Two Agents Making Community Papers a Plus for Business

We’ve talked about content marketing in previous posts and Discover’s mix of traditional and digital in its approach to the concept. We’re going to focus in more today on what makes traditional mediums – specifically our custom community newspapers – work in local markets.

Localize It!

At the beginning of my career I was a newspaper reporter for a regional daily paper in Ohio. One afternoon, as I mused to a colleague that it was a slow news day and I was already done with assignments from editors, Roy Cross, a “real news man” from the old school, looked up from his work and said, “Localize something!”

Roy knew that in our smallish college town and the several mostly rural counties we served, the difference we made at the Athens Messenger wasn’t in reporting broad, national or state stories – we had the Associated Press for that. Our power was in reporting on local events and public officials – or taking a national subject and finding the local angle. That was in 1992. Roy’s admonition led me to discover that day an Athens, Ohio native, David Wilhelm, was serving as campaign manager for the guy who was about to win the Democratic nomination for president. My ensuing phone interview of Wilhelm became one of my first front page stories at the Messenger.

Discover Publications client, Dale Ross, publishes the Dale Ross Realty Group Real Estate Report in Katy and West Houston, Texas. Dale’s Discover publication is mailed to over 11,000 homes monthly to targeted zip codes. He localizes content on his front page each month, not by taking on a national subject, but by crunching regional real estate data down to his targeted zips. The charts featured on his front page each month speak directly to market activity where the publication’s readers live. Dale is “hyper-localizing it!”

And, about those charts. Dale knows his community. Katy, Texas is heavily reliant upon and populated by professionals in the oil and gas industry. Many of those homes he’s mailing his paper to are owned by petroleum and other engineers. Dale knows engineers like charts and data – and his paper’s front page will be noticed.

Local Content – Community Service

What about offering the sort of local content that used to be in your local daily newspaper or in local broadcast media? Offering what is essentially neighborhood-level information will attract readers and builds your brand as an integral – and trusted part of the community.

Craig Strong is a real estate agent serving Toluca Lake and Studio City, California. His approach to his Discover publication is a front page devoted to community events. For example, this spring he had a feature story highlighting festivals and farmers markets in the area. The article describes what makes things like the Toluca Lake Farmers Market unique and provides the whens and the wheres for this and other markets and events. This edition also included coverage, via photos and captions, of recent local events he participated in, like the annual Neighborhood Garage Sale and Taste of Toluca.

On the inside of Craig’s paper there’s even more local content, and, what I think is the most interesting piece of all – the Toluca Lake Crime Report. With so many local news outlets dying or scaling back operations, this is useful information. And, remember, only households in Toluca Lake are getting this targeted mailing. Craig is providing a community news service at essentially the neighborhood level. Craig’s newspaper is getting attention – and Craig’s brand in the community is burnished.

Craig actually does two publications, the other targeted at Studio City. Of course, Studio City gets its own crime report. Both of his editions also contain recent real estate activity reports, including listings, sales and pending sales by address and transaction/listing value.

Local is a Winner

The fact is, Discover’s clients who spend a little time to find and develop the local niche for their community newspaper get more attention – and more leads. By knowing their audience – and speaking directly to them about things that affect their daily lives – their content marketing pays off by setting them apart in a crowded real estate market. When it’s time for a homeowner or home buyer in Katy, TX or Toluca Lake, CA to find an agent, they’ll know where to start. They’ll start with the agent that knows – and is an active, positive part – of their community.

Other Local Content Ideas Used by Discover Clients:

  • Real Estate Q & A with agent
  • Stories on local youth sports teams
  • Coverage of local school district events or accomplishments
  • Reporting on local charitable activities
  • Photos – snap pictures with that fancy iPhone or Android device in your pocket