How to Create a Community Information Guide

From time to time, everyone needs community information numbers and websites. These include everything from the contact information for the county tax collector, to the phone number and/or website for tennis court reservations, to the website of the community theater. Make it easy for newcomers and established residents to find this information and you can create a low cost, handy reference for area homeowners. Of course, the reference includes your phone number and website, prominently displayed.

All commonly referenced numbers are available in the phone book, but they’re spread around and not always located together or under obvious headings. Some are in the yellow pages. Some are in the white pages. Some are in the government pages. When they are in the government pages, they might be listed as a federal, state, county, or municipal number. Or, they might be listed under a separate agency listing.

Some websites may be listed on a city or chamber of commerce website. Rarely are there more than a handful of websites for any one community. Assembling websites, like gathering the phone numbers, might take a little effort on the part of someone in your office.

Make it easy to find community phone numbers and websites by creating a free community quick reference. The reference need not be elaborate to be effective. Realtors in some markets create 3-panel quick references and copy them on black & white standard copiers onto yellow paper. These are distributed to area businesses and government offices.

Here are some of the listings you might consider for a local quick reference…

• Major airlines
• Performing arts
• Community theaters
• Professional theaters
• Ballet
• Opera
• Symphony
• Chamber orchestra
• Comedy clubs
• Music halls
• Museums
• Zoos
• Botanical gardens
• Newspapers
• Gas and electric utilities
• Telephone companies
• Cable
• Provide separate information for new installations and for repairs
• Schools
• Day care
• Public schools (including PTAs)
• Private schools
• School transportation
• School calendars
• School lunch menus
• Community colleges
• Four year colleges
• Libraries
• Chamber of commerce
• Service & civic clubs
• Rotary
• Lion’s
• Optimist
• Kiwanis
• Junior League
• Toastmasters
• Jaycees
• Garden clubs
• Voter registration
• Driver’s license
• Hospitals
• Emergency clinics
• Professional sports teams
• Various senior services numbers
• Cable television
• The poison center
• Donation centers
• Red Cross
• Salvation Army
• Goodwill
• Lighthouse for the Blind
• Local missions
• The YMCA
• Youth sports associations
• Post offices
• Human society and animal shelter
• Government information for each city and county in your territory, including…
• City information
• Animal control
• Municipal and teen court
• Parks and recreation
• Fire department (emergency and non-emergency)
• Police (emergency and non-emergency)
• Trash pickup
• City utility
• Permit
• Landfill
• Pools
• Senior centers

List a phone number and website URL prominently on the front and back. Repurpose the information to create a separate community links page on your website. Encourage visitors to bookmark the page.

It’s a lot of information for the printed brochure, but with good graphic design and layout, you can easily produce an organized piece that’s easy to read. And space is not a limitation for the Internet version.

The total cost? A 3-panel brochure costs less than 10 cents per piece, plus a little legwork to distribute them. The Internet links page is free.

A number of variations are possible. For example, you could create a single page laminated version with a magnet on the pack, perfect for display on the refrigerator.

When you produce your Community Information Guide, send a press release to local papers offering to mail the guide to homeowners who request it for free. Give lots of copies to area realty and title companies to ensure newcomers get a copy. Pass them out at home shows. Drop off copies with every organization and association listed.

In many ways the Community Information Guide you create is a mini-yellow pages. However, in this yellow pages, you’re the only contractor listed!

Matt Michel is the CEO of the Service Roundtable, the industry’s largest contractor business alliance. Learn more at To read more of Matt’s writing, look for his bi-monthly column, “The Rant,” in Contracting Business, his Comanche Marketing blog, and subscribe to his email list at You can also follow him on Twitter as ComancheMktg, on Linked-In, and on Facebook. Contact him by email at [email protected] or by phone at 877.262.3341

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