As someone who writes real estate content for a living, I am fairly fine-tuned to the nuances of content marketing. One of the guiding principles of my work is that the end-goal of your marketing determines the kind of content you need to include.
A real estate blog, for example, is intended to bring people to your website. You attract people with topics that are important to them. Buyers might read “A Guide to the House Styles of San Diego Neighborhoods.” Or sellers might be interested in reading “Staging Secrets that Increase Your Sale Price by 20%.” Once they’re at your site, you need to use various tools to get them to engage with you.
A newsletter is intended to maintain a relationship with people you’ve already communicated with. They will be a mix of buyers and sellers, contacts from your sphere of influence, past clients, and even family members. The newsletter needs to be widely appealing to people who may or may not be planning to buy or sell a house, or who have friends who are buying or selling.
The Purposes of a Real Estate Newsletter
The agents I work with give four reasons for sending a newsletter:
1. Stay top of mind
2. Demonstrate expertise
3. Gain interaction
4. Report news
That gives me a very good guide to the kind of content that needs to go into a real estate newsletter.
Top of Mind Content
Newsletter readers are going to see your content in front of them month after month for years. You need to keep them engaged for a long time!
Your guiding principle, then, is maintaining interest over the long-haul, so that they keep opening the newsletter and you stay top of mind.
Here is the kind of general-interest content that will keep them reading longer:
- Emotional content
- Funny content
- DIY Household content
Emotional content refers to motivating stories, leadership stories, or personal stories. These have some sort of message that makes people think deeper thoughts. An example of funny content might be a real estate joke or story with a funny ending. DIY content includes things like how to paint words on walls like a pro.
Notice that real estate content is missing from this list. An article about how to choose a home inspector isn’t going to appeal to a broad spectrum of people. If you’re filling your newsletter with this kind of content, you may be losing people’s interest.
However, real estate content does meet the second purpose of your real estate newsletter: Demonstrate expertise. But that seems contradictory. If real estate articles are not broadly appealing, how do you add real estate content without alienating readers?
You have to find ways of slipping real estate content into the newsletter without making it front and center. Proof of success stories, calls to action, and occasional stats about the local market are examples of good real estate content. Keep it short and sweet; just enough to remind them you’re in real estate without boring them.
Gaining interaction is the hardest part of a real estate newsletter. The best kind of interaction is when someone calls you to give you a referral or repeat business. But that’s not the only kind of interaction you can create.
You can use a contest to engage. My Fast Newsletters uses a drawing for a $10 Starbuck’s Card for sending a correct answer to the quiz question. Some agents take the contest over to their Facebook page, inviting people to enter, then announcing the winner on Facebook each month.
Another form of engagement is using interactive articles, such as one I included in a recent issue of Fast Newsletters called “Is this house real?” I invited people to guess if the image was of a real house or a Photoshopped image. This wasn’t a contest; just a way to engage the readers in an interesting game.
Other ways to engage include adding personal comments to articles, thanking your clients or service providers by name, and briefly talking about your own exploits.
I also like the technique of “tagging” your newsletters by writing a very short note in ink on the newsletter itself (if you’re using a print newsletter). The note says something like, “This article reminded me of you” or “I haven’t seen you enter my contest yet!”
Finally, even though the newsletter is called a NEWSletter, you probably don’t want to include a bunch of real estate news. There is one exception to that rule:
If you send your newsletter to an audience that’s tightly focused, send them one article that just relates to them. For example, if you send mostly to seniors, then include an article about something new in the tax code that’s relevant to them. If you use your newsletter to farm, then include a small article about something that’s happening in the neighborhood.
Done-for-You Content that You Can Customize
Check out my sample newsletters link to see how I include all the kinds of content you see in this article, except for the last. I don’t include news content…but Fast Newsletters is flexible and allows you to add those news pieces easily.