Manhattan Condos - New Developments - Conversions - Resales: PUBLIC RELATIONS V. ADVERTISING



Public relations is a business tool that often gets confused with marketing and advertising. Barbara Corcoran the founder of The Corcoran Group used public relations to turn a small start-up real estate firm into the largest brokerage in NYC.

She started the Corcoran Report with data on 10 apartments. The press loved the first Manhattan Market Report. It established Corcoran as the Manhattan Neighborhood real estate experts. A star was born and the rest is history.

In 2011 The Corcoran group did $13 billion in sales. Today the company has a PR team that not only pitches stories ideas to the media they coach agents how to do an interview with the press.

There are several characteristics that distinguish public relations from advertising, however – the main being that an advertisement is paid for, while publicity happens for free when the media finds your knowledge or your property newsworthy and provides it to the public themselves by reporting on it.

It’s important to recognize, though, that good PR does not come easily. It takes a good story and, oftentimes, a good relationship with the press. Blogging is part PR and part marketing. When I started blogging it was strictly as a marketing tool to generate leads, it is still a marketing tool but also a great public relations tool.


Avoid speculating about projects and markets that you aren’t directly involved in, and refrain from making negative comments about the competition.

Keep the discussion in the present. Avoid making any predictions about where the market will be in the future. Keep the discussion about your current listings and recent sales. You can always respond to a question about what’s in the cards for the market by describing positive indicators you’re experiencing NOW and saying that’s a good sign for the future.

Keep Fair Housing in mind. If you’re asked what types of people are looking at your properties or live in your neighborhood, you cannot legally respond by giving demographics. Instead, tell the reporter that the people who are drawn to the area/your listings are people who are looking for “x, y and z,” and list the features that your properties/ neighborhood offer.  

Anything you say to a reporter is ON THE RECORD. So take your time and think before you respond, keep it professional, and, if you’re asked anything that makes you uncomfortable or that you don’t know the answer to, just respond by saying “I’m not really sure about that,” or “Let me think about it and get back to you.”

Barbara Corcoran PR Trick:

Create a report. come up with some stats (no matter how small), release regularly. it will pay dividends.



©Mitchell Hall 2006-2019

All content/images, unless noted, are the property of Mitchell Hall & may not be used without permission. 

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Comment balloon 37 commentsMitchell J Hall • February 11 2012 09:17AM


Great information Mitchell, especially for new agents.  Barbara's story is phenomanal... I bet most of America has heard it because of her stint on the TV show, Shark Tank!

Posted by Peggy Hughes/pha logistix, inc., SF NYC LA (pha logistix inc) over 7 years ago


Excellent discussion, what most people do not realize is that you have to have a story that PR can talk about and Barbara Corcoran had a story to tell.  She has a great brand and she told the story.  A

Posted by Ron and Alexandra Seigel, Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy (Napa Consultants) over 7 years ago

Mitch, one of the things I love about Donna Evers, my broker, is her public relations savvy.  She just gets it.

Posted by Patricia Kennedy, Home in the Capital (RLAH Real Estate) over 7 years ago

Oh boy.  I wish I had read this before I spoke with a reporter and had her misquote me.  I complained to her Editor and I am sure I will not longer be interviewed.

Posted by Jane Peters, Los Angeles real estate concierge services (Home Jane Realty) over 7 years ago

PR and advertising are often confused.  And when we get the PR it's an awesome benefit!  Sometimes the interviewers will allow submission of responses in writing which is really nice to be able to provide more accurate info and reduce the risk of bing misquoted.  Good job, thanks for sharing.

Posted by Beth Paterson, CRMP, NMLS #342859 (Reverse Mortgages SIDAC, LLC, NMLS #1790592) over 7 years ago

Mitchell, keep me away from PR, I'll do a better job with Advertising....thats for sure! Did you see my latest Whale Tale?

Posted by Ellen Caruso (Daniel Gale Sotheby's International Realty) over 7 years ago

Really good solid basics.  Thank you!  Kristine :)

Posted by Kim & Kristine Halverson, Sisters, Realtors (Compass) over 7 years ago

Very good advice, nothing says community expert better than the one the writes about it most often.

Posted by Ron Cooks, Texas Real Estate, Ft Hood/Killeen Homes for Sale (The Real Estate Marketplace) over 7 years ago

Mitchell there is certainly a difference between the PR and advertising.  You really know how to do it well, you wrote outstanding information about NYC and was seen as the go to person.

Posted by Jennifer Fivelsdal, Mid Hudson Valley real estate connection ( JFIVE Home Realty LLC | 845-758-6842|162 Deer Run Rd Red Hook NY 12571) over 7 years ago

Great advice, Mitchell.  Barbara is a master.  I've been watching her for years, and we can all learn from her.

Posted by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers (The Flooring Girl) over 7 years ago

Mitchell.  I love this.  However, since my mind is drenched with political speak these days, some of your descriptions are spot on and would be good advice for politicians running for office.

"Avoid speculating about projects and markets that you aren’t directly involved in, and refrain from making negative comments about the competition."

