Providing your clients with an up-to-date relocation guide for their new home town can be time-consuming, expensive, and downright frustrating. There are great resources out there that can help like Sunray Publications, a company specializing in making quality relocation guides. These can sometimes require a minimum order and be quite costly. Sunray does offer a more cost friendly choice with their new pocket relocation guides. However, if you decide to go the other route by creating your own area guides, there are a few tips and resources I can share with you (from someone who has done a few). I know what you are thinking, create one myself. Too much work! It’s not for everyone, but if you do choose to make one yourself, you will be able to easily edit, update and personalize it. And you have complete control over all your own content and branding. The following guidelines and resources can help you create your own area specific guide.
Whether you are creating a county or city guide, you should start with an outline. I would begin in Word and when you are finished compiling your info, transfer it into a Publisher template with design of your choosing. Publisher has great templates that you can customize easily, or just start from scratch. Section 1 of your outline should be the introduction to the city/county (history, background, interesting facts, life today). Make sure you list the website for the specific city or county as well (you will get much of your information there). In section 2, list all the major civic offices and contact info including City Hall, Public Works, Chamber of Commerce, DMV, etc. People always find statistics interesting as well, so include a brief section 3 of items like population, elevation, median home price, total number of housing units, etc. You don’t have to go wild, just a few fun facts that you find will do. The US Census fact finder site is helpful here (factfinder.census.gov).
Section 4 of your relocation guide is extremely useful information and should include all utilities, city/county departments, and emergency contacts such as: animal control, cable/satellite television, fire department, gas & electric, garbage, library, police department, post office, recycling, water, etc. Use the county and city websites to search for this information. You can make an additional section to spotlight special venders to share as a referral list. Other helpful websites for compiling this info may include www.discoverourtown.com and www.relo-usa.com.
In section 5, provide the contact information for the parks and recreation department as well as a list of nearby parks and recreational areas. I like to use www.epodunk.com for this. You can use their park search feature to find parks within a certain distance around your city or county. I usually select within 15 miles. You can even visit and list the park website (if applicable).
In section 6, list all the school district contact info (you can usually find this on the city/county website). There may be several school districts, or even nearby districts that also serve students in your area. You will also want to list all contact information for public and private schools in the area. You can find this info on the city websites, district websites, or if you live in California, visit www.schoolwisepress.com, and for nationwide school info, check out www.greatschools.net and www.schoolmatters.com.
Lastly, the area you are collecting info on probably has something its known for or something special about it that new homeowners would REALLY like to know. So in section 7, include any area specific info like a list of wineries, yearly festival info, transportation highlights, etc.
When you have finished compiling your info, you will need a snazzy design and pictures for your relocation guide. Go out with your digital camera and start shooting! Including local pictures of downtown, landmarks, parks, schools, neighborhoods, etc. will really customize and breathe life to the city or county information you are providing in the guide. Remember this is just a guideline, so feel free to be as creative or brief as you like. After you have completed your beautifully branded, custom relocation guide, don’t forget to update it regularly (or at least yearly)!
Resources in Review:
- City & County Websites
- Local School District Website
- http://epodunk.com/ (Good overall info, but fabulous park information)
- http://factfinder.census.gov/ (Census info, great for population, total housing units, etc.)
- http://www.bestplaces.net/ (Good overall info, median home price, cost of living, economy, etc.)
- http://www.ersys.com/ (good statistical charts & comparisons)
- http://www.greatschools.net/, http://www.schoolmatters.com/ & http://www.schoolwisepress.com (school scores and other info)
- http://www.discoverourtown.com/ (city specific lodging, attractions, dining, & local business contacts)
- http://www.relo-usa.com/ (city specific website links)
- Sunray Publications http://www.movinginformation.com/RelocationGuidesGeneric.htm