Getting properties national newspaper coverage

25 November 2011

Graham Norwood is almost an industry nobleman these days, having written about residential property for over 10 years. He writes for the Daily Telegraph and Financial Times most weeks and regularly appears in other publications such as the Daily Mail, Independent and Estates Gazette.

He also has a few books to his name and is last year's winner of the Prime Location Property Blog award for Despite which, I asked him to put together some tips for today's blog on newspaper publicity.

Graham Norwood

"In a tough economy, it’s vital for every opportunity for exposure to be optimised. Therefore newspaper editorial is a valuable boost for publicity.

Estate agents who provide material for the low-circulation struggling-to-get-by local newspapers can get the wrong impression. These local papers survive because of large-scale advertising such as house sales, so they willingly throw their property pages open for articles written by estate agents shamelessly plugging their latest home on sale, even if it looks distinctly similar to another one down the road.

When it comes to national newspaper property sections, the reverse is true. These are written by journalists and thrive on their editorial independence, irrespective of who advertises. But that is not a reason to assume your properties and business cannot get a look in... you simply have to work harder to seize the opportunity.

Here is my five point guide to getting into national newspaper property pages.

Firstly, accept that some things are NOT good stories. A home on your books that may be the most expensive in an area, or the largest, or the most recently built, or one with the most detailed documented history, will almost certainly NOT make a story by itself.

Secondly, remember that HUMAN ENDEAVOUR makes a great story. Analyse photos and subjects in the weekend property pages (Daily Mail, Times and Independent on Fridays, Telegraph and Financial Times on Saturdays, or Times and Telegraph on Sundays) and you see one common denominator in over 50 per cent of stories - they are about people. The stories tell how people have made or lost money from homes, or built their own homes, or have moved home 10 times in five years despite the downturn, or have bought the home next door and knocked through - that sort of thing.

Thirdly, list CASE STUDIES as you win instructions. These case studies are people who have interesting stories to tell, as in point two. The agencies whose names appear most commonly in national papers are those who ask vendors up front why they are selling and find out a little more, which could make a story - I bet every agent in the country has a potential story through at least one client, but does not know it.

Fourthly, have PHOTOGRAPHS of properties that are hi-res and professional. Those property features in newspapers that are not dominated by case studies are often instead about themes - for example, houses with thatched roofs, those on a commuter line, or homes with fantastic libraries. Even a humble terraced house may fit the bill if it suits the theme but a paper will only use a good quality photograph. Submitting one with a wheely bin and next door’s van parked in front will lose you a chance of free national exposure... getting the photo right could sell the property for you.

Finally, have some sort of CONTACT who can be emailed or tweeted by journalists looking for stories. Journalists hate being cold-called by agents (they do not have time to explain all this to each person who makes contact). But journalists often use email or Twitter to appeal for case studies or pics of certain types of properties. Your contact does not need to be an expensive public relations executive - just an efficient, effective person who has an understanding of how journalists and agents work.

Good luck... and I hope I’ll see you in one of my stories very soon."

Graham Norwood
07779 595964

P.S. Graham also provides media training and first class corporate copy-writing, if you're ever in need!

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Leave your comment:

What you said:

16 January 2014 10:04:52
This is a brilliant piece of writing. It's a really good point of view to write from, but yet essential. Thanks for the heads up.
04 March 2016 20:40:52
Hi Graham I'm just starting up property letting business and I need more information about how I can get Landlord who are looking for agency to manage or Let their property