, secluded backyard paradise is to install a fence. Not only does it ensure privacy, but it is an essential safety measure. Install a strong, secure fence to create a private and safe backyard.

Update Your Landscaping
Landscaping can make or break your backyard. It’s essential to take time to update your landscaping to create an outdoor paradise. You don’t need extravagant plants or trees to make your backyard grand. Take some time to cut back unruly trees and bushes, pull the weeds, water and trim the lawn, and plant flowers around the yard. These simple updates will make a world of difference. You’ll have your own secret garden in no time!

Secure Outdoor Belongings
Once you’ve created a magical backyard space, you’ll want to take the necessary precautions to safeguard your belongings. Make sure your garden tools and supplies are in a locked shed—away from kids, pets, and burglars. Take time to assess the backyard for any security breaches. This will keep your family safe and protect your backyard, patio, and deck from major damage.

Summer is a wonderful time to relax and enjoy being outdoors. Update your own backyard and you’ll have access to a private paradise any time you want.

Source: RisMedia

 

 

Posted on July 8, 2017 at 12:21 pm
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: backyard, BBQ, decorating, Entertainment, family, grill, landscaping, lawn, Pools, Privacy, projects, real estate, summer, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

9 Home Gadgets to Save Energy and Entertain

Who doesn’t love a great gadget?!  Isn’t it interesting what sort of great ideas these companies come up with?

So you’re up for making your home truly state-of-the-art? I’ve got a great list for you. Here are nine gadgets to be on the lookout for:

Moen’s U lets you customize the perfect shower before ever stepping in with just a few taps on your smartphone.

Smart and Blue’s Hydrao smart showerheads let you instantly control your water consumption and energy needed to heat it by lighting up the water spray with different colors depending on the amount of water used—and it’s powered by the shower’s natural water-flow.

Luke Roberts Smart Light – This LED pendant lamp, from Austrian startup Luke Roberts, lets you place light in any direction, illuminating only certain areas of a room through simple gestures on your phone.

Kuri – Created by Mayfield Robotics, this app uses a camera to check on pets, kids, or guests when you’re away. It sets reminders, uses Wi-Fi to connect to things like weather reports, and works with IFTTT to control some connected devices, according to CNET.com.

Hello Egg – From RnD64, this works with the Eggspert web and mobile application to fully automate planning weekly meals, supervising the pantry, organizing shopping lists, and even ordering grocery delivery. Hello Egg also projects voice-navigated video recipes and answers cooking-related questions with a connected 24/7 support team of cooking experts.

CUJO creates a guarded firewall gateway between your devices and their connection to the internet by analyzing for malicious intent, whether it’s coming in from the internet, going out to the internet, or making moves across your network.

AirTV is the only major streaming platform that integrates local over-the-air (OTA) programming with your streaming services. Just add an AirTV Adapter and an OTA antenna to get local channels in HD, without a monthly cable bill.

Sony A1E – Unlike most TV speakers, sound comes to you from the entire screen, immersing you in a new entertainment experience—if there can be such a thing!

LG W7 – Capturing Best of the Best recognition at CES 2017, the W7’s picture-on-wall design allows the television to lay virtually flat so it seems blend with the wall and disappear.

Source: RisMedia

Posted on June 16, 2017 at 10:49 am
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: appliances, energy, Entertainment, gadgets, real estate, security, Smart Homes, television, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

10 No-Grass Backyards You Can Pull Off Anywhere

It’s not just you…who ever said “I just love to mow the lawn and pull weeds”!  Here are some fab ideas for a grass free, easy maintenance yard!

While we can all agree that a lush, green backyard looks gorgeous, grass just doesn’t work for everyone. And grass is definitely not a requirement for a chic and stylish outdoor space. Whether you skip the grass because of your climate, the care and upkeep reasons or simply because of your personal style, there are lots of great options for creating a fabulous grass-free outdoor space.

Joslyn Amato
We’ve rounded up 10 of our favorite concrete backyard spaces to help get you inspired for your summer outdoor makeover.

Dining Area

COLES HAIRSTON
Paula Ables Interiors created this shady outdoor dining space using a variety of textures and materials. The combo of gravel and concrete pavers, paired with the painted brick walls and overhead wood slats, helps bring a modern, fresh feel to this backyard.

Fire Pit

Peter Lyons
This outdoor space by Baran Studio Architecture is an easy, inexpensive solution for unused space in your backyard. Instead of grass, use pea gravel to cover the ground. The homeowners have a built-in fire pit; however, you could easily add a portable fire pit or chiminea for a similar look.

Outdoor Living Room

Coreen Schmidt Photography
If you’re lucky enough to live in a milder climate, you might want to create an outdoor living room like this one by Project Groundwork. With a couple of well-placed pieces of outdoor furniture, you can set up a hangout area. Using gravel and some plants and shrubs, this outdoor space feels super cozy and inviting.

