In June 2014, during his second day at Compass (then called Urban Compass), Leonard Steinberg, now the company’s chief evangelist and head of the Leonard Steinberg Team, started a newsletter. Six years later, Steinberg’s newsletter hits the inbox daily of some 28,000 real estate professionals (including Compass agents and staff) and enthusiasts agents across the country, delivering news, listings and Steinberg’s opinion.
Steinberg told Inman he started the newsletter on day two, because everyone was trying to talk to him and pick his brain. The company was only about 50 people at the time.
“I felt it was an important, and an easier way to communicate with 50 people or more on a daily basis, as opposed to scheduling 50 meetings, which is, you know, physically impossible,” Steinberg told Inman.
The newsletter has mirrored the company’s growth, reaching more and more agents and creating more and more opportunities for those agents, as Compass’ agent count exploded. When Compass started essentially as a brokerage for rental agents, Steinberg used the letter to communicate his knowledge of the New York City rental and sales market.
“It was an opportunity to communicate my experience on a daily basis, one subject at a time, and as it evolved, I started to realize it was an incredible opportunity to message to the agents as they were coming in the culture of our company,” Steinberg said.
Now the daily email blast is broken into three parts, the first of which is a collection of newsworthy items in a blog-style. The items are related to a host of topics, including the financial and luxury markets. With the newsletter, he gives Compass agents content and news to share with their own clients as part of their outreach or marketing materials.
What Steinberg had seen in the past from the real estate industry was “boring and repetitive,” and just asking simple questions like, “Do you want to buy? Do you want to sell?”
“What I wanted to do was elevate the content of the dialogue and written material that agents were sending out to their sphere of influence,” Steinberg said.
The second part of the newsletter features six listings, which have grown to cover more and more of the country as Compass has grown. A recent newsletter featured properties in Texas, Florida, New York and California, with short descriptions, a high-res photo and a short description.
Steinberg said he wanted to educate everyone in the company on what the market is like in different parts of the country, but he also wanted the company to feel more connected, as it gets bigger and bigger.
“It provides a tremendous ability to make people feel that their region was connected to the rest of the compass community,” Steinberg said.
The listings also act as somewhat of a referral network for the agents. Steinberg says the company has sold millions of dollars of real estate from the newsletter.
The listings are the only aspect of the newsletter that Steinberg doesn’t do himself, he has a colleague find the listings and present a variety of properties and format them for the newsletter.
The final aspect of the newsletter is an opinion piece, which takes many forms. Sometimes it’s Steinberg’s thoughts on a global topic, sometimes it’s an education piece and sometimes it’s real estate related. A recent newsletter celebrated the achievements of Compass’ Houston office.
“It fuels multiple topics that I address on the regular basis: high quality of ethics, high quality of honesty, intelligence, insight, looking towards future trends, looking at current trends, looking at past trends, understanding what’s happening in the markets in general,” Steinberg said. “And obviously, that’s a lot of material, which means I always have something say, 365 days of the year.”
Steinberg tries to provide a balanced but optimistic viewpoint, which is one of Compass’ corporate principals. The tone, he said, focuses on solutions often, rather than dwelling on problems, which is why it can come off as a positive tonally.
The ability to send out this daily newsletter to roughly 15,000 agents is exactly the type of project that Steinberg feels is right at home at Compass and the reason he was one of the first people to join the company.
“What was originally most exciting to me about Compass was that they wanted to build a company with the kind of culture and intelligence that I felt the market was desperately calling for,” Steinberg said. “I also felt that there were lots of agents who are already doing this and resonating with this type of brokerage. I felt creating a home for that was important and meaningful.”
“Compass has been very receptive to the fact that there is a fool like me who will do this 365 days a year,” Steinberg added. “It’s a huge undertaking to commit to this 365 days a year. And I also think there aren’t many people who would have as many opinions as I have, combined with the capacity to write them all down really quickly.”
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story stated that Steinberg’s newsletter is sent to 15,000 subscribers. It is actually sent to 28,000 subscribers. The story also implied that the newsletter initially only covered the rental market in New York, but it covered both rentals and sales.