Did you ever want to be a novelist? Cartoonist? Reporter? When I was younger, I wanted to be a writer for Rolling Stone magazine. I could see myself traveling around the world, getting to intimately know the rock stars I wrote about. The only thing writing for Rolling Stone and working for a funeral home marketing firm have in common is the ‘getting to know’ your subject part. I never met the rock stars or the publishing world.
But, you don’t have to miss your opportunity to write and market your funeral home at the same time. In fact, newspapers and online publications like examiner.com are usually looking for content. If you contact your local newspaper — especially if you are already advertising with them in some manner – and offer to write a monthly grief column, chances are they’ll say yes.
Why is this a good thing?
Having a column in print or online anywhere is a good thing. First, it will cost you little or nothing. Second, it positions you as the subject matter expert on death and grief for your community. Third, your name and funeral home name should be in the byline.
Fourth, and in my opinion most important these days, is if you can get the newspaper to post your column online with a link from your byline to your funeral home web site. Google loves links and a link from a local, credible site is always a good thing. If your column is well received, you can post it for free on sites like examiner.com and ezinearticle.com for additional links and exposure.
What should you write about?
Like my Rolling Stone dream, you should write about what you experience. What you know. If you have a unique process to help children deal with grief or did something different with a memorial service, write about it. If preplanning regulations change, explain how it will impact your community and the families you serve.
If every family asks you the same questions, answer them one at a time in your column. You can even ask for testimonials and turn those into a year-end wrap up.
Everyone likes to see their name in print. By writing a monthly column dealing with subject matter you are intimately familiar with, you are helping your business and your community. Give it a try. I’ll be here daydreaming about tour buses…
If you like the idea of a monthly column, but aren’t sure if you have the time to get twelve articles written, adfinity can help. We offer copywriting services specifically for funeral homes.
(originally published in July 2012; updated July 2017)