"Keep the discussion in the present. Avoid making any predictions"

What are the chances any of them would take your advice???


Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) over 7 years ago

This is great advice Mitch - you touched on some common traps and I really appreciated it.


Posted by Gloria Laughton Allston, Realtor(NJ)/Broker(NY) (COLDWELL BANKER RESIDENTIAL BROKERAGE) over 7 years ago

I have been in your Manhattan Office with Matt Wagner and his "mastermind" group.  You have quite the view!  My son is working (albeit temporarily) as our Public Relations person - learning the ropes.  Any chance your PR person would be willing to share/sell/teach/coach?  Thanks!

Posted by Joy Daniels (Joy Daniels Real Estate Group, Ltd.) over 7 years ago

Mitchell, that's a great idea.  My first quarter goal is to increase local blogs and reports.  This would make a great addition.  

Posted by Mike Cooper, GRI, Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro (Cornerstone Business Group Inc) over 7 years ago


I couldn't agree more!  We have a small newspaper here (not the 'big one') who frequently phone me to ask for the 'real' scoop.  I love it because I feel that even though they have a smaller subscriber base, at least we're reaching some of our readers with factual, positive information about our business.  We also have our sites, as you so brilliantly worked with your report, to share real market data, which we DO know.  Great job--love your PR person!

Posted by Debe Maxwell, CRS, Charlotte Homes for Sale - Charlotte Neighborhoods ( | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310) over 7 years ago

Mitchell, excellent advice! Anything you say to a reporter is "on the record" is spot on. Something to always keep in mind. Thanks.

Posted by Michael Setunsky, Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA over 7 years ago

Hi, Mitchell! 

I included this post in Last Week's Favorites.  Have a great week.

Posted by Patricia Kennedy, Home in the Capital (RLAH Real Estate) over 7 years ago

Mitchell: This is such a good thing for me to be reading right now! I have a market report that I publish every 3 months--my headline, my opinions with the most current data directed to buyers  and sellers alike...but I guess I need to review it and make sure I am doing it more consistantly...thanks for your very good advice.

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) over 7 years ago

Thanks!  This is an avenue that I have not explored much but you've got me thinking....

Posted by Nancy Timberlake, REALTOR - Southern Maine (RE/MAX Shoreline) over 7 years ago


Your points are well-taken. The Corcoran report looks very interesting. I will spend some time reviewing it.


Posted by Brian Madigan, LL.B., Broker (RE/MAX West Realty Inc., Brokerage (Toronto)) over 7 years ago


thank you for the information, need to do more of both advertising and PR, need to talk to a lot of people today, get the word out about yourself and the present market.


Posted by Nathan Rufty - 623-850-1210, Mortgage Loan Originator at 623-850-1210 (Canopy Mortgage, LLC) over 7 years ago

Thank you Mitchell for the great info. I am encouraged to start a monthly report - I have been kicking it around in my mind and was not feeling very confident as an 'expert' since I am a relatively new agent. But now I see that no better time to start than now - to make myself into an expert. Thanks!

Mary Borth

Posted by Mary Borth, over 7 years ago

PR can be more valuable than advertising and you offer good points to follow.

Posted by Francine Viola, REALTOR®, In Tune with your Real Estate Needs (Coldwell Banker Evergreen Olympic Realty, Olympia WA) over 7 years ago

Thanks for the feature. I was away all day yesterday after posting.

Peggy, Yes she's on Shark Tank and Barbara is the only woman on the show

Alexandra, Absolutely. Before Corcoran the real estate companies in Manhattan were old school, white glove firms. They would never talk to the press back then. They prefered the secrecy of the reral estate market  so only they had information. They all laughed at Corcoran for investing early in technology and for starting the first real estate website in NYC.

Hi Pat, Good for Donna Evers. Once a good source the press uses the same sources over and over.

Jane, Sorry it is easy to be mis quoted since the reporter has their own agenda but there is an old saying. There is no such thing as bad publicity or PR.

Beth, excellent point. I'm going to be featured in the March issue of The NY Cooperator about coop and condo purchase proceedures. The reporter sent me the questions to respond in writing. I already had a blog about most of the questions and answers, that is why they contacted me.

Ellen, I will have to check out your latest Whale Tale ASAP. Your Whale Tale series is great advertising campaign but in many ways it is public relations and is branding Ellen Caruso.

Kim & Kristen, you're welcome.

Ron, Nothing beats a local expert as a credible source.

Jennifer, Thank you. There is a difference between advertising and PR but the often work together.

Debbie, Barbara is quoted saying. "If she only had $1 dollar left she would spend it on public relations.

Lenn, I hadn't thought about tips for politicians. They talk too much. Not speculating about the future in real estate is actually a comany policy. We only report data, closed sales not predictions.

Gloria, Thank you. Some reporters may try to trick the agent into saying what they want to hear.

