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Warren Buffett’s Berkshire, Chinese property website Juwai.com team up.

The above headline was how Reuters described Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices’ marketing agreement with a Chinese real estate website. The news received widespread coverage from business media including Bloomberg News.

While not every person has the headline-grabbing cachet of Warren Buffet and his company, Berkshire Hathaway, there are still a handful of interesting lessons that we can learn from this press release and why it did so well.

 

What Works:
  • Strong News Hook: Berkshire Hathaway tied its message to an interesting trend — Chinese are snapping up U.S. real estate. Berkshire Hathaway is partnering with Juwai to attract wealthy Chinese citizens wanting to buy homes in the U.S. The press release also points out that Juwai’s traffic is made up of wealthy Chinese that “are ready to buy homes in the U.S.”, which creates a sense of urgency that journalists love.
  • Big Numbers Give Context: Berkshire Hathaway also used big numbers to show why readers should care about this news. Juwai is probably not a household name to the average reader, which is why Berkshire Hathaway mentioned high up in the press release that Juwai is the largest international property portal in China with 2 million monthly users. There is also website traffic coming from 400 Chinese cities. Now we’re listening!
  • Ready-to-Use Quote: The press release includes a compelling quote that highlights the trend News Hook, making it easy for journalists to put the news into context: “The Chinese have overtaken all nationalities besides Americans as the leading buyers of property in the U.S.,” said Gino Blefari, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices. Bloomberg used this quote word-for-word in its article.
What Doesn’t Work:
  • Too much jargon: The Berkshire Hathaway press release mentioned that their listings are in “click-to-translate mode” and that a dedicated China-based “concierge” team helps buyers with translation, questions and referrals. This statement comes at the bottom of the press release and sounds like more than the marketing agreement that the press release leads with. There may be more services being offered in this partnership but it’s not clear. The companies should have fleshed this out a bit more, and dropped some of the jargon, because it leaves us with more questions.
What We’ve Learned: Show the Trend, Don’t Tell It!

While we’re not all Berkshire Hathaway and Warren Buffett, and we’re not all signing deals with big Chinese real estate sites, even small companies can recognize that Berkshire Hathaway did a lot here to maximize its media exposure.

A deal or partnership announcement is more likely to attract media interest if it plays up a hot trend and creates a sense of urgency. Against the backdrop of the constant struggle between the U.S. and China for economic dominance, the trend of wealthy Chinese buying U.S. property is particularly intriguing. Berkshire Hathaway also backed up the News Hook with some big numbers and straightforward quotes to show readers why they should care about the news. This release is a good example of how “show don’t tell” works well.

Check out Berkshire Hathaway’s press release here and let me know in the comments section below why you think it was so effective and what lessons you will likely apply in your next press release.

Alex Armitage is co-founder and CEO of Publiqly, whose Workflows help small and mid-sized companies write press releases that journalists and bloggers can’t ignore. Were you forwarded this post? Sign up to receive our weekly press release lessons directly in your inbox.

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