Following the advice of a few folks I trust, we have decided to take this weekly news article to the next level. Starting a week ago, we will be recording a monthly podcast on all things economic development here in the metro area.
When I started writing this column six years ago, it was simply a way to try to establish some presence and credibility as a mortgage banker. I was climbing out of a deep, dark hole that was created by the explosion of the 2008 economic collapse and I needed to get out in front of more people.
I knew other mortgage lenders who sent out weekly newsletters. I’d seen them. They were corny and filled with gobs of information about interest rates – something I’ve learned very few people outside of the real estate industry care a whole lot about. I thought I’d do something different. Using my skills earned as a newspaper reporter years ago, I started writing about issues that people seem to actually enjoy reading about.
It has morphed into where I write about a wide variety of topics, but has mostly gravitated around the topic of economic development in Metro Atlanta.
The newsletter list has expanded to the point where it now goes out weekly to more than 3,500 subscribers via e-mail, and is printed in the Herald newspapers that are distributed throughout North Fulton and Forsyth Counties. Articles have been published at the Atlanta Business Chronical as well as several other annual and monthly magazines throughout North Fulton and Forsyth. I always get e-mails from readers each week and it’s fun to see the feedback.
There are articles where I spend hours researching data, putting together charts and talking to experts. But I’ve found over the years that the articles where I’m on a deadline and I quickly write on a random topic — like the one I did years ago about Duck Donuts in Duck, N.C. — are the ones I get the most responses on.
It has been fun and a great outlet for me. I work hard to make sure the information is accurate and that we celebrate how great this city of Atlanta and all of its suburbs have become. I’ve been to other major metropolitan cities and have talked to high-level politicians and economic development people, and they all point to Atlanta and Georgia as something they one day strive to be more like. It is a great time to be living here.
I was approached a couple months ago about turning this newsletter into a podcast. The more I thought about it, the more interesting the idea became. I started to think of the kinds of people I would have on my own show and made a list. Then to my surprise, many on that list agreed to come on my show, which will be recorded in the studios of North Fulton Business RadioX.
We aired our first podcast two weeks ago. I was lucky enough to have Al Nash, CEO of the Development Authority of Fulton County on the show. Among other things, he gave us a behind-the-scenes look at how officials throughout the state and in the metro area worked together to bring the Mercedes-Benz North American headquarters to Sandy Springs. That was a huge win for our city, and it was fascinating to hear how that was done, and to discuss the “halo” effect from that relocation, and the economic development that is going on throughout Sandy Springs because of it.
I’m excited about our next few shows where I intend to have on high-level economic development people to talk about major commercial developments, exciting transportation projects coming down the pike, the creation of some of the region’s most successful economic development projects and more.
If you want to take a listen, or look to see who will be on my show, you can always reach out and subscribe to my weekly newsletter. E-mail me at email@example.com. Or you can check my blog at www.geoffsmithofga.tumblr.com.
Please wish me luck. Please keep in touch. And please let me know what you’d like to hear more of. Thank you!
Geoff Smith is a mortgage banker with Assurance Financial focusing on residential home loans for refinances and home purchases.
*The views and opinions expressed in this column do not necessarily reflect the views of Assurance Financial Group