I have a friend who manages a number of properties and he is always quoted in real estate stories but has never used a PR firm.
He has developed relationships with a number of reporters in the region by sharing information with them over the years. Studies and research, tips and other great insight that would help them craft a solid story.
He gave more than he received and for that reporters would quote him as a third party resource. Over time. the advice was sound and the reporters started to quote him more and more.
If that is something that interests you, know what you can speak on and what you can share. Identify the reporters who cover those issues and follow them. Share their stories, send them an email or Tweet about their story, something you would add, perhaps additional insight into the issue and remain available and responsive should they eventually call you.