Joy, Good for your son. I think you mean Matthew Shadbolt Director of Internet Marketing at The Corcoran Group. Mathew is great. He really gets social media. My office is a little store front, The Westside Gallery but the company headquarters and some of the other offices have beautiful views.

Mike, The local blogs get press attention. Many of the press mentions and articles that i've been in are directly from the reporter reading my blog.

Matthew Shadbolt is the Director of Internet Marketing at The Corcoran Group,

Debe, You know your PR. I get your Charlotte Daily News everyday. Twitter often picks up your articles and publishes them in my daily.

Michael, Everything mis on the record

Pat, Thank you and i appreciate the work you do putting that together every week.

Paula, Sounds great Paula. Buyers and sellers want information. If you publish the info the press may pick it up too.

Nancy, It is definately worth exploring.

Brian, Thank you. The report has become much more comprehensive since the first one.

Nathan, Thank you. We can't be "secret agents" we got to get the word out.

Mary, You can start out with a small one. Good luck.




Posted by Mitchell J Hall, Lic Associate RE Broker - Manhattan & Brooklyn (Compass) over 7 years ago

So glad this post was featured.  We can all learn, and rather than predications, I'm sticking to the market reports!

Posted by Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED (RETIRED / State License is Inactive) over 7 years ago

I'm also happy this was featured as I would have missed it and I can really use advice on speaking with the media.

Posted by Jill Sackler, LI South Shore Real Estate - Broker Associate (Charles Rutenberg Realty Inc. 516-575-7500) over 7 years ago

Great advice and certainly points to take to heart when talking to the media. Your advice on how to handle the questions that could be walking a fine line with regard to Fair Housing legalities is excellent, and people should always keep in mind that an "I don't know, I'll get back to you" is always an appropriate answer and will be respected by reputable journalists/interviewers. Thanks for a very informative post with helpful reminders.

Posted by Charlie Dresen, Steamboat Springs, CO e-Pro (Steamboat Sotheby's International Realty) over 7 years ago

Wonderful post, Mitchell. No one has dominated public relations and social media like the Corcoran Group. I lurk on the FB page :-)

Posted by Leslie Ebersole, I help brokers build businesses they love. (Swanepoel T3 Group) over 7 years ago

Mitchell - It's important to understand the distinction between the two, and I think many people don't know the difference between PR and marketing.

Posted by Christine Donovan, Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M (Donovan Blatt Realty) over 7 years ago




Great job.....Excellent points you've made.  as someone who didn't used to understand that you have to have a story that PR-types can talk about.  Obviously, Barbara Corcoran understood that and had a story to tell.  Talk about a great brand...and story.

Posted by Michael Hobbs, SRA, LEED GA, RAA (PahRoo Appraisal & Consultancy) over 7 years ago

Congrats on the feature! Excellent point. You offer some great tips on good PR. Thanks for sharing and have a great week.

Posted by Laurie Clark CRB Angel Realty LLC Your Monument Realtor 719-502-6572, Angel Realty, LLC (CRB-CCSS-ASD-HBS-RSD-Denver Short Sale Agents) over 7 years ago

Hi Mitchell, great pointers about a completely unknown field to me. My first tip would be to take a deep breath and think before you speak because of the high anxiety I would have.

Posted by Sandy Acevedo, RE/MAX Masters, Inland Empire Homes for Sale (951-290-8588) over 7 years ago

Great tips that are not hard to implement ! Create a new catagory to be #1 in !!!

Posted by Michael J. Perry, Lancaster, PA Relo Specialist (KW Elite ) over 7 years ago

Mitchell, This post is my favorite post of the day.. I've read but will bookmark and re-read..  porbably several times.  Thank you.

Posted by 1~Judi Barrett, BS Ed, Integrity Real Estate Services -IDABEL OK (Integrity Real Estate Services 118 SE AVE N, Idabel, OK 74745) over 7 years ago

Mich  i don't know how I missed this post ..fantastic !!   I never thought about PR is free Advertising costs



Posted by Hannah Williams, Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-953-8818 (Re/Max Eastern inc.) over 7 years ago

I really like her on Shark Tank on ABC. Very sharp. Great post! Thanks

Posted by Kevin A. Guttman-Author, ReverseMortgageSpecialist, 877-251-9709 (NMLS #384936) over 7 years ago

Thanks for all the great comments. I responded to each comment but when I hit submit it sent me back to the AR home page.

Keep in mind that having a blog is one of he best PR vehicles. Before I started blogging the only press mentions I ever had were recently sold listings that my broker submitted to the local media and one of my listings was featured as home of the week in The NY post real estate section. However, since the blog I have been featured and mentioned in numerous local and national media outlets. When a rporter is assigned a story by an editor they most likely google the subject. Chances are the agent with a blog on the subject will get a call from the reporter for the article. Real estate bloggers are good sources for journalists.

Keep on blogging! A blog and it's feeds are like a 21st century press release. Everytime we publish a blog we are in essence sending a press release that will be archived by google for ever.

Posted by Mitchell J Hall, Lic Associate RE Broker - Manhattan & Brooklyn (Compass) over 7 years ago