Are Most Property PRs Missing A Trick?

New converts always bang on about their latest addictions but I couldn’t let January end without saying how Twitter has helped my work … in just four weeks.

It has proven invaluable for finding case studies and information for a string of pieces. It has also convinced me that property players not on Twitter can miss out on valuable marketing and public relations opportunities.

When I write a story – for a broadsheet, tabloid, lifestyle journal or trade magazine – editors usually want case studies to hammer home the point. Editors like them because they are ordinary people who are ‘recognisable’ to readers and, by endorsing the thrust of the story, add a kind of Everyman authority to the article.

BT (Before joining Twitter) I would email 100 or so PR contacts to find case studies. When a PR came up with one I, in return, would quote their client in the piece. This mutual-back-scratch is defensible: by finding the case study, the client (usually an agent or developer) shows they have experience in the subject so are worth quoting.

But ST (Since joining Twitter) most of my case studies have come via Twitter itself. They have been people – some in property but most not - who have let out their second homes or rented their driveway or moved from city-to-country or swapped their home for someone else’s to enjoy a cheap holiday.

In other words, they have been the bread-and-butter of the four or five property stories I write each week, and were cooperative and gave good quotes.

Because I did not find them via PRs, I did not quote the PRs’ clients in the pieces. So the stories I have written in January feature fewer agents and developers than usual.

Very few of my established email contacts are on Twitter so they missed out, unless I also made an ‘old style’ email request. If my approach is adopted by other writers, will agents and developers one day ask if they need all their professional PR help?

Maybe this great January was a fluke. February may be a disaster and I may quit Twitter. (I certainly wouldn’t miss the pointless messages some people make about bus delays and hangovers from last night’s drink.)

But most messages aren’t pointless. Instead, they create instant contacts that are invaluable for journalists. Unless the property establishment catches on to this fact, those already using Twitter and its like may quickly find a way of working that is significantly less reliant on PRs than in the past.

Things are changing in every aspect of property – and fast.

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