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.

Here are three ways you can use content to create a following (and generate more business) in your community.

1. 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.

How Top Agent Dale Ross Localizes his Paper

Click here to see Dale Ross Realty Group Newspaper

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.

2. Inform

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.

How Craig Strong Informs his 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.

Click here to see The Greater Studio City Insider

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.

3. Give Back

While providing information about the local housing market and local events is indeed engaging (and will get results), other top agents find that publishing articles about good deeds going on is even better. If you or your team participates in any charities, donates money to any causes, or volunteers regularly anywhere in the community, sharing this with homeowners will take their perception of you to another level.

How Victoria Valle Gives Back

Recently, Victoria Valle was passing through Columbus and stopped in at Discover Publications for a visit. In anticipation of meeting her, we pulled together her last ten or so publications. We found that on the cover of each and every one, she talked about all the wonderful charities she supports.

Click here to see The Home Front

Victoria is passionate about giving back – in fact, she recently received the Jefferson Award for Public Service. This award praised her work with Esperanza and Children’s Development Center in El Salvador, but in addition to this she is also involved in the Maumee Rotary and serves on the boards of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Toledo as well as the D.O.V.E Fund.

When Victoria visited, she brought along a friend from El Salvador who works with Victoria at the ECDC. This emphasized for us that with Victoria, it’s not just about the warm and fuzzies – it’s about doing real work that makes a real impact.

Victoria works in the luxury market in Maumee, Ohio – a group of neighborhoods that are especially blessed and tend to look for ways to give back. They appreciate seeing other professionals doing the same. Not surprisingly, she shared that her publication generates a minimum 200% ROI over the years, underscoring how much her community appreciates reading about the good work she does (even though it’s unrelated to selling homes).

You don’t need to be an internationally recognized charity superstar like Victoria in order to show your community what you do to give back. Anything you do to support the neighborhood can become a front-page story that, depending on your market, will get attention.

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, Toluca Lake, CA or Maumee, OH 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

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