Most blogging advice is national even international in scope. Folks like me assume that you want to attract a large national audience. But what if you are focused on your local community? How do you create a blog that connects with your next door neighbor?
We’ll tackle that question today.
First, I believe that locally-focused blogs are powerful marketing tools for smart business owners. These tightly focused blogs are immediately relevant to readers. They also feel familiar like the corner coffee shop on Friday night. This relevance and familiarity can be turned into a loyal and profitable readership.
Let’s walk through seven techniques that will boost the local power of your blog.
1. Connect with Local News, Charitable Organizations, and Associations: Local organizations often struggle with increasing their visibility. You can create profitable relationships by offering your blog as a platform for local news. Consider devoting a section of your blog to curated news that your audience will appreciate. This will draw an audience to your blog while providing an audience for the local organization’s news. A win-win that could turn into profitable joint ventures.
2. Creatively Reflect Your Community: Look for opportunities to incorporate iconic local art, monuments, buildings, and landscapes into your blog’s theme. The idea is to instantly connect with local visitors and demonstrate that you are offering content with a local flair. Work with a designer to insure that your blog's look celebrates the local community. You’ll find that people will visit your blog simply to see your creative!
3. Double Down on Engagement: While you should be actively engaging with your audiences regardless of your blog’s focus, engagement is even more important with a local audience. Specifically, you want your readers to give you feedback and start helping one another. Since your audience lives in the same community its easier for them to relate and connect with one another. The social proof offered by active commenters will add credibility to your blog and business.
4. Become a Local Media Resource: Sadly local newspapers and radio stations are struggling to fill the pages and airwaves with excellent local content. Make a point of emailing your latest locally-focused posts to your local newspaper editor. Make it clear that you want to be a resource for them. Demonstrate that you are on the same team by retweeting and liking their content.
Note: This strategy works very better for smaller newspapers and business journals. The larger semi-local papers are less likely to work with you.
5. Reward Foot Traffic: Offer blog readers special discounts at your retail locations. Prominently promote this local offers in your blog sidebar and via social platforms like Twitter and Facebook. Be careful to tell and share more than you promote and sell. Remember that your blog is part of an overall content marketing strategy that relies on educating and delighting your future customers.
6. Clever Local SEO: Look for opportunities to include your city or town name in your blog post headlines. Also use the free Google Keyword Tool to research how local residents search for your product in their local community. Use the keyword phrases you discover in blog post headlines and content. Again, don’t over-optimize your posts. Only include keywords where they make sense and won’t disrupt the reader’s experience.
7. Court Local Talent: Actively look for local bloggers and offer them guest posting opportunities. For example a local landscaper should contact the local gardening enthusiast for a guest post. Once you’ve established relationship, craft guest posts for their blog. You both will benefit from sharing audiences and create leads and sales too.
Local Blogging is Easier
I envy local bloggers because their task is easier. Local content quickly build rapport and community engagement. All you need to do is start!
Do you write for a blog with a local focus. What works best for you? Let me know in the comments below.