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I recently left a comment on a post by Andrea Swiedler.
Andrea's blog post was about how she had been contacted by a local news reporter and asked to share her opinion on some recent changes in property values. We see these types of posts by members from time to time. We've had members contacted by their local media, the national media, even the international media for their opinion on this, that or the other.
To be honest, I'm actually a bit surprised we don't see more stories like this, considering we have some of the most visible real estate agents online around the country. Who better to go to for an opinion than someone you can investigate in advance, and get a pretty good idea of what that opinion will be.
As I read Andrea's post about being contacted by a local reporter, I had a few thoughts swirling around my head, so I let Andrea have them. I suggested that she stop waiting for the news to find her.........and she go make the news. How you ask?
I suggested she take 8-10 of her best articles and contact the editor of her local paper offering to write a guest column about real estate. It's long been reported that the traditional newspaper is dying. Many have made the switch to online versions. However, in many of your communities, there are still print versions of the paper.....and people still read them!
Some have gone to a weekly print version, but they still have daily stories online. The struggle for these editors is to find affordable content. If your paper is losing it's advertising dollars because companies are increasingly moving their advertising budget online, it would follow that editors have less money to spend on quality content. Guess who has quality content, and a reason to put that content in the hands of a local editor?
What's your reason? Exposure. You don't need to be paid $50 to submit a good article. The exposure you could achieve from being a guest columnist for free in your local newspaper would be invaluable. And you have spent the last year, two years, four years perfecting your writing skills in front of a grand audience of your peers.
So let's go over all the reasons your Drunk Monkey will say as to why you have no reason writing a column for your local paper and then we will smack that Drunk Monkey with a rebuttal:
Reason #1: You don't have the time.
Bull$#!t. You are already writing this content on your blog. Skip writing a blog post or two and you now have the time. Heck, you could even go back through your archive of 100 posts and find ones that would be great for local readers. I bet if you do that, and you look at some of your older posts, they could be updated and improved to give you content for your next years worth of columns.
Reason #2: There are way better writers on ActiveRain who this would surely work for, but it won't work for you.
Bull$#!t. First off, you'll never know until you try. Chances are, you are better than you think. And who knows the local real estate market better than you? Don't compare yourself to others you see on this site. Some of these people have been writing for much longer than ActiveRain has even been around. Some of them weren't very good writers when they started and have progressed tremendously since committing to blog consistently. It's very likely you are one of them!
Reason #3: The newspaper is old school. Focus your efforts online as that's the future of marketing.
Well, that ones not completely bull$#!t. You might actually have a case there Drunk Monkey. But it's not a very strong case. People still read the local paper. Andrea told me that in her town, it comes out once a week, I think she said on Friday......and when it does, EVERYONE in town grabs one. I think she might have even said her local weekly edition is free. So you KNOW those editors are looking for good content for cheap. I was at a friend's house in Washington during my last visit back and this 33 year old man, the best man in my wedding, was heading up to take a shower at his place and he handed me the newspaper to read. What did I do while waiting for him to take that shower? I read the newspaper. The old school newspaper. It was nostalgic for me, because I get my news from my iPad now. But guess what....my best man doesn't. He still reads the newspaper. So do lots of people.
Reason #4: You don't know what the first step would be.
Alright, so now the drunk monkey is posing some real challenges. Smack that drunk monkey and tell him to shut up! Take 6-8 of your best posts and figure out to whom they should be shown. The editor of your local paper would be the person you are after. Some of you probably know that person. You know where their office is, you could easily get their email address, you may even be friends with them on Facebook. If not, why? OK, maybe you don't know them.......make it your job to know them. Your business is about exposure and this person can expose your expertise to a lot of people in your market.
Once you have compiled links to 6-8 (I said 8-10 earlier....doesn't matter how many, just make it enough to show them you know what the heck you are doing) of your best posts, send them to the editor along with an offer to contribute a weekly, bi-weekly, monthly (you pick, I don't care) column about the real estate market in your community. Your letter to the editor would go something like this:
My name is Why Haven't I Done This Already. I am a local real estate agent with Great Ideas Realty here in Ann Arbor. For the past 2 years, I have written a blog on the industry leading real estate platform ActiveRain. My blog is highly trafficked not only by other real estate professionals around the country, but by locals right here in our town who find it after searching for certain topics in Google or other large search engines.
I would like to offer you a weekly column about real estate here in Ann Arbor that you could use in your publication for free. If you believe bi-weekly or monthly would be more effective, I would be open to that as well.
As you can see from the 6 articles I have included for you to review, I am an expert in Ann Arbor real estate. I'm not usually so bold as to call myself an expert, but it's my job to be an expert on our market. Over the last 2 years, I have also honed my writing skills amongst a group of the nations elite real estate writers.
I believe that with the national fury surrounding the real estate market, with short sales, foreclosures and falling property values being on the forefront of everyone's mind, having a column in your publication where a local expert sorted out the facts and applied those facts to our local market would be invaluable.
I have a few ideas of topics that I know, based on evidence from my blog, people in our market are interested in. I would love to share them with you if given the opportunity
It's important that people in Ann Arbor realize that what the national news reports doesn't necessarily mean the same thing for people looking to buy or sell in Ann Arbor. You and I both know that real estate is local, and the people of Ann Arbor need to have a resource to which they can go to see what is going on in THEIR local market. Because your publication has always been that resource for people in our community in the past, I decided to offer my expertise to you so it remains that resource in the future.
Why Haven't I Done This Already
You can probably do way better than I did here, but you get the idea. When you don't get an immediate response, call them in a few days. When they don't return your call, go to their office and ask to speak with them. If the idea of doing this makes your hands sweat and your pulse quicken (like it does for Andrea) get over yourself. She has. I'll be helping her pull together her best posts and formulating the letter to send to the editor. I'll give you my opinion on your stuff too if you want it.
Now, get out there and make it happen. 20,000 ActiveRain points for anyone who ends up as a columnist in their local paper. We'll even send you a T-shirt. I'll probably feature your post where you write about getting accepted as a columnist, and you can thank me later with envelopes full of cash when your business takes off. Deal?
You're going to have to be bold. So who's bold enough to make it happen?
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Disclaimer: ActiveRain Corp. does not necessarily endorse the real estate agents, loan officers and brokers listed on this site. These real estate profiles, blogs and blog entries are provided here as a courtesy to our visitors to help them make an informed decision when buying or selling a house. ActiveRain Corp. takes no responsibility for the content in these profiles, that are written by the members of this community.