Watch our video interview with the editor of Estates Gazette Damian Wild as we chat about the challenges facing the property sector and the growth of development within London since the 2012 Olympics.
Tell us a little bit about your outlet. Who are your readers?
Estates Gazette is the UK’s largest commercial property magazine. In print we are out every week, we go out to 19,000 readers or so, with a very high pass-on readership; we’re sure of that. In the last year we’ve launched an iPad edition which is now out 48 hours before the print, or 36 hours (it's out on the Thursday night compared to the print version landing on the Saturday).
There are links to videos in there, links to our extended building report database – we have a very large research team here researching every significant commercial building in the UK. That data all sits on EGI which is our high-value subscription product online as well. For us it’s about trying to integrate that content for our readers who are UK commercial and residential property professionals, be they investors, developers, occupiers, advisors, lawyers, planning officers within government departments. It’s a very diverse audience within a significant part of UK PLC that we are trying to serve through every available medium.
Do you use freelancers?
We do use freelancers. We try and use expert freelancers who have a real depth of knowledge in a particular field, whether it’s a particular region, almost certainly a depth of knowledge about property, commercial and residential, or financial specialists. We have quite a large freelance team and we are always looking to add to it with the right voices.
What is the best way for the freelancers to get in touch?
Look us up on Twitter, find out the appropriate section editor and get in touch with them direct. Pitching ideas is what we are always interested in. We try and put the idea first and then work out how to execute it in print, online, using video, audio and any other mediums – infographics, increasingly.
What types of PR agencies do you work with?
Again, we welcome contact from PR agencies who understand what we’re doing, what our audience is interested in, understand the importance of exclusives, and understand the importance of deadlines. So you get a very good feel for what we are interested in and what our readers are interested in by reading Estates Gazette or looking at our website. Those who do that will find that their ideas fall on receptive ears.
What percentage of press releases make it to publication?
A very small percentage of press releases we receive each day make it into the publication. We have a fairly large editorial team; we have about 33 full-time staff including art production, a video person as well as writers and section editors. They are out all the time trying to find out things before people want them disclosed so that’s what we rely on, primarily. But the right sort of announcement timed right and made available for us alone will always be of interest.
What will Estates Gazette be writing about this year?
Estates Gazette is very interested in the UK property market. In the last couple of years it's around London where the most noughts are added, the most properties are traded, the most investment is found. I think there will be a spread to the regions this year as we're seeing activity in Birmingham, Manchester, Bristol, Cambridge, parts of Scotland – Aberdeen particularly. Last year was very much about London with the Olympics, Golden Jubilee and that halo effect with international investment coming into the capital. There are signs of it seeping out further into the regions, but London is still going to have a strong story to tell this year and we will be very interested in all of those tales.
What are the challenges facing the property market this year?
The challenges for the commercial property market remain around funding, access to funds – the banks aren’t lending but there are new sources of lending coming in with different criteria. Availability of stock is another big issue; we’ve only seen two significant developments outside of London. There are others going on inside London but that availability of Grade A space is going to be a problem, on top of the ongoing problem with access to funds.
Describe a typical day at work?
I’m not sure there is a typical day as editor of Estates Gazette – I’m not sure there is a typical day as an editor any longer. The idea of just managing a magazine is long gone, we're managing a high-value subscription website, and we're managing video content, live web events, live face-to face events.
It’s very varied, it’s trying to put the idea first, put the story first and then working out the appropriate medium to tell that story. Also making sure you tell that story completely, there’s no point I feel in going out with just a single line. There may be on Twitter, but beyond Twitter there is no point going out with just a top line story. Our readers want to know all about context and consequence. I feel we have to tell the whole story first and that's the challenge. Increasingly it starts on Twitter, it goes online, it's developed through print, it will be developed further through some sort of event, face-to-face or virtual, and only then does the full picture become clear, so we are trying to think about all of those things.
What interests you most about your job?
I think the most interesting thing about the job, working on a large trade magazine, is that you have so many more ways of telling a story. In the old days you’d perhaps go to press on the Wednesday night and hope no one else broke the story, a national newspaper on a Thursday before you landed on the Friday. Now we can compete with any media outlet online and we can compete with some of the bigger broadcasters as well with our video content. Our production standards are going up so we are putting together some very nice video packages. From a PR perspective, we treat video footage as a press release. Potentially, if someone has a video of a new scheme, we are very interested in taking that video content and editing it into a larger package. For us, a press release isn’t just words on paper anymore, it's images and video as well.
Damian Wild is tweeting @DamianWild.