Connecticut HBAs Team Up to Have Media Tell Their Story
Working as a team with continuous outreach to the news media, the Home Builders Association of Connecticut (HBACT) and its five local home builders associations are starting to see more balanced coverage of the housing industry across the state.
“We consider ourselves a team and often work together, combining our efforts and resources to improve the housing market throughout the state,” said Lisa Kidder, director of public relations and communications for HBACT.
The state HBA is sending local HBA officers, executive officers and public relations committee members monthly communications containing Myth Buster resources on NAHB’s Web site, member feedback and suggestions, forecasts from local economists, state employment statistics and economic indicators.
Kidder said that her association has seen that when everyone is on the same page, and armed with up-to-date numbers and facts, they become a stronger force statewide.
The HBAs also coordinate and share media contacts to get stories placed.
Media Outreach and Communications
Developing and maintaining relationships with writers and editors is another crucial step in giving a higher profile to the state’s home building industry.
Representatives from the state HBA regularly check in with reporters at Connecticut’s major daily newspapers to ask if they would like to talk to an HBA member in their circulation or coverage area to get the local perspective.
“We’ve had some success getting papers to insert local statistics into national articles they pick up from the Associated Press, but it’s an uphill battle,” said Kidder. “When they do insert the local numbers, I always make sure to call or send reporters a follow-up note to thank them.”
The group also sets up meetings with the editorial boards of local newspapers to discuss coverage. “When you have the key reporters and editors in the same room, at the same time, the discussion is much more open and positive,” said Kidder. “They see how their coverage affects our local economy and are more open to providing both the national and regional perspective.”
The Home Builders and Remodelers Association of Fairfield County recently scored success after hosting a panel discussion on how the housing industry was being portrayed in the local media. Along with several members of the press, more than 100 members of the association attended. The event generated an article in the Connecticut Post — “Experts: Housing market in good shape” — that included local statistics and quotes from the builders and remodelers.
The Fairfield County association is also a regular contributor to the real-estate section of The Hour, a daily paper serving Norwalk, Stamford and Westport.
Bloomberg.com recently named three Connecticut localities — Stamford-Norwalk, New Haven and Hartford — as attractive, low-risk U.S. housing markets where home buyers should seriously consider buying a home.
HBACT used the article, "Housing Bubble Didn't Burst Everywhere in U.S.," as an opportunity to educate their local media about why a strong economy and moderate home price increases make Connecticut a great place to invest in a home.
“No bubble to burst” was the headline of a comprehensive and balanced article that followed in the June 14 edition of the Journal Inquirer — one more step in the right direction for the group of HBAs in getting the local story told.
To have your side of the story told in the press, go to www.nahb.org/mythbuster to access the continuously-updated resources available and to read more Myth Buster success stories about locals around the country.
For more information on the Myth Buster resources, e-mail Gwyn Donohue at NAHB, or call her at 800-368-5242 x8447.