The other day I got a very timely question from my cyber-friend Ron, considering this week's Cheese-to-Soul series.
Ron asked if I knew of a source for good real estate-related newsletter content that would be "meaningful" to his Sphere of Influence (his "SOI"). He's frustrated by the material available for purchase, most of which simply feels canned. Moreover, he's uncomfortable using much of it because it relates to topics he's NOT an expert in, such as tax planning, home staging and credit reports.
I agree. As I may have mentioned a time or two, I refuse to use canned, boilerplate material. I think it's cheesy and dorky. (My definition of Dorky is any written, self-promotional communication that is dull, dry, boring or corporate. Most content-for-purchase pretty much qualifies. )
But let's go back to Ron's quest for real estate information that would be "meaningful" to his SOI. Here was my response to him:
"Here's the thing - your SOI doesn't have a lot of interest in real estate on a day-to-day basis. Therefore, there's not much in OUR world that would be generally meaningful to people outside of our world, with a few exceptions that come up from time to time.
You want your newsletters to be interesting to your audience, more so than "meaningful." And you know what's interesting to your SOI? Stuff from YOU. From YOU, their friend, Ron. Maybe an observation about the real estate market, if it's interesting, or to pass on a funny story from your career. Or maybe not related to real estate at all.
I write to my SOI every month in email form, not newsletter form. I want my SOI communications to clearly come from me, not some canned product I bought off a virtual shelf. If newsletters/emails are going to be part of my marketing plan, I'm going to put some effort into them in the hopes of inspiring my friends and acquaintances to think fondly of me, rather than to just simply remember that I sell real estate (and promptly forget)."
So, to pick up from yesterday's blog post on this very topic, remember that the primary goal of your "newsletter" is not to impress, educate or overtly prospect. It's simply to remind the people you know that you exist and that you're a pretty cool guy or gal.
What topics might do that? Well, kinda like blogging, the list is endless... and once you're in the habit, it gets easier and easier to come up with ideas. Here are a few of mine:
I recommend that you always have a notebook with you to scribble down ideas for SOI newsletters - and I think you'll be pleased how quickly your list will grow once you get in the habit.
This seems like a good opportunity for a little SWS plug - I just released my SWS Mega-Toolkit which includes a section of several dozen real-life SOI letters and emails that might give you some ideas for your own 2010 newsletters.
Okay, so that's three blogs on the Art of the Non-Cheesy Newsletter. I think I'll move on now... next up - Greeting Cards! Or... maybe listing presentations... or maybe... heck, I dunno. Just stay tuned!