Books are often judged by their titles, right? A good example is Think and Grow Rich. Sound easy and compelling. Just three little words, strung together into an idea so big that it made Napoleon Hill’s career.
Can the same be said of a real estate newsletter? Do your clients care what you name your newsletter?
Probably not consciously. But even without knowing it, they may still be affected by your newsletter title, just as we are by Hill’s iconic book title.
In fact, a newsletter title may do a lot more than you think. Here are the 4 things I’ll cover in this post. By the end, you will have found the perfect name for your real estate newsletter.
If you’re looking for a good name for your brand new real estate newsletter, this post will give you food for thought. (Probably more than you ever thought possible.) Most importantly, it will help you come up with the perfect newsletter title, and help you craft the right kind of content to go with the name.
What research tells us about titles
Research points out what you already know instinctively: Titles influence our impression of what comes next.
When the title and content are not in sync, the result is cognitively jarring.
To test this premise, all you have to do is think back to a time when you started reading a juicy sounding post, only to discover that the content didn’t relate at all to the post title. It’s jarring. And annoying. You set your expectations based on the title.
Titles Are Shorthand for Whole Concepts
Titles are labels that encapsulate bigger ideas, and not just for books and newsletters. There are also job titles, titles for political movements, titles related to nobility, and so on. All of these convey a much larger concept.
Take job titles for example:
Imagine meeting a person who introduces themselves as “Chief Imagination Officer” at Disneyland. Would you expect this person to be serious and stuffy or fun and playful? You don’t know, but you can guess. But more importantly, you don’t even consciously guess. Your brain just puts “imagination” and “Disney” together to create an impression of fun. It would be jarring to meet this person and discover their personality is dour and mean.
All this is common sense, even if you’ve never thought about it consciously before. But there’s also real science behind the relationship between titles and how they affect our expectations.
For instance, a study published in The Academy of Management Journal found that employees who created their own job titles were happier than employees who were stuck with corporate labels.
Titles Can Control Our Experience
But titles don’t simply give us an impression. They also influence how we experience what we read.
Maria Konnikova, author of Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes and The Confidence Game, shares this in her New York Times article How Headlines Change the Way We Think: “By drawing attention to certain details or facts, a headline can affect what existing knowledge is activated in your head. By its choice of phrasing, a headline can influence your mindset as you read so that you later recall details that coincide with what you were expecting.”
The mind is stubborn. It wants the content and the title to be in sync. While it can be jarring when they’re not, as Konnikova points out, that the mind will sometimes make up connections to fulfill the expectations set by the title.
How to create a unique name that fits your newsletter
Here are the points to keep in mind when coming up with your own creative newsletter name.
- The name should create an impression of the content to come.
- The content should match the title impression. No jarring disconnect.
- The name should also create an accurate impression of you, the author.
The Newsletter Name Guessing Game
To illustrate how title can shape our thinking, I’ve listed some example newsletter titles below. For fun, try to guess what kind of content will be in these newsletters. Also imagine what kind of person might send each newsletter.
Read each of the titles below and guess a) what the content is going to be about, and b) what Bob is like as a person.
Bob’s Newsletter Title Ideas
1. Title: Bob’s Real Estate News
Just from the title alone, what do you think Bob’s newsletter is going to be about? And what do you think Bob is like as a person?
Impression of the Content: I’d think its going to have lots of real estate information. Maybe an interest rate report, news about how to improve my sales price, how to negotiate with a buyer, etc.
Impression of Bob: I’d think that Bob’s probably serious and even unimaginative. All-business. Bob may or may not be like that in life, but that’s the message his newsletter title is giving.
Bob’s newsletter may be just one tiny data point about Bob, but if I’m a real estate lead, or a past client from years ago, or even a referral who got Bob’s newsletter from someone else, then I don’t have anything else to go on but this newsletter. If I weren’t getting Bob’s newsletters, then Bob would completely disappear from my life.
Let’s look at a few more examples:
2. Title: Bob’s Real Estate Roundup
What do you think this one is going to be about? And what do you think this Bob is like as a person?
Impression of the Content: To me, this still says Bob’s serious about real estate. Readers can expect this newsletter to be about real estate statistics, or Bob’s real estate business, listings, or something about how to sell your house. It’s a little broader and flashier than Bob’s Real Estate News.
Impression of Bob: I’d think that Bob’s probably a little lighter, more relaxed, but still serious about his business. He’s just not all business.
3. Title: At Home with Bob
What do you think this one is going to be about? And what do you think this Bob is like?
Impression of the Content: To me, this one says the content is going to be about Bob’s business, maybe some local statistics, a few household tips, maybe a folksy story or a game. If this newsletter were all about statistics and how to buy and sell real estate, it would be a little jarring.
Impression of Bob: I’d think that Bob’s a relaxed, friendly guy. Confident about his place in the world. Someone who does business with people he cares about.