Pool Surround

Chang Kyun Kim
Concrete and gravel are also a great choice of materials to use as a pool surround, like this one by Synthesis Builders. They used large concrete pavers to help create a visual distinction between the pool and seating area. The gravel provides a beautiful texture to the backyard.

Plant Pockets

Zack Benson
Here’s an example of a really clever way to break up a larger concrete outdoor space by landscape architect Angel Carrasco. These small cutouts in the ground filled with plants and shrubs create a break for your eyes and add beautiful pops of color and texture.

Backyard Studio

Joslyn Amato
If you have a larger backyard and want to add a studio, office or guest house, consider setting up your space like Landwell Design.

Source: HGTV.com Blog

Posted on June 6, 2017 at 3:50 pm
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: backyard, BBQ, decorating, DIY, Entertainment, grill, landscaping, lawn, maintenance, Pools, projects, real estate, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

How to Make the Most of Grilling Season

Ahhhhh, the sweet smells of summer BBQ!  Nothing beats grilling and chilling!

There’s nothing better than the flavor and presentation of food cooked on a grill. The slightly smoky flavor and ease of preparation makes grilling one of the top cooking methods any time of the year. Even when there is a chill in the air, stepping outside to grill a meal is quick and easy.

Now that summer is around the corner, many of us are dining al fresco, and that often includes a grilled dish. Almost any food can be grilled, from steak to Portobello mushrooms, and occasionally a food that you wouldn’t imagine, such as thickly cut Greek cheese (Halloumi), which grills perfectly.

For those who don’t have access to an outdoor grill, I’ve had success with cast-iron indoor grilling pans. Indoor grilling pans, which can be found in any cookware store, add a depth of flavor similar to outdoor gas grilling. I own two square ones that fit over a burner and can accommodate two servings of protein or four pieces of fresh corn or sliced eggplant.

Here are some of my tips to make the most of your grilling.

What to Grill
Most important, you need to know which foods are best grilled. Any cut of meat or chicken is ideal for grilling.

For dark-meat chicken, I recommend cooking it first in the oven to get it about three quarters done and then finishing it on the grill to avoid overly dark or blackened skin. Chicken breasts cook quickly about three minutes per side. I recommend you pound the chicken to an even thickness to assure perfect doneness.

Fish is best if you choose steak fish (such as tuna, salmon, swordfish or shark) or whole fish (such as snapper or bass). Shellfish, including shrimp, scallops, clams and lobster, are wonderful on the grill and can be served room temperature or as part of a salad. I tend to avoid thin fish fillets for grilling as they are too delicate for the high heat and difficult to move off the grill.

All kinds of grilled vegetables are wonderful. My personal favorites are asparagus, mushrooms, onions, peppers, zucchini, eggplant, cauliflower, unripe tomatoes and corn. Consider buying a grill basket for smaller veggies to avoid them falling into the grill. For the vegetarians among us, both tofu and tempeh are delicious in their grilled form, especially paired with a flavorful marinade.

Get the Grill Ready
To prepare the grill, heat is of utmost importance for a guaranteed non-stick surface. If your food is not ready to turn easily, simply leave it another minute to ensure the proper sear. If you are grilling something with little to no marinade, be sure to spray the grill lightly with vegetable cooking spray or brush lightly with olive oil.

The Marinade
My favorite element in grilling is the marinade. A marinade can be as simple as vinaigrette with a few fresh herbs mixed in, and sauces such as salsas, pestos and reserved boiled marinades add a ton of flavor to just about any grilled food.

Because there’s no sauce or fat in the pan, and most grilled foods cook fairly quickly, a marinade not only tenderizes, but adds flavor. I usually marinate dishes for at least two hours at room temperature or overnight in the refrigerator, depending on what you’re preparing.

I recommend reserving the leftover marinade and bringing it to a boil in a small saucepan for four or five minutes, to kill any bacteria, along with a little red wine, if desired, and you have an amazing sauce to drizzle over your grilled dish.

There’s the Rub
Fish is one exception where the marinade can actually cook the fish, so don’t marinate fish and shellfish for more than an hour. This is where a spice rub can be the perfect flavor enhancer. I often use spice rubs for tuna, salmon or shrimp.

Simply toast a few of your favorite spices, such as cumin, mustard seeds, peppercorns and coriander. Grind them in a coffee or spice grinder, coat the fish lightly with olive oil, then sprinkle the spices and a pinch of sea salt. You’ve now elevated your fish to another level.

Grilled Bread
I love the taste of grilled bread and often serve it lightly brushed with extra virgin olive oil and rubbed with a cut clove of garlic, as you might enjoy in Tuscany. Grill the bread for three or four minutes on each side and serve with chopped tomatoes, olives and mushrooms, or, serve it plain, with a few shavings of Parmigiano-Reggiano. I often make hummus or a spread, such as a white bean puree, to serve guests while they are having a chilled glass of wine.

Source: RisMedia

Posted on June 6, 2017 at 10:35 am
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: backyard, BBQ, cooking, Entertainment, Family Fun, grill, real estate, summer | Tagged , , , , , , ,

How to Get a Better Deal on TV Service Without Cutting the Cord

Like it or not, television access can be expensive. Especially with the limited time only offers once they adjust upward (why do they never adjust downward??)  Take a look:

Although the idea of cutting the cord on expensive cable or satellite TV costs sounds amazingly liberating, the unfortunate truth is that this would mean losing access to some of your favorite shows and channels. Even if you could find most of your shows on Netflix, could you really stand to wait several additional months to find out what’s happening on Jane the Virgin or New Girl? If not, there’s still a way to cut the cost of your current TV service without cutting the cord.

Here are five simple steps you can take to negotiate with your current TV service provider for a lower monthly payment.

1. Get to know your current contract.
Whether we choose to admit it or not, most of us don’t fully understand the ins and outs of the contracts we sign with service providers. Ignorance might seem like bliss for a while, but when the price starts to go up after a certain period of time, you might wish you would have read the contract with your TV service provider before signing.

If you didn’t understand your contract before you signed up for service, it’s not too late to change the price! Dig into your contract and figure out what it entails. Be sure to read each detail so you won’t be surprised when the company representative you speak to brings up each stipulation. Knowing exactly what your current contract entails will help you build a stronger argument for negotiating a lower price and different terms later on.

2. Search for better deals.
The next step is to find out what kind of deals are out there that you’re not taking advantage of. All providers will run special pricing on certain packages from time to time. Finding out what deals your provider is running can help you identify a number you should negotiate for and provide proof for your negotiation.

You can use deal sites for specific providers or online coupon code aggregators to find the lowest prices offered for packages from your provider. Do a little digging on sites like these to find the lowest prices and make note of them. Be sure to save the exact URL for where you found the deals so that you can pull up all of the information you might need later on when you are speaking with your cable or satellite company.

3. Know your stuff.
Customer service representatives are more likely to win a negotiation with consumers who haven’t done their research. This is because they usually have counter arguments in their back pocket that help them get a leg up on callers.

Understand prices for specific channels and add-ons. If you have internet service through your TV service provider, brush up on average costs for the speed you’re currently paying for, and maybe even run a speed test to find out if you are actually getting the speed you’ve been promised.

Knowing enough about your TV and internet service to have an informed conversation with your provider will help you come in with a stronger argument for a lower rate—not to mention, you might find out that you’re actually overpaying for a specific package or speed you’re currently getting, which will give you another bargaining chip.

4. Pick up the phone.
This tip is simple, but also arguably one of the most important parts of negotiating for a lower monthly bill: pick up the phone. It might be easier and perhaps more efficient to send an email or engage in an online chat with a representative, but your negotiation will be far stronger over the phone.

During your call, make it clear that the possibility of cancelling your account is on the table and be persistent in your request for the lowest advertised rate. Explain your situation and let the representative know that you will need a bill reduction in order to keep your account open. They will likely try to offer you some freebies like free HBO for a few months or a year of the NFL Sunday Ticket, but don’t let up. Keep your eye on the prize of negotiating for a lower monthly bill, as this will be more valuable to you in the long run.

5. Solidify your agreement.
Once you’ve come to an agreement with your TV service provider, don’t just assume that your next bill will reflect the changes you’ve requested. Ask for a specific date for when this will go into effect and review the terms you’ve agreed upon one more time. Be sure to write these terms down so that you have a crystal-clear understanding of what your contract entails before you hang up.

To be extra sure your lower rate has been settled, financial pros recommend calling back to speak with a different representative to make sure they also see the changes that have been made to your account.

Few things are more frustrating than paying large bills at the end of the month. Although the hefty cable or satellite bill you’re currently getting at the end of the month might make cutting the cord seem more appealing, you don’t have to cut ties with your favorite programming to lower the bill. Hopefully this five-step process can help you pick up the negotiating skills you need to see a nice reduction on your next cable bill.

Source: RisMedia

Posted on May 30, 2017 at 5:27 pm
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: Bills, cable, Entertainment, Family Fun, real estate, satellite, television, Uncategorized, Utilities | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Dixon May Fair 2017 Coming Up This Weekend!

A sure right of Spring Passage in Solano County is the Annual Dixon May Fair. 2017 dates are May 11 – May 14.

Lots of Family Fun for everyone!

Attractions at the May Fair include:

Livestock Exhibits

Youth Dog Show

Horse Show

Carnival Rides

Bronc & Bull Ride Rodeo

Demolition Derby

Truck & Tractor Pull

Fabulous Concerts

Kids FunZone

Much much more!

Advance ticket sales are available now!

Click this link for more information and the Dixon May Fair 2017 Schedule!

Dixon May Fair 2017

Let’s go have some FUN!

 

Posted on May 9, 2017 at 2:20 am
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: Dixon, Entertainment, Family Fun, Festivals, May Fair | Tagged , , , , , ,