Inspiration for real estate newsletter topics

You probably have a lot of ideas for stimulating, fascinating articles in your head right now. But here’s the danger. If you don’t start keeping an eye out for these gems of ideas, the evasive little devils will disappear on you. As I said before, when inspiration strikes, write it down. Maybe you don’t have the item you normally log these ideas in, but you can still write them down somewhere, like a napkin or a piece of scrap paper or the back of an envelope. Here are some places to look for inspiration:

Take a topic currently in the news and put your own twist on it. Now, you might be wondering: How the heck do I take a political topic and pull that into my marketing plan? Here’s how one web-hosting company, A2 Hosting, turned a news item into a compelling offer to customers. It’s outdated now, of course, but when it was issued this conveyed the impression of timeliness, immediacy and relevance. This is what the newsletter stated: “The U.S. government has called for an economic stimulus, and we at A2 Hosting have an economic stimulus of our own. Use your government economic stimulus check and tax refund to pay up front for your web hosting and save some dough! By pre-paying for your hosting, your monthly hosting fees will drop significantly…”

Check out content in local and national newspapers, in magazines, on TV talk shows or in panel discussions at industry meetings. Of course, you want to avoid re-printing the article or duplicating the information provided (if you do, be sure to check out the copyright policy), but if you re-interpret them for your clients by adding local content, and your personality, these articles become valuable sources of inspiration. Be wary of fly-by-night coverage. There’s nothing more boring than old news. We don’t know when a topic will no longer become relevant, but we can guess that if an issue only recently became “hot,” it may soon turn cold.

Because your newsletter isn’t immediate, don’t include anything too newsy. Stick to magazine-type stories on subjects with staying power. Remember to check your sources–don’t get caught by a site with sloppy reporting or bad facts, or worse, accidentally reprint satire from The Onion as if it’s true!

Read others’ newsletters. You have suppliers, and you likely belong to associations, clubs, hobby groups and a whole host of other organizations. Some of these send newsletters. Read—or at least flip through—all of them. If you see a story you want to borrow (this is called a reprint), get permission from the company publishing that newsletter (more on this in the next chapter.) In most cases, they’ll be happy with a mention and a thank-you.

Look at what’s trending on social media.. How can you use this information in your newsletter? A word of warning: Be judicious. As you well know, you can’t believe everything you read on the Internet. And always, always avoid the big three: politics, sex and religion. These topics are controversial and could very well cost you a few customers.

Your local tourism board or visitor’s center likely has a website. Peruse it often. What’s promotable about your city and how can you play off it? What are the hot new trends in your business community?
Anecdotes you run across in the course of daily life, such as really good, side-splitting jokes and other people’s back stories about what made them who they are today. People get enough bad news from the media. Make them smile and forget the bad news. They’ll be grateful.

Tap into local experts such as a tax accountant, real estate specialist, insurance and mortgage professionals, school principals, doctors, etc. Ask a trusted expert to write a column for you on subjects that will be useful to your customers.

Regularly read websites and blogs. Intentionally choose those tied to topics in the field of your expertise, and what your newsletter covers. Note that the same warning applies as with social media: Be sure the sites are legit, and the content isn’t questionable. And remember that copyright protection applies to online sources as well—get permission for direct reprints.