4. Title: Bob’s Home Buyer Helper
Impression of the Content: This clearly gives a direction to the content of the newsletter. If the newsletter started telling me about home selling, or giving me recipes for healthy juices, that could be jarring. Instead, I expect to learn about loans, how to save for a down payment, and q&a related to home buying. If the newsletter were titled Level-Up Your Home, I might expect information about home selling, or home maintenance. If the title were Kensington Homeowner, I’d expect news specific to my Kensington neighborhood.
Impression of Bob: I’d think Bob is an expert in home buying, a friendly, positive guy. He’s helpful. It says it right in the name.
See how the title and content fit together?
When coming up with your title, put yourself in the minds of your audience and ask “What kind of impression of the content will they get from this title? Am I delivering that kind of content?”
The idea is to keep the title aligned with the content, and to keep both aligned with the impression you want to create of yourself as an agent.
Start with the content, then create your title
Rather than looking for a perfect title, then writing content to match the title, you could also start by thinking about the kind of content you want to share, then come up with a title to match the content.
Try this little game to come up with a title based on the content. Which of the four titles given for each do you think would be most appropriate for the content shown?
Example 1: Which title is best for this newsletter?
- Home Trends by John
- Real Estate News
- House Values
- At Home with John
I like the variety of content in this newsletter. It clearly relates to the home, which makes sense for a real estate newsletter. Yet it’s not about buying and selling, which is good. Since I’m not thinking about buying or selling right now, its stuff I can probably use. I don’t like the lack of buttons to click (the titles are links). I’d probably choose Home Trends by John for the title of this newsletter.
Example 2: Which title is best for this newsletter?
- Your Home Base
- Tom’s Realty Report
- Talk of the Town
- Travel with Tom
I like what they’ve done here. They’re sharing long content, but only giving us a peek, leaving us curious. I don’t care for all the white space in the design, but the biggest problem I have with this newsletter is that the content doesn’t look like it’s from a real estate agent (it is). I’d choose the title Travel with Tom if I didn’t know this was a real estate newsletter. Knowing it’s from an agent, I’d go with Your Home Base.
Example 3: Which title is best for this newsletter?
- Your Home Expert
- Real Estate Advisor
- Front Porch News
- Spaces and Places
I like the combination of curated content, personal listing, and short article. This is a well-rounded newsletter (full disclosure…this is from one of our own newsletters at Fast Newsletters). The content is interesting, and reminds me that the agent is active in the industry without forcing me to endure long articles about buying or selling. I’d go with either Front Porch News or Spaces and Places.
More real estate newsletter name ideas
For fun, look at the following titles and imagine what sort of content you think would be provided in a newsletter with each title. What impression do you get of the agent behind the newsletter?
- Jenny’s Real Estate Report
- Crossroads Real Estate News
- Real Estate News and Views
- News You Can Use
- Real Estate Update
- Don Jenison’s Team News
- Real Estate Insider
- Real Estate Matters
- Real Estate Watch
- Ben’s Household DIY Tips
- Front Porch News
- Home Health Monthly
- The Lighter Side of Real Estate
- Del Cerro Living
- At Home in the Slow Lane
- Around the House
- Jacked Up! / Linda’s Look at Life / Arleigh’s Almanac / Marseille’s Magazine / In Like Flynn / Murphy’s News (Any title that makes an idiomatic or alliterative play on your own name is a creative way to remind people who you are, and show them that you’re clever and fun…if that’s your goal). For a list of people’s names used in idioms, see this post from The Phrase Finder. https://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/name-phrases.html
Do you even need a title?
Finally, after all this talk about titles, you might wonder if you even need a newsletter name. After all, you could just go with a “brand” header. That’s a header that focuses on the company name and logo. It shows your personal name, contact details, and photo. See the example pictured here:
The only problem I have with a brand header is that it screams cookie-cutter real estate agent. If you want your newsletters to convert to future clients, you have to remind them why they like you. Adding your personality to your newsletter is a good way to anchor your obvious expertise as a local agent they trust.
Here’s an interesting NO TITLE idea. If you prefer not to use a title, then you can still create a local persona using an image. (If you have control over the design of your newsletter.) In this idea, you’ll rotate various local images at the top of the newsletter. You can even invite people to guess where the picture was taken. Then in the body of your newsletter, put a short description of the location. Here’s an example where there’s no title, but still a lot of personality:
5 key take-aways about naming your real estate newsletter
Hopefully I’ve given you plenty of food for thought about newsletter titles. Here are the key take-aways from this post:
- The title does shape people’s impressions of the content, and possibly of you as an agent. At least in a limited, subconscious way.
- Keep your title and content in sync. If your title and content are out of sync, people are confused. As the saying goes, “A confused mind always says no.”
- Let your content guide your title. If you know what kind of content you want to share, use that to shape the title of your newsletters.
- OR let your title guide your content. If you come up with a great newsletter title that you just have to use, then let the title dictate the kind of content you include. Don’t have a title that says one thing, and content that says another thing.
- You don’t need a title. But it’s ideal to include some sense of personality in the header to remove any cookie-cutter impression that doesn’t connect with people